Kingdom Study Topic
The Parable of The Sower
"Behold a farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. However when the sun came up, the plants scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop, a hundred, sixty or thirty times the amount of seed sown. He who has ears, let him hear!" (M't. 13:3-9; 10-23; M'r. 4:2-20; Lu. 8:4-15).
Jesus spoke everything to the multitudes in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parabolic story. When his disciples heard the parable about the farmer planting seed, they questioned the purpose for using such a simple short illustration about farming to teach the people. The answer he gave to their questioning was plain and straightforward. Jesus said, "it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom, but to them it is not given." (M't .13:10-11, 34).
This statement makes it clear that God does not give the sacred secrets of the kingdom for everyone to comprehend. The parables, although they come from the simplicity of life's experiences, are as a shroud draped over the realities of the kingdom. This veil protects them from becoming abused by the dogs and swine of the worldly system. That is the Lord preserves these truths and unveils them to whomsoever he desires. It is the Lord and not religious intellect that equips one with the hearing ear and seeing eye in the proper season. He gives the understanding of the parables to his disciples, even to those whom he chooses for his purpose. (De. 29:4, 29; Ps. 78:2; Pr. 20:12; Isa. 6:9-10; 64:4 M't. 7:6; 11:25-27; Lu. 12:32; John 8:31-32 Acts 28:25-27; Ro. 11:8-10, 33-36; 1Co. 2:9).
What does it take to become a disciple? How can someone become assured that they Hear what the Spirit is saying to the church? The Scriptures clearly show hearing does not come through obeying the carnal religious ordinances of men. Likewise, development of the hearing ear never comes through the strict observance of the letter of God's word. Moreover, discipleship is not the consequence of walking in the dead carnal forms and tradition of man-made ecclesiastical systems. (M'r. 7:5-13; 2Co. 3:6-10).
Surely, none of these things were the criteria for becoming a hearer of kingdom mysteries. If they had been the Pharisees, Sadducees and religious Jews in Jesus's day would have received insight ahead of all others. However, the clear statement of Jesus tells us, "Except one's righteousness greatly surpasses that of the Scribes and Pharisees, he will never enter into the kingdom." Moreover, Jesus declared, "Many are called, but few are choice enough for selection." (Isa. 42:18-20; M't. 5:20; 15:12-14; 20:16; 22:14; John 15:16; Ro. 8:28-30; 12:1-2, 14:16-18; Eph. 1:3-6; Re. 2:7, 11, 17, 26-29, 3:5-6, 12-11, 21-22, 21:7).
One must realize the Lord is not looking for a volunteer people to rule and reign with him in the kingdom. On the contrary, it is a carefully selected and chosen people who are becoming qualified to enter into the full authority of sonship.
Now remember, "As many as received him to them gave he the authority to become the sons of God." God gives this authority to meet the criteria of true discipleship to all who are believing into, adhering to, trusting in and relying on the name of the Lord. Forgetting what is behind, these selected ones press with earnest pursuit into the mark. That is the groove, which Jesus established as the pattern that leads into the prize of the high calling of God. Therefore, let us become diligent to present ourselves to God, as qualified workmen that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. (John 1:11-13; Ro. 8:29; 1Co. 9:24-27; 2Co. 3:16-18; Ph'l. 3:10-17; 2Ti. 2:15; Heb. 12:1-2; 1Jo. 3:2-3; 4:17).
It was with this understanding that Jesus said to those Jews who believed him, "If you continue in, remain in, and hold fast to my word, then you are my disciples indeed. You will know the truth and the reality will make you free." Remember, what determines if someone is a disciple is not obedience to some man-made papal authority or systematic error of dogma. Becoming a disciple requires the giving of oneself to living, abiding, and continuing faithfully in the Word of the kingdom. It is a practiced lifestyle of discipline. (John 8:31-32).
The daily experience of a true disciple causes the growth necessary to result in a closer personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. Let us recognize that to know about Jesus is not sufficient. For within the heart of every genuine disciple there is a longing for a close personal relationship with Jesus. To such as this God gives the mysteries of the kingdom. Hallelujah! (Ro. 8:18-23; Ph'l. 3:1-11).
Jesus finished explaining he was speaking of a mystery or sacred secret intended especially for his disciples. He then went on to say, "if you do not understand this parable, how then are you to understand any parable?" Notice that the understanding of this parable is essential for gaining the comprehension of any other allegory. Surely this makes "The Parable of the Sower," the most important parable.
Recognizing how and what one hears is of extreme importance. Although the disciples heard enough to know that Jesus taught the people in parables they had not heard clearly enough to decipher his full intention. Therefore to his disciples he said, "hear the parable of the sower!" This statement teaches us that hearing with the natural ear and intellect, as the disciples had, is not adequate. There is a hearing that only comes in and through the Spirit of God. Hearing by the Spirit produces the understanding and perception that is so very vital in our relationship with Christ Jesus and the kingdom of God. (M't. 13:11, 16, 18; M'r. 4:13, 24; Lu. 8:18; John 6:63-65; 14:26, 16:13; 1Co. 2:9-16; 2Co. 3:6; Eph. 4:11-16).
What Is The Seed of The Kingdom?
The seed is the Word of God. It is important to take a good close look at the seed, so we might have an accurate evaluation of its full potential. If we understand the true nature of a seed then no confusion takes place as it grows to full maturity. (M'r. 4:14; Lu. 8:11).
I remember a garden the wife and I planted a few years back. We planted sweet corn, onions, beets, squash and many other vegetables. No difficulties came about when it was time to cultivate and care for the garden because we knew something about the seed we planted. We knew what to anticipate in the different stages of growth for each seed. Harvest time finally came and in exchange for our labors we reaped an abundance of produce from the garden.
