Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Matthew 15-Tradition or God's Truth

PRAYSLIDE 1 Do you remember an episode of Leave it to Beaver where June Cleaver sent the Beaver and Wally upstairs to wash their hands for dinner and the towel gathered most of the dirt. Scientist have learned God’s laws are true.
SLIDE 2 In 1850, Ignaz Semmelweis saved lives with three words: Wash Your Hands. I’ve been called a germ phobic. Probably from teaching school 32 years, it has been a habit to sanitize or wash my hands frequently. When we cared for my Dad at home after Chemotherapy, sanitizer and signs were placed everywhere. I appreciate the sanitizer that is conveniently placed in each patient’s room, at every hospital entrance and elevator. We carry small bottles of sanitizer wherever we go.
SLIDE 3 Hand washing started out with a commandment from the LORD to Moses in Exodus 40 instructions for the priests to purify themselves before a Holy God. “Make a basin of bronze for washing. Put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it. 20 When they go into the tent of meeting, or come near the altar to minister, to burn a food offering to the LORD. Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet so that they may not die. It shall be a statute forever to them, throughout their generations."
SLIDE 4 When the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD, the table in a Jewish home came to represent the Temple altar. The bread placed on it symbolizes the offerings that were once brought to the Priests. Those who believed that the Temple and the Priesthood would be restored did not want the practice of washing hands to be forgotten, and so washing the hands before a meal was strictly enforced. Today, Orthodox and traditional Jews still wash their hands before eating bread while saying this blessing.
Blessed are you, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us concerning the washing of the hands.
SLIDE 5 OPEN YOUR BIBLES Matthew 15: Traditions and God’s Truth
·        Man-made Tradition
·        Heart Matters
·        Jesus Response to Gentiles
Do you know God’s Truth?
1Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said,2 "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat."
They came to find fault with Jesus.  Jesus did not debate them on the hand washing issue. It gave Him a chance to point out their negligence of the law. Our Lord condemns the Pharisees for their manmade traditions that had contradicted the fifth commandment.
SLIDE 6 I‘m reading these verses from Mark 7: 8You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men." 9And he said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!10 For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.'11 But you say, 'If a man tells his father or his mother, "Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban"' (that is, given to God)---12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother,13 thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do."
SLIDE 7  Matthew 15:7 You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:
8"'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;
 9in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'"
SLIDE 8  10And he called the people to him and said to them, "Hear and understand:11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person." 12 Then the disciples came and said to him, "Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?"
SLIDE 9 We can see the disciples still have some fear or respect of the Pharisees. Jesus does not worry about the Pharisees and their man-made traditions. He makes two statements explaining his thoughts. “Jesus replied, "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up.” That which is rooted and grounded in God will last forever. Notice the shallow roots of this tree. It was easily blown over in a storm.   
SLIDE 10 Jesus added “14 Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit." This is a common phrase use by even non believers and it is true. We see this in our society and political arena today.
God’s Truth is still relevant in our lives?
Jesus responded to Peter 17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? **If you have had food poisoning you can attest to this. What we eat does not determine our attitude or our faithfulness to God.
SLIDE 11 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone."
What proceeds out of your mouth? Here are some scriptures concerning the heart from Warren Wiersbe
WW Create in me a clean heart, O God  Psalm 51:10
·        Believe in the Heart-Romans 10:9-10
·        Love from the Heart-Matthew 22:37
·        Sing from the Heart-Colossians 3:16
·        Obey from the Heart-Rom.6:17; Eph. 6:6
·        Give from the Heart-2 Corinthians 9:7
Jesus left the area of Jerusalem perhaps still searching for a respite from the crowds.
SLIDE 12 The Faith of a Canaanite Woman- 24And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden.
SLIDE 13  Jesus sometimes teaches more by what he does than what he says. It made me question why Jesus ignored the Canaanite women since that what not his nature. Jesus has shown compassion to multitudes of people who followed Him and now He openly ignores a woman who has fought her way through the crowds. Was this a test for the disciples or for her?  By her announcement in verse 22"Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon."  She demonstrates that she knew who He was and that he was capable of healing. 23 But he did not answer her a word.
 And his disciples came and begged him, saying, "Send her away, for she is crying out after us."24 He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
Her faith and persistence as well as her humble posture is an example to us.
SLIDE 14 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me."
26 And he answered, "It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." Her knowledge of scripture and custom served her well as she responded,27 "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."
*This would be the sweet little pet dog that sits at the master’s table¸ not the scavenger dogs from 1 Kings 21:24
28 Then Jesus rewarded her by healing her daughter instantly and honoring her with a phrase we heard only once to the Roman centurion, "O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire." How faithful are you to God’s Truth?
SLIDE 15 What a striking contrast from the crowds in Israel. Jesus was the Messiah, and was being challenged to prove it with a sign. But here in Gentile territory he met a woman who was convinced He was the Messiah and would not be discouraged.
What we can learn from the Canaanite woman:CLICK FOR EACH BULLET
·        Never give up
·        Call upon His name
·        Believe Jesus is the Messiah
·        Don’t let others push you back
·        Put your faith in Jesus
·        Kneel at His feet

