Message Notes1). The comments made last week concerning fruit production and entrance into the Kingdom in relation to the Word of the Kingdom.
a). The question asked: What about those who never hear the word of the kingdom and yet lead Godly lives, are they excluded?
b). Well what do we do with this?
c). What do we know for certain?
I/ The kingdom was taken away from Israel because they did not produce the fruits of it - Mt 21:43 "Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. ? and would be given to a nation that would produce its fruit -
Ii/ We also learnt last week - Joh 15:4 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. 9 ? "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. 11 "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
Iii/ Abiding in Christ = keeping His commandments = bearing much fruit.
d). We also know -2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. And at this time our works will be tested by fire.
e). By far the safest thing to do is to leave this judgment to God who will make the absolutely perfect judgment based on His word - Joh 12:48 "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him--the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.
2). There are, however, some things I would ask you to consider.
a). Firstly, what appears Godly to us may not appear Godly to God
i/ Witness the Rich Young Ruler - Lu 18:18 ? Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"??..20 "You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not bear false witness,' 'Honor your father and your mother.'" 21 And he said, "All these things I have kept from my youth." 22 So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." 23 But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.
Ii/ From The point of view of those looking at this young man?s life they would have observed Godly living as he was faithfully obedient to the Law of Moses, yet there was a heart issue that he would not deal with that cut him off from that he wished to inherit.
Iii/ Also, notice this - Mt 7:21 ? "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
Iv/ Now the way this is written in the Greek language shows that those who prophesied, cast out demons, did many wonders are expecting a positive response from the Lord. In other words they had believed they had done these things in His name. However although these events were real, and many would view them as ?Godly?. The Lord makes it quite clear that He was not present in any of them. The reason? They are contrary to what His word teaches. Knowing and understanding what the word teaches is vitally important.
V/ Finally, consider this ? if it is not necessary to know about the kingdom in order to enter it, why has God given us a whole Book of instructions on how to get there. Clearly it is easier to get to a destination if we have directions on how to get there. However, knowing and understanding the Word of the Kingdom does not of itself guarantee our entry in to the Kingdom.
3). What we can say with certainty this morning and this needs to be our focus, is that we are hearing the Word of the Kingdom, so let us understand the Parable of the Sower.
4). Mt 13:1 ? On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. 2 And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. 3 Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: "Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 "And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. 5 "Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. 6 "But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. 7 "And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. 8 "But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
a). Let us first understand who the Sower is, what He sows and where
b). The answer is given in the Lord?s explanation of the second parable, the wheat and the tares.
c). Mt 13:37 He answered and said to them: "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 "The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, (Teach this in relation to the POS)
d). The nature of a parable.
5). Now the Lord?s explanation of the Parable of the Sower ? Explain the brackets - Mt 13:18 "Therefore hear the parable of the sower: 19 "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. (This is he which was sown) by the wayside. 20 "But he (that was sown into) stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 "yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 "Now he (also that was sown) among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 "But he (that was sown into) the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."
6). By the way side ? These are Christians who hear the word of the kingdom but fail to understand the message. Their failure to understand allows the birds representing the wicked one (Satan) to do away with the message, devouring the person - 1Pe 5:8 ? Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith,?.
a). This is the experience that represents the majority of Christians today who hear this message. The have the ability to understand the message ? they possess spiritual life ? but they show little to no interest allowing the enemy to perform his devouring work.
b). Israel then ?
i/ The written Word of God
ii/ Capable of spiritual perception
iii/ Misled by the religious leaders
iv/ Consequently their reaction is the same as those sown by the wayside - Mt 13:15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed
c). 2000 years on this is no different to that we find in the church today with the same catastrophic results - Re 3:17 "Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing' --and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked?
d). 2Co 3:14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
e). 2Co 4:3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
7). Stony Places ?
a). Not having a sufficient root ? a sufficient foundation in the word of the kingdom. Not having passed from immaturity to maturity.
b). In the early stage of receiving the Word of the Kingdom the attack against the word comes.
c). Persecution comes ?because of the Word of the Kingdom?, and will come from Christians, particularly from religious leaders, just as in the time of Christ?s first coming.
e). The person through this persecution is offended, they ?stumble?. That which they have heard, understood and accepted is associated with error, cultism, etc. And because of their lack of maturity in the faith they are overcome. They simply give up. And Satan wins the victory in their life.
f). Why the word of the kingdom is attacked ? the change of governmental power - Eph 3:1 ? For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles-- 2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, 7 of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power. 8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,
8). Among the thorns ?
a). We can see Satan?s concerted work against the Word of the Kingdom so far ? i/ Corrupt it to such an extent that those who could understand it don?t and are therefore in no position to produce fruit.
Ii/ As soon as someone hears and understands the word of the kingdom he brings persecution so that they turn away before they have a foundation and do not produce fruit.
b). For the one who hears and understands the word of the kingdom and endures through the persecution he then attempts to choke the word of the kingdom so that it remains unfruitful through the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and, according to Luke?s account of the parable, the pleasures of this life.
c). The cares of this world (age) ? this would be those things connected with the present world system under Satan that would cause our attention to be distracted form the place it should be focused so that we are locked in to that which is outside of what scripture teaches - Lu 21:34 "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.
(Teach this in terms of not being focused)
i). 1Jo 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. ? These are the very things Satan uses against us in the spiritual warfare.
ii). Heb 12:1 ? Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ? We as Christians are not only to fix our attention on Jesus but also on exactly the same thing upon which His attention was fixed ? ?the joy that was set before Him?
d). The deceitfulness of riches ? Riches are deceitful because they can cause us to be covetous
i/ Either for what they provide ? placing our well being and happiness in the possession of things - Lu 12:15 And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses."
Ii/ Or by placing our trust in the accumulation of riches in themselves. What I have in the bank or invested is my security for the future. Remember the story of the rich man and his barn - 1Ti 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.
Iii/ Col 3:5 ? Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. ? Covetousness is always based in fear not faith.
e). The pleasures of this life ? Pleasures = Gk. Hedone = sensual delight / lust. This would clearly be a reference to the lust of the flesh
Ga 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
f). We as Christians then are to fix our attention on the King and His Kingdom ? not looking back and not looking around ? considering tribulation or persecution, or the things of this world, riches or the pleasures of life to be of little consequence compared to the glory and exaltation that are lying ahead. If we don?t Satan will use one or all of these in his unceasing efforts to bring about our fall.
g). Col 3:1 ? If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
h). To put it even more simply - Mt 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,
9). To go back to the beginning this morning, we see in the first three parts of this parable Christians who are sown into the world who hear the word of the kingdom, some coming into an understanding of it and yet none produce fruit. None will have a part with Christ as His bride / a co heir
a). Mt 21:43 "Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.
10). Only those who understand the word of the kingdom, endure the persecution and overcome the world, the flesh and the devil ? those seen in the fourth part of the parable are producing fruit ? Mt 13:23 "But he (that was sown into) the good ground is he who hears the word (of the Kingdom) and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."
11). Unfortunately this is not the end of the story or the end of Satan?s attack against the word of the kingdom. We will pick this up again next week.