However, that season my wife also planted a large variety of flower seeds in front of our house. One day I thought I would help her by weeding the flower patch while she was out grocery shopping. I knew nothing about these seeds except my wife planted them and they would produce some kind of flower when they reached maturity. My wife returned from the grocery store after I finished the task of weeding the flower beds. However, she saw what I accomplished from a different vantage point than I did. This was because she understood the nature of the seeds she planted. My wife proceeded to inform me that some of the weeds I pulled were the flowers she planted. Moreover, some of the flowers that I left were weeds that I should have pulled.
This experience helped me to realize why we must have an understanding of the true nature of the Seed. In the parable of the sower the seed is the Word of God, which is the Word of the kingdom.
The religious mind often limits the Word of God to being only those words recorded in the Bible. This book definitely contains words from God. However, it is the means to the end and not the end in itself (2Ti. 3:16-17).
Still others believe the Word of God to be the doctrines and dogmas of a particular religious organization. Many schools of thought persist in the various sects of Christendom. Most of these beliefs have their place in the over all view of God's purpose. However, God does not make any one area of theology the full expression of his intention. Doctrines such as: the new birth, water baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit is all a part of the whole in the believer's experience. Moreover, teachings on holiness, the coming of the Lord, sonship, reconciliation and many more are a valuable part of the gospel. However, all of these and any other such tenets of faith are only small facets of God's complete thought. There is no one area of doctrine, by itself, that is the seed of the kingdom. Rather, each teaching is at best an individual aspect of the multifarious characteristics of the seed.
The Seed is the living Word of God that became flesh, dwelled among us, and is now in us. This seed is incapable of corruption, the Word of Truth that lives and abides. It is the life of Christ that brings illumination to mankind. We call his name Jesus Christ the son of God. Through the Seed of the kingdom God establishes his life and dominion within and through the lives of a new creation man of many members, which is the body of Christ. (John 1:1-5, 12-14; 6:32-33; 14:16-20; 1Co. 12:12-13, 27; 2Co. 5:16-17; Ga. 3:16, 29; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:13; Col. 1:27; Jam. 1:16-18; 1Pe. 1:23-25).
The Webster's New World Dictionary says the word kingdom comes from a compound of the English word "king" and "dom." The suffix "dom" is a shortened form of domain or dominion. Therefore, the English word kingdom speaks of the domain or dominion of a king.
The Greek word "basileia" translated, kingdom, denotes sovereignty, royal power and dominion. By implication this includes the territory and people over which the king rules. There can be no kingdom apart from a king. Countries that were once kingdoms are now republics. This is because they no longer have a king, or sovereign, but the public now governs. There are four things necessary in order for a kingdom to exist. (1) A king to exercise authority of the kingdom. (2) A royal law from which the king governs the kingdom. (3) People that are subject to the king and laws of the kingdom. (4) Finally, a territory or region for the king and his subjects to inhabit.
In the structure of a kingdom one dominion can reside within another dominion. In the Scripture a number of kingdoms or realms of dominion exist. First, there is the kingdom of God that is unconditional and absolute. Next, the kingdom of the son of God's love, Jesus, which is above all others, yet subject to God the Father. Following this is the kingdom of Christ that is the overcoming body of saints who are in complete subjection to their Head, Jesus Christ the Lord. Then there is, the kingdom of Satan, that is presently subject to God and Jesus, and becoming subjected to the overcoming body of Christ. There is also the kingdom of the beast presently subject to Satan and the kingdoms of this world that are presently in subjection to the beast. We find still other realms of dominion in the Bible but I believe the above mentioned are sufficient to demonstrate the possible chain of command that can exist within a kingdom. (Ge. 3:15; Ps. 22:27-31; 24:1-2; 44:24-28; 45:1-14; Isa. 65:25; Dan. 4:1-3, 34-37; M't. 4:8; 16:28; Lu. 4:5; Eph. 2:2, 5:5; Col. 1:13; 2Pe. 1:11; Re. 11:15; 12:10).
Someone may be curious as to what is the difference between the kingdom of god and the kingdom of heaven. One would need to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel to produce a very significant difference between them. The kingdom of God and the kingdom of Heaven are interchangeable throughout the Gospels. However, take note that the kingdom of Heaven is always a part of the kingdom of God, but the kingdom of God cannot become limited to Heaven. When using the phrase "kingdom of God," it tells us who possesses the authority of the realm. While to speak of the kingdom of Heaven tells us the seat of its administration. (M't. 4:23; 5:3; 13:11; M'r. 1:14; 4:11; 6:20).
Let us look for a moment at the sphere of God's domain. There can be little argument with the sovereignty of God's kingdom. This simply means he is over all, as well as being "the beginning and ending" of everything. "God established his kingdom in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all." it is easy to see every other dominion has limits placed upon it by god's all encompassing reign of authority. (Ps. 22:27-31; 24:1; 33:8-12 103:19; ro. 11:36; re. 3:14; 4:11).
God spoke through the prophet of old saying, "You are my witnesses and my servant whom I have chosen: that you may know and believe me, and understand that I am he. Before me there was nothing formed of God, neither will there be after me. Yea, before the day was I am he; there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who will hinder (or reverse it)?" (Isa. 43:10-13).
We need to understand there is no authority except from God by his permission or his sanction. Those authorities that exist do so by God's appointment. The Bible teaches us, "all things in heaven and upon earth: whether thrones, dominions, principalities, or powers; both the visible and the invisible were made in and by and for him." Yet, he placed boundaries upon all of these created things. The checks and balances of God's domain serve to cause the formation and manifestation of what he planned from the beginning. (Job 26:10; Pr. 16:4, 9, 11, 33; 20:23-24; John 1:3; Acts 17:26; Ro. 13:1-2; Eph. 1:11; Col. 1:15-17; Re. 4:11).