Friend, when is the last time you cried out to God to have mercy upon you?
SLIDE 16 Prayer is not always about asking God for something; prayer is first surrendering yourself completely to God. This is what the Canaanite woman did when she cried Jesus.   How are you sharing God’s Truth? This painting is from Greg Olsen who created a beautiful calendar for last year. See how he yearns for solitude.
29Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there. But again the crowds found Him.
SLIDE 17 This map shows location of the first feeding of the multitudes and the blue arrow show where it is thought the 4000 were fed.  
30 And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them,31 so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel.
SLIDE 18 After teaching the feeding of the 5,000 last week, it was important for me to take a different angle. Your commentary did a wonderful job of comparing the two crowds. Please be sure you read the commentary each week. They are such a blessing.
This chart is from Warren Wiersbe book BE LOYAL –quickly his are the differences.
Feeding 5,000
Feeding 4,000
Primarily Jews
Primarily Gentiles
Galilee, near Bethsaida
The Decapolis
5 loaves, 2 fish
7 loaves, “a few fish”
12 baskets left over
7 baskets left over
Crowd with Him 1 day
Crowd with Him 3 days
Spring of year (green grass)
Summer season (ground)
Tried to make Him king
Glorified the God of Israel

39 And after sending away the crowds, he got into the boat and went to the region of Magadan.
SLIDE 19 Let’s talk about leftovers
Some family or friends would not think of eating food left from the day before. Not me, lasagna is even better the next day, and that coconut cake just gets better and better. Our application section asked us to pack a “basketful of leftovers” as a symbolic reminder of His provision. While I was pondering a symbolic reminder, I remembered a giving lesson I taught my children.  I don’t give money to people on the street but I may buy them a fast food meal. There are many ideas on Pinterest and other organizations. We added to a gallon bag beanie weenies, bottled water, peanut butter crackers, fruit, cheese sticks plus napkin plastic spoon and fork. Any nonperishable snack or sack lunch food would be appreciated. Personal hygiene item were packed separately.
This week think of a creative way a symbolic reminder of that provision?
Ask God to give you a tangible way to remember His compassion for you. How does remembering His past faithfulness help you trust Him for tomorrow’s needs and cares?
SLIDE 20 My very first CBS core leader, Rita Farmer, lost her only son unexpectedly Tuesday. She asked to be covered in prayer but did not want visits or phone calls at this time. She needed time to be with her Jesus. I could not find out the arrangements. Did anyone hear?
January is appropriate to talk about how we can be purposeful in living for Jesus.  A devotional teacher I heard set this quote to pop-up on her phone every day. It is the last line of a poem by Charles Studd. This poem inspired the song "Only One Life" written by Lanny Wolfe[6] in 1973.[7]
Only one life 'twill soon be past.
Only what's done for Christ will last.[5]
It is true nobody will care what car we drove or how big our house was. Only what’s done in the name of Jesus will last. Do you know God’s Truth?
What have you done for His Name’s sake today? this week? this year?
For that dash represents all the time
SLIDE 21 Another  poem came to mind that has been read at many funerals “The Dash” by Linda Ellis. It refers to the dash between the birthdate and the date of death on a grave stone. Linda speaks of making a difference in the Dash.
She has a Copyright 1996, but I will send a link to her website.

SLIDE 22 Are you will to daily live in God’s Truth/

Matthew 14 Jesus Humanity and Divinity

PRAY Good Evening Ladies, Did you enjoy the Coffee in your core? Who had some goodies in the class? So glad you could come out on this cold night to study God’s Word and fellowship with sisters in Christ. It’s good to be with like-minded people. Tonight we are going to talk about sacrificing for Jesus fully God yet fully man.
SLIDE 1 In His humanity Jesus was rejected by members of His own home town Nazareth. Matthew 13:54 They were astonished, and said, "Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55 Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?"
57And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household." 58And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.

