Our Response to God’s Word and Work in our Lives

Matthew 13:3-8
What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road, and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled by the weeds. Some fell on good earth, and produced a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.

I. What is the meaning of this parable?
II. Jesus himself provides the meaning to this parable in Matthew 13:18-19
Study this story of the farmer planting seed. When anyone hears news of the kingdom and doesn’t take it in, it just remains on the surface, and so the Evil One comes along and plucks it right out of that person’s heart. This is the seed the farmer scatters on the road.  The seed cast in the gravel—this is the person who hears and instantly responds with enthusiasm. But there is no soil of character, and so when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.  The seed cast in the weeds is the person who hears the kingdom news, but weeds of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun strangle what was heard, and nothing comes of it.  The seed cast on good earth is the person who hears and takes in the News, and then produces a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.

III. Four types of soil represent different responses to God’s word.
a. “..remains on the surface…” Hardened heart/shallowness (Vs 18-19)
b. “…cast in the gravel…no soil of character” “…For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.” (NKJV)(Vs 20-21)
c. Cares and worry, distractions, pursuing things more important. (Vs 22)
d. Good earth, good ground (vs 23)
IV. What is the good ground that we want to have? A few verses come to mind in terms of how we want to value the word and pursue our life as a follower of Christ.
a. Mark 4:24 (Msg)

Listen carefully to what I am saying—and be wary of the shrewd advice that tells you how to get ahead in the world on your own. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity. Stinginess impoverishes.

b. John 15:5-8

I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.
c. Colossians 3:1-17

So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.  Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.  And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It’s because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn’t long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.  Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.  So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.  Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

Miracles of Jesus – Healing of a man possessed by a demon in Capernaum

Mark 1:21-28Amplified Bible (AMP)

21 And they entered into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He went into the synagogue and began to teach.

22 And they were completely astonished at His teaching, for He was teaching as One Who possessed authority, and not as the scribes.

23 Just at that time there was in their synagogue a man [who was in the power] of an unclean spirit; and now [immediately] he raised a deep and terrible cry from the depths of his throat, saying,

24 What have You to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!

25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hush up (be muzzled, gagged), and come out of him!

26 And the unclean spirit, throwing the man into convulsions and [a]screeching with a loud voice, came out of him.

27 And they were all so amazed and [b]almost terrified that they kept questioning and demanding one of another, saying, What is this? What new (fresh) teaching! With authority He gives orders even to the unclean spirits and they obey Him!

28 And immediately rumors concerning Him spread [everywhere] throughout all the region surrounding Galilee.

Mark 1:21-28The Message (MSG)

Confident Teaching

21-22 Then they entered Capernaum. When the Sabbath arrived, Jesus lost no time in getting to the meeting place. He spent the day there teaching. They were surprised at his teaching—so forthright, so confident—not quibbling and quoting like the religion scholars.

23-24 Suddenly, while still in the meeting place, he was interrupted by a man who was deeply disturbed and yelling out, “What business do you have here with us, Jesus? Nazarene! I know what you’re up to! You’re the Holy One of God, and you’ve come to destroy us!”

25-26 Jesus shut him up: “Quiet! Get out of him!” The afflicting spirit threw the man into spasms, protesting loudly—and got out.

27-28 Everyone there was incredulous, buzzing with curiosity. “What’s going on here? A new teaching that does what it says? He shuts up defiling, demonic spirits and sends them packing!” News of this traveled fast and was soon all over Galilee.

Luke 4:33-37Amplified Bible (AMP)

33 Now in the synagogue there was a man who was possessed by the foul spirit of a demon; and he cried out with a loud (deep, terrible) cry,

34 Ah, [a]let us alone! What have You to do with us [What have [b]we in common], Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know Who You are—the Holy One of God!

35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, Be silent (muzzled, gagged), and come out of him! And when the demon had thrown the man down in their midst, he came out of him without injuring him in any [c]possible way.

36 And they were all amazed and said to one another, What kind of talk is this? For with authority and power He commands the foul spirits and they come out!

37 And a rumor about Him spread into every place in the surrounding country.

Luke 4:33-37The Message (MSG)

33-34 In the meeting place that day there was a man demonically disturbed. He screamed, “Ho! What business do you have here with us, Jesus? Nazarene! I know what you’re up to. You’re the Holy One of God and you’ve come to destroy us!”

35 Jesus shut him up: “Quiet! Get out of him!” The demonic spirit threw the man down in front of them all and left. The demon didn’t hurt him.

