"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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Saturday, July 16, 2022


~ by James Fire

INTRODUCTION: Some of these parables have to do with our proper conduct as disciples, what to avoid and what to emulate.
Others of these parables speak of the LORD and Who He is as our Divine Guide, Savior, and Provider.

Parables are typically used to illustrate single points of truth, but seldom used as vehicles for doctrine in their entirety. Wherever one might draw a doctrinal truth from any parable, it must be verified by exposition of related Scripture.
The next article, Part Ten, will conclude this series on the parables of the New Testament.

The following parable speaks of humbleness and admonishes us against pride and self-exaltation:

LUKE 14:7-11
7 So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them: 8 "When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; 9 "and he who invited you and him come and say to you, 'Give place to this man,' and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 "But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, 'Friend, go up higher.' Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. 11 "For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted

The LORD told us to love others as we do ourselves (MK 12:31). This is not instruction on self-love, because we by nature love ourselves already. Some love themselves too much and are willing to disregard or even bring harm to others if it means promoting and benefitting themselves.

But there are people who insist that they hate themselves; that they have low self-esteem. The Bible doesn’t express this idea anywhere. On the contrary, it declares that we love, not hate ourselves:

For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church

I love how the late Dave Hunt (founder of the Berean Call; www.thebereancall.org) expressed this:
“Why do you hate yourself?” He would ask someone who claimed to.
“Because, I’m fat, ugly, stupid, poor, etc.”
Dave would respond with, “Were you ever upset that an enemy of yours, someone you hate was fat, ugly, stupid, poor?
“The fact of the matter is that we love ourselves too much, so much so that we think we deserve better than to be poor or stupid, or whatever, and we hate our situation or circumstances, our lot in life.”
Clinicians had taken tests on inmates in prison, and they discovered that these rapists, murderers, repeat offenders had a very high esteem of themselves, far more esteem than for others!

We have a natural inclination to seek the best for ourselves, even if it means obtaining some power or position at the expense of others. The old expression, “It’s a dog eat dog world!” sums it up rather well.

The LORD is telling us in the above parable to live a life of humbleness; to not thrust ourselves forward to be first, or highest; to refrain from self-promotion with the motive of “lording it over others” but rather to be a lowly servant. Don’t seek position or power to dominate others, use the power you already have to be a servant:

MATTHEW 20:25-28
25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 "Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 "And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave-- 28 "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many

Those who take the lowest seat and are content to be humble, to be more concerned with others and serving them rather than themselves – these faithful ones GOD will exalt in due time (1 PET 5:6) and render to them His grace (JAMES 4:6).

The other point of this parable is that we will be judged in accordance with who we are as people. If we are honorable, the LORD will see to it that we are honored to that same degree; but those who seek to be honored more than they deserve will be dishonored and placed only at the level deserving of their conduct (See PSALM 91:15; PROV 4:7-9; 15:33; 22:4; also 2 TIM 2:21; HEB 5:4; 1 PET 1:7).

Here we see a parable on the heart of the LORD, Who in compassion seeks out the lost with the intention of saving them, and cherishing them as His treasured prize:

LUKE 15:2-10
2 And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, "This Man receives sinners and eats with them." 3 So He spoke this parable to them, saying: 4 "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5 "And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 "And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!' 7 "I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. 8 "Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9 "And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!' 10 "Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents

This is where we get the idea so often spoken by evangelists and other ministers of the Gospel: That if you were the only one to ever come to salvation, because of GOD’s love for you, He would come and die for all the sins of the entire world, just to get you!

He is willing to “leave the ninety nine” in search of the one lost sheep. Of course, we understand that GOD is omnipresent (He exists in all of space and time), so He doesn’t really “leave” or “arrive” in human terms.

He desires a relationship with each and every one of us. I know who GOD’s favorite is: All of us! That’s the intent in which He desires intimacy with souls that He has made. It’s as though we are the only one in existence and His full attention is on us individually, exclusively! Yet on all of His children simultaneously.

In the Middle Eastern culture, people were very particular about who they ate meals with. They believed that because everyone was eating the same food, that this brought a connection and a unity to all of the diners. In a sense, you were “becoming one”.
So if you were a very moral upstanding individual, you’d never be caught dead eating food with a prostitute or a thief, etc.

Yet we see the LORD Jesus constantly eating and drinking with publicans and sinners (MT 11:19).

MATTHEW 9:10-13
10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" 12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 "But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance

Note in this parable that something of value is lost: a sheep, a coin, and later in LUKE 15, a son! GOD sees value in us, but it’s not based on our own worthiness, but in the heart of the one that values the object.

