Truth Taught- The disciples heard and understood Jesus speak and teach, something the Prophets only dreamed of.
Today I’d like to read the Parable of the Sower and then look at Jesus’ explanation to His disciples. What we should see here is that the spiritual insight God gives His people does not bring with it automatic knowledge that appears out of thin air to all who have the Holy Spirit but this knowledge is given by revelation.
It works like this…
Watch for Jesus’ revelation to the disciples…
The disciples are those whom spiritual hearing has been granted. Did you catch that last time? The disciples did not decide one day to really listen close to Jesus’ words or His parables. They didn’t compare notes and come up with an interpretation. Matthew uses the phrase it has been given…
Truth Taught- Parables are designed to reveal truth to those with spiritual insight and hide truth from those without spiritual insight.
We learned two weeks ago that Jesus has a purpose in using parabolic teaching. We learned that for some a parable reveals truth that can only be acquired by the spiritual. We also learned that parables are designed to hide truth from those who will forever remain lost.
The crowds, in general, along with the religious leaders also in general have passed over into the realm of God’s just judgment. Jesus taught them, healed them, cast out demons from them, brought their dead back to life, literally doing the things the prophecies foretold that the Messiah would do and their attitude remained…that’s nice Jesus hey can You perform another sign for us? There was no repentance of sin, no brokenness over their iniquity, their time had passed.Read More
Truth Taught- God has ordained the office of the Deacon for His glory and for His Church
Deacons are set apart for a ministry of mercy, service, and outreach. They serve others with wisdom and compassion to those in need and for purposes that advance God’s kingdom on earth. Deacons visit and comfort the distressed, provide for whatever necessities may arise, and assist the congregation at services of worship.
Jonathan Karst has been serving at the discretion of the Elders for at least a year under the title “Deacon in Training”. He has performed his duties with compassion, kindness, being diligent and longsuffering through this year.
1. Why Does a Church Need Deacons?
Acts 6:1–7 (ESV)
6 Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. 2 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6 These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.
7 And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
A. The Church needs Deacons because the Church has people with needsRead More
The City of Babylon in the Scriptures represents a false city and a false system of government and a false way of commerce, if you will. It’s man’s forgery of God’s holy city the New Jerusalem.
The most important insights into the big picture of work, however, come in the concluding chapters, where the worldly city Babylon is set against God’s city, the New Jerusalem. The introductions of the cities in 17:1 and 21:9 are set in clear parallel:
Revelation 17:1–2 (ESV)
17 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.”
Revelation 21:9–10 (ESV)
9 Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God,
Babylon represents the dead-end street of humanity’s attempt to build their culture apart from God. It has every appearance of being the paradise for which humanity has always longed. It is no coincidence that its gold and jewels recall those of the New Jerusalem.Read More
Truth Taught- A man’s reception of God’s Word is determined by the condition of his heart.
In this next section, Matthew introduces the reality that from here on out our Lord’s teaching the crowds is almost consistently done in parables.
Here’s what parables are not…
Parables are not earthly teaching with a heavenly meaning.
Parables are not stories to help us remember what Jesus taught.
Parables are not stories that teach morality.
Their purpose as Jesus will tell us in the next section (Next week, Lord willing) is two-fold. They reveal truth to some and they conceal truth for others.
Typically, the parable is teaching something about the Kingdom of God. So, they are a to deliver knowledge to some and hide it from others.Read More
Truth Taught- Without repentance people go from bad to worse.
Jesus continues to teach and pass judgment on this generation. Now He adds the adjective this evil generation. He has two categories of people in mind here. He is speaking to the Pharisees who rejected Jesus because they trusted in their own righteousness and their own set of moral standards. They did not need Jesus, in fact, He was simply trouble for them. The second group was the people who liked the healings and the handouts but did not ever express an interest in Jesus other than what they could get from Him whether health or wealth.
What made them an evil generation? They were only focused on externals. The Pharisees were focused on their external self-righteousness and the people were focused on their external healing brought about by Jesus.
We must see today that both of these external things are nothing that will last, it’s the Gospel and repentance matter.
The self-righteousness of the Pharisees would, in fact, send them to hell. A moral system without true conversion is a recipe for eternal punishment.Read More
Colossians 3:1–2 (ESV)
3 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
1. Scripture’s Theme of the New Heavens and New Earth
This theme of the Heavens and New Earth appears in both Old and New Testaments.
Isaiah 65:17 (ESV)
17 “For behold, I create new heavens
and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered
or come into mind.
God creates a new Heaven and a new Earth so utterly amazing and fascinating by their splendor, so satisfying to the soul and mind that the remembrance of the first earth will not even enter our minds.
Psalm 102:25–27 (ESV)
25 Of old you laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you will remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,
27 but you are the same, and your years have no end.
The writer of Hebrews quotes from Psalm 102 in Hebrews 1:11-12 to explain the ultimate supremacy of Jesus Christ. His argument is that even the Heavens and the Earth will pass away but Jesus Christ, God’s Son remains forever.
Then, in John’s final vision he writes,Read More