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