Jeremiah and the Parable of the Sower

The Sower

One of the more well-known parables of Jesus is the parable of the sower. It is a simple parable and its basic point can be explained quickly, yet it teaches an important lesson. However, it is also one in which we can draw out other points. In this article, we are going to consider this parable and build upon it with lessons learned from Jeremiah.

And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, ‘Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear’” (Matthew 13:3-9).

In this parable, Jesus described the sower scattering seed on four different types of soils – the roadside, the rocky ground, the thorny ground, and the good soil. The seed was scattered regardless of the type of soil. However, the results were affected by the soil on which the seed fell.Continue Reading

Daniel Sommer: Caring for Our Bodies Better Than We Do for Our Souls

Daniel Sommer: Caring for Our Bodies Better Than We Do for Our Souls

Daniel Sommer (1850-1940) lived ninety years and spent about seventy of those years preaching the gospel. This would be an amazing feat in our modern time; yet for one who was born in the mid-nineteenth century, his longevity was truly remarkable. However, while there are some who almost idolize their physical health to the neglect of their spiritual health, Sommer saw the folly of that. He recognized that the well-being of one’s soul was far more important than bodily nourishment or outward appearance. He made the following remark in one of his sermons:

“‘Man is what he eats.’ This is an old saying, and it is as true of man spiritually as it is of him physically. Man’s body is made up of that which he eats, or receives into his system by eating, drinking, and breathing. The same is true of him educationally, socially, politically, morally and spiritually. In view of this we do not wish our bodies to be imposed on, nor poisoned, with impure foods. But we are not, generally, so careful about food for our souls. Though, as a rule, we do not take the best care of our bodies, yet we care for them better than we do for our souls. We wash our hands and faces several times each day, and pay some attention to the hairs of our heads. As a rule, we are much more concerned about the appearance of our bodies before mankind than we are about the appearance of our souls before God. If we go into a picture gallery and have a photograph taken of our facial expression we may be so pleased with it that we will order an extra dozen photos made to hand around among our friends. But suppose we could have a picture taken of our souls, especially if we have not fed them well on the word of God. We certainly would not wish the extra dozen of such pictures made. But what avails a well-kept, well-nourished body, if our souls are in a starving condition?” (Plain Sermons, p. 107).

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Road Trip: Conclusion

Road Trip

As we have gone through this series, we have made several stops where we found those who were traveling from one place to another.

  • On the road to Jericho, we found the Good Samaritan who stopped to help one who had fallen among robbers. This taught us a lesson about loving our neighbor.
  • On the road to Emmaus, we encountered two disciples who were visited by the resurrected Lord. There we learned about recognizing Jesus.
  • On the road to Gaza, we met a man from Ethiopia who studied the Scriptures with Phillip. This taught is about preaching Jesus.
  • On the road to Damascus, we were introduced to Saul who would later be known as the apostle Paul. Through this example we learned about converting the enemy.

In each of these examples, the individuals who traveled down these roads had the opportunity to do some good deed or learn some valuable lesson. Yet it is important to note that these opportunities and lessons were not the intended purpose of the journey. The travelers had other reasons for their trips, yet these noteworthy encounters met them along the way.Continue Reading

Road Trip (Part 4): The Road to Damascus

The Road to Damascus

On our final excursion in this series, we are going to see a man who was traveling down the road to Damascus. At this last stop, we are going to learn about converting the enemy.

Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.’ The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.

Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank” (Acts 9:1-9).

Saul would later be known as the apostle Paul and would go on make an incredible impact in spreading the gospel throughout his life. Yet at this point, he was an enemy of Christ and a persecutor of the church. Let us consider some lessons from his example.Continue Reading

The Fruit of the Spirit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

In the passage above, Paul talked about the fruit of the Spirit. He listed several characteristics that would be included in this category. Those traits are what the fruit of the Spirit looks like.

He described this as fruit for a reason. Fruit is what grows on a tree or plant of some sort. It does not grow independently; instead, it is a natural product of the life of the plant. In the same way, these characteristics do not spring up independently in our lives; they are the natural product of the Spirit’s influence on our lives. This influence will affect our conduct as we “walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16) and will impact our decisions as we are “led by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:18).Continue Reading

Road Trip (Part 3): The Road to Gaza

The Road to Gaza

On our next stop in this series, we are going to find a man who was going down the road to Gaza. Here we will learn about preaching Jesus.

But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, ‘Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ (This is a desert road.) So he got up and went; and there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure; and he had come to Jerusalem to worship, and he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go up and join this chariot.’ Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ And he said, ‘Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this: ‘He was led as a sheep to slaughter; and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so He does not open His mouth. In humiliation His judgment was taken away; who will relate His generation? For His life is removed from the earth.’ The eunuch answered Philip and said, ‘Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else?’ Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him.

As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ‘Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?’ And Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’ And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:26-39).

This occurred at the time in which the disciples were “scattered” from Jerusalem due to persecution and “went about preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). Philip was among this number, but the Lord specifically directed him to go to this place. Let us notice some lessons from this.Continue Reading

Road Trip (Part 2): The Road to Emmaus

The Road to Emmaus

As we continue this series, let us notice two men who were traveling the road to Emmaus. As we go along with them, we will learn about recognizing Jesus.

And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. And He said to them, ‘What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?’ And they stood still, looking sad. One of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, ‘Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?’

And He said to them, ‘What things?’ And they said to Him, ‘The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened. But also some women among us amazed us. When they were at the tomb early in the morning, and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said that He was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see.’

And He said to them, ‘O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. And they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He was going farther. But they urged Him, saying, ‘Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over.’ So He went in to stay with them.

When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. They said to one another, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?’ And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them, saying, ‘The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon.’ They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of bread” (Luke 24:13-35).

This occasion was one of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. Interestingly, even though these men were disciples, they did not recognize the Lord at first. Let us consider some points from this.Continue Reading