Posts tagged ‘work of the holy spirit’

The Parable of the Sower

All who have read the Bible are familiar with this parable in Mat 13. It principally states four different outcomes in the delivery of the Gospel. These four outcomes are as follows

1. The Gospel is not received at all by the person
2. The Gospel is received, but the man has no root in himself (v21) i.e. the word of God does not become the foundation of his life. He is not standing on the rock that is Christ and so he falls away rather than being sanctified in affliction.
3. The Gospel is received but this person attempts to serve two masters: money and the Lord. But as much as this person thinks he is in Christ, he is deceiving himself because the branch cannot bear fruit unless it abides in the vine i.e. Christ.
4. The good soil alone is the Christian example, it must be understood here that the good soil is not good by itself; you may want to consider the example of John the Baptist. It was prophesied of him to make straight the way of the Lord in John 1:23 and so John preached a Baptism of Repentance. But repentance is the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer (Acts 11:18 Acts 5:31). So just as a farmer treats the soil to receive the seed. The Spirit readies the foreordained believer to receive Christ.

There are many who read the parables as plainly as the morning newspaper but for some reason these same people cannot come to terms with what Mat 13:10-15 plainly says. It seems so hard for these seemingly Bible believing Christians to understand that God hates the reprobate and loves the Church. As blasphemous as this may sound: the school of thought that says God hates sin but loves the sinner, attempts bring God to the feet of the unbeliever in believing that God’s love is subject to human volition in being reciprocated. Contrarily scripture states that we love because he loved us first i.e. had it not been for His love, we would not have the capacity to love Him beyond our flesh. 1 John 4:19 is therefore seen as matter of ‘cause and effect’ i.e. the absence of the effect means only the absence of the cause.

To oppose this many people may bring scripture showing that Jesus received and ate with sinners but it is interesting to note that Jesus detested the seemingly righteous Pharisees of his time. Since the Bible is internally consistent, an interpretation of scripture is only valid if it harmonizes with the rest of the Bible. Hence when Christ says that that He came to call sinners and not the righteous: so speaking in the light of Romans 3:23, it means to say He came to calls only those who had been prepared for Him in repentance. Take the Parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, scripture ridicules the self righteousness of the Pharisee saying in Luke 18:11 that the Pharisee’s prayers were said to himself not God.

John 12
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.25 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.26 If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

The response of the servant who was given one talent in the parable of talents can also be seen in the context of parable of the sower.

Mat 25
24 “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed.25 And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’
26 “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.27 Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.28 Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’

Mat 13 (from the parable of the sower)
12 For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.

From Mat 13:12 we see the Godly reproach upon the wicked servant in Mat 25. Notice the phrase: ‘whoever has’ and ‘whoever does not have’, it does not say ‘whoever has MUCH’ or ‘whoever has little’. It becomes only the question of having or not having. So when we see this in the context of the Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Talents, the ‘has’ and ‘does not have’ becomes a question that is answered in Mat 13:11.

Mat 13
11 Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.

2 Timothy 1
9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,

So we see from 2 Tim 1:9 that the calling does not materialize unless it has been granted unto us in Christ according to His own purpose. To the antinomian the call to Christ is a call to a grace separate from the Law but that is not so because it is a call to obedience unto the Moral Law of God. The Gospel actually gives the believer a new heart to walk in statutes of God and follow His Law (Ezek 36:26-27). What the