Sowing Seed & the Call to Bear Fruit

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the apostle Matthew. More specifically today’s passage is found in the first thirty verses of this New Testament book. “The same day when Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole. Multitude stood on the shore. And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: but other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 13:1-9).

 

            “And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that heh ath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand: and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them” (Matthew 13:10-17).

 

            “Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth t he word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundred fold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:18-23).

            “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? From whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, AN enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but father the wheat into my barn” (Matthew 13:24-30).

 

            When you come to the thirteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will encounter the beginning of one of the greatest teaching methods of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you take the time to read the four gospel narratives found within the New Testament—particularly the gospels written by the apostle Matthew, John Mark and Luke—you will find that in addition to Jesus teaching and preaching in the synagogues of the Jews and in addition to Jesus teaching and preaching the gospel concerning the kingdom of heaven He would also teach in certain methods which were known as parables. You cannot read the four gospel narratives without encountering the tremendous truth surrounding Jesus’ teaching in parables during the days in which He walked upon the earth. It is actually quite remarkable when you consider the words which are found in the thirteenth chapter for the words we find here draw and call our attention to the incredible truth surrounding Jesus’ teaching the multitudes and crowds in parables. What’s more is that as you read the four gospel narratives you will find that more often than not Jesus would teach in parables when He wanted to teach and speak concerning the kingdom of heaven. We cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this for if you want to truly understand the realities concerning the kingdom of heaven you must needs understand that Jesus would use parables to teach the crowds and multitudes concerning the. Kingdom of heaven.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the parables which the Lord Jesus taught. What makes it truly unique to think about and consider is when you realize that in chapters five through seven Jesus would deliver what I would like to refer to as the declaration of the kingdom. You cannot read chapters five through seven of this New Testament book without coming face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the declaration of the kingdom and how the Lord Jesus would indeed draw and call His disciples and followers into the place where they would recognize and understand the kingdom of heaven. In what has been widely and commonly known as “The Sermon on the Mount” we find the Lord Jesus calling and drawing the attention of His disciples and followers to the establishment of the kingdom of heaven within and upon the earth. In the fourth chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative we encounter and come face to face with the awesome and wonderful truth surrounding Jesus’ declaration and proclamation that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. As you read the words presented to us in the fourth chapter you will find the Lord Jesus drawing and calling the attention of those who would hear and listen to His voice to the coming of the kingdom. What’s more is the Lord Jesus not only drew and called their attention to the coming of the kingdom of heaven but He also called their attention to repentance as preparation for the kingdom of heaven. Consider the following words which are found in the fourth chapter concerning the beginning of the Lord Jesus’ declaration concerning the kingdom of heaven:

 

            “Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Netphalim: that I might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Netphthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:12-17).

 

            The words which we find in this passage of Scripture are incredibly strong and powerful when you consider them for this would be the first time the Lord Jesus would speak of and concerning the kingdom of heaven. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are presented within this passage of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the manifestation of the kingdom and the beginning of its manifestation during those days. When Jesus returned from the wilderness where He had been tempted of the devil He would return in the power and might of the Holy Ghost. The apostle Matthew writes and records concerning those days how the Lord Jesus would emphatically declare and proclaim unto those in Galilee that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. What’s more is the Lord Jesus would call and invite them to repent for He recognized and understand that repentance was indeed the precursor and preparation for the kingdom of heaven. Within this passage of Scripture we find the apostle Matthew describing how the Lord Jesus would call and invite men everywhere to repent for the kingdom of heaven was at hand. What’s more is that despite the fact that Jesus would declare the kingdom of heaven was at hand He would not at that time explain what the kingdom of heaven was or would be like. At this particular time the Lord Jesus would merely declare that the kingdom of heaven was at hand and would call men and women to repentance in preparation for the kingdom to be manifested among them in their midst.