There are limitations set upon every throne, dominion, principality and power by God's all encompassing dominion. This sovereign control applies to the angels who left their first estate, as well as, all mankind. It also pertains to the Traducer, Deceiver or Adversary, best known as Satan or the Devil. Whatever form the opposing forces of mankind take, God is in full control. (Ro. 5:18-19; 11:30-36; 14:7-13; 1Co. 15:21-28; 2Co. 5:14-16; Eph. 1:17-23; Ph'l. 2:9-11; 2Pe. 2:4; Jude 1:6).
All created things have a predestined purpose in the plan of God. The most glorious scared secret is being unveiled. This revelation lets us in on God's secret intention. His will is Christ present in humanity, bringing all things together in one. Yes, bringing all creation into the glorious liberty of the children of God! Hallelujah! God is above all and in all! (Ro. 8:16-25; Eph. 1:9-10; Col. 1:26-27).
Now that we somewhat understand the Seed of the kingdom let us go back and look at the parable of the sower. This parable demonstrates how the mind of man receives the seed of the kingdom that becomes broadcast into it. It is through this parable we learn of the four areas of reception that exists in everyone's mind or soul. Let us learn to recognize what can happen to the Seed of The Kingdom as the sower broadcasts it into the planting area of the hearer's life.
The sower broadcasting seed into the field represents one who declares the Word of the kingdom as present reality. In the past an individual called the sower would walk through a field indiscriminately scattering seed from side to side. This planting process, known as broadcasting seed, is as the process used in preaching God's Word. The preacher broadcasts the living, abiding, incorruptible Seed of God's Word into the minds of humanity. As he proclaims the Word of the kingdom he has very little control of where the Seed lands within the thought life of those who give an ear to him. However, he can rest with full assurance because some of the Seed reaches all four areas within the planting field of those who listen to him.
The first dimension of the planting area does not understand what is being sown into it. The term for the untilled ground located at the outer edge of the field is "the pathway" or "the wayside." The soil of this area becomes solidly packed as firmly as a fixed and dogmatic mind. This area of the field represents the thinking of an individual that has become settled with preconceived and dogmatic teachings.
All too often one lacks understanding because they become closed-minded and refuse to consider any teaching that does not agree with their religious norm. This hearer holds fast to what he thinks he knows giving absolutely no serious thought to what he hears. It does not matter if he partakes of a good Word, filled with life or not. If what he hears is new or different from what he previously excepted as truth he simply ignores the Word and closes his mind.
The seed that falls upon the pathway of the planting area is equal to the Word of the kingdom that falls upon the hardened heart of a stiff-necked wayside mentality. Every Word of the kingdom that falls upon the wayside mentality of the human intellect becomes subject and available to Satan. Satan is our spiritual Adversary and as a spirit of apathy he now works in the soulish minds of many of God's sons. The Greek word "apeitheia," translated disobedience in Ephesians 2:2, perfectly describes the wayside mentality. It describes the condition of being dogmatic and unable to change. Furthermore, it suggests that such people are narrow-minded and obstinate. Satan, also known as the Traducer, devours the seed of the kingdom rendering the Word worthless. This is the very reason the religious Jews of Jesus' day were incapable of receiving the kingdom that they had so long awaited (1Co. 8:1-3; Eph. 2:2).
A good example of how this wayside condition of the soulish mind exists in sincere people of God becomes evident when we consider the fulfillment of the three feast seasons of Israel. The first season is "The Feast of Passover" or "Unleavened Bread." The second season is "Feast of Pentecost" or "The Feast of Weeks." The last feast season is "The Feast of Tabernacles" or "The Feast of Booths." (De. 16:16-17).
There is very little argument among theologians that "The Feast of Passover" foreshadowed the sacrifice of the Lamb of God for sinful humanity. It is the common thought among Christians that this allegory came to unmistakable fulfillment nineteen hundred years ago. The obvious testimony of the true meaning of Passover came through the death, burial and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Jesus first declared this to be so when he ate the Passover with the twelve before his crucifixion. "He took the unleavened bread, gave thanks, and break it and gave it to his disciples, saying, 'Take; eat; this represents my body that is being given for you. This you have done and continue doing as my memorial.' Likewise, he took the cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, 'Drink all of it. This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many, for the remission of sins.'" Many still do not understand the bread and drink had been apart of the Passover meal from its conception. It was at this last supper that Jesus interpreted this portion of the Jewish Passover. He told them it was the memorial of what he was about to enter into on behalf of the world. Paul confirmed this when he wrote, "Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast--as you really are. For Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed." There is no argument within Christendom that the body and blood of the Passover Lamb are just as fresh and effective today as it was the day he died. (Lu. 22:19-20; John 1:29; 1Co. 5:7; 10:15-17; 11:20-34; Heb. 10:5-10, 12-14, 19-21).
The controversy begins with the "Feast of Pentecost." This is the second of the three feast seasons recorded in Hebrew Scripture. There is much disagreement among sincere, God fearing, Bible believing Christians as to the continued fulfillment of this allegory. Most believe the one hundred and twenty believers, who were in the upper room on the day of Pentecost, experienced the fulfillment of the second feast season. However, the continued fulfillment for the present day is where many find disagreement.
