The Parable of the Sower (Part 1)

The parable of the sower is one of the most important parable in the Bible. Jesus has asked his disciples an important question, which is also important to us:

„And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? (Mk 4:13)“

It is not only, that we understand the other parables, but also how the principles are in the God’s kingdom. Since the person of the sower is not explained, I would like to consider God as this sower in this first part. He was the first, who has sown the seed and we people are the recipients.

But let us go directly into the original text. I apply the version, that Luke has written:

„And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. (Lk 8:4-5)“

Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. (Lk 8:11) Even in the first lines of the bible read we, that God his seed sowed. And God said… . The seed has the whole potential in itself, which is necessary in order for it to become what it is supposed to be. An apple seed has everything in itself, in order for out of it becomes an apple tree. In addition, certain conditions have to be fulfilled.

„And God said, let there be light: and there was light.“ (Gen 1:3)

God sowed with His word the seed „light“ and out of it became light. The whole genesis is full of it. Shortly after the Fall of man God spoke out a further seed:

„… it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Gen 3:15)“

God made clear with it, that he will send salvation. With Jesus the seed of the woman came into the world. He, who is the Word of God himself and became flesh. The word of God is also the Bible. It has to have the first priority with us. Even today God speaks to us through the bible. We may not only limit God on the Bible. He has many ways how he can talk to us. However, one thing we always should be conscious, that the said agrees with the scripture.

Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. (Lk 8:12)

From this scriptures we can learn some things:

  1. God wants to speak to our hearts. Many things we try to explain with the understanding. I have nothing to object, but if we have understood it, it has to slip into our hearts. However, it is better, if God can speak directly to our hearts.
  2. The Word of God is the seed for our faith. Romans 10, 17 says: „So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.“ When in an area of your life the faith is missing, then listen to the preaching of the word of God. Maybe you will say, that you need faith now and it is still a long time until the next Sunday. Good, then take your Bible and read yourself aloud out of it. Then you have the preaching. We are all called to be preachers of the gospel.
  3. God’s word is the seed unto rescue or unto salvation. The word salvation (sozo) is translated with only one word, because it is too all-inclusive. Sozo means: rescue of danger, destruction or condemnation, be in safety, remain sound, health. Everything good, which we wish we can obtain from God through his word free of charge, without spending much money for insurance or for professional services.

And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. (Lk 8:6) – They on the rock [are they], which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. (Lk 8:13)

The interpretation, which Jesus gives us here is clear. How often we have experienced, that we were ardent from a preaching, but as soon as we were at home we did not believe anymore what we had heard? It really has to be our desire, that the word of God takes roots in our lives. Only this way we can resist the temptations. Jesus was full faith and therefore also full of God“s word. He also had to battle with temptations. What did he do when the devil tempted him? He answered him: „It is written …“ What is our response to temptations: „It is written …“ or „God has promised us in his word, that …“

And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. (Lk 8:7) – And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of [this] life, and bring no fruit to perfection. (Lk 8:14)

Even here each of us can tell our own experiences. We had a good time in the church service. The worship time lead us into the presence of God and the following preaching was strong. The church service was really uplifting. We have received new courage, joy and peace. But as soon as we were at home we think about our problems at work, maybe we consider how to pay the bills or how to invest wisely the money, and spend our time in front of the TV set. God provides us with solutions to our cares and riches, and gives us alternatives to our entertainment. This with AAA quality.

And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, he that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Lk 8:8)

But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest (in German: fine) and good heart, having heard the word, keep [it], and bring forth fruit with patience. (Lk 8:15)

Here we have the perfect answer how to receive the word of God. It needs good soil and a fine and good heart. A farmer would say that the ground must be ploughed that the seed can fall into the good ground. Also in the spiritual realm we have to plough, but it is never called like this. Our prayers to God or the worship make our heart receptive to God“s word. As soon as we have received it, we have to keep it in our hearts and it will bring fruit in due season. The seed needs time between the sowing and the reaping. In this time period we need patience, because „through faith and patience we inherit the promises. (Heb 6:12)

And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. (Lk 8:9-10)

No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth [it] under a bed; but setteth [it] on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither [any thing] hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have. (Lk 8:16-18)

Proverbs 6:23 tells us, that the law (= God’s word) is a light. Whoever hears and understands God’s word, it dawns on him. We shouldn’t hide this word, but share it as a light to the world. It is so important what we hear and what we understand and practice. This principle works in every area and not only with God’s word. With what we are occupied will influence us and we will be stronger in it. What we ignore we will lose. Think about the school lessons. What do you know today and what do you use?

