Week 2 in our Love Letters To The Church series. This week we look at Jesus had to say to the church at Ephesus.
Background & Setting:
- Their/Our Works
- Their/Our Endurance
- Their/Our Righteousness
As critical as those seem to the Christian Walk, and as foundational as they would appear there is a MAJOR issue – an Abandonment of Love.
I Corinthians 13:1-6 – The Way of Love
Galatians 5:22-24 – The Fruit of the Spirit
Matthew 11:28-30 – Without Love we are running on our efforts to ENDURE, RIGHTEOUS, WORKS!
An Image of the shift of focus, or as Jesus calls it – the abandonment can be found in Luke 10:38-41.
Martha is a picture of enduring, righteous, works, Mary is a picture of the Love Jesus is referring too, to sit at His feet and to grow in that relationship. It is a daily part of our walk.
Week 3 in our Understanding The Signs series. This week we look at what Peter had to say about our Anxiety and why it is such an issue between us and our God.
I Peter 5:1-11
Background & Setting:
Peter is writing the early church that is going through a lot of stress. Rome has been burned, Nero’s plan to “encourage” the rebuilding of Rome has backfired and now he has turned to the early Christians as a scapegoat.
Anxiety = Worry.
Worry is saying “God is not big enough to handle this for me – I will need to take care of this” – that attitude comes from a place of pride. Peter calls and reminds us we must HUMBLE ourselves – to ALL pride.
As we head further into our study on the end times, it can be “human” to be tempted to become anxious over these things we will be studying. We need to surrender that to God.
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Week 4 in our Revealing The Truth series. This week we look at the false teaching of “Sowing” and what Jesus was really teaching from the parable of the sower.
Non-Biblical Teaching on Sewing and Harvest –
- The Lord has promised to reward us for all the good seeds we sow in our life.
- The Lord wants us to sow good seeds so that we can get an abundant harvest in our lives.
- We cannot receive a harvest unless we sow the seed.
- We must begin sowing by faith and we must expect a harvest by faith.
The scripture used by these teachers to substantiate this line of teaching is:
- HEBREWS 6:10
- MATTHEW 10:41-42
- PSALM 41:1-3
- ACTS 10:1-4
- ECCLESIASTES 11:1-6
- MARK 4:30-32
- GENESIS 8:22
There are some key words in these passages, but nothing that backs up these claims.
The key to this is these are just “concepts” that sound biblical and people are drawn to them.
Another popular teacher on this line teaches about the “hundredfold” return – which we will see in the text a little later on. I want to share this so that it can be contrasted later.
8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
The following is taken directly from this prosperity gospel teachers website:
Q: How much is a hundredfold return?
A: The whole kingdom of God operates according to the principles of planting, seedtime and harvest. The hundredfold return is God’s principle of return on your giving. What are you planting into the kingdom of God? Expect a hundredfold return on whatever you give, whether it be words, faith, money or any other seed you plant.
So, how much is a hundredfold exactly? We often think of it as 100 times the original seed sown, but in reality it can be much greater than that. More accurately, the hundredfold return is simply the greatest possible return on any particular seed sown. For example, a hundredfold return on an apple seed would be a strong, healthy tree that produces an abundance of high quality apples every year. When we believe God for the hundredfold return in our lives, we believe for the greatest possible return on every seed we sow!
You can discover what the greatest possible return on your seed sown is by spending time with God in worship and prayer. After we tithe and sow seed, our role is to let Him reveal to us what we should believe for in regard to our harvest.
IF this teacher is correct – then these things have to be true:
- We are the seed sower – “What are you planting into the kingdom of God? Expect a hundredfold return on whatever you give,”
- The goal is to get the greatest possible return on our sowing… (does a farmer expect little from his investment?)
- We are the receiver of the harvest
Let’s jump to the teaching in Matthew 13:1-23 to see if any of this is accurate.
- This parable is surfaced in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. I believe this stresses that this teaching was at the core of Jesus’s ministry and therefore was reflected by all three writers to their intended audiences.
- Matthew 13:1-3 – we see Jesus teaching from one of his favorite places – the natural sloping banks around this cove produced a natural amphitheater effect – allowing his voice to be heard by many.
- Matthew 13:3-8 – the initial teaching of this passage.
- Matthew 13:9 – He who has ears – Even before Jesus explains any further, he was acknowledging that not all the listeners had the ability to understand. [Clearly we see this even today where some prosperity gospel teachers have perverted the passage to fit their teaching of “send money now – plant your seeds in fertile soil – your reward will be hunderedfold”.
- Matthew 13:10-16 – Jesus teaches the disciples that not everyone is going to be able to grasp these teachings – they have gone through a transformation and are able to grasp His teachings. God loves all people and he does desire a relationship with them, not all people will “desire” a relationship with Him.
- Matthew 13:18-23 – Jesus teaches the meaning of each of the soil types and more importantly where that stands in relationship to Him.
- Along The Path – not a person who has a relationship with Christ as SAVIOR.
- Rocky Soil – not a person who has a relationship with Christ as SAVIOR.
- Among the Thorns – read vs 22 carefully – “and it proves unfruitful”. John 15:3-5 clearly teaches that the branch cannot bear fruit by itself – unless it is in the vine. Unfruitful “Christians” are people that are “apart from” Christ and “you can do nothing”. Unfruitful Christians are an oxymoron – there can be no such thing. You can be an Unfruitful “seeker” of Christ – someone who is coming to a knowledge – but there is no “Relationship with Christ as SAVIOR” at that point.
- Good Soil – This is the fertile soil that Christ “plants” – Christ takes action into placing His seed in – there will be fruit. These are people that are in a Relationship with Christ as SAVIOR.
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