Some believe that receiving the Holy Spirit, accompanied with speaking in "tongues," as was the experience of the early believers, are no longer valid for today. They do not understand that the promise of the Holy Spirit was not just to the early church. The promise is "to all that are afar off, even to as many as the Lord our God shall call." Now if your religious background taught you that this experience was no longer valid you most likely believed it wholeheartedly. If anyone taught contrary to your preconceived misunderstanding it is not likely that you gave consideration to the word. It was only as the Lord caused the seed to fall further into the interior of the planting field of your soul that a fruitful change took place within your thinking. This is when the Word took free course in your life. You then became capable of entering into the experiential reality and glorious fulfillment of the feast of Pentecost (John 14:16-20; 25-27; Lu. 24:49; Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-4; 37-39; 2Th. 3:1).
So many in this hour have their minds completely closed to anything outside their religious norm. They hold blindly to the traditions passed on to them through philosophy, theology and vain deceit. All of which agree with the traditions of men and the elements of the world. Yet, none of it concurs with the seed of the kingdom that contains the life of Christ. They hold fast to dogmas of escape rapture, mansions on a hilltop, endless torment in a fiery hell, and a heavenly city with golden streets. The fashioning of all such traditional fables is according to this world's wisdom. Many of these teachings find their origin in ancient mythology and are not at all scriptural. All too often cunningly devised fables are all some care to take into account. Due to this there is no opportunity for the kingdom seed to penetrate their thinking (Col. 2:8, 20-22).
Even many within the so called move of God, end-time, sonship and kingdom circles come to this dogmatic heart and closed mindedness. They often see those who teach something other than what they embrace as having swerved from the truth. Often those who received "a revelation" in times past, camp upon it. They assume themselves to be the final word when it comes to what God is presently doing within his kingdom. The attitude caused by this heart condition will prevent the seed of the kingdom from getting into fertile ground. Instead of bringing forth the fruitful life of the kingdom, the harsh and opinionated voice of religious law and condemnation becomes conspicuous. Again Satan steals the seed by slandering, condemning and accusing the brethren. In time, even what life they do have will become old and useless (M't. 13:12; Re. 12:7-11).
Obviously no one has yet come to a flawless understanding and expression of God's kingdom. Furthermore, each of us has a pathway mentality surrounding the planting area of our thinking. So let us guard against becoming closed minded and unteachable because of the preconditioning of our religious mentality. This preconditioned state of mind makes a hearer unable to receive new comprehension pertaining to the kingdom of God. Thus, there can be no further advancement into those things relating to the life of Christ.
I am not advocating that we presumptuously accept every teaching that comes our way in the name of Jesus. However, we do need to learn how to trust in and rely on the holy spirit to lead us and guide us into all truth. The kingdom belongs to God. It is his design and objective, not mankind's. Furthermore, he began the good work within us and we are confident that he is well-able to keep us and bring his work to completion. Therefore, when we hear the Word of God, it is very important that we listen with complete openness. We must also pay close attention to the Spirit in which the Word comes forth. This is because the Word of God becomes valuable to us only when brought to us through the Spirit anointed life. (John 6:63; 14:26; 1Co. 11:17-19; Ph'l. 1:6; 3:13-15; 1Jo. 2:27).
Throughout past ages God hid many sacred secrets from mankind's comprehension. Now he gives us the Holy Spirit to stand alongside us and to teach us all things. Moreover, he divulges the very depths of his mysteries to us through the Spirit. Our Teacher, who is the Holy Spirit, abides within us to take hold of the seed of the kingdom as it becomes broadcast into our minds. The gifts and administrations of the Holy Spirit are the tools which God chooses to use in planting, cultivating and watering the seed of the kingdom.
Therefore, let us learn a lesson from the noble bereans who became fertile ground for the seed of the kingdom. Their being considered more noble than those at Thessalonika was the simple consequence of giving full consideration to the Word of God. Knowing this: God's capability alone preserves us from the deception of unrighteousness. He increases his grace within our lives only as we demonstrate love for reality. It is God's desire to lead ALL mankind into the full recognition of the truth. It is the reality in the kingdom of God that he alone gives us a sound mind and makes us holy as we stand before his presence. Moreover, the truth makes us free, (not loose), so that he can set all creation free through his chosen ones. Hallelujah! (John 7:16-18; 8:32; Ro. 8:19-22; Eph. 1:15-19; 1Ti. 1:6-9, 13-14; 2:1-6; 2Th. 2:8-13).
Next, we find a soil condition that is common to much of the farm land in Israel. The rocky places spoken of here do not refer to rocks and pebbles in the dirt. This type of soil describes a layer of hard subsoil, often referred to as "hardpan," underlying a shallow layer of top soil. This ground exists primarily at the outer edge of the tilled area of the field and just within the boarder of "the wayside."
A team of oxen pulled a plow to prepare the ground for planting in Jesus' day. However, when the team turned at the fields outer boundary the blade of the plow did not cut deeply into the fallow ground. Therefore, the perimeter of the planting field had a layer of hardpan beneath a shallow surface of top soil.
These rocky places speak of the area in one's thought life that are shallow and half committed because of double mindedness. This mentality serves God out of a feeling of religious responsibility, yet, at the same time, avails itself to the carnal side of the human make-up. When an individual hears the word of the kingdom from the rocky place mentality the seed is at once received with joy. However obsession with the flesh makes it impossible for the individual to please God. Remember. Being disposed to the flesh is enmity against God and can only result in death (Ro. 8:1-8; Ga. 5:16-17).
To receive the seed superficially into the shallow area of double mindedness results in "soilish" emotions, but no place exists for the deep roots of faithfulness. The inability to commitment makes it impossible to properly yield to the seed so that the fruit of God's kingdom can come to fruition. Furthermore, consideration of the flesh produces a shallowness in the understanding making it impossible to decipher truly spiritual matters. Therefore contemplating on those things that pertain to the flesh prevents any depth of comprehension or commitment to the Word of the kingdom.
