Journal Notes 3-11-12
Jesus said, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” (Rev 2:17a)
God has His called out ones. We want to hear men and women of God confirm what God is saying to us today. Lots of people are not hearing, not listening, to what God is saying. We need to discern someone’s spirit behind their words. There are deceivers who are wolves in sheep’s clothing who are right in the Church. But we can see through their lies when we have spent time studying God’s Word for ourselves.
Jesus is coming to execute judgment, to deal with sin and wickedness.
The glory of God rests upon us even though the powers of darkness are around us and assail us on every side. It is God’s Word, His wisdom from heaven that will deliver us. And God will keep us from stumbling so that we will walk in victory.
“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” Jude 1:24-25
This is the 6th of 11 chapters from ‘Sounding the Shofar- Exhortations for the End Times’ an eBook that I recently authored. You can get the Table of Contents for my eBook from the Aug. 23 post, Chapter 3 GOD’S WORD or use the side bar Category ‘From Journal and Shofar eBook’. If you haven’t read Chapter 3 or previous chapters, please do so because the main purpose for these posts is to point out the importance of learning the Word of God as it relates to our faith in God and living victorious Christian lives.
I also want you to know that I am not a theologian. My teacher is the Holy Spirit who will teach all who desire to know God and have His Word revealed unto them. The Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth; He is the Spirit of discernment of truth and error.
“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come.” (John 16:13)
“We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” (1John 4:6).
CHAPTER 6- KINGDOM OF GOD MYSTERIES
In the gospels, Jesus is portrayed as a King of a kingdom– the kingdom of God or kingdom of heaven (both are the same and also mean the same). The Parable of the Sower is found in Matthew 13, Mark 4 and Luke 8. Parables are hidden truths that relate to the mysteries of the kingdom of God. There are numerous studies, commentaries, and resources available on the 39 parables found in the Bible. My focus will be on the importance of the Parable of the Sower as it relates to Christians today.
PARABLE OF THE SOWER
The Parable of the Sower has many lessons that can be drawn from it. The seeds of the sower fall by the way side, in stony places, among thorns, and onto good ground. Jesus explains to His disciples that the seed is the Word of God and the parable illustrates how it is received by its hearers. He said,
“He who has ears (to hear), let him be listening and let him consider and perceive and comprehend by hearing” (Mt 13:9, AMP).
Also, of all the parables, the Parable of the Sower is the most important one because it provides the understanding of all the other parables:
“And he said unto them, know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?” (Mark 4:13)
The Parable of the Sower is about the importance of God’s Word in our lives, whether it will take root or not, and whether or not we have works to show for what we say we believe. It has been emphasized that God’s Word is True; God reveals Himself in His Word; His Word is the AUTHORITY by which we must live our lives to obey and please God. Our faith comes from learning His Word and committing it to our hearts. Our commitment to love and serve God depends upon our knowledge of His Word.
WILL JESUS FIND FAITH ON EARTH?
Jesus promised He would return to earth. But he also said,
“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)
The number of faithful believers at the return of Christ suggested in the parable of the sower and the verse above reveals that there will be MANY uncommitted believers. In the parable, there are 4 kinds of ground that the seeds fall on- by the way side, upon stony places, among the thorns and good ground; only the good ground brought forth fruit. Out of all of the hearers, 3 out of 4 persons or 75% will not become committed believers, where the seed did not fall on good ground. Only the remaining 25%, 1 out of 4, or 25 out of every 100 persons will let God’s Word transform their lives. These are the 30, 60, and 100 fold Christians that were fruitful. This is clearly not a bright picture of the number of faithful believers at the time of Jesus’ return! Will Jesus find faith on earth upon His return?
WAY SIDE CHRISTIANS
Way Side Christians are those who heard the Word, but not understanding it, had the Word stolen away immediately by Satan. Satan will seize any and every opportunity to steal away any Word of God that we may hear. It is Satan’s modus operandi, his M.O. to steal the Word. Stealing is his first order of business:
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy”… (John 10:10).
His desire is that we stay in the dark and on his side, as weak and powerless Christians. You see, if someone would become a believer and got excited about his faith, he could do much damage to Satan’s kingdom by bringing others to the Lord (Luke 8:12, paraphrased).
It is said that Satan is busiest on Sundays, in church, to cause church-goers to be distracted, bored and sleepy! Sunday Christians who only hear the Word casually and aren’t really ‘listening’ with their hearts, will soon forget what they have heard. These could include folks who make it a point to get to church every week no matter what, give an offering, then go home and forget what the homily or sermon was about, so therefore they don’t remember if there was anything said that they could apply to their lives. James 1:25 warns us not to be “a forgetful hearer!”
Also, Way Side Christians are those who stand in the back or along the sides of the sanctuary socializing, or are always busy in the kitchen or church office, and don’t get to hear the Word of God. For some, church is the only place to see friends and have fellowship with them afterwards. Church has become a social club with good programs and activities. So many folks attend church, then put their Bibles away until the next Sunday. But most church-goers don’t even bring a personal Bible because with Power Point today, who needs a Bible? You can see a few scriptures flashed on a large screen and read aloud by a lay reader, and just as quickly forget what was shown.
Many Way Side Christians attend churches that do not provide important Bible teachings in faith and holy living. The seed that is sown or the Word of God, is like a few crumbs tossed to folks who are starved for the whole loaf. Many may not have even met Jesus, the bread of life, who came down from heaven that we would never hunger or thirst (if) we believe in him (John 4:35, 48). Many may not be ‘saved’ or ‘born again’, and if so, will not go to heaven, but perish!