 

            If you continue reading the words which are found within the fourth chapter you will find the beginning of the demonstration and manifestation of the kingdom of heaven. You cannot read the final words of the fourth chapter without encountering and coming face to face with the truly awesome and powerful truth surrounding the beginning of the demonstration of the kingdom of heaven—and not only the demonstration of the kingdom of heaven but the demonstration in power and in might. It is when you read the words found in the final verses of the fourth chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative you will find the apostle Matthew describing how Jesus would go about throughout all Galilee teaching and preaching in their synagogues preaching the gospel of the kingdom. This is quite astonishing when you take the time to think about it for earlier the apostle Matthew wrote and described how Jesus would begin to preach and to say “Repent: for the kingdom of the heaven is at hand” while here at this particular juncture we find Matthew describing how Jesus would preach the gospel of the kingdom. How absolutely incredible it is to read the words which are found in these passages of Scripture for they do indeed set the stage and foundation for the demonstration and manifestation of the kingdom. It is in the seventeenth verse we find Jesus calling upon men to repent for the kingdom of heaven was at hand while in the twenty-third verse we find Jesus going throughout Galilee teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom of heaven.

 

            There is something truly unique and powerful about the words found in this passage of Scripture for within these verses we find the beginning of the manifestation and demonstration of the kingdom of heaven. We don’t know what Jesus would teach and speak concerning the kingdom of heaven when he preached the gospel of the kingdom, however, we are brought face to face with the demonstration and manifestation of the kingdom of heaven. It is indeed true the Lord Jesus would preach the gospel of the kingdom, however, directly associated and linked to that would be a wonderful and powerful display of the kingdom. What we must needs recognize and understand concerning the kingdom of heaven is that it would come in more than simply word and deed but would come in power, in might, in dominion and authority. It was indeed true that Jesus would come as the eternal and only begotten and beloved Son of the Father, however He would also come in the fulness of authority and power as he walked upon the earth. Jesus would come exercising the full authority, power, might and dominion of the eternal Father upon the earth as He would engage Himself in the demonstration and manifestation of the kingdom of heaven. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and wonderful truth surrounding this demonstration and manifestation of the kingdom of heaven within and upon the earth. It is in the final verses of the fourth chapter we encounter and come face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the demonstration and manifestation of the kingdom of heaven in the earth as Jesus would begin to exercise the dominion and authority of the kingdom upon the earth.

 

            Having written and spoken these words I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the following words which are found in the final verses of the fourth chapter. It is within these verses we encounter and come face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding Jesus beginning to travel throughout Galilee teaching in their synagogues—and not only teaching in their synagogues but also preaching the gospel of the kingdom. This gospel which was preached concerning the kingdom would have directly linked and connected to it something entirely and altogether unique when you take the time to think about it for as you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find the demonstration of the kingdom of heaven in power and in might. Consider now if you will the following words which are found in the final verses of the fourth chapter beginning to read with and from the twenty-third verse:

 

            “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy, and he healed them. And there followed him great multitudes of people from galilee, and from Decaoplis, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan” (Matthew 4:23-25).

 

            The words and language we find within this particular portion of Scripture calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful and incredible truth surrounding the demonstration and manifestation of the kingdom of heaven. It was indeed true that Jesus would teach and preach the gospel of the kingdom, however, we must also recognize and understand that directly connected to the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom would be a demonstration of the Holy Ghost and power. In fact this would be something the apostle Paul would write about in his epistles unto the Corinthian and Thessalonian saints. When you take the time to read the words which are found in the first epistles written unto the Thessalonian and Corinthian congregations you will find the apostle Paul writing and speaking of the kingdom of heaven coming in more than just word and deed but in demonstration of the power and might of the Holy Spirit. What’s more is that even in the twelfth chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew we find him presenting Jesus as speaking of how He cast out unclean spirits from those whom they possessed and oppressed. I am absolutely and completely convinced when you think about the kingdom of heaven being manifested in the midst of the earth you must needs recognize that the demonstration and manifestation of the kingdom would indeed come through the demonstration of the Holy Spirit and with power. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for to do so would be to miss the incredible truth surrounding the demonstration of the kingdom of heaven in power, in might, in dominion, in authority and in the Holy Spirit. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the twelfth chapter of this New Testament gospel as well as the words which the apostle Paul wrote concerning the demonstration of the kingdom of heaven in power and the Holy Spirit:

 

            “And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? And then will he spoil his house. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad”  (Matthew 12:25-30).