Gold is a rare commodity, and we have decided to attribute to it value on that basis.
Yet, we are far more rare, in that there is not another like us in all the human race: each of us is one of a kind, made that way by GOD’s design.

And it’s only because of the worthiness of Christ and His grace that He has saved us and made us worthy by attribution. Christ’s righteousness is granted to us, and thus we are greatly beloved and esteemed by our Father.

And note the reason why all the angels of GOD in heaven rejoice: “over one sinner who repents.” There are those who believe that repentance in salvation is unnecessary. That to suggest that it is, is works-based salvation.
And yet we see throughout Scripture the need for repentance, and the apostle Paul even describes the journey of salvation in this way:

For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death

True repentance is examined in the following TTUF article.

The following are parables regarding faithfulness in prayer and also deals with the contrast between pride and humility and the fruit born from each:

LUKE 18:1-8
1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 2 saying: "There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 "Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, 'Get justice for me from my adversary.' 4 "And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, 'Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 'yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.'" 6 Then the Lord said, "Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 "And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 "I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?

If an unjust judge who regards neither GOD or man will respond to a persistent petitioner, how much more will the LORD GOD respond to persistent petitioners?

Let’s consider the matter of prayer for a moment:

If we suppose that GOD answered prayer instantly, what would the quality of our time of fellowship with Him look like? Once our answers were obtained, would we smile and thank GOD on our way out the door?

Why else would GOD delay His answers to our prayers?

To teach us patience and endurance, of course.

Another reason: the LORD teaches us His sovereignty and His wisdom.
We have to understand that we can’t make demands of GOD; He is the LORD! He decides what we truly need – and when. It’s been a question brought up before:

Christians who fast and pray until they get what they insist on – is that truly fasting and praying or a hunger strike?

How many times the LORD has refrained from answering my prayer the way I asked, or even declined to answer my prayer with anything other than “No!” Had He answered some of my prayers, I’d have gotten into a lot of trouble! We trust in His timing as well as His wisdom.

In the Middle Eastern culture, especially in those ancient days, there were few as helpless as widows. With no husband, they had little or no recourse in society. And while they can do next to nothing for themselves, the LORD Himself can move mountains on their behalf!

As Christians standing for truth in an overwhelming darkness in a society that’s increasingly giving itself over to evil, we can feel utterly helpless. That’s exactly the sort of person that the LORD loves to show Himself strong on behalf of (2 CHRON 16:9)!

“We ought always to pray and not lose heart”. I recall a story where two infantry men were trapped in a fox hole surrounded by enemies. They tried everything but to no avail. Finally one turns to the other and somberly says, “I suppose we should pray…”
To which the other replied, “You mean it’s come to that??”.

After having tried everything else first, we treat prayer like a last resort, when it should be our initial recourse!

We know this beloved passage well:

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus

Much can be said about prayer, but as this is a study on parables, not prayer, we shall address just a couple more points.
Should the reader desire some excellent resources on the subject of prayer, I can recommend no better than The Complete Works on Prayer by E.M. Bounds!

Our prayers should be as constant as our reading of the Word; both should be as active as our continual breathing. Charles Spurgeon was once asked,

“What’s more important – prayer or the Scriptures?” To which the Prince of Preachers replied with his typical sagacity,
“What’s more important – breathing in, or breathing out?”

As Christians we are commanded to “be anxious for nothing” – that isn’t a suggestion, nor is it merely an exhortation. It is the express will of GOD, Who loves us supremely to not worry!
“Worry” comes from an old English word that means “to torment”, and our Abba Father doesn’t want to see us so! Note the contrast: be anxious for nothing – but – pray about everything.
No prayer is so big that GOD can’t answer it, no prayer is so small that He is willing to overlook it! It’s been quoted, “The devil is in the details” but he doesn’t hold a candle to the intimate heart of our GOD Who cares for us far more than we can possibly realize.

Hear the words David from the Psalms:

PSALM 40:1-5 <<To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.>>
1 I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. 2 He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. 3 He has put a new song in my mouth - Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear and will trust in the LORD. 4 Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust, and does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. 5 Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done; And Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered (See also MATTHEW 10:29-31).

Prayer shows humility, trust, meekness – the willingness to not take matters into one’s own (even capable) hands, but to first and foremost look to the LORD for counsel and direction.

A brother saint in our fellowship has an important decision to make, and yet while he has already determined that he is willing to help in a situation, he has also determined that he is going to wait upon GOD and seek His hand in directing him in these matters. That’s faith! That is a heart that knows the value of prayer and counsel from the All-knowing, All-powerful, All-loving GOD with Whom we have to do!