Rocky place hearing gives no room for the seed to take root in the life of the hearer so it endures for only a short time. When difficulty and pressure come because of the word, the individual quickly falls away from the Word of the kingdom and returns to focusing on the flesh.
Such hearing receives the Word of the kingdom with much passion, desire and determination and briefly considers what it takes to generate the fruit of the kingdom. However, the fervor only remains as long as the feelings of exhilaration are present. The ability for growth is not present because the seed finds no place to root itself in the hearer. Jesus warned his disciples, saying, "Watch and pray so that you will not enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." (M't. 26:41; M'r .14:36).
God's Word cannot become deeply established within the mind of the hearer through emotions. Moreover, grasping onto someone else's revelation of the kingdom may excite us, but the lack of a personal understanding produces a shallow root. It is the superficial acknowledgment of the revealed Word that makes it impossible to endure the proving necessary to produce the fruit of the kingdom. Clearly emotions are not enough to bring this seed to the fruit bearing stage. It takes the deep seating and rooting of God's word in the personal life of every hearer.
Furthermore, it takes a thought life that focuses totally on the Spirit. It requires a life that yields to the dealings of God's spiritual spade and plow so there can be the depth needed for the root of the seed. After all, when one receives the seed of the kingdom he can expect tribulation to come because of the Word. The apostles taught, "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God." (Acts 14:22, NIV).
This parable so far reveals that the dogmatic areas of wayside hearing and the emotional shallowness of a rocky place mentality are not sufficient to produce the fruit of the kingdom. It takes the complete breaking up of all dogmatic preconceptions, as well as, a singleness of mind to prepare a place for God's seed to take root.
The third area of hearer's mind becomes so involved in the present order of things, or cosmos, that a loss of present truth takes place. This hearer not only hears and receives the seed of the kingdom, but it takes root within the productive area of the mind. However, as time goes on, this seed does not continue to progress toward the fruit bearing stage as it should. This is because the worries of life, the cares of the age, as well as the deceitfulness of abundance begins choking the life out of the fertile seed. This process of frustration continues until the intrinsic free flow of God life no longer manifests within the hearer's soul.
Again this reminds me of our gardening experience and a small patch of pole beans we planted in one corner. As the small plants began to grow, the gophers and other pests started destroying them. After some time, we decided to let the patch of pole beans go to the gophers, and weeds. Meanwhile we put our attention upon the less troublesome and seemingly more fruitful areas of the garden. It wasn't long before the weeds had overtaken the bean patch. The increase of weeds brought an end to the gophers' attacks in the bean patch. It looked as if the adversaries had finally become defeated. However, they only turned their attention to other parts of the garden area.
Near the end of the harvest season, I decided to take a look at the bean plants that still remained. I wanted to see what had been the result of the neglect they had suffered. I noticed that all the plants had become quite entangled with weeds and thistles. Although the foliage was still identifiable as pole beans there was no fruit found on the plants. The weeds choked the life bearing ability out of the bean plants and rendered them fruitless. The bean vines only produced little shriveled up pods with no mature fruit inside. You might say they manifested "a form" of bean life, but denied the very essence of the seed itself. (2Ti. 3:5).
So many Christians live their lives based on futurism. They gather all the latest predictions of eschatological events. Although the seed of the kingdom entered a fertile area of the planting field there is a secession from the continued practice of an awareness of the indwelling Christ life. The central focus is upon scores of hypothetical concepts broadcast into the planting area of the human mind generation after generation. These concern such subjects as: the beginning of the great tribulation, the appearing of the antichrist, the mark of the beast, and even the day and hour of the Lord's second coming.
The religious mind continues to play guessing games having to do with end-time events. In spite of the one hundred percent failure of these prophecies the vast majority will continue to play these games for the next millennial or more. The focus of our thinking should never be on pointless conjecture. It is time to recognize that such things are of little or no importance to the one who becomes aware of the hidden mystery of Christ life. Moreover, the only true protection one can find from the worries of life and the concern of the age is in learning to dwell in Christ. Therefore, the emphasis should be upon the quality of the felloship we have with the Christ seed. Understanding the traditional concepts concerning end-time events has absolutely nothing to do with producing the fruit of the kingdom. These teachings most usually cause one to become disinterested and lethargic concerning the truly important matters of the Spirit.
Furthermore, one must recognize that continuously hearing predictions that do not take place only helps to produce disbelief in a hearer. It becomes nearly impossible to keep the expectancy necessary for pressing into the fruit bearing stage of the kingdom. Let all who listen and give heed to such foolishness be careful! Let them fear, lest they begin to think the Lord delays his coming.
We are not to concern ourselves with what tomorrow will or will not bring. Moreover, we are not looking for a kingdom to come someday, for the kingdom is reality today. As for tomorrow, it is in God's hands, and he alone is able to guard effectively what we commit to him against the day of the Lord's appearing. We must not concern ourselves with the future problems. Focusing our attention on what might come our way, and what could happen tomorrow, can cause us to neglect the present reality of the kingdom life that is within us. If this happens we come to the place of losing the fruitful manifestation we have so long awaited.
Remember, it is the fruitfulness of the kingdom that we have waited so long to see. It is with much patience we possess our souls. Also, it is with much tribulation that we enter into the kingdom of God. Therefore, casting all of our anxiety upon him, and laying aside every encumbrance and missing of the mark that does so easily entangle us. Let us run with calm endurance the race set before us, looking into Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of the faith. He truly cares for each one of us. Hallelujah!
