(11) “Now the parable is this: The seed is the Word of God. (12) 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. (13) 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. (14) 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. (15) But that on the good ground are they which in an honest and good heart – having heard the Word – keep it – and bring forth fruit with patience.” [Lk.8:11-15]
(105) “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet – and a light unto my path.” [Ps.119:105]
Here is an accurate gauge by which we may determine if we have truly been born from above by what Paul referred to in Col.1:5 as the “Word of the truth of the gospel”. Peter speaks of the same thing in 1Pe.1:23 when he literally says: “Having been born again – not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible – by the Word of God which liveth and abideth forever!” And, then he goes further on and explicitly declares from vs.25: “And this is the Word which by the gospel is preached unto you”.
The apostle James was Holy Spirit inspired to write of our regeneration from Jas.1:17-18 of his epistle: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father of lights – with whom there is no variableness neither shadow of turning. (18) Of His own will – begat He us with the Word of truth….” Now this verse is more literally rendered – “Having willed – He begat us” Or, in other words, He brought us forth to new life in our Lord Jesus Christ! And then he urges us from vs.21: “Wherefore…(or, consequently) lay apart (or, put away) all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness (or, all moral dirtiness and surplusage of depravity) and receive with meekness the engrafted (or, the implanted) Word – which is able to save your souls!”
The Spirit of Christ – the living Word of God – who is the incarnated eternal Son of God – according to the eternal purpose of God the Father – causes us to receive a regenerating revelatory experience that we are, indeed, His eternally loved and chosen sinner-saved-by-grace-children. We come by grace to understand that we – and He – have been personally united with Him – in His beloved and only-begotten Son! Ro.8:16-17 plainly tells us that: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit – that we are the children of God (17) and if children – then heirs – heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ…” Before the magnitude of the majesty of our all holy – all-glorious sovereign God – we are all — nothing but little children. But, we are His little children! And, especially, while we are here in this fallen-in-sin world – we “grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ…”
How do we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior?
By constantly feeding on His wonderful Word! We ever abide in the words of our Savior. Jesus said in Jn.15:3 – “Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you.” Then He went on and said from vs.7 “If ye abide in me and my words abide in you – ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.” It is no wonder that the Psalmist was inspired to descriptively declare: “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet – and a light unto my path!” Everything wonderful about being in Christ – is descriptively declared in the treasures of His wonderful Word! Amen.
For Christ’s Glory Only!
“Wherefore, as by one man – sin entered into the world – and death by sin – and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned…”
“For, if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace – and of the gift of righteousness – shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. (18) Therefore, as by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation – even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life! (19) For as one man’s disobedience, many were made sinners – so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (20) Moreover, the law entered that the offense might abound. But, where sin abounded – grace did much more abound: (21) that as sin hath reigned unto death – even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” [Ro.5:12;17-20]
What a wonderful passage of scripture this truly is! Herein is declared – in this fallen-in-sin world – the right now realities of the pure truth of the gospel of the glory, only, of the Lord Jesus Christ! It declares two great spiritual realities that, in fact, contrast one another. There’s a dreaded eternal death being contrasted over against a glorious eternal life. Both of which have become inescapable realities in this fallen world – each brought to pass by one man respectfully.
When it says, “by one man’s offense – death reigned by one” – it’s referring to Adam when he fell into sin in the Garden. His deadly offense made him sinner, as well as, all those who have been conceived as his progeny in this world (both physically and spiritually). Then this scripture declares — to ever so greatly contrast Adam’s fall into failure and deadly ruin – “much more” [which means: to a much greater degree] “they which receive abundance of grace – and of the gift of righteousness – shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ!” Adam – before we were even born – threw us under the bus of reigning sin — and the curse of the absolute perfection demanding law of God. In other words, he threw us all under the dreaded reality of sin and death. But, praise God for His incarnated eternal Son, the Lord Jesus Christ! He is the indisputable Savior of all of the sheepfold – all the friends and family – of God! They are the ones that the text refers to when it says, “they which receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness”. And, it is “they” that “shall reign in life by one Jesus Christ”! What are we to conclude from this? Well, it plainly tells us! On the one hand, we are to conclude that through one man, Adam — God’s condemning judgment came upon all mankind. And, on the other hand, through the righteousness – lit. the one eternally accomplished righteousness – of one man, Christ Jesus – there came upon all who have received His grace, eternal justification of life! Wow! Praise His Most Wonderful Name!
