Heart and Soul – Jesus and Us

In the Parable of the sower (Luke 8:4-8), Jesus disclosed to us the four different types of soil which refers to four different characters.

Focus on the one that is fruitful

 

And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Luke 8:8)

 

Jesus is showing us what kind of a person will be fruitful

He who has an ear let him hear”… are we paying attention to what Jesus said?

In the kingdom of God, the first principle of being fruitful is to pay attention to what Jesus actually said and taught to us, and be receptive.

Jesus Himself emphasis that when He explained the parable to His disciple –

 

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. (Luke 8:15)

 

So we need a good heart and to keep the word of Jesus in us with patience.

We knew that already, but we are living in a modern society full of distractions and diversion.

Furthermore our society today have burden upon us so much expectation and demand to preform and deliver results, very often we feel pressured.

 

My message today is not to tell you to do thing differently, not to tell you to pause and stop.

My message today is how to be more fruitful with less effort …

To be precise..

How to be more fruitful for Jesus with less human effort

 

First Important Point about this Parable of the Sower

The word of God

“A sower went out to sow his seed …” Luke 8:5

“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.” Luke 8:11

Jesus is the word of God.

Our fruitfulness is completely and absolutely dependable upon Jesus the word of God.

If the truth and revelation of God’s word is not sowed and planted in us, there is nothing of value to the kingdom of God which can grow out of us.

 

I want to put this message into context today.

You are aware how people in the world turn to spiritual gurus and all sorts of mediums for instructions and help. Eventually they reap what they sow but not of value to the kingdom of God.

Therefore as sons and daughters of God, redeemed by the blood of Jesus, we need to learn to continuously let the truth and revelations of God word being sow into our hearts and keep it. We want to produce fruits that are of value for Jesus and the kingdom of God.

In Matthew 13 where Jesus’ same Parable of the Sower is preached, Jesus spoke another parable which appears to connect very well with the parable of the sower

 

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. (Matthew 13:24-25)

 

I am sure most of us already knew what this parable is about.

But my emphasis is about our own choices of seed. Means to say who we believe and trust, and what kind of seed do we allowed to be sowed into our hearts.

When we open our hearts and mind to Jesus the word of God, we allow His truth and revelation to be sowed into our hearts and minds. And as we keep the word of God within us, with patience and with a good attitude, even as Jesus promised, we shall be fruitful.

 

Second Important Point about the Parable of the Sower

Being fruitful is not an option but a necessity of being in Christ.

Jesus warned us not to be lazy.

But fruitfulness can be measure by various human standards and expectation. Efficiency, productivity, numeric growth, quantity growth, so on and so forth.

For now I want to shift your attention away from our human idea of fruitfulness based on performance.

Let’s consider what Jesus said about being fruitful in John 15

 

(John 15:1-4)

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

 

In the kingdom of God, our basic principle of being fruitful is in relationship and connectivity.

Let me put this into context today.

When we feel we are not being productive and effective in what we are doing.

How do people response?

Check our methods? Did we do it the right way?

Even in Christian ministry, what do people do?

How often we want to find solution in methods and program?

But based on what Jesus said in John 15, our fruitfulness has everything to do with our connectivity, communion and union with Him.

 

Imagine a person going from …

Faith to faith

Strength to strength

Because the Lord is with this person

Because this person is in consistent communion and union with Jesus

 

Third Important Point about the Parable of the Sower

So how do we ensure our consistent abiding in Jesus?

A word of caution here … I am not teaching people to be fruitful based on their own effort.

I am not teaching people to do this and this that, do step one and step two, do thing in a systematic order and you shall be fruitful.

I am teaching people to trust Jesus in the most practical way forward –

 

(Philippians 1:3-6)

3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,

4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,

5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;

6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

 

God is faithful, we know that and if you don’t, today is the day and now is the moment to trust in the Lord!

It is God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who are working in us and through.

You know the meaning of let God be God.

This has everything to do with trust and obey.

 

Let’s pray

 

In-His-Service

David Z

a father caught in between ..

Parable of the Prodigal Son

Luke 15:11-32 (ESV)

11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”

I have a particular interest in this parable because of its ending.

Comparing the Parable of the Prodigal Son to other parables Jesus taught, this one has a different kind of ending.

For example, the Parable of sower ended with clear understanding about fruitfulness and Jesus showed us how to be fruitful.

Parable of Mustard Seed, Jesus expounded how the kingdom God will grow from a seed of faith. Remember Jesus rebuked his disciples for lack of faith saying “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed …

 

Let’s look at the Parable of the Prodigal Son again. There is something about story telling which did not play out completely in this parable.

We have heard all kind stories. Fairy tales usually ends with “they live happily ever after”. Hollywood actions movies usually end with the hero overcoming the villains, for example “James Bond 007” and “Johnny English”. And if the bad guy survives you know there will be a part two, part three coming.

In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus did not tell us how relationship between the two brothers continued. It ended with the father being left in a difficult situation between his two sons.

 

We know a lot about the younger son because he was the main theme of the parable.

We know about the elder brother because of his contradiction to the main theme of the parable.

We know what the father did, and we can relate how our Father in heaven show mercy to those who strayed and wanted to return.

 

But this Parable of the Prodigal Son seems to have a sudden ending.

It ended with a difficult situation where the father was trying to bring his two sons together and we do not know what happens next. Any parents with more than one children you will understand this kind of awkward difficult situation.

 

Sometime the most frequently spoken words and phrases between parents –

What more can I say?

What more can I do?

How often we ended up speechless ….

 

I am very thankful to Jesus for teaching us this Parable of the Prodigal Son and it kind of deliberately left us with a sudden ending as if we are supposed to continue the story.

Let’s pause for a moment and think about it. This Parable of the Prodigal Son in reality tells us so much about our life here on earth and all of us can relate to it.

 

Let me start with the big picture and narrow into the details

In the beginning when God created man and women, there was no race, no nationalities, no caste, no tribe, and no multiple languages that will complicate communications.

We know how human civilization had developed apart from God and without God.

 

Fast forward to today, in church and society we are part of, within the community we are co-existing together, every day we have our own Parable of the Prodigal Son situation to deal with.

I like to share a scripture from the Book of Psalm how we could continue our Parable of the Prodigal Son situation

 

Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

 

For those of us who read our Bible, memorized scripture, we already knew what this scripture is about. But this is something for us to think about, reflect, meditate, and consider, especially if you are a father and a spiritual leader.

 

The word of God, is it for instruction or for relationship?

 

What I mean to say is, when we hear the word of God spoken to our hearts, and when we felt convicted of what we read in scriptures, how do our hearts and minds response to God?

Do we feel it’s an order that must be followed through without mistake?

Or rather do we see that God is helping us build better relationship, first with our Father in heaven, next with people around us?

 

Back to the Parable of the Prodigal Son again, in that story it was the same father who spoke to the two sons. The same father who spoke to the servants “kill the fatten calf”.

I will not criticize the elder son for not understanding his younger brother was lost and is found and that they should throw a party. Consider the fact he had been faithful and committed to his father’s house. God knows he deserve what he worked for!

But again I want to put forward this challenge

 

The word of God, is it for instruction or for relationship?

 

The kingdom of God, is it about relationship or instructions?

The church of the living God, is it about relationship or instructions?

The word of God will bring to light the secrets of our hearts and mind.

When men and women learn to develop good relationship first and foremost with God, we know how to be good to each other.

I like to end this message with –

 

Ephesians 3:17-19 (KJV)

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.

 

Let’s pray …

 

In-His-Service

David Z