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

The Result of Following Your Heart

Walking shoes

The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

A popular idea in our modern culture is that we should “follow our heart.” While this is popular, it is not wise. Our heart, on its own, will not direct us in the way we need to go. Jeremiah said, “I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself, nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). In the passage quoted at the beginning of this article, the Lord said that man’s heart is “deceitful” and “desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9). The rest of that chapter elaborates on this idea.

In this article, we are going to examine that chapter (Jeremiah 17) and see what happens when we follow our heart. However, we first need to understand the context. Jeremiah had been warning the people of Judah about destruction that was coming. They had rejected God, embraced idolatry, and refused to repent of their sin; so God was going to punish them through the Babylonian army that was coming against them. Though we live in a different time and under different circumstances, the basic points are the same. We will experience the same pitfalls as they did if we also “follow our heart.”

What happens when we follow our heart? This chapter describes six consequences that will come from this.Continue Reading

“Follow Me”

Jesus Calls the First Apostles

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).

In the Great Commission, Jesus told His apostles to go out and make disciples. A disciple is a follower of Jesus. Therefore, the Great Commission was about finding people who would follow Jesus.

This is also what Jesus did while on the earth – He made disciples. But while His apostles would call people to follow Jesus, He would tell them, “Follow Me.

There are a few examples in the gospels in which Jesus offered this invitation – “Follow Me.” In this article, we are going to look at these statements in the book of Matthew and make some applications.Continue Reading

Things Which the Lord Hates

Proverbs

The book of Proverbs contains wisdom to guide us through life. In it we are shown the way that is right and warned about the way that is wrong. In the following passage, the wise man warned about things which the Lord hates.

There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers” (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Hate is a strong word, yet that is the word given by inspiration. Therefore, we should not gloss over the items on this list; instead, we should be sure we understand what these things are and heed this warning.Continue Reading

The Real Pharisees (Part 8): The Pharisees Were Corrupt in Their Hearts

The Real Pharisees

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:25-28).

At the beginning of this study, we noticed how the Pharisees were not as careful with the Law as we tend to think – or as their reputation suggested. Jesus made a similar point in the verses above. The Pharisees would “outwardly appear righteous” (Matthew 23:28), but they were not truly righteous. Their hearts were corrupt.
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Do Not Look at His Appearance

Handshake

After God had rejected Saul as king over Israel, He sent Samuel to Bethlehem to anoint one of the sons of Jesse to be the next king. Before God indicated that Jesse’s youngest son David would be chosen, Samuel assumed that his oldest son Eliab would be the Lord’s choice.

When they entered, he looked at Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him.’ But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:6-7).

David was “a man after [God’s] heart” (Acts 13:22). Yet Samuel, having never met any of these men previously, did not know the heart of David, Eliab, or any of the others. He was passing judgment and making assumptions based upon what these men looked like. God indicated to Samuel that this was the wrong way to evaluate their worthiness to lead God’s people.
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Do This First

Number One

In every area of life, there are certain things that must be done first before something else can be done (e.g., you must put your socks on first before putting on your shoes). That does not mean that the secondary action is less important, but the sequence is.

Sometimes, the order in which we do certain tasks are of necessity. The wise man said, “Prepare your work outside and make it ready for yourself in the field; afterwards, then, build your house” (Proverbs 24:27). Housing is important, but if the planting is not done at the time to plant, there will be no harvest. The house will be useless if one does not have food to eat.

Other times, the order in which actions are to be carried out is of divine decree. Jesus said, “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). If one is baptized before he believes, he has not done what Jesus said he must do to be saved. One must believe first, then be baptized in order to be saved.

Matthew recorded a few times in which Jesus taught that something must be done first before something else could be done. In this article, I want us to notice what Jesus said on these occasions and see what lessons we can learn.
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