We come to the Saviour’s teaching regarding the soil in the parable of the Sower.
1. There were 4 kinds of soil. Verses 4-8. Not every heart is the same!
2. The majority of people do not benefit from the gospel. 3 out of 4 came to nothing! No fruit but there were different reasons why that was so.
A. The work of the devil. Verses 4, 15.
How active he is! Wonderful fact that the birds are very quick to spot seed being sown. The devil would rob us of the Seed of Life and so rob us of Heaven!
B. The shallowness of soil. Verses 16-17. There is a superficial hearing of the Word. No deep consideration of what God is saying. Shallow soil may produce some growth above ground but no root beneath the ground!! So it fails when it faces any difficulty or opposition.
That means it is alive! It is the living Word. Life springs up from it. “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever,” 1 Peter 1:23.
(A sapling germinated 2005 from a 2,000-year-old date palm seed, found at Masada in 1973 and which lay in a drawer until planted in 2005, is thriving, according to Israeli researchers who are cultivating the historic plant.)
The word must be planted by the hand of God in the heart before it will take root and grow. “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people,” Jeremiah 31:33.
Such a person is easily known.“I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart,” Psalm 40:8. The true Christians begins to GROW to look and act like the Lord!
A message preached in Garvagh Free Presbyterian Church, Lord’s Day evening, October 1st, 2017 by Rev Ivan Foster.
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen,” Matthew 28:18-20.
Was there ever a farewell of more significance than this? “Parting is such sweet sorrow,” said Shakespeare. That which added sweetness to the sorrow the disciples felt were these final words of the Lord Jesus.
It is very obvious that He was very conscious of their timorous, doubting state and He spoke to them accordingly. They would have been most fearful as they faced the future, given the tidal wave of opposition and hatred they had encountered. His words were aimed at allaying those fears.
I. CONSIDER THE POWER OF THE LORD JESUS
1. He speaks of it as a ‘given’ power’. Of course, such power was the Saviour’s by right but He had laid aside his glory and undertook the humility of a servant in order to redeem his people, Php 2:6-10; Mark 16:19; Rev 5:12-14; Eph 1:17-22.
2. His power is equivalent to omnipotence. The origins of this word simply means “all power”!
3. His is the power of God. It is all power “in heaven and in earth!” There is no power that can resist Christ! The power manifested in the Flood, in Egypt, in the judgment of Korah, in the resurrection of Lazarus and especially in His own resurrection.
4. Christ has power where man feels he rules supreme. Dan 4:17, 25. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will,” Proverbs 21:1. “He leadeth princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty,” Job 12:19.
5. There is no realm where Christ’s power is not exercised. “Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases,” Luke 9:1; Jude 6. “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels,” Matthew 25:41.
II. LET US CONSIDER HOW CHRIST EXERCISES THAT POWER.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations.” His power is displayed and exercised chiefly through the preaching of the gospel. “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God,” 1 Cor 1:18.
1. It is not through the circus-like antics of modern religion. How many delight in the mere entertainment that is offered in the name of religion! The charismatic, man-centred activities that are shameful.
2. It is through only that taught by the Saviour. “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” The Old Testament and the New Testament contain the sum of all doctrine to be taught. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them,” Isaiah 8:20.
3. We are to preach so as to make disciples, to win souls. “Teaching them to observe.” The word first appears as “keep”, Matt 19:17. It also appears as “watch”, Matt 27:36. That is how YOU should look at the gospel, sinner! And having looked to receive the Word of the gospel.
4. Where there is such preaching there the presence of Christ will be known. “ . . . . and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen,” Matthew 28:20.
May His presence and power accompany His Word tonight and may there be conversions to Christ.
Once more, the Saviour uses a very common happening to illustrate the gospel.
Nature has been so created as to set forth divine truth. How important it must be for us to learn the message of the gospel. There is an echo of the Bible in all of creation. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard,” Psalms 19:1-3.
Men would remove the authorship of God from creation. Evolutionists deny that God is Creator. This is in order to stifle Creation’s message in just the same fashion as men seek to tamper with the Bible in order to destroy the message of God.
The Saviour Himself is the chief subject of the parable. He is the Sower, and those who preach the gospel are employed by Him in the same task. He is passing today as the seed is sown here amongst us!
A message preached in the Lisbellaw Mission September 26th, 2017.
“And the king said unto Cushi, Is the young man Absalom safe?” 2 Samuel 18:32.
50th Anniversary Mission, Lisbellaw, 26th September 2017.
Preacher: Rev Ivan Foster Rtr.
My topic is a solemn one. It is that of a family divided by the gospel. It is a most distressing thing to know that a loved one or loved ones are outside of Christ and on the road to a lost eternity.
It is a grief that the Saviour must have known. “For neither did his brethren believe in him,” John 7:5. For a time, the Saviour’s family was divided.
Our text is one in which a father’s expresses concern for his son. Some may think that given what Absalom had done to his father he was not worthy of concern! The love of a parent for a child is often blind to the child’s failures and sins, especially when their eternal wellbeing is under consideration.
David had good reason to be concerned.
I. ABSALOM WAS IN GREAT DANGER.
1. He was at war with God’s king. David was the Lord’s anointed, the rightful king of Israel. Absalom was in rebellion against him, seeking to remove him from the throne.
This is what every sinner is engaged in! “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree,” Acts 5:30. The reaction of men universally!
2. He was being influenced by a deceitful man. “Ahithophel” 2 Sam 16:23. There is a greater deceiver than Ahithophel! “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked,” Jer 17:9. Worse again: the devil! “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them,” 2 Cor 4:4.
3. He was being followed by a terrible avenger. Joab!
V 15. Ten Avengers. They speak of the 10 commandments of God.
4. His privileges could not spare him. Such was his crime, he could not be spared even though David wished it. “And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom,” 2 Sam 18:5.
II. THE ANXIETY DAVID EXPRESSED.
1. It was that of a father watching his son heading for destruction. Absalom could not win. This David knew!
2. David knew the end was near for his son. He had watched Absalom travelling toward this dreadful end since his youth. He was vindictive, he was deceitful, he was proud, he was ambitious. Now he had put forth his hand against God’s king and that was fatal!
3. David could do nothing but plead for mercy. Verses 5, 29, 32.
4. David was aware of his own shameful failings. 12:9-12. How important parents, it is to live a holy life for the sake of our children! David had known of the consequences of poor parenting in the lives of Eli and Samuel but had learned nothing!
III. THE SAD ANSWER GIVEN.
Absalom had died in active rebellion, pursuing the ambitions of his proud heart. There could only be one answer to his question. “Is the young man Absalom safe?” NO!
How we should labour to see our offspring saved.
Sinner, flee the battlefield you are now on for you cannot win. Rather, everlasting doom will be your portion.
Seek the mercy of the One you are rebelling against for He is merciful. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool,” Isaiah 1:18.