The primary goal of every believer should be that of bearing the fruit of the kingdom seed to maturity. Jesus said, "Seek first the kingdom of God even his righteousness." He went on to promise the provision of the physical and material realm to all those who do so. Many in this hour use their energy to search out kingdom knowledge, but they neglect the righteousness of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. The old English spelling for the word righteousness used to be "right-wiseness." Through this spelling we discover that it is the correct wisdom in the seed that gives sweetness and maturity to the fruit. Therefore, let us look deeply within, and ascertain that all which pertains to life and godliness God located in the midst of us, in the seed of the Christ.
The word seek does not mean to look passively for a thing. Rather, it means to require by desiring above all else that the righteous kingdom of God become found by you, in you and produced through you. However, discovering such a heart in those who desire to hear the Word of the kingdom is not so easy. Many become completely satisfied with taking the Word of God and handling it deceitfully. Still others become entangled in doctrines concerning materialistic pleasure and carnal prosperity.
Another kind of wealth many seek after is the abundance of knowledge. This too often leads to the choking entanglement of religious pride. It is not what you know, but who you know that produces the righteous fruit of the kingdom. Knowledge by itself puffs up and leaves the ego inflated with pride and vanity. "Anyone who thinks he perceives something, has not yet experienced as he will." However, for you to love God is for God to know you and that is right standing with God.
It is a real shock when we realize many who have heard the Word, even have it rooted and grounded within their hearts, will miss bearing the reality of the promised fruit. This is because they either allowed the worries of life or the deceitfulness of wealth to spring forth as weeds within their lives. Such a mental focus will cut off the fruitfulness of the kingdom before it has opportunity to mature.
We learned the seed of the kingdom is the Living Word that becomes the indwelling Christ of promise. The Word of life many times falls by the wayside of men's minds at planting time. It then becomes devoured by the Adversary who is able to traduce the hearer because of dogmatic religious beliefs.
Holding to the hard line religious doctrines and traditions of men causes one to refuse giving the consideration needed to receive the life that is in the seed. Jesus plainly told the religious people of his day, "You nullify the Word of God by your tradition that you have handed down." (M'r. 7:13).
Moreover, we saw the same seed fall upon the rocky ground of the human thought life. This portion of the field becomes preoccupied with consideration of the flesh. Since it remains unyielded and unbroken only the shallowness of emotional acceptance exists and there is no depth of understanding. Here there is a willingness to respond to the seed of the kingdom since it seems emotionally correct. Yet, the ability to become fully submitted and committed to the seed is only superficial and religious. The emotional joy diminishes when things get down to the nitty-gritty, nasty now and now of life. The hardship that comes because of the Word causes the hearer soon to stumble away from the seed it received. Whatever life came from the Word soon withers and dies in the heat of trial and persecution. This happens because the hearer had no root or understanding of the seed in himself. The hearer's regard for the flesh kept a barrier in the mind that would not allow the seed to reach deep into the personal areas of the hearer's life.
Next, we saw the Word that falls into the thorny ground of the human intellect. This area gives the seed the consideration and the room it needs to grow. Thus, the Word develops in the hearer's life by sprouting and growing to the fruit bearing stage. However, the worries of life, the cares of the age, and the deceitfulness of abundance cause a loss of interest and focus. This loss of interest and focus cause a neglect that results in a lethargic dullness within the hearer's spiritual life. It isn't long until the weeds of worry, stress and misery overtake the potential fruitfulness of the young plant and choke the fruit bearing ability right out of it. If these weeds do not do the damage then "the deceitfulness of abundance" will. The thorn appears in the form of pride, arrogance, and self-sufficiency. None of these thorny conditions normally destroy the religious element of the Word. Thus, we end up with a life that has a form of godliness, but it denies the very power of godliness. (2Ti. 3:1-6).
Now let us take a look at the seed as it falls into the fertile ground of a noble and good heart. This area of the field speaks of the spiritual mind that God gives to his chosen. In First Corinthians 2:9-16 we read, "It is written: 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.' However God revealed it to us through his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. This is because they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."
It is the Christ mind that gives exclusive consideration and acceptance to the Word of the kingdom. This is where the seed finds the room to root deeply within the personal life and understanding of the hearer. The union that takes place between the Christ seed and the Christ mind generates more than just a hearing of kingdom dogma. This joining takes two distinctly different things, the Word of life and the regenerated soul of mankind and produces a new creation man.
Moreover, the experience produces a doer of the kingdom Word. This area of the soul is not capable of hearing the Word of life and presumptuously settling on its lees, at ease in Zion. The one receiving the seed into the good soil will never complacently proclaim, ``What will be, will be!'' For if what he receives is truly the revealed Word of the kingdom, it produces the faith necessary to bring forth The Substance of the seed. The seed deposited in the good soil of the hearer and cultivated with true expectation will bring forth the convicting evidence of the invisible kingdom. There is a response needed when we hear and truly understand the Word that God discloses concerning his kingdom. The commitment to walk it out, by putting into action all we know to be correct, rests within us. Remember. "To whom much is given, of him shall much be required." (Lu. 12:48).
The purpose of the seed planted within the life of the hearer is to bring forth kingdom fruit to the glory of the Father for all the earth to see. In the process of growing to maturity, changes and transformations continually occur in the recipient's heart and character. The death and bare earthen carnality of the first Adam can never inherit the kingdom of God. The seed works within the earth swallowing up death while transforming it into victory and life. Hallelujah!