SLIDE 2 In Chapter 14, we hear the malicious act of Herod prompted by the request of the daughter of Herodias-the head of John the Baptist on a platter. (Not only dead but defiled and displayed among the debaucherous crowd.)
Jesus not only mourned the loss of family, his cousin John. He mourned His friend the prophet, the one who baptized Him. John the Baptist was the forerunner of the Christ, preparing men’s hearts to repent of their sins. Matthew 1:11 John humbly told the crowds, "I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” A few chapters ago John from his prison cell sent his followers to Jesus for confirmation of His deity. John’s followers would now become followers of Jesus.
We can understand Jesus need to be alone, to mourn in privacy. This is not a time to entertain guests and put on a happy face for others. But as Christians “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.”
 1 Thessalonians 4:13 Our hope our devotion should be in Jesus.
SLIDE 3  Recently a friend of mine told me her sister was eager to meet the LORD but her family was not ready to let her go. But from our study of Revelation heaven is a place of no more pain and suffering. To be absent from the body is to be present with the LORD. We grieve because we will miss them and can no longer be present with that person here on earth. Understanding Jesus had the same, need manifests His Humanity.
SLIDE 4 Jesus Humanity and Divinity
·        Seek Him
·        Be Broken
·        Get out of the Boat
How will you respond to Jesus?
Seek Him:  Alone Time with Your Father- last week we learn that Jesus taught in parables to reveal and conceal. Were you challenged by the quote from Barclay? "The parable conceals truth from those who are either too lazy to think or too blinded by prejudice to see. It puts the responsibility fairly and squarely on the individual. It reveals truth to him who desires truth; it conceals truth from him who does not wish to see the truth."
Just a hint as we begin out second book of lessons on Matthew.
·        Set aside specific times when you are uninterrupted by family, phone, television, etc.
·        Pray, asking God for wisdom to reveal the deeper truths of the lesson.
·        Read the entire scripture lesson before you start answering questions. It is often helpful to read it in different versions.
·        Glance at the questions that follow. Often we can end up answering 3 questions when the answer only requested a simple response.
·        Paraphrase the scripture instead of copying the verse word for word.
·        If the question seems ambiguous, read it again. Break is apart. Just like the buried treasure sometimes we have to dig.
SLIDE 6  Deuteronomy 4:29 But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.
Isaiah 55:6“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;
It speaks to our Nation “to seek the Lord while he can be found.” One day soon we may not have the freedoms we possess now. Nazareth rejected Jesus because they were familiar with his family and knew him from his childhood. Maybe people in America reject Him because they are too entitled, BIBLES are freely available. Some people think they know Him, but they don’t allow Him to lead and influence their life. You can turn on the television or radio anytime day or night to receive the message of salvation. Your phone or mobile device can display many versions of the bible and you can search for limitless answers to your questions online.
Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
How are you seeking to know Him more? 
SLIDE 7  Being Broken: As I studied the lesson of Jesus desires for His disciples to realize the possibilities to see the needs of others and see beyond themselves. I was struck by Jesus blessing the bread.
19Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.
20And they all ate and were satisfied.
SLIDE 8  How often I forget the joy of speaking to my Father, thanking Him for what he has done, asking a blessing for the food. I love that they were all satisfied. Jesus can do that for you for someone you love. He can satisfy your deepest longing. Are you satisfied with Jesus?
Jesus broke the bread. To be used by God we need to be broken: broken of our selfish motives and desires to be right, to be esteemed to be appreciated. On the road to Emmaus Jesus travels with men who are unaware of who their companion is. As Jesus breaks the bread His identity was revealed. 
SLIDE 9 My friend Barbara is a crafty person. She is one of 10 former members of core group that still meets monthly for breakfast. Barbara brought everyone a clay pot with yellow and white daisies. In inspecting her purchase, several pots became cracked. Her resourcefulness and knowledge of the scripture used this defect to create a unique treasure which reminds us often we need to be broken to be used by God. A cracked pot allows light to shine through. If Jesus had not broken the fives loaves and two fishes many people would have gone away hungry. Jesus was asking the disciples to trust Him. Are you trusting Him?
How will you respond to Jesus? Are you willing to be broken for Him?
SLIDE 10  John 6: 35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
After this colossal miracle of feed and satisfying 5000 men plus women and children, no doubt Jesus needed to recuperate. Remember the women with the issue of blood touching the hem of Jesus garment.  Luke 8:47 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.”
Jesus was fully divine to perform the miracles of the loaves and fishes. Yet He was fully human showing compassion, sorrow, and fatigue.
How has God broken you for his service? Where are you serving Him now?
SLIDE 11  Get Out of the Boat - Nearly 20 years ago the pastor of a church where I used to attend kept preaching about “getting out of the boat?” I was pumped like Peter and ready to jump into what he was “selling.” To my regret not long after this teaching he made a startling confession before the deacons and the church and that particular man resigned as our pastor.
Put your faith in Jesus not the man in the pulpit. Our pastors may be wonderful teachers, funny, charming, loving but remember he is a “man,” and therefore fallible, far from perfect.
However Christ who is true and faithful is the one we should look up to and worship. We must be willing to risk everything to know Him intimately and push ourselves beyond the comfort zone to serve Him completely and fervently with abandon.
SLIDE 12  Matthew 14:23-33 describes Peter’s crisis of faith.
When evening came, he was there alone,
24but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them.2And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. Roman guards change during the night- 4th watch is between 3:00-6:00.
26But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, "It is a ghost!" and they cried out in fear.27       But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid."
28And Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water."29He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.
I identify with Peter. He is so passionate-it is all or nothing with him.
30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me." 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" Poor Peter gets maligned for sinking,but He was the only one to get out of the boar.
32            And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.3          And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." What an Epiphany!