36-37 That set everyone back on their heels, whispering and wondering, “What’s going on here? Someone whose words make things happen? Someone who orders demonic spirits to get out and they go?” Jesus was the talk of the town.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

  1. “Man of Sorrows!” what a name
    For the Son of God, who came
    Ruined sinners to reclaim.
    Hallelujah! What a Savior!


  2. Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
    In my place condemned He stood;
    Sealed my pardon with His blood.
    Hallelujah! What a Savior!


  3. Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
    Spotless Lamb of God was He;
    “Full atonement!” can it be?
    Hallelujah! What a Savior!


  4. Lifted up was He to die;
    “It is finished!” was His cry;
    Now in Heav’n exalted high.
    Hallelujah! What a Savior!


  5. When He comes, our glorious King,
    All His ransomed home to bring,
    Then anew His song we’ll sing:
    Hallelujah! What a Savior!

He that is With You is Greater than what is Against You!

Deuteronomy 5:33

33 Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.

Matthew 22:36-40

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

He that is With You is Greater than what is Against You!

How beautiful it is that God is greater than any obstacle, or situation that we face.  We never want to forget this, and the many times He has been with us and with all who turn to Him and seek Him with all their heart, and that walk in love (1 Corinthians 13). When we do this, God has promised to be with us.  Let us never loose confidence and become downcast over situations or circumstances that we face.  Rather, let us continue to turn to God and cast every problem or worry to Him (1 Peter 5:6-7).

Job 22:21-28

21 “Submit to God and be at peace with him;
in this way prosperity will come to you.
22 Accept instruction from his mouth
and lay up his words in your heart.
23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored:
If you remove wickedness far from your tent
24 and assign your nuggets to the dust,
your gold of Ophir to the rocks in the ravines,
25 then the Almighty will be your gold,
the choicest silver for you.
26 Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty
and will lift up your face to God.
27 You will pray to him, and he will hear you,
and you will fulfill your vows.
28 What you decide on will be done,
and light will shine on your ways.

Romans 8:31-36

More Than Conquerors

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[a]

2 Chronicles provides an account when God was with someone.  His name was Hezekiah, the King of Judah.  Sennacherib, the King of Assyria came and invaded Judah, his intent was to wage war against Jerusalem and Hezekiah.  Hezekiah prepared for the siege, and encouraged the people:

 2 Chronicles 32:7-8

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.

Sennacherib sent his officials to Jerusalem with his message to King Hezekiah and the people.

2 Chronicles 32:10

10 “This is what Sennacherib king of Assyria says: On what are you basing your confidence, that you remain in Jerusalem under siege?

Sennacherib went on to ridicule God and to try and destroy Hezekiah’s and the people’s confidence.  Hezekiah did not loose heart, but turned to God.

2 Chronicles 32:20-22

20 King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz cried out in prayer to heaven about this. 21 And the Lord sent an angel, who annihilated all the fighting men and the commanders and officers in the camp of the Assyrian king. So he withdrew to his own land in disgrace. And when he went into the temple of his god, some of his sons, his own flesh and blood, cut him down with the sword.

22 So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all others. He took care of them[a] on every side.

2 Kings 6 provides another account when the Lord was with one of his servants.  This time it was Elisha, who was surrounded by the King of Aram’s forces.  Elisha’s servant was alarmed.

2 Kings 6:15-18

15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike this army with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.

Elisha too was ultimately preserved.

The last account out of scriptures to relay is from Acts Chapter 28.  Here Paul is on his way to Rome to have his audience with Caesar.  He tells his captors not to sail, due to the danger to them and the ship.  As Paul predicts, he, the crew and passengers are shipwrecked on Malta.  However through the storm Paul has confidence, and even a word from the angel of the Lord that everyone would be preserved.  Paul even bolsters everyone’s confidence by telling everyone on board that the ship would be lost, but they all would survive.  As Paul told them, everyone gets to the shore.  Then Paul is faced with another life threatening danger that God preserves him from.

Acts 28:3-6

Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.

God preserved Paul from this bite and many other hardships and difficulties throughout his life.

Let us not loose confidence, but trust, and turn to our God in faith.  Let’s declare the promises of God over our life, and maintain a connection in prayer to our God who will answer us and provide for all who turn to him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Christian Joke

There was a Mother making breakfast for her young boys.  Ryan was 5 and Kevin was 3.  They began to argue over who would get the first pancake.  The Mother looked at this as an opportunity to teach them both a lesson.  The Mother said, “Boys, boys, if Jesus was here He would let his brother have the first pancake”.  Ryan turned to his younger brother and said, “Ok, you be Jesus”.