Let us become aware of our accountability to the implanted Word of the kingdom that is able to save the soul. The apostle Paul wrote to the Church saying, "Continue to give form to your salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who enables you to will and to act according to his good purpose." By this he meant we are to cultivate and advance the life of the seed by willing and functioning out of God's energizing. We are to endeavor earnestly to press on to full maturity and salvation, with godly reverence, awe and trembling. Doing all we know to stand righteously, taking serious thought of what we hear, putting no confidence in human capability. Becoming watchful as to the temptations that come because of the Word, while avoiding all that discredits godliness and scandalizes the name of Christ Jesus (Ph'l 2:17-13).
We must consider that we cannot accomplish any of this in our own strength. It is the seed of promise that is all the while effectually at work in us. It creates and makes the power and desire of God, that is necessary to overcome the flesh and grow up into maturity, active within us. It is the seed of Christ that produces the fruit of the kingdom. The ability is in the seed and not in ourselves. It is Christ in us that will enable us to accomplish the good pleasure, satisfaction and delight of the Father. There is more to seeing a seed grow to a mature fruit bearing stage than just getting it into the ground. It is also necessary to cultivate, fertilize and irrigate the ground that holds the seed. It is God who accomplishes all these necessary things within our lives in their proper seasons. We only need to respond to him and walk faithfully in that which he entrusts to us.
Here are a few of the things God enables us to perform through the resident life of the seed. God gives the capability to us so we can see the seed of promise brought to full maturity, becoming fruitful in our lives.
First, we must set our minds and keep them set on what is above -- the higher things -- not on things that are on the earth. Looking after and paying attention to the earthy realm of life and the carnality of the flesh produces pollution, decay and death in the inner man of the Spirit. However, focusing and concentrating upon those things that are above this natural plain of life produces life and peace. Thus, we discover that we must fix our attention on the higher things pertaining to the spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Doing this deprives the law of sin and death of the authority needed to make us captive again. Centralizing our thoughts on the presence of the heavenly Christ deadens and numbs our evil desires and soulish animal impulses.
Next, we must become subjected to God! Then we will become enabled to stand firm against the Devil and resist him so that he will flee from us.
Many no longer believe that The Devil, who is the traducer and accuser of the brethren, exists as an enemy. These rationalize that since God is in control of all things and Jesus has overcome everything there remains no Adversary to God's purpose. They speculate even further that "Old Slew Foot" has become merely a tool or the smith that blows upon the coals of fire bringing God's purpose to perfection. Then there are those who are on a continual demon hunt. Such as this lose sight of the only hope and salvation that exists for mankind.
It is now time to rise up into that place of kingdom reality. Thus, we might perceive the cunning craftiness with which Satan masquerades as an angel of light. He puts on this masquerade with the intention of beguiling and thoroughly deceiving mankind from the reality. It is of utmost importance that we grow up in the Word of righteousness. This is needful so that we become equipped to discern both the good and the evil, the blessing and the cursing, as well as, the light and the darkness.
The apostle Peter, in writing to blood bought, God fearing Christians, warned them to be temperate and well-balanced. Furthermore, we should become serious, alert to danger, and cautious at ALL times. He said this because the Devil, which is OUR adversary, roams around as a lion in fierce hunger. He continuously seeks whatever he can seize upon and devour. We must withstand him, being firm against his onset; rooted, established, strong, immovable and determined to overcome the evil one in all things.
James, the brother of our Lord, writes that we are to "submit ourselves to God, (and) resist the Devil and he will flee from us." Our submission is to be to God. If we truly yield to him we will resist the Adversary. Moreover, we will take the position of hating that which is evil and holding fast to that which is right and good.
Paul also stated that we ought to beware of the cunning craftiness that the Devil uses to dupe us. He further instructs us to put on the magnificent apparel of God's armor. This we are to do so that we may be able to stand against the strategy of our Adversary.
Do these admonitions, written by inspired men of God, sound as if we should consider Satan any less than our enemy? Does it not appear that the Devil is out to deceive and devour all those not prepared to stand against him?
Hopefully we are becoming more mindful of the continuous and strategic adversity that struggles against our witness of Christ. We should also recognize that total submission and commitment to God are our only defense against such an onslaught. The seed that is the Word of the kingdom resides within us and the Spirit of God daily writes this Word of life into our comprehension. For it is God, through Christ Jesus, who "works all things according to the determination of his own will." Furthermore, the Bible teaches, "all things work together for good, to them that love God and are the called according to his purpose." Be careful not to lose sight of the qualifying statement in this truth. For the promise of kingdom authority is reserved for those who are "the called" and "who love god!" The word love signifies a devotion to God that responds to him by doing his will. It also conveys that the one who loves him, yearns so deeply for him, that he gladly resists all that opposes God likeness.
Finally, we are to come closer to God and he will come closer to us. This makes it necessary that we humble ourselves--feeling very insignificant--in the presence of the Lord. As one humbles himself God will lift him up and make his life significant. In drawing close to God, it is necessary to first realize that all the forms and traditions of the religious systems are vain and useless. Moreover, we must be able to comprehend that it is God who gives us a hearing ear and a seeing eye. Thus, he is the One who began the good work in us and only he can truly finish what he began. We did not choose to come to the Lord initially. Furthermore, it has not been through any works or efforts of our own that we have continued in him.
It is because of this that we can then call to him out of a broken heart and humbled spirit. Moreover, out of this comprehension we call upon the Lord with all earnestness and sincerity-- "Lord, draw me, and I will run after you." It is then, and only then, that the glorious reality of his drawing power becomes unveiled to us. He is ever close to those who call upon him to deliver them. Praise the mighty name of Jesus!
It is the Lord that implants the Word of life into the good ground of the soul. It is also the Lord that makes his presence known to and within us. Nonetheless, let us take caution lest we become self-exalted and haughty of mind. Many have heard what God is speaking in this hour and because it has become meaningless head knowledge they become proud and puffed up in their own conceits. Therefore, let the same attitude, purpose and humble mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus. He alone is our example of true humility.
