"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Monday, April 6, 2015


By James Fire

I am quite eager to begin this study as it opens up a new dimension in the ministry of the LORD Jesus Christ, the Messiah-King of Israel. We will reflect back to some previous chapters as they relate to what our LORD tells His disciples here in this chapter, and begin to explore the Kingdom and the parables that explain it, and LORD willing, come to a greater and deeper understanding as well as appreciation for what has been done by our Abba Father on our account!
Before we begin however, I would like you to read and ponder upon an article I wrote FROM the MIND of FIRE: A Scenario of Four Seeds 
Let us read the opening passage of our chapter for this study:

MATTHEW 13:1-9
The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. 2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. 3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; 4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6 And 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 sprung up, and choked them: 8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. 
9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

The LORD sits in a ship by the sea side – the sea is often pictured as the tumultuous nations of the heathens (IS. 57:20), who do not know God and are driven by forces unseen so that they are as unpredictable and faithless as the shifting sands. Any politician or celebrity knows just how fickle and undependable the public can be! Even in the ministry of Jesus, He is at one time lauded with palm branches and hails of “Hosanna” and in a small march of days, those people cried out “Crucify Him!”.
Yet here is the LORD Jesus, upon the sea, that is, presiding over the nations as it were in allegorical form. Indeed, He is LORD of all, whether He is received as such or not! And He sits in a boat, a vessel used for His purpose. May we eagerly and earnestly seek to be those “vessels of glory” (ROM. 9:23; 2 TIM. 2:21) that the LORD may use for His honor and holy purposes! 

Here in this chapter, the LORD has a captive audience: multitudes came from miles around, seeking out the words of this prophet from Galilee, but little did they know, that this was no mere prophet, but the Word by which the prophets of old spoke! And what is it that the LORD of glory is speaking to this multitude?
A parable! Let's have a look at this parable and see what we can find out (Note: If you have already read the article FROM the MIND of FIRE, Scenario of Four Seeds, much of this might be somewhat redundant).

3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

That which is sown is of course, the seed. The LORD is speaking to people in terms that they readily understand, and husbandry (farming) was a part of Israel's agricultural, daily life. This is why parables are useful to us: they employ common experiences to relate to things that are not readily apparent in such every day experiences. Planting seed, as common as it certainly is, is still a remarkable process.

These genetic warehouses in miniature* form contain within them every piece of information necessary for the production of the life form from which they came: whether you are talking about horses or hay; humans or hogs, poodles, tadpoles or palm trees – these genetic capsules are pre-programmed by our Creator to yield life forms based on the myriad of DNA and RNA codes that we find in all living things. Life from our Creator is the only life that we may possess – it cannot be created in the laboratory, and it cannot evolve from randomness.
The seed here is a type for the Word of God as we shall soon read in the explanation from our LORD.
* Check out the following teaching: AFTER HIS KIND.

MATTHEW 13:4-8
4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6 And 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 sprung up, and choked them: 
8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

As mentioned in The Scenario of Four Seeds, there are four different instances that the LORD Jesus outlines here; only one of the four yields seed that brings forth fruit. This should encourage us in our own sowing of the Word, and specifically the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If our yield is 25% of our total evangelization campaigns, we are doing great! Even if less than this, such a percentage should not be disparaged as even our LORD Himself stated that there would be “few who will be saved” LK. 13:23-24. Let us be encouraged therefore in our efforts to win the lost to the LORD!

In verse 4 we read about the fowls of the air – agents in the service of Satan  who is the prince of the power of the air (REV. 18:2; EPH. 2:2), demonic forces that would seek to deflect the precious seed away from the hearts of the slaves of sin. This is why any efforts of sharing the Gospel should be bathed in prayer and be considered the legitimate form of 'spiritual warfare'. We are literally engaging in seeking salvation for some lost soul(s) that Satan would desire to retain in his kingdom (2 COR. 4:4; COL. 1:13) and he will do everything he can to do so! May we seek the LORD in prayer in binding Satan as we would plunder his house and make off with souls that have been saved by the blood of the Lamb (MATT. 12:29)!