 

            Please don’t miss the incredible significance and importance of the words found in this passage of Scripture for within it we are brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth surrounding how Jesus would cast out unclean spirits from those whom they oppressed, tormented and possessed. The Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out devils by the prince of devils and yet Jesus would begin speaking to them concerning a kingdom divided against itself could not stand. If Satan cast out Satan then his kingdom would not only be divided but it also could and would not stand. Jesus would then go on to speak of His casting out demons by the finger of God which we recognize and understand to the Spirit of God. Oh there is something truly astonishing and powerful about the words which are found here for the words we find here call and draw our attention to the absolutely wonderful and powerful truth surrounding the demonstration and manifestation of the kingdom by and through the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. The demonstration of the kingdom would and could not come absent the anointing of the Holy Ghost and even Jesus Himself would make such a bold declaration and proclamation in Nazareth when He was present in their synagogue. I am absolutely convinced that before we turn and direct our attention to the words which the apostle Paul wrote we must needs consider the following words which are found in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by Luke. Consider now the words which the beloved physician Luke presents in the fourth chapter of his gospel narrative concerning Jesus in His hometown of Nazareth and the words which He would speak unto those who knew and were familiar with Him:

 

            “And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all, and he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance ot the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son? And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; but unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed saving Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them went his way, and came to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power” (Luke 4:14-32).

 

            Please pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for within it we are brought face to face with the incredible truth surrounding the Lord Jesus and the demonstration of the kingdom. Luke writes and records concerning Jesus how after He had returned from the wilderness He would return in the power of the Holy Ghost. This is something we must needs recognize and pay close attention to for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the demonstration of the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth. If you want to understand the demonstration of the kingdom of heaven you must needs recognize and understand that the demonstration of the kingdom has always been and will always be in the power of the Holy Spirit. It was not coincidence Jesus took and read from the place in the prophetic book of Isaiah where the prophet had written of the Spirit of the Lord being upon him and anointing him to preach and to heal. That which the Lord Jesus was indeed doing there in His own country and town of Nazareth was declaring how He was anointed by the Holy Spirit—and not only anointed by the Holy Spirit but anointed by the Holy Spirit to teach and preach the gospel of the kingdom as well as to demonstrate and manifest the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful and powerful truth surrounding the demonstration of the kingdom of heaven in power, in dominion, in authority and in might.

 

            The more I think about and consider this incredibly awesome truth the more I am brought face to face with the final words which were written in this chapter and how those present in Capernaum—a city of Galilee—were astonished at the doctrine of Jesus for his word was with power. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this incredibly wonderful truth for if you want to understand the ministry of the Lord Jesus you must needs recognize and understand that his word was with more than simply deed but came with power. It was the Lord Jesus who would declare unto the people that the kingdom of heaven was at hand and would then proceed to demonstrate the kingdom of heaven through power, authority and might in the earth. Oh there is something truly astonishing and powerful about the words which we find in the fourth chapter of the gospel narrative written by Luke for through these words we are brought face to face with Jesus returning from the wilderness in the power of the Holy Spirit—and not only returning in the power of the Spirit but also declaring concerning Himself that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him for He had anointed Him to preach and to heal. What’s more is those in Capernaum would marvel and be astonished at the doctrine of this Jesus of Nazareth for his word would come with power—and not only with power but with might and the demonstration of the Holy Spirit. Jesus would indeed begin demonstrating and manifesting the kingdom of heaven, however, that demonstration would come as a direct result of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Oh it is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the epistles written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian and Thessalonian saints concerning the demonstration and manifestation of the kingdom of heaven in power and in might:

 

            “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).