Finally, prayer should always be coupled together with thanksgiving, because in the offering of thanks, we recollect GOD’s faithful provisions and multitudinous answers to prayer, and in recollecting, we are encouraged to trust GOD for answers yet to come.

“Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
This probing question is disturbing to me – as it should. It causes me to examine myself and ask GOD to search my heart and see if there is any wicked way (of unbelief; HEB 3:12) in me (PS 139:23-24) and to lead me in the way everlasting, with solid, impenetrable faith that is resilient against all the attacks of the enemy, and will remain stalwart and steadfast upon the ROCK, the LORD Jesus Christ (MT 7:24), out of a heart of loving obedience (DEUT 30:20)!

The next and last parable before we conclude this article deals with our conduct and whether it’s mere religious externalism, or genuine spirituality and how this reveals (or not) our justification.

LUKE 18:9-14
9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men--extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 'I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.' 13 "And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' 14 "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted

Religious people will trust in their own abilities to provide a righteous standing before GOD; that’s what verse nine clearly states. Such people in their pride will despise others who don’t “measure up” to their own religious standard of a works-based righteousness.

I often refer to religion (that sort that’s apart from GOD, which includes all of them except for that which the elder James describes in JAMES 1:26-27) as artificial righteousness. It’s a man-made, devil-inspired, cheap, knock-off copy of the genuine article of righteousness obtained only through salvation in Christ Jesus!

There are too, too many that are playing religious games for their own fame, their own “spotlight” and platform – or to show themselves as being acceptable to GOD when on biblical grounds they are not.

MATTHEW 7:21-23
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!

We already read in another parable in MATTHEW 22 about the man who didn’t have on the wedding garment provided for him by the king, the father of the bridegroom:

MATTHEW 22:11-14
11 But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. 12 So he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' 14 For many are called, but few are chosen

The garment in this parable represents the righteousness of GOD; its absence shows the heart of this wedding guest. His, as well as our own righteousness in the sight of GOD is as filthy rags. Note that: this isn’t talking about our sins, but our righteousness being as filthy rags (IS 64:6)!

The audacity and presumption that we, like this man in the parable of the absent wedding garment, could present to GOD our own righteousness and expect Him to accept it is beyond rationality. And yet through works, rituals, rites, ceremonies, financial donations, attendance of services, prayers and offering oneself as a servant a religious person expects that these will earn him points towards heaven?! No one will get to heaven and brag about how holy they were for GOD!

Essentially, “it’s not about you” – but rather, “it’s ALL about JESUS!” and His glory, promoted by GOD our Father!

Notice that in our text of LUKE 18, the Pharisee stood and “prayed thus with himself”. His prayers didn’t even get passed the ceiling, much less arrive at the throne of GOD! He listed all of his own works, none of which were effective at making him righteous before GOD.
Outside of Christ Jesus, Jews as well as any other of any sort of religious persuasion are busy “going about to establish their own righteousness” and refuse to “[submit] themselves unto the righteousness of GOD” and express faith in “…Christ [Who] is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (ROM 10:3-4).

As with any self-righteously religious person, they will compare themselves with those they deem lesser than themselves and come out smelling like the proverbial rose, when in fact this “holier than thou” attitude is a stench to GOD’s nose (IS 65:5). All sin is an offense to GOD, but none more than the spirit of religious pride (See MT 23 and witness Love Incarnate tackle such souls).

The American church has been so preoccupied with building their own individual fiefs and domains that we’ve lost sight of what this is really all about!

Check out Jason Bellard’s awesome song, THIS IS NOT A GAME.
Listen to Paris Reidhead’s excerpt of his sermon entitled, TEN SHEKELS and a SHIRT
And David Wilkerson’s excerpt of his sermon entitled A CALL TO ANGUISH.

Now observe the Publican – these were Jewish tax collectors that gathered money for Rome, seen as traitors by their countrymen who hated and resented being under Roman domination. They were also known to collect more than was required by law – and guess where the extra money went?

With money comes power, and with the accumulation of power comes corruption. Many of the publicans were quite nefarious. Perhaps this publican in the parable before us was such a one – and he knew it. So much so that he wouldn’t draw near to the temple, nor would he even raise his head. He obviously exhibited a repentant attitude and the LORD Himself states that he, rather than the religious Pharisee went away justified. Consider what a high value GOD places on the repentant heart!

This parable, like the one before teaches that those who humble themselves will be exalted and those who exalt themselves will be humbled.

So, we will end Part Nine, and conclude this series in Part Ten which you'll find here! Until then, may the LORD Jesus Christ bless you, WAY TOO MUCH!!!

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