This is part one of three. Read on with part two.

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God and Righteousness (Part 1)

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.  Matthew 6:33

Why did Jesus say, that we all should look for and find God’s righteousness first place. If Jesus expresses this with such strong words, there must be a reason. Actually, there are several.

Just like the kingdom of heaven or God’s area of government is very heavily to be distinguished in this world, so God’s jurisdiction doesn“t correspond to that, what we know from our State laws. God’s righteousness comprises not only the jurisdiction but one can look at it as a system how one can or should live, which violations there are and how these violations will be punished. The Amplified Bible makes the following amplification to the word righteousness to the quoted Bible verse: doing right and being right. If we strive for God’s righteousness it effects our everyday life.

Our different laws in the country regulate the life in the country. Some laws can protect us or others, procure us advantages or show that we did something forbidden. Do we feel constricted through these laws? Actually not, besides one gets in conflict with the law. So, it is also with God and His righteousness. Many people get and got in conflict with God’s laws. Also many Christians have problems with this. Why? Because they don’t know exactly God’s righteousness. These people are in a constraint. Either they know that they violated a law or they feel guilty because they broke a tradition of their surroundings. Jesus came so that we have life and can be free.

Life and freedom are two central concepts with God’s righteousness. Consequently, we can ask with all commandments and laws of God: „Does this commandment/law give life and freedom or death and captivity?“ God had confronted the people Israel with the choice: Life or death, blessing or curse. We have this choice also even today. God had handed over another commentary at that time. Today, it would turn out to be something like: „Therefore if you ask me, rather choose life.“

God’s laws exist in order to give us life and freedom. It would explode the framework of this article to advance more deeply into God’s righteousness. God’s righteousness does not only comprise what to do or should not do, but God prepared also a solution. I would like to explain two points to you.

God had sent Jesus to the earth in order to take on of our sins and sicknesses at the cross. Each human being must claim the substitutional death of Jesus personally for himself/herself. His sins are forgiven it by it and it can have fellowship with God.

After this very essential event, it can occur that one violates God“s commandment. God says, that whoever confesses his/her sins, they are forgiven. In other words, from this time on this sin exists no more with God. Then it should be forgiven and forgotten with us, too.

It is so important that we live in this continuous forgiveness. If we do this, we already comprehend much of God’s righteousness.

This topic is continued with other articles.

© 2008 Das lebendige Wort – www.daslebendigewort.org

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God and Righteousness 2

In order to better understand God’s righteousness we have to go back to the beginning of mankind’s history or say it differently, we look at the genesis in the Bible. God created the earth, the universe and the human being in six days. The human being is called the crown of the creation. God created so many things, but He talked only to Adam. Because the human being, and consequently also Adam, was and is after God’s image, God could communicate with the human being. The first words of God to the people, that were written down, are:

„And God blessed them, and God said to them, „Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.“ (Genesis 1:28)

God created the earth and everything that was on it and then He said to the human being, that He leaves this all to him and that the human being now has the responsibility over the earth and the creation. In order that the human being is not a marionette, God equipped him with a free will. In order that the human being could also choose, there was also the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Concerning that tree God had given Adam quite clear instructions:

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, „You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.“ (Genesis 2:16 – 17)

As we know exactly, the day came as Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of this tree, and they had to abandoned the paradise. The devil in the form of a snake persuaded Eve to eat of this fruit. Eve caused Adam to eat of the fruit. As soon as this had happened, God spoke these prophetic words:

The LORD God said to the serpent, „Because you have done this, cursed are you above all cattle, and above all wild animals; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.“ To the woman he said, „I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.“ And to Adam he said, „Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, You shall not eat of it, cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.“ (Genesis 3:14-19)

From this occurrence, we can gain much knowledge about God’s righteousness.

God could have said to himself that His project „earth“ failed. However He didn’t do it and He could not do it either. There were different reasons.