 

            “I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church. Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you. But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but with power. For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. What will ye? Shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?” (1 Corinthians 4:14-21).

 

            “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; knowing, brethren, beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-5).

 

            Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in these passages for within them we are brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the demonstration of the kingdom and how the kingdom of heaven is about more than simply word and deed. When we speak about the demonstration and manifestation of the kingdom of heaven we must needs recognize that the demonstration of the kingdom must of necessity be with power and might. What’s more is that not only must the kingdom of heaven come with the demonstration of power but it must also come through the demonstration of the Holy Spirit. This was something Jesus recognized and understood and it was something the apostles themselves recognized and understood. In the final verses of the fourth chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew we encounter the tremendous reality of the demonstration of the kingdom in power and in the Holy Spirit as Jesus would heal all those who were brought unto Him. The apostle Matthew writes and records how the Lord Jesus would heal all those who were brought unto Him and how He would even cast out unclean spirits. When the kingdom of heaven would begin to be demonstrated and manifested in the midst of the earth it would indeed come as a direct result of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. This is something we have a great need of recognizing and understanding for it calls and draws our attention to what we can and should expect when thinking about the demonstration and manifestation of the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth—namely, that the demonstration of the kingdom must needs be with power, with might and with the Holy Spirit.

 

            As you continue reading the words which are found within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you can and will be brought face to face with the awesome and wonderful truth concerning the declaration of the kingdom. If the final verses of the fourth chapter begins to describe the demonstration of the kingdom of heaven in power, in might, in dominion, in authority and in the Holy Spirit then chapters five through seven describe the declaration of the kingdom of heaven. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it brings us face to face with the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the kingdom of heaven and how Jesus would not only demonstrate the kingdom of heaven but would declare the kingdom of heaven. In fact it would be in these chapters we find the Lord Jesus describing those who would inherit and enter into the kingdom of heaven. What’s more is the Lord Jesus would also speak of the righteousness of the kingdom of heaven for He would declare that unless the righteousness of His disciples and followers exceeded that of the scribes and Pharisees they would not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this truly wonderful truth for if you want to understand the words Jesus spoke on the Sermon on the Mount you must needs acknowledge that these words were indeed a powerful testimony concerning the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth and what it would indeed look like among men.

 

            I read the words which are found in Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the awesome and wonderful truth surrounding this declaration of the kingdom and the righteousness which was found within it. You cannot read the words present in the fifth, sixth and seventh chapters of this New Testament gospel narrative without encountering and coming face to face with the incredibly awesome and powerful truth surrounding the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven and the righteousness that is found at the very heart and center of it. In fact when you think about the kingdom of heaven you must needs realize and recognize that its manifestation and establishment in the midst of the earth would indeed bring about an entirely different type of citizen within and upon the earth. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this incredible truth for when you read the words found in the Sermon on the Mount you will encounter the tremendous truth surrounding the kingdom of heaven within and upon the earth and how it would bring about the formation of an entirely different type of citizen in the midst of the earth. Not only this but when you think about the establishment of the kingdom of heaven you must needs recognize that Jesus would speak of the kingdom of heaven during the days of the Roman Empire. It would be during those days when the Roman Empire would indeed be the dominant world power and controlling influence over much of the known world—including Judaea, Galilee and Jerusalem.