The Word becomes of none effect because there is no discipling in faith and basic Bible principles, no teachings on salvation and eternal life, no emphasis given to personal prayer and Bible study, no regular spiritual fellowship, so these folks become unsaved Way Side Christians.
There are many life-long church-goers who even have difficulty in locating the different books of the Old and New Testaments, having limited Bible knowledge and understanding of the scriptures. We need teachings in God’s Word to build faith. Let us do everything we can, to encourage more interest and study of the Bible that will build faith in God and help keep folks from falling by the Way Side! We need God’s Word taught in our churches so that we will not fall by the way side because,
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalms 119:105) will encourage holy and righteous living;
“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17) will help us to be committed Christians;
“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7) will gain God’s favor and answers to our prayers.
To be continued…
Tags: Bible, Building Faith, Casual Christianity, Church A Social Club, Church-goers, God's Word, Kingdom of God Mysteries, Parable of the Sower, Parables, Satan's M.O., Social Gospel, Sunday Christians, Thief, Way Side Christians, Weak and Powerless Christians
Welcome back to ‘Sounding the Shofar- Exhortations for the End Times’ eBook. See Category on side bar, ‘From Journal and Shofar eBook’ for Introduction and Chapter 1.
We all want things to go well with us and the Bible holds the keys for this to be possible.
CHAPTER 2 PLEASING GOD
Love God, Love His Word and Obey It
Read Deuteronomy 6:13-19. The key verse is Deut 6:18:
“…do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers; vs. 19 … To cast out all enemies from before thee, as the LORD hath spoken.”
We must please God so that things will go well for us (vs 18). The last verse of the previous chapter (vs 5:33) tells us WHY we must obey God:
- that we may LIVE,
- that things will go WELL in our life,
- so that we will have a LONG life!
How many people have had their lives cut short prematurely by their choices, by the way they treat others, and by the way they live their lives.
Deuteronomy 6:2-5 tells us how we can be blessed with long life and “that it may be well with thee”. It is not by only hearing, but also by doing what God has commanded. This is only possible when we “love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might”. This is also “the first and great commandment” in Matthew 22:37.
God said that David, king of Israel, was “a man after mine own heart” (Acts 13:22), whose heart was ‘perfect’ before Him (1Kings 11:4). In Psalms 119, the longest chapter of the longest book in the Bible, we can read about David’s intimate relationship with God, and the importance of God’s Word in his life. Of 176 verses, all except for 3 are about the Word of God, grouped by each of the Hebrew alphabet and mentioned by these names: Law, Commandments, Testimony, Precepts, Statutes, Ordinances, Judgments, Ways, Word, and Truth.
Psalm 119 is called the Psalm of the Word of God.
Here are some verses about God’s Word:
- “Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven” (verse 89);
- “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (verse 105);
- “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (verse 165).
Meditate on these scriptures today and keep them in your heart.
WWJD and Doing Our Best
Paul in Colossians 3:17,23 instructs us how to please God and receive His blessings of Deut 6:18 and 5:33 (to have a good and long life):
“Whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus… And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men…”
WWJD, What Would Jesus Do? He did everything the Father told him to do. Jesus said in John 5:19,
“…The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.”
And we know that everything God does, He does well.
When I taught school, the only reports I accepted from my students were their BEST work. I asked them, “Is this your best? Can you do better? What can you do to improve this?” I also expected their best handwriting and many a child got spelling words marked wrong for illegibility. A major mindset in the work force today is to expect maximum pay and benefits for minimum output. Look at what is going on with state and union labor negotiations. Take a good look at every strata of institutions in our society today. Only when there are attitudes of pride in work excellence and productivity, you will likely find successful individuals and companies. Only God can motivate us as individuals to do our BEST in EVERYTHING we do. Not only that, but He will help us and reward us when we strive TO DO OUR BEST in everything we put our minds and hands to do. Christians should be the ones who are recognized as outstanding in everything they do!
Pleasing God and Good Success
“…whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men…” (Colossians 3:23)
If pleasing God is uppermost in our lives He will bless us and enable us to be successful. He will be with us and not fail us, nor forsake us. He is the road map to our destination; He is the rudder on our ship through troubled waters; He will lead us by His eye. God does this through His Word, and the more we understand His Word, the greater will be our success! We can have GOOD SUCCESS! God told Joshua,
“trust me, don’t be afraid; do what I tell you, don’t go your own way by turning to the right or to the left.” Joshua 1:7 (paraphrased)
Verse 8 says,
“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt MEDITATE therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to DO according to all that is written therein: for THEN thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and THEN thou shalt have GOOD SUCCESS.” (Caps are mine)
Everything we do, we do to PLEASE GOD (Colossians 3:17, 23) which is through FAITH in Him and believing His Word. We get our faith by meditating on His Word (Joshua 1:8).
As Hebrews ll:6 says,
“...without faith it is impossible to please God, for he that comes to God must BELIEVE that He is (God) a Rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
As professed believers in Jesus, Paul tells us,
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
This means that we must know that God is our Father and we are His children, that
“God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him (Jesus) should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
There you have it, when we are in a relationship with God and we know He is our Father, we can approach Him any time! His phone number is Jeremiah 33:3,
“Call unto me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”
Matthew 19:36 states,
...”With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”
And another faith builder is Isaiah 59:1,
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear”...
Question is, have you made Jesus your Lord and Savior? If so, then God is your Father and Jesus is your Savior and your Brother!
(To be continued- Prosperity and Success, Being Blessed)
Here is a link to a very nice blog by two sisters who share their faith in God. Read “Would you really like to know how to get to heaven?”