SLIDE 13  The Peters’ lack of faith reminds us that even those who lived and walked with Jesus, saw His miracles, and heard His message still found it difficult to be faith-filled all the time.
We all experience storms—persecutions, financial troubles, illnesses, disappointments, loneliness—and Jesus does not always prevent them. But He has promised never to leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). He will keep us calm in the storm.
Are you in a storm? What do you know about God’s character that could help bring calm to your heart?  How will you respond to Jesus?
SLIDE 14 I have been listening to devotions by various Christian writers.  Angie married Todd Smith of Selah after a storybook courtship. Angie delivered five daughters. Ellie and Abby are identical twins, then came Sarah Kate. Their fifth daughter is named Charlotte. Their fourth daughter, Audrey Caroline, was diagnosed early in Angie's pregnancy as "non-compatible" with life, and several doctors urged them to terminate the pregnancy. They wanted to leave room for God to perform a miracle, and Angie chronicled her pregnancy (beginning the week of the diagnosis), and still continues to shares through her blog.
In it, she shares the story of losing her baby girl just hours after she’s born.  As I was preparing to teach of Peter sinking in the stormy waters Angie’s story spoke to me…  
“And I think in my mind, what I’ve started to realize is it’s this image of life on a seashore and not out in the deep, where things are confusing and threatening and scary. I just wanted to hide out from it all and create these fictitious worlds where everything was safe. And when Audrey died, something in me snapped. I’d just been thrown into the deep end, completely unprepared. It was the scariest, most awful, and beautifully devastating time of my life.

SLIDE 15  Because when I found myself out of my comfort zone, in a place where my feet could not touch the bottom anymore, I saw His face. I saw a side of Jesus I had never seen in my life. And I feel like He whispered to me in that season, “Angie, you’ve been making sandcastles your whole life and even when the water comes in, you’ve let yourself become frightened. But Love, I live in the deep. You can’t fall in love with me from the seashore. It’s scary and its upside down, but you’ve got to move away from what’s safe to really see me.”
How will you respond to Jesus?
Are you willing to seek Jesus while he may be found, be broken so you can be used for His glory, going to the deep?