 

            Perhaps one of the greatest truths surrounding Jesus’ words concerning the kingdom of heaven is when you consider the fact that the kingdom of heaven would be set up and established in the midst of the Roman Empire. A KINGDOM WITHIN AN EMPIRE! Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for not only would Jesus describe and declare how the kingdom of heaven would be nigh and at hand during those days but He would indeed establish and set up the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth. This is something that is truly remarkable and powerful when you take the time to consider it for it calls and draws our attention to the establishment of a kingdom in the midst of the empire. What’s more is that as you read the four gospel narratives written by the various gospel authors you will find that there was not a single Roman centurion who ever called into question the words which Jesus spoke. You can search the four gospel narratives through and through and you will never find Rome having a single quarrel or dispute with Jesus of Nazareth. The more you read the four gospel narratives written by these authors the more you will find that Rome itself seemed to be unmoved and unbothered by the words which the Lord Jesus spoke. In fact the only time a Roman centurion would ever come unto the Lord Jesus would be on behalf of his servant who was sick of the palsy and grievously tormented. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the establishment of the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth and how Rome itself seemed to be entirely and altogether unmoved by the thought and concept of this kingdom.

 

            Before we delve into the words which are found in the thirteenth chapter I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the fifth chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative. The words which we find within this chapter calls and draws our attention to the absolutely incredible truth surrounding the kingdom Jesus came to establish and set up in the earth—and not only the kingdom He came to establish but also that which the kingdom of heaven demanded and required. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for to do so would be to miss the awesome and powerful truth surrounding the establishment of the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth. You cannot read the words presented within the Sermon on the Mount and not encounter and come face to face with the truly wonderful and powerful truth surrounding the kingdom of heaven and how it would completely and utterly transform those who would commit themselves to being citizens of it within and upon the earth. This is something that requires a tremendous amount of understanding and insight on our part for when you read the words which are found in the fifth chapter of this New Testament gospel you can and will be brought face to face with the establishment of the kingdom of heaven upon the earth and how this kingdom would be entirely and altogether different from anything they had known and experienced. Not only would the righteousness of the kingdom be entirely different from the righteousness of religion but the kingdom of heaven would establish and bring about an entirely different citizen which was present within and upon the earth. Oh it is having said this I invite you to consider if you will the following words which are found in the fifth chapter of this New Testament gospel beginning to read with and from the third verse:

 

            “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:3-12).

 

            “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16).

 

            “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no cast enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17-20).

 

            I am absolutely convinced there is a great need to recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the establishment of the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth. The Lord Jesus would speak of the poor in spirit and how theirs was the kingdom of heaven and concerning the persecuted for righteousness sake for theirs would be the kingdom of heaven. What’s more is that the Lord Jesus would also go on to declare within these verses the righteousness of the kingdom of heaven. What’s more is that not only would Jesus speak of the righteousness of the kingdom but would directly set it against the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees. When thinking about the kingdom of heaven we must needs understand the righteousness of the kingdom must be entirely and altogether different from the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. It would be very easy to think about and consider the words which are found in this passage and think the righteousness of the kingdom is similar in nature and scope to the righteousness which was of the Law, however, the truth of the matter is that the righteousness of the kingdom is such that touches and transforms the heart. It is the righteousness of the kingdom that calls and invites men and women to obey the Law and the prophets from the heart rather than mere external and outward observance. Oh there would be those who would like to think they are truly observing the Law and the prophets through outward and external obedience and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply is not the case.

 

            I so love the words which are found in the Sermon on the Mount for what we find within the Sermon on the Mount calls and draws our attention to the righteousness of the kingdom and how the righteousness of the kingdom touches and transforms the heart within a disciple and follower of the Lord Jesus. The righteousness of the kingdom is indeed something which is entirely and altogether different from the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees for they thought and believed that mere outward and external obedience to that which the Law commanded was enough in the sight of the living God. What we find the Lord Jesus declaring within and through the Sermon on the Mount, however, is that the righteousness of the kingdom begins with and within the heart rather than mere outward and external observance of the Law. That which Jesus suggested and spoke through these words was that it was possible to outwardly and externally observe and obey that which was commanded in the Law of Moses and yet be guilty of transgressing it through and with our heart. What we find the Lord Jesus emphatically declaring unto His disciples and followers was that true obedience and observance to the Law and the prophets came not from outward and external action but rather inward and internal transformation of the heart. Jesus would make it perfectly clear that we had heard it said and had been taught concerning outward and external obedience and observance to the Law of Moses and yet true obedience of the Law and the prophets was found within the heart of a man or a woman. Jesus would declare and proclaim unto His audience that outward and external obedience to the Law and the prophets could actually be nothing more than the righteousness which the scribes and Pharisees taught and adhered to—a righteousness which was a casual and outward obedience that cared absolutely nothing for the condition of one’s heart.