The spiritual principle is explicitly explained from vs.19. It lit. says: “For as by the disobedience of the one man – the many were constituted sinners – so also in this same way – through the obedience of one [Christ Jesus] the many shall be constituted righteous.” Vs.20 then goes on to further gloriously explain: “Moreover – the law entered that the offense might abound.” In other words, the law substantiates the fact that all of mankind (or, all of Adam-kind) are condemned sinners! Nevertheless, scripture goes on to say, “But, where sin abounded – grace did much more (or, grace exceedingly) abounded!” Again, this is true for all those that vs.17 has descriptively declared as having received an abundance of God’s saving grace. All of this to lead us to the pure truth of vs.21: “That as sin hath reigned lit. in death, lit. so also grace might reign through righteousness to life eternal – through Jesus Christ our Lord.” How Wonderful!! Let us praise Him for all that He has done!
For Christ’s Glory Only!
“And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, (20) which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, (21) far above all principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named – not only in this world, but also in that which is to come…” [Eph.1:19-21]
This is the month in which we celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, this text is indeed a good one to examine. Of all the different scriptural contexts that describe the genuine faith of the true believer who is still in this fallen world – this is one of the most amazing! For this portion of scripture plainly declares that true saving faith is all of God!
In these three verses, “power”, is being alluded to from five different original sources – and all of which are describing the power of our Lord God. It is no wonder that Jesus, Himself, declared from Jn.6:29: “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” In Eph.1:19, the Spirit of God through Paul declares that it, “is the exceeding greatness of God’s power to us who believe…”.The word used here for “power” literally means: miraculous power. This is a divine supernatural “power” that is not of this world at all! This is the same word for “power” that is used in Ro.1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. For it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth…” And then, the rest of Eph.1:19 really nails it when it goes on to describe of those who truly do believe – that they believe “according to the working of God’s mighty power”!
The original word that is translated as “working” is uniquely used in the New Testament, in that, it is used only in reference to supernatural power – whether of God, or of the Devil. We get our English word “energy” from this Greek word. It describes supernatural power in exercise. In this context where genuine faith in Christ is concerned – it is God’s supernatural power in exercise. Check out the way that it is used as the word for “operation”, when describing “faith” in Col.2:12: “the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Jesus from the dead. Next, there are the two words: “mighty power”. “Mighty” is from a word that connotes “strength” as it is used in Mk.12:30: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart – soul – mind – and strength”. But, in Eph.1:19 it is in direct reference with God’s “strong and mighty power”! The word that is inspired here — by the Holy Spirit — is a word that denotes a manifested “power” as being a specific act of God. Hence, all of these words connote the powerful and gracious work of God on our behalf – making us to be His true believing children while we are still in this tribulation filled world.
Eph.1:20-21 tells us that He completely wrought all of this out for us “in Christ”. According to Eph.1:3-4, this is where He chose us and placed us before the foundation of the world. Then it says that this was all completely worked out for us, “when He raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in heavenly places, (21) far above all principality and power [This fifth word for “power” means sovereign authority] and might and dominion – and every name that is named – not only in this [fallen-in-sin] world – but also in that which is to come” [the glorious new heavens and new earth wherein righteousness dwells]. In short, the sovereign power that God exercises and demonstrates in bestowing upon us the grace of His true saving faith is the same strong and mighty power that He gloriously manifested when He raised His beloved, incarnated and eternal Son from the dead! Praise His all-powerful Name!