As I already said, the human being has a free will. This free will was not tied to any conditions. God did not say: „As long as you make like it fit to me as long as I guarantee you the free will. Otherwise, I must disregard you.“ God respects the will of each human being, whatever it is. He can get involved only in people, who voluntarily want this relationship.

God transferred the people the full responsibility over the earth and the creation. Consequently, we are responsible for the present-day condition of the earth. God stands by His word, and something He says He doesn’t take back. Adam and Eve crossed God’s plan. God could simply not wipe out the human race, destroy the earth and begin all over again. It was no more in His power to do this. He had to create a solution for this problem with the people and through the people. He was totally dependent on the people. Therefore, the human being Jesus Christ had to die on the cross for our sins many years later.

God had prohibited the human being to eat from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Simultaneously, He also said, that it will have consequences if this prohibition is violated. The consequence is the death. Actually, the Hebrew original speaks of several deaths. Adam and Eve didn’t die immediately. Through the violation, they died a spiritual death, the separation from God. Only later, the physical death happened.

As Adam, Eve and the snake were expelled from the paradise, God spoke to each one individually. He placed for each of them a guideline for the future. He had to do this in order to start rolling His plan of redemption.

To be continued. 

Did you miss part 1?

© 2008 Das lebendige Wort – www.daslebendigewort.org

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God and Righteousness 3

As already described in another article of this series „God and Righteousness“, God had obliged himself to work on this earth with and through the people. Everything God wants to do in this world, must happen through people or the people must give God the approval to it. On this background, we can answer the well known question: „Why does God allow this to happen? Many problems and miseries are made by people. Therefore it lies also in the responsibility of the human being that these problems and miseries are solved by people. The church does good at knowing that each faithful Christian has an authority given by God. Many Christians live in ignorance. I belonged to those people for many years, too.

God’s Righteousness seen through covenants

In order that God’s will comes to pass on this earth, God makes covenants with individual people or human groups. Often, through a covenant authority and responsibility will be transferred. It is good to know that this authority and responsibility comes from God. However, He doesn’t leave us alone with it, but He stands behind the covenant and makes available the necessary equipment.

Over the whole Bible we find different covenants, that God did. These are:

  • Covenant of Eden (Genesis 2:16)
  • Covenant with Adam (Genesis 3:15)
  • Covenant with Noah (Genesis 9:16)
  • Covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12:2)
  • Covenant with Moses (Exodus 19:5)
  • Covenant in Palestine (Deut. 30:3)
  • Covenant with David (2 Sam 7:16)
  • the new Covenant (Hebr. 8:8)

What is a covenant?

A covenant in the present-day understanding would be a contract or a pact. Of course, a covenant is a stronger agreement than a contract. In contrast to a contract, the covenant cannot be dissolved. It can even be that the covenant has its validity beyond the death of a covenantor. Over the centuries, such covenants were entered. The blood brothers with the North American Native Americans should be known. As sign of the covenant the wrists were cut with a knife, so that blood could flow, and then, the wrists of the two covenant partners were brought together so that the blood could mingle.

Why was a covenant entered?

You can mainly name three reasons:

  1. there is an enemy
  2. making of businesses
  3. love (for example marriage, Jonathan and David)

A particular characteristic of an association is that each party puts in his strengths to the welfare of the opposing side. Consequently, the partner helps also with the weaknesses of the opposing side.

What I wrote about the covenant, is also correct equivalently, when God makes a covenant with us. The God of the Bible is a God of the Righteousness. Therefore He must stick to His word and heeds His set up rules. From God’s view, we are such an opposing side. In order that we and God can work together, mutual agreements and consents are needed. When we see it like this our whole life with God is on a legal bases. One could look at the Bible as a legal document, in which the cohabitation with God is regulated. (Actually there are Christians, who cling to the letter on that occasion. This is not what I meant, but we should get started with the realization of the commandments and laws together with the Holy Spirit). We call God sovereign and also mean by it, that He can always do what seems exactly well for Him. Therefore many Christians also think that we can never be sure what God’s will is. But that is not true. God must stick to His word that was written down in the Bible. What He does and says today, must agree with the Bible. If we recognize this and deal accordingly, our life becomes considerable simpler with God, because the big insecurity about God’s will is removed.

Did you miss part 1 and/or part 2 of this series?

© 2008 Das lebendige Wort – www.daslebendigewort.org

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