In verse 5-6 there are stony places where the seed is received with no small measure of excitement, but because of the stony conditions, lacking in depth and proper nutrition, the seedling dries up and dies under the onslaught of the sun's heat. Such stone-heartedness has ruined many an apparent convert who seem saved, who may conduct themselves in such manner, but have a lack of root in themselves (HEB. 4:1-2; EPH. 3:16-17). Perhaps the very Root of Jesse (IS. 11:1,10), the greater Son of David, the LORD Jesus Christ, Who is stalled in His advancement to save a soul because they do not fully embrace Him, having issues of hard-heartedness (JER. 4:3; HOS. 10:12) that prevents them from entering into the Kingdom of God.

In verse 7 we see that there are thorns which choke out the seed – that is, those things of this world (both legitimate and not; see 1 TIM. 6:4-10) that crowd out the growing seed and eventually squander the life of a soul in the pursuit of lesser things. Thorns are first seen in the Word as a curse as a result of sin entering into creation through Adam (GEN. 3:18). We are admonished to seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness so that having our priorities established properly, the LORD will bless us with these things we have need of (and save us the problem of worry over their procurement! See MATT. 6:32-33; 7:7).

And finally we come to verse 8 where the seed is met with good soil, that is, properly prepared soil conducive to the reception of seed and proper growth!

8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

There are those who might perceive in this verse, a proof text for some inherent goodness in the heart of man; however, though the word for 'good' in the Greek used here means “worthy, good, noble, an outward sign of inward good” one must look at this in context. 

The suitableness of soil would mean that it is free of anything that would impede proper agricultural advancement; likewise in the spiritual sense, the state or condition of the heart must be suitable for salvation – this intimates a heart that is mournful over sin and rebellion against God (MATT. 5:4), that have repentant hearts (MATT. 3:8; LUKE 3:8; 2 COR. 7:10; ROM. 2:4) and are seeking God in truth (HEB. 11:6). In these and in many other verses it is God that takes the initiative in leading sinners in the way that leads to salvation; if not for this, then we all would remain lost, astray from righteousness like sheep without their shepherd (IS. 53:6).

It is upon such ground as this that God may work His work of redemption, leading the wayward sinner to the LORD Jesus Christ (JOHN 6:44) and having received salvation by grace through faith, produce such fruit as is pleasing to the Father, and for His glory (JOHN 5:8; PHIL. 1:11)! 

Note that not all produce the same amount of fruit – but the fruit produced is indicative of the condition of the heart: as seen previously, a good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit, but each “after their own kind” (MATT. 7:17-18); whatever the amount of fruit, if it is good fruit, it comes from the life of a good person, whose goodness is not their own, but instilled by the LORD whose goodness it is and is inherent upon salvation.

It is when the seed of God's Word is humbly received by the repentant sinner, and the Spirit of God indwells their heart, that this seed germinates there and the Life of Christ is aflame with spiritual vibrancy, bringing the very fruit of the nature of Jesus in the life of the saint (GAL. 5:22-23).

9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear

A most interesting phrase; one that the LORD repeats throughout the Gospels and Revelation MATT. 11:15; 13:9, 43; LUKE 8:8; 14:35 as well as REV. 2:7, 11, 17; 2:29; 3:6, 13, 22; REV. 13:9; 22:17

There must be a willing heart if one is to receive the truth of God; the willing heart must be a seeking heart (JER. 29:13). Those who are not willing, and apathetic about seeking God cannot expect to learn any more about God than what they have already been given. So those with “ears to hear” are the ones equipped to truly discover more of God according to the truth as found in His Word. Let's keep this in mind as we proceed.

MATTHEW 13:10-13
10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 
13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

The disciples noticed the change in teaching methods by the Messiah and they asked Him about it. Why teach in parables? Some have said that they make great teaching tools to bring greater understanding. Yet what our LORD reveals here tells us something a bit different.