For Christ’s Glory Only,
“I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.” “I am the good Shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me – even so know I the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also – I must bring. And they shall hear my voice – and there shall be one fold – one Shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down – and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” “I and my Father are one.” [Jn.10:11,14-18,30]
This teaching is directly from Jesus. This is where He declares Himself to be the “Good Shepherd”. This is both a very simple and yet a profoundly solemn truth. For it specifically deals with the eternally covenanted atonement of all the sins of all His sheep. It is the carnal and perverse spin of fallen men that has propagated so much confusion concerning this portion of God’s Word. E.g., in vs.11 Jesus announces in no uncertain terms that He is the “Good Shepherd”. Then He immediately adds: “the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.”
The word that Jesus uses for “life” is the same word for “soul” in Mt.10:28 – from where Jesus declares: “…fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the SOUL: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both SOUL and body in hell!” In other words, dear ones, Jesus says that we should fear only God – for He is the only one who can do that!
Then the Lord Jesus continues in vs.14-18 by giving us some strong clues as to who truly are His sheep. The first of which is that there is an intimate relationship between Him and His sheep. He says from vs.14 that He intimately knows His sheep. Secondly, He says that He, Himself, is also intimately known by them. The loving intimacy of this relationship is made plain by the literal way that vs.15 describes it. Jesus says that the relationship between Him and His sheep is “Just as the Father” knows Him – and He knows the Father. The loving relationship between the Father and Jesus is Biblically famous! Vs.15 closes with Jesus restating that He, the “Good Shepherd,” gives His (soul) life for the sheep.
Next the Lord Jesus makes a remarkably wonderful statement. He says that there are other sheep that He owns – which are not of this fold; and them also He must (lit.) lead. These others come from every race – kindred – tongue – tribe and generation! Praise the Lord! Every single individual one of them will hear His voice! They hear the gospel of the glory, only, of the Lord Jesus Christ! And, Jesus goes on to descriptively declare that there will be one fold – with one primary Shepherd!
Then Jesus brings up yet again – His eternally atoning sacrifice for all of His sheep throughout the whole history of fallen-in-sin humanity. And, He declares that the everlasting love of God permeates all of it. He says, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my (soul) life, that I might take it again. (18) No man taketh it from me – but I lay it down of myself. I have power (lit. I have sovereign authority) to lay it down, and I have power (lit. I have sovereign authority) to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father!” This is the commandment of the New Covenant – which is the covenant between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit – which was entered into before the very foundation of the world. This is the foundation of God which is firmly and eternally sealed in that He intimately knows those that are His. These are His sheep for whom He sacrificed His soul in order to eternally save all theirs. (2Ti.2:19)
For Christ’s Glory Only!
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction – and many there be which go in thereat: (14) because strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life — and few there be that find it.” [Mt.7:13-14]
“For even hereunto were ye called because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow His steps…” [1Pe.2:21]
The words of Jesus in the first text above were spoken near to the end of His sermon on the mount. They are words that are obviously divinely used to set the stage for our drawing a mental picture of the coming day of judgment. The gospel (or, good news) of the glory, only, of the Lord Jesus Christ is replete with wonderful statements that describe a true believer avoiding an unfavorable personal experience in their individual judgment. Jn.5:24, Ro.8:1 and 1Jn.4:17 to name just three texts that prove this to be true.
It is obvious also from the context of the Mt.7:13-14 text that in that day of final judgment there are going to be some eye opening and foreboding realities. There will be many who thought they would be favorably received by our Lord – only to find out that they were wrong! Jesus describes the sad event from vs.21-23. He said, “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (22) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And – in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? (23) And then I will profess unto them – I never knew you.” [I.e. lit., intimately know them like a father knows his children, or a bridegroom knows his bride] Then, with foreboding finality He says: “Depart from me – ye that work iniquity.”
Sadly, it is these persons that prove to be examples of what God’s Word declares as a warning from Pr.16:25. Which text tells us: “There is a way that seems right unto a man – but the end thereof are the ways of death!” These persons that Jesus refers to here believed that they were living and walking through this fallen world as being true believers and ministers of the Lord. Their profession indicates that they regarded Jesus as being their Lord! Nevertheless, their lives were not being lived according to the Father’s will. This fact should make one stop and think!