 

            It is absolutely necessary for us to recognize and understand the words which are found in these chapters within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew for they help set the tone and stage for what we find in the thirteenth chapter. It is in the thirteenth chapter of this gospel we find the beginning of Jesus’ teaching in parables. If there is one thing that makes the parables which Jesus taught so incredibly unique and captivating it’s that He used parables to teach and speak of the mysteries surrounding the kingdom of heaven. When Jesus desired to actually teach the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven He would use parables which were earthly stories and illustrations used to demonstrate a heavenly and eternal perspective. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding Jesus’ methods of teaching the crowds and multitudes concerning the kingdom. The thirteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narratives begins and opens with the apostle Matthew describing how the Lord Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea side. It would be there by the sea side that great multitudes were gathered together unto him—and so much so that He had to enter into a ship to be seated among the people. What’s more is the whole multitude stood on the shore for to hear and listen to the words which the Lord Jesus would teach and speak unto them. Imagine their surprise on this particular day when it would seem that Jesus would not speak unto them in plain and simple terms but would instead speak to them through parables. On this particular day the Lord Jesus would indeed begin teaching and speaking unto the crowds of people in parables that He might illustrate the mysteries surrounding the kingdom of heaven.

 

            As you begin reading with and from the opening words and verses of this passage of Scripture you will find that Jesus began teaching and speaking many things unto them in parables beginning with what is perhaps one of—if not the most well known parables of them all. The apostle Matthew describes how Jesus would speak many things unto them in parables and how He would begin speaking unto them concerning a sower who went forth to sow. As this sower would go forth to sow seed he would sow seed in various different types of soil. What’s more is that not only does Jesus describe this sower who would sow seeds but some of the seed which he would sow would fall into different soils and different grounds. In all reality we must needs understand this parable to be centered upon the incredible truth surrounding the seed and the soil—and not only the seed and the soil but the seed and different types of soil. It wasn’t merely this farmer who would sow seed but they would also sow seed in different soils as they went. This farmer went out with the express intention of sowing seed and yet as they went they would sow seed in different types of soil. Oh if there is one thing I can’t help but wonder when reading this parable is whether or not the farmer was aware of where they were scattering the seed. Jesus describes how the farmer would sow seed by the wayside, how the famer would sow seed in stony places, how the farmer would sow seed among thorns and how the farmer would sow seed among the good ground or soil. Scripture is entirely and altogether unclear as to whether or not the famer was indeed aware of the different places they sowed seed when they initially went out to sow seed.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and there is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if the farmer sowed seed upon the wayside, and on the stony ground and even among the thorns thinking and believing that the seed would indeed spring forth and bring fruit upon the earth. Did the farmer go forth sowing seed as he went and thinking and believing that regardless of where he sowed that seed it would yield fruit and a harvest? That which Jesus describes unto us within this passage of Scripture is how the farmer went forth to sow and how as he sowed the seed he would sow it upon different types of soil. This is something we have great need of recognizing and understanding for as the famer went forth to sow the seed he would pass by three different types of soil before he would actually get to good soil and ground. Stop and consider the words which Jesus painted on this particular occasion for while it was indeed true the farmer went forth to sow seed it was also true that he would sow seed upon three distinct types of soil and ground before finally coming to good ground. Perhaps one of the greatest things I can’t help but wonder is whether or not the farmer knew they were sowing seed upon soil and into ground that would not yield or bring forth fruit—or if it did bring forth fruit it would be short lived. Jesus describes how this sower went forth to sow and how they initially sowed some seed among the wayside where the fowls of the air came and devoured them up, thus preventing the seed from ever taking root within the soil. The sower would continue to sow seed and would sow it upon and into stony places where there was not much earth. What makes this particular soil so incredibly interesting is that the seed would in fact be able to bring forth fruit and it would appear that the seed would accomplish what the sower set forth when they sowed the seed. The truth of the matter, however is that although this seed would bring forth fruit it would not last because the sun would rise and would scorched it because there was no root.