The LORD explains that the revelation of “the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” is granted to an exclusive group of people – only to those who have “ears to hear”. For those who seek God in truth, they will find the truth of God; and not only that, but greater and deeper truth (“more abundance”) because of their love for both it and the God of truth. 

However for those without a love for the truth, who decline in seeking truth, they shall not have “ears to hear” with, and so they will not receive any further truth, but even that which they have shall be taken from them (and leave them with falsehoods and deceptions; see 2 THESS. 2:10-11). 

In this case, the truth spoken about here are “the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,” which for the Jewish people, entails the kingdom of Israel and the Messiah Who will reign over the world from Jerusalem. Because the leadership represented in the Sanhedrin rejected the Messiah and the witness of the Holy Spirit via the miraculous deeds the LORD accomplished by the Spirit (even the deliverance of a demoniac who was rendered mute by Satan) the Messiah began to alter His presentation of truth, couching His teachings in parables so that only the true seekers would understand, while those who rejected the witness and miracles of the Messiah would remain spiritually blind and deaf (See JOHN 9:39-41). 

In a very real sense, the commencement of the LORD's teachings by parables was a form of judgment against those who refused to acknowledge Him as the Messiah-King of Israel. Those who recognized Jesus for Who He is, gained even more spiritual truth and understanding (MATT. 16:16-17). The apostles then, are given this knowledge. Still, these parables are in a broader sense, applicable for the kingdom of God pertaining to this present day for the church – and describes the supreme battle between the forces of good and evil and the final end of evil itself (see vs. 41 in this chapter).

MATTHEW 13:14-15
14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 
15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

It is the most serious indictment that the religious have always hated the spiritual truth of God's Word; favoring self-righteousness as a result of religious accomplishment and prestige over salvation by the grace of God, they are left with nothing but blindness, deafness, and hardened hearts that will not be converted or healed! This is why it's often been said that religion will send more people to hell than 'sex and drugs and rock n roll' ever will! 

In the One-Man play St. John in Exile, performed by Dean Jones, I recall the apostle John's answer to the question: “If the people loved Jesus so much, why did the religious leaders hate Him so?”
John's answer: “They preferred their kingdom to God's” How true, sadly so; see MATT. 27:17-18.

Incidentally, if you have never seen this awesome performance, you can now see it in full on youtube, free! Click the link here and book mark it for later viewing!  

MATTHEW 13:16-17
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 
17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

Think of the tremendous privilege that we as Christians have, that the LORD has given us such insight into the Word, by the very Spirit of God (JOHN 14:26; 1 COR. 2:13; EPH. 4:20-21), by the personal tutoring of the LORD Jesus Himself! I cannot begin to tell the number of times when in the midst of studying His Word and the LORD would guide me through the Scriptures to reveal something beautiful and awesome to me; it would leave me in tears of such appreciation, that He would deign to show me, a little speck of living mud, His profound and deep truth! Such things that even the prophets of old didn't know, much less understand.

MATTHEW 13:18-23
18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. 19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. 20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. 22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. 
23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Note that in each case where the seed is unfruitful, the enemy has interfered with spiritual progress. He will use his agents of wickedness to steal the seed away; he will use persecution or tribulation as the means to offend the half-converted; he will use the allurements of this world to entice the would-be saint and strangle any chance for life out of them.

It is those whose hearts have been properly prepared with repentance and genuine thirst for truth, a real hunger for righteousness and a humbleness to admit one's own spiritual poverty (See 2 COR. 7:10; MATT. 5:6; PSALM 43:3; MATT. 5:3; LUKE 18:13-14) that will not be thwarted by the enemy's attacks and attempted sabotage of their spiritual rebirth and life, but will go on to “perfection” in maturity in Christ (HEB. 6:1).

Any who has ever tended a garden will tell you that it is a high maintenance project; one has to be sure the soil is properly turned for efficient irrigation, that weeds are not allowed to grow, that animals don't ravage the growth of foliage, and more besides.
Spiritually speaking it is no different; we must tend the garden of our hearts under the supervision of our Savior and disallow those things into our lives that would prove detrimental to our lives in Christ. 