How do we truly know that our lives are fulfilling the Biblical description of those whom Jesus refers to as those that, will do the Father’s will and enter into the Kingdom of heaven? The all important descriptive phrase in vs.21as: “he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven”. The answer to how we can know that we are living and doing the will of the Father — centers squarely upon the person and work of the Holy Spirit of God. Why? Because it is the Spirit that bears witness with our spirit “that we are the children of God – and if children, then heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ”! For“…the things of God knoweth no man – but the Spirit of God.” And “As many as are led by the Spirit of God – these are the sons (or, the children) of God!”[Ro.8:16; 1Co.2:11; Ro.8:14]
The way for God’s fallen and sinful children in this world to enter into His heavenly Kingdom is very narrow and very hard to find. Indeed, it is a one man charted course – a one man forged pathway. Jesus is the only way, truth and life. No man comes unto the Father, but by Him. He is our one and only Savior. We desperately need the soul-quickening Holy Spirit to guide us in His footsteps through this world of darkness and trouble. We need the Word of God – I.e. the living Word of God – to be the shinning lamp unto our feet – from here to there! Praise His wonderful Name! Amen.
For Christ’s Glory Only!
“Remember the former things of old – for I am God, and there is none else – I am God and there is none like me; (10) declaring the end from the beginning – and from ancient times – the things not done. Saying, My counsel shall stand – and I will do all my pleasure (11)…yea, I have spoken it – I will also bring it to pass – I have purposed it – I will also do it!” [Is.46:9-11]
“Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us – but unto thy Name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake! (2)Wherefore should the heathen say: Where is now their God? (3) But, our God is in the heavens – He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased.” [Ps.115:1-3]
Isn’t it wonderful to realize that our sovereign God has all our lives and times in His sovereign, almighty hand? In addition, isn’t it especially grand to understand that all the glory for all that’s needed for our eternal salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ has been completely and totally accomplished? Indeed, God is pleased because His eternal Son — our sovereign Savior and vicarious substitute has done it! That is what these texts of scripture are declaring unto us.
From the Isaiah passage – Holy God, Himself, heralds out to us that from eternity – in eternity — and for eternity, He has decreed and purposed everything that’s necessary where our eternal salvation is concerned. He tells us that His counsel – His plan — shall stand – or, (lit.) shall be accomplished. He does all according to His will and good pleasure! Nothing shall frustrate or hinder His plan. Why(?) – even because He, Himself, shall bring it all to pass. He, Himself, shall be the one that carries it out!
In fact, this is exactly what Ps.115:1-3 substantiates. All those, in this fallen-in-sin world that do not have ears to hear – nor eyes to see and who scoffingly declare: “Where is now their God?!” – will all too soon discover that our God — who rules from the heavens all things after the counsel of His own will – has already done it! He has “saved us and called us with a holy calling – not according to our works – but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world [or, lit., before time] began.” [2Ti.1:9]
These are the pure truths of the gospel of the glory, only, of our Lord Jesus Christ! And, every new year – or, even every new day – of our journey through the maze of this fallen-in-sin world we should prayerfully remind ourselves of these wonderful things. This is a part of what the Word says from Phil.4:8 from where it exhorts us, saying: “…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report – if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise – think on these things.”
May the Holy Spirit lead us all through every new day of the new year being ever mindful of who He is as being our great God and Savior. Who, Himself, is ever faithful to us – His true children – ever guiding and providing – protecting and preserving – for His Name’s sake and for His glory!
May we fit the description of Col.3:1-4 which says: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (2) Set your affection [or, lit., your mind] on things above, not on things on the earth. (3)For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (4)When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory!” Let us praise His wonderful eternal Name for all His wonderful eternal works. May the Lord bless you and keep you throughout this whole year.
-For Christ’s Glory Only!