 

            If you continue reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you can and will be brought face to face with the incredibly powerful truth surrounding the sower sowing seed among the thorns. Not only would the sower sow seeds among the thorns but when the seed would bring forth fruit which would spring forth it would be choked by the thorns. Oh despite the fact it might have seemed and appeared that the seed which fell upon thorny ground would indeed bring forth fruit the fruit would not last for the thorns would choke that which came forth from the earth, thus destroying it. How absolutely incredible it is to think about the fact that one might view this sower’s day and perceive a good portion of it as being wasteful and accomplishing nothing. The sower would sow seed as they went, however, three of the places the sower would sow seed would be in places where the seed and the fruit would not last. The seed which fell by the wayside would not even be permitted to find root in the soil for as soon as it was sown the fowl of the air would swoop down and consume it. Oh when we read such a narrative we might very well consider the seed which was sown on the wayside to be a complete and utter waste because the fowls of the air came and devoured it immediately after it was sown. The same might very well be said for the seed which was sown upon the stony ground for although it would initially bring forth fruit that fruit would be short lived as the sun would scorch it because there was no root or depth within it. Moreover the seed which was sown on the thorny ground might also be perceived as a waste for although fruit would indeed spring up that fruit and harvest would be choked by the thorns.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but be drawn to Jesus’ explanation of the parable. If you hear and listen to the parable alone without and apart from the interpretation and explanation of the parable you might very well miss the truth that is found within it. What we find within this passage of Scripture calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the seed being the word of God and the act of sowing being representative of sowing the word of God. Jesus’ explanation of the parable would indeed be such that would draw and call the attention of His audience—both the disciples and the multitudes—into the understanding of what the seed was and what sowing the seed represented. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture it’s that although Jesus would deliver this parable unto the multitudes not everyone would understand that which He would speak. You will find that immediately after Jesus finished the parable He would invite those who had ears to hear to hear, thus suggesting that although there would be great multitudes who would hear the words of the parable there would be those who would understand and hear and those whose eyes would be blinded and whose ears would be deaf. This reality would be explained all the more when Jesus would respond to the disciples when they came to Him asking why He spoke unto the multitudes in parables. Jesus would declare unto the disciples that He would speak in parables because it was not given unto everyone to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus would declare unto His disciples that unto them was given the right and the privilege of knowing the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven but unto the crowds and multitudes it was not given. Not only this but the Lord Jesus would also declare that whosoever has to them would it be given and they would have more abundance. Those who did not have from them would be taken away even that which they had.

 

            Jesus would speak unto parables because the multitudes seeing would see not and hearing would hear not nor would understand. What’s more is Jesus would go on to explain how in the multitudes of that day would be fulfilled the prophetic word which was spoken by Isaiah which prophesied “By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time thy should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” Oh I am absolutely and completely convinced there is a great need for us to recognize and understand the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to Jesus teaching and speaking in parables because it was not given unto everyone to understand the mysteries of the kingdom. There would be those who would hear the parables which Jesus taught and spoke concerning the kingdom and would possess the discernment and understanding concerning the kingdom of heaven while there would be those who would hear the same parable and whose hearts would be darkened and whose eyes would be blind and whose ears would be deaf. How incredibly unique it is to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and consider how the Lord Jesus would indeed teach and speak in parables and yet not everyone who heard the words He taught would understand and discern the meaning behind the parables.