The parable outlined above is the basis for all of the parables that follow; let's have a look at the next one:

MATTHEW 13:24-30
24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn

Here again we see the enemy employing methods and means that would interfere with the LORD's work of salvation and spiritual growth in His beloved. The good seed is sown in a husbandman's field. While men slept the enemy came and sowed tares in the midst of the good seed.

Note that it's while men slept – spiritual vigilance is so very needed, especially in today's church, where heresy and bad doctrine is promoted by more and more pastors and Christian best-selling authors and celebrities. Our watchmen seem to be wavering and falling by the wayside, becoming fatigued by the relentless call of duty to be on guard! Sleeping is done at night, and it is the spiritual night of darkness of the times (ROM. 13:12) in which the enemy is sacking the church with sacks of tares, to infest the church!

And our Father is keeping us securely so that the watchmen need not watch in vain; just as the LORD Jesus prayed for us in JOHN 17:11. The LORD preserves those of us who are His (see PSALM 16:1-11).

“So the work of these watchmen, those whom the LORD has established to watch over the saintly souls in the church (HEB 13:17) need not be in vain, or unsuccessful because of the tremendous, nigh overwhelming influx of apostate teachings, beliefs and practices. God will enable them, if only they seek Him and yield to His perfect will in all matters and not compromise or become slack; even if it means that many will take offense at their biblically accurate teaching and holy conduct, and as a result leave, taking their tithes with them.
Tares will absorb vital nutrients from the soil, diminishing the robust crop of its own vitality; they will look very much like the valuable crop, but not bear fruit of any good kind. It is the enemy who plants the tares, the husbandman who plants the good seed. 

So we see both the LORD God and Satan, each planting their own kind into the kingdom of heaven; we see so much of this in the church today, and this is why we witness a 'mixed multitude' of saints and unrepentant but religious sinners in our congregations. Our churches are weakened, the body is limping, Satanic interferences are running amok, and the night of deception is upon us.

We must not be deterred however, nor discouraged, for the “night is far spent and the Day (of Christ's return) is at hand”! If the Word goes forth with the power of the Holy Spirit to convict and expose darkness, the tares will be less welcome (even if some remain ever present to the end when our LORD Himself shall remove them from His kingdom)!

The servants here seem bewildered about this mischief though the LORD knows full well what has happened; we ought not to be ignorant of Satan's devices (2 COR. 2:11) but remain always watchful and leaning upon the LORD for His strength by the Spirit – for our enemy is tireless and resolute: but if we rest in the grace of God and allow His enablement, we shall outlast him and be victorious! We will stand opposed to the Rick Warrens, the Rob Bells, the Brian McLarens, the Doug Pagitts as well as the Robert Schullers and Todd Bentleys and the myriad assortment of heretics that vainly proclaim their own words as though they were God's.

The tares are here to stay – until the LORD allocates their fate to the fire: that is, the very hell fire that most of the above mentioned people don't even believe exists! The LORD shall indeed preserve His own (in His “barn” - and what a glorious barn it is!), and this is something that we adore Him for: that He is able to judge the wicked in any nation, and yet preserve His righteous ones in the midst of such judgment!
PROVERBS 11:8, 21
8 The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead. 
21 Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered. 

2 PETER 2:9
9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: 

PSALM 91:8-12
8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; 10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. 11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. 
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Suffice it to say that while in this world of sin, we the church and in a general sense, all the saints of God can and should expect opposition and persecution (2 TIM. 3:12) by the enemy and his agents of iniquity; yet the KING is coming, and when He arrives, He shall certainly deal with Satan, his kingdom of darkness, and “all things that offend” as He establishes His own righteous reign over the Earth as the MESSIAH-King of Israel and KING of Kings over all the world!

Here ends part One of this study; we shall examine MATTHEW 13:31-58 in the next study!

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