The fully mature fruit of the kingdom seed does not come forth out of one's positive confession of rights and privileges. The production of fruit begins only when the seed falls into the ground and dies! Every true disciple must lay down their life daily upon the cross of humiliation. This experience must continue until there has been a complete loss of the self-identity. Moreover, the process must continue until a metamorphosis takes place and the full identity of the bond servant's heart of our heavenly Father appears. That is our life totally submitted and swallowed up into his glorious life. The result becomes no longer the "I" but the "Christ" that lives. The above mentioned are just a few ways that we can carry out our salvation. Moreover, by such practices and attitudes of heart we begin walking out the manifestation of the kingdom seed that God sowed in the good soil of our soul. This is the glorious hope of all creation. Praise the wonderful name of Jesus! Hallelujah! Jesus is Lord and King of ALL!
The life of the kingdom seed becomes visible when we put into practice the simple principles of Christ's dominion. Each principle necessary for producing the fruit of kingdom life is present within the seed. The seed has already become deeply rooted within the lives of those who truly have an ear to hear what the Spirit says to the Church. Therefore, we can anticipate the production and fruitfulness of Christ life to manifest the glory of God. The fruit that the seed of God brings forth in one's life is first measured for its quality and then for the quantity.
The primary qualifying mark of the kingdom seed is not how many spiritual gifts a person possesses. The number of souls saved during one's life span does not determine the seed's quality. Jesus taught the true recipient of the seed of the kingdom becomes known through the fruit that he brings forth. This simply means that the outgrowth from one's character declares the true nature of the seed planted within. For instance, if someone plants corn, the fruit that comes forth is not watermelon, but corn! In this case, the seed of the kingdom is the Word of God that became flesh and dwelled among us as the uniquely begotten of the Father. This Word of life now dwells in us as the uniquely begotten seed. The identification of the seed is Christ. The Christ of many members is the expectation of glory for ALL creation! Therefore, the illuminated life of the Christ, who is the express character of God, must shine forth to all creation out of the good ground of the hearer's life!
This glorious fruit of the kingdom is but one fruit, yet its expression is multifaceted. The fruit of the kingdom and the fruit of the Spirit are the same. The fruit that qualifies the seed of God's kingdom is love. Love that is Gentle, yet disciplines to bring forth the best from every son. Love so full of joy that it produces the Lord's strength in times of weakness and doubt. Love that superabounds in peace that passes all understanding. Love with transcending patience that takes full possession of the soul. Love that teems and runs over with kindness that manifests in mercy. Love so generously filled with goodness that it demonstrates by overcoming evil. Love so devoutly steadfast it results in the possession of great authority. Love so genuinely meek that it allows one to find the true rest of God and complete satisfaction with life's circumstances. Love that is principled in self-control resulting in a new creation man who becomes renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. Love that excels in righteousness that proves the wisdom of peace in those that make peace. Love that moves in truth and reality revealing the fullness of Deity within the life of the believer.
In conclusion, let all who read, understand that if quality fruit becomes the manifestation in the life of the believer then quantity is unavoidable. The actual proof that anyone receives the seed of God into the good soil of the mind comes at maturity, for this is when the hearer produces the evidence of the seed! Remember. The Father invested his very own life into us. He now expects to receive a multiplication of this seed for both the eater and the sower. Some will bring forth a hundred, some a sixty and some a thirty-fold increase into the kingdom.
In no stretch of the imagination does this scripture declare one hearer gains a better or higher relationship with God because of what he hears. The seed is the same it is the Word of the kingdom! The field is the same it is the mind of humanity. The four planting areas of the field are different, but the result produced when the seed gets into the good ground is the same. Simply put good ground is good ground, and the seed is the seed. What the good ground produces depends completely upon the quality and nature of the seed planted in it.
Let us remember that reproduction is not the foremost thought in this parable. Rather, the emphasis is on how and what one hears. What then does it mean when it says some will bring forth a hundred, some a sixty and some a thirty-fold increase into the kingdom? The wayside of predetermined dogmatic thinking produces nothing within the life of the hearer. However, each of the three remaining areas in the mind of man reproduces some portion of the seed sown within it. The Word of the kingdom that lands upon the stony ground of the emotional mind produce a thirty-fold outgrowth of kingdom life. The Word of life sown into the weedy areas of the human intellect brings forth a sixty-fold increase. However, the Christ seed of promise broadcast into the good ground of the spiritual mind brings forth a one hundred-fold increase. The parable does not say that some individuals accomplish more and others less. However, it clearly declares that all humanity has the same capability and in God's predetermined season each will become planted with the kingdom seed. Some seed falls by the wayside and becomes lost. Some seed falls upon the stony ground and produces a thirty-fold increase in kingdom mentality. Still more seed falls upon the weedy ground reproducing a sixty-fold reality of the kingdom. Still more of the seed falls upon the good ground yielding a hundred-fold manifestation of the Christ life.
Nevertheless, let us press earnestly on to full maturity of the Christ life. God is ever faithful to complete in each of us the work he began. The life of the Christ seed and the riches of God's kingdom will continue to sprout forth from within humanity. Our souls shall become a well-watered garden. Yes, God has a place to bring forth his glorious life. He sows his seed of promise in the midst of a dry and barren land! The glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea! Hallelujah! Bless the wonderful name of Jesus! Saviors will come upon mount Zion (Ob 1:21)! Hallelujah!
Stacy Wood Jr.
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Stacy & Pamla Wood Jr.
PROMISED SEED MINISTRIES
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