 

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close it’s necessary and imperative for us to recognize that this parable was designed to illustrate the declaration of the kingdom of heaven in the midst of the earth and the response to the sowing of the seed. We must needs recognize the words and language that is found in this passage of Scripture calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth surrounding the sowing of the seed and how despite the fact the seed would indeed be sown in various different places—not every place would bring forth fruit which would remain. It’s quite interesting to consider the words found in this passage of Scripture and how the sowing of the seed and the seed itself would bring forth fruit in two of the four places and yet that fruit would not last nor would it remain. The seed would indeed have an impact and effect where it was sown, however, the seed would not remain nor would it abide in the place it was sown. The sower would sow the seed onto stony ground and that seed would indeed bring forth fruit, however, because there was no depth or foundation the fruit would not remain. Moreover the seed which was sown on to the thorny ground would indeed bring forth fruit, however, the fruit brought forth by that seed would have the life choked out of it by the thorns. There was only one place where the seed would not only find the necessary soil to bring forth fruit but where the fruit would remain. At the very heart and center of everything we read in this passage of Scripture we must needs recognize that at the very heart of the kingdom of heaven is the brining forth of fruit—and not only bringing forth fruit but also that such fruit would remain. It’s not enough to bring forth fruit for the fruit we bring forth within our lives must needs abide and remain among us within our hearts and lives.

 

            To fully and completely understand the words which are found in this passage of Scripture we must needs recognize and understand that while it was indeed true the seed was sown into different types of ground there were different threats and dangers to the seed. The seed which was sown into that soil represented by the wayside would experience danger and threats from the enemy and adversary. Within this parable we find the wayside and the seed which was sown there representing those places where the seed was sown and how the enemy and adversary would steal away the seed before it would even have the chance to find root and bring forth fruit within the heart and life of the one who heard and received it. In addition to this we find another group of people who would hear and receive the seed of the word of the kingdom within their hearts and lives and would not have root within themselves. These individuals initially and originally receive the word with joy and endure for a while, however, when tribulation and persecution rises up because of the word thy are offended and their fruit no longer remains. There are other individuals who hear the word of the kingdom and yet the care of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word and it becomes unfruitful. Oh we must needs recognize and understand the tremendous language that is found within this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the truly awesome and wonderful truth concerning the sowing of the seed and the different types of soil upon and into which it would be sown. Although the seed would be sown into and upon different types of soil it would not have the same impact and affect as it would in that which is represented by the good ground. There would be those who would hear the word of the kingdom and would not understand it and the enemy and adversary would come and steal what was sown. There would be others who would hear and receive the seed of the word of the kingdom and would endure for a while until persecution and tribulation rises for the sake of the word. Still there would be others who would hear and receive the word of the kingdom and yet the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches would choke the life out of the word and the fruit.

 

Perhaps the single greatest question we must needs ask ourselves when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture is not only what type of soil is present within our hearts but also what type of fruit is springing forth as a result. The seed of the word of the kingdom of heaven is indeed being sown within the hearts and lives of countless men and women and yet we must be willing to answer whether or not the seed is not only being received within our hearts and lives but also whether or not it is bearing and bringing forth fruit. One of the greatest needs we have within our hearts and lives is that of the seed and its bringing forth fruit. It was Jesus Himself who emphatically declared that He had chosen His disciples that they should not only bring and bear fruit but that their fruit would remain. Not only this but Jesus would go on to declare that He was the vine and we are the branches, thus indicating that the only hope we have of bearing and bringing forth fruit that remains is to abide in Him. We must needs recognize and understand how absolutely incredible this truth truly is for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and wonderful reality of our being called and chosen to not only bear fruit but also that our fruit would remain in this life upon the earth. What’s more is we must needs understand how incredibly important fruit truly is in this life for it would be Jesus who would declare that it is by our fruits we would be known. Not only this but Jesus would go on to declare that by our fruits we would be known as His disciples or known as fraudulent or imposters posing and pretending.

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