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Matthew 13 Parables To Conseal or Reveal

The Sower~ Fresco by Gerald Steinmeyer

SLIDE 1 Welcome to a new year 2016. How many of you made New Year resolutions? I recently reviewed a pamphlet on “fasting.” We studied fasting earlier in Matthew and our leader’s council has been challenged to draw closer to God through some type of fast. This resource reminded me we can also “fast” from things as well as food. We can fast from activities or technology. How about we ladies of CBS pledge to “fast” from answering or texting with our mobile phones from 7:00 until 8:30? Could I get an “Amen!”
SLIDE 2 Did you have lots of family time since we last met? When you gathered around the Christmas Tree or pile of gifts did you have a difficult time being heard?
Nineteen times in Matthew 13 we find the word “hear.” Jesus said, “Who hath ears to hear” (Matt. 13: 9), “Take heed what ye hear” (Mark 4: 24 my emphasis), and “Take heed … how ye hear” (Luke 8: 18, my emphasis).
Are you ready to Hear? 2 ears, 1 mouth
·        Parables of the kingdom (13:1-17)
o   Why did Jesus teach in parables?
o   To reveal and to conceal
·        The parable explained (13:18-22)
o   What kind of soil are you?
o   How can you prepare your heart?
·        Other parables (13:23-50)
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Warren Wiersbe says “the parable would begin as innocently as a picture but the more we study it becomes a “mirror” to see ourselves and our faults.”  Conviction of our sins would draw us to the Truth of God or as turn our back to the Word.
Let’s get our Bibles and open God’s Word.
SLIDE 3 Matthew 13: The Parable of the Sower
1That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea.2   And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach.
In chapter thirteen Jesus entered into a boat for a platform to teach the multitudes on the shore. The cove probably provided good acoustics.           
Spurgeon says "The teacher sat, and the people stood: we should have less sleeping in congregations if this arrangement still prevailed."
SLIDE 4 The parable of the Sower is one of my favorites. Four years ago when we studied Mark, I took photos of the prominent bronze statue in the center of the Billy Graham library.  Tom White produced this life size image of a Sower with a bible in his hand.
Jesus spoke according to the agricultural customs of His day. In those days, seed was scattered first and then it was plowed into the ground. Those of you that have plants grown from seeds you can predict what happens.
SLIDE 5… some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.5Other seeds fell on rocky ground, not have much soil, immediately sprang up, no depth of soil,6but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away.
"The parable conceals truth from those who are either too lazy to think or too blinded by prejudice to see. It puts the responsibility fairly and squarely on the individual. It reveals truth to him who desires truth; it conceals truth from him who does not wish to see the truth." (Barclay)
SLIDE 6.7Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.8Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.9He who has ears, let him hear."
SLIDE 7Grandson Gaven’s math homework Monday used multiples in story problems. There were 3 cats in a room and 2 spiders.  How many legs in all? The last problem he had to generate a problem where the answer was 16 legs. When I ask him to create a problem with people and animals he resisted. He gave off the wall answer trying to convince me he did not understand. The harder I pushed the more closed his mind became. Have you ever been like that with the teaching of the Word? Perhaps a lesson too difficult to obey ; a passage we might choose to ignore.
How are you growing? “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
SLIDE 8 This fresco by Gerald Steinmeyer of the Sower is located on the campus of Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in Charlotte. The details are so revealing and thought provoking. It gives added meaning to the parable.
The parable of the sower describes how the kingdom of heaven begins. It begins with the preaching of the Word, the planting of the seed in the hearts of people.
SLIDE 9  Some like the Roman soldiers may have been in the crowd but his heart was as hard as his shield. There was no thirst for Jesus’ message, for the Living WORD. The birds in the parable are Satan. He opposes the kingdom. 19-The evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.
20As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, You know people like this perhaps your own child so quick to go to the altar and get their guilt removed. Persecution, peer pressure, is represented by the sun. 21yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.  
SLIDE 10  David Guzik reminds us “The same sun that softens the wax hardens the clay; and so the very same gospel message that humbles the honest heart and leads to repentance may also harden the heart of the deceitful listener and confirm their path of disobedience.”
Notice the wealthy couple representing seed sow among the thorns and thistles. V. 22 the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
SLIDE 11  If Christians are to bear fruit, we must be rooted in the WORD and exposed to the SON. Hebrews  4:12 The Word is “living and powerful.” Unlike the words of men, the Word of God has life in it, and that life can be imparted to those who will believe. The truth of God must take root in the heart, be cultivated, and be permitted to bear fruit. Three out of four will not take root. Jesus did not predict a great harvest, but a time of falling away. Remember this was confirmed in our study of Revelation.
Fruit is the test of true salvation (Matt. 7:16).
·        Holiness (Rom. 6:22),
·        Christian character (Gal. 5:22–23),
·        Good works (Col. 1:10),
·        Witnessing to others (Rom. 1:13),
·        Sharing our blessings (Rom. 15:25–28)
·        Praising God (Heb. 13:15).

SLIDE 12  This was new teaching to me. I studied several authors and this seems true to the Word for me. Three parables reveal that Satan is primarily an imitator: He plants false Christians, he encourages a false growth, and he introduces false doctrine. Beware of counterfeits in the pulpits of our churches. Test every message with the Holy Bible.
So many parables so little time. One thing I want you to notice in your bibles, underline or highlight if you wish, the repeated use of the phrase the “Kingdom of Heaven” will preface almost all of the parables in chapter 13. I will address the weeds later where it is explained in the chapter.
SLIDE 13  The mustard seed—(not faith) false growth (vv. 31–32). Ww Tree is world power. Some make this parable teach the worldwide success of the gospel. But that would contradict what Jesus taught in the first parable. If anything, the New Testament teaches a growing decline in the ministry of the gospel as the end of the age draws near.  
Jesus predicts that, while the church will grow extremely large from just a small start, it will not remain pure. While this is not a condemnation of the "bigness" of modern Christianity, it does show us the greatest burden that comes with it. The Parable of the Mustard Seed is both a prediction and a warning. May we listen to its message. James Montgomery Boice False professing individuals that seek to consume or take advantage of its benefits while residing or mixing among what was produced by the seed
·        1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:7;
·        2 Corinthians 11:13;
·        Galatians 1:7
·        Revelation 18:2
Even Paul Harvey had something to say.”So don’t be surprised that as the Church has grown, Satan has infiltrated the pulpits as well. You can read about this apostasy in the Church daily!”
SLIDE 14  The mustard seed illustrates the false outward expansion of the kingdom, while the leaven illustrates the inward development of false doctrine and false living.
Jesus used leaven to picture hypocrisy (Luke 12:1), false teaching (Matt. 16:6–12), and worldly compromise (Matt. 22:16–21). Paul used leaven to picture carnality in the church (1 Cor. 5:6–8) as well as false doctrine (Gal. 5:9). Sin is like leaven (yeast): It quietly grows, it corrupts, and it “puffs up” (1 Cor. 4:18–19; 5:2; 8

SLIDE 15  Hidden treasure and the PEARL  As many people in this room that is the number of explanations for these two parables. Here is Matthew Henry’s commentary. “Many people may slight the gospel, because they look only upon the surface of the field. But all who search the Scriptures, so as in them to find Christ and eternal life, Joh 5:39, will discover such treasure in this field as makes it unspeakably valuable. Though nothing can be given as a price for this salvation, yet much must be given up for the sake of it. Jesus Christ is a Pearl of great price; in having him, we have enough to make us happy here and forever.
SLIDE 16  Wheat and Weeds vv.24-30 explained 38-43
·        "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a
·        man (Jesus) who sowed good seed in Sons of the Kingdom 
·        his enemy ( Satan) came and sowed weeds among the wheat
·        'Then do you want us to go and gather them?'
·        'No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them.
·        Let both grow together until the harvest,
SLIDE 17  Satan cannot uproot the plants (true Christians), so he plants counterfeit Christians in their midst. In this parable, the good seed is not the Word of God but people of the kingdom. The field is the world. click We are called to be witnesses not prosecutors. There are folks in churches around this city that are easy “pickins” for the demon. It is when God’s people go to sleep that Satan works. Our task is not to pull up the false, but plant the truth. Note churches with watered down gospel. It is difficult to tell the false from the true today, but at the end of the age, the angels will separate.
SLIDE 18 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, gather all causes of sin and all law-breakers,42and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
“so shall it be in the end of this world; hypocritical and heretical men, and all formal professors, shall be gathered out from among the saints, and the several churches, among whom they have been; and shall be together cast into everlasting burnings, prepared for the devil and his angels, whose children they are.” Gills

SLIDE 19  The Net is similar to the Wheat and Tares. Good and bad together before God.
49  So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50       and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Warren Wiersbe said, “the parables are not bedtime stories to put you to sleep, but rather bugle calls to wake you up.” to realize the urgency for lost souls that is revealed as we study the parables. The parables speak of our responsibility to learn, live, and share God’s truth.”  “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Pay attention to the message God has for you.
SLIDE 20  43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

SLIDE 21  Will you choose to be an active listener to the Word of God?
“Grow  in Grace and in the Knowledge  of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ"  II Peter 3:18