The Parables #5, There are many storms for us to face.
(Read Isaiah 28:14-22.)
1. Boys and girls I cannot emphasise strongly enough that in life we will face many storms. This the Bible warns us of as none other can. “And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full,” Mark 4:37. These disciples were in the will of the Lord and He was with them yet they encountered a storm! “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God,” Acts 14:22.
2. For the unsaved, there is the storm of God’s judgment awaiting them. “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble,” Job 14:1. The word trouble carries the idea of storms but for the unsaved a stormy life will end in a great storm. “Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place,” Isaiah 28:17. The false refuges, the house built on sand, will be swept away in God’s judgment. Oh beware!
There is that which would come between us and the Rock Christ Jesus! EARTH! Oh how plain is the picture. Luke puts it this way. “He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock,” Luke 6:48. He dug until he came to the rock! We must come to Christ and not be content with no less!
Perhaps we can illustrate it by looking at the account of the rich young man who came to Christ most earnestly. “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Matthew 19:16. He was anxious about a most important manner. However, he was not prepared for the “digging away of the earth” that was required of him by the Lord. “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions,” Matthew 19:21-22. He liked the clay that stood between him and the Saviour and eternal life and he decided to he was NOT ready to “dig” it away.
Is that the case with many? I have known men who turned their back on Christ and heaven because of a cigarette! They were not prepared to give up smoking if that was required of a Christian.
Do you understand now just what this digging away of the clay in order to get to the rock means and entails?
Remember Christian in “pilgrim’s Progress”. He closed his ears the cries of friends and family when they try to have him turn back from seeking salvation. He was determined to dig down until he reached the rock!
We are going to look today at one of the best known parables the Saviour taught.
Read Matthew 7:21-29. It is the Parable of the two Builders.
1. We all need a house to shelter us for eternity.
By this house-building picture Christ is showing us just what it means.
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:” Matthew 7:24.
A Christian is someone who hears and obeys the Word of Christ and thus makes preparation for eternity by building a secure house.
Noah needed an ark and the Israelites needed the blood upon the door posts. These things picture our need of a place of safety. “And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land,” Isaiah 32:2. We have got to seek shelter in Christ, build a secure house if we are to be safe in eternity!
2. The house must have a right foundation.
It must be a rock. Just what is the ROCK upon which we must build? “That Rock was Christ,” 1 Cor 10:4.
“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust,” Ps 18:2.
“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation,” Ps 95:1.
We have to place upon Him all our dependence and trust. We have to attach ourselves to Him by faith.
“Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life,” 1 Tim 6:19.
Further to what I said yesterday regarding the purpose of the parable, please note: “Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field,” verse 36. The multitude goes away but the disciples desire an explanation.
What a blessing it is to have our hearts and minds opened by God’s Spirit to hear and heed His Word. This is something we should all pray for. “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law,” Ps 119:18. Boys and girls, our eyes are inclined to close when we come to God’s Word!
PARABLES ARE CHIEFLY FOUND IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
In Numbers 23-24, we find Balaam the false prophet using parables. Job used a parable, 27:1. The psalmists and the prophets Ezekiel, Micah and Habakkuk also refer to parables. But the NT has an abundance of parables for it was a time of unfolding and unveiling.
THAT THE SAVIOUR SHOULD USE PARABLES INDICATES THAT HE WOULD HAVE THE YOUNGEST LEARN FROM HIM
The youngest child who is of age to understand simple words can follow the story of the sower going forth to sow seed. Therefore, by using such simple words He would have you listen and learn from Him.
Time and again the Lord Jesus said: “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear,” Matthew 11:15.
Have you ears to hear?
Every day we hear noises that we pay no heed to. The croaking of a crow as it flies overhead, the noise of a car driving past. A cow mooing in the fields around here.
But there are other noises which we know we must take heed to. The ringing of the bell to end lunch time. We must cease playing and return to class. The teacher as instructions are given, that we must listen to and seek to store away in our minds and memories what is said.
Chiefly we must seek to heed what God says to us in His Word. The Psalmist said; “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee,” Psalm 119:11. Eliphaz the Temanite, the friend of Job, said: “Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart,” Job 22:22. Jeremiah said: “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart,” Jeremiah 15:16. As we take in food and benefit from it, so we should seek to take in God’s Word and grow thereby. Following the birth of the Lord Jesus in Bethlehem and the visit by the shepherds we read: “And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart,” Luke 2:18,-19. Let us all be like Mary.
As we start a new school year it is appropriate that we begin a new study. The difficulty for me in choosing a subject is that there are so many subjects in the Bible worthy of our close attention.
However, I have settled on the topic of the parables of the Lord Jesus.
Let us start by asking the question: 1. WHAT IS A PARABLE?
As a youngster I was taught that a parable is “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.” I don’t think any can fault this explanation. The parables of the Lord Jesus set forth heavenly truths using earthly illustrations. The story of the lost sheep shows this to be so.
The Saviour tells us that parables served a two-fold purpose, Matt 13:10-17.
Parables are meant to HIDE the truth from those who will not hear the Word of God but reject it, verses 13-15.
But it is meant to ILLUSTRATE the truth to those who willingly hear God’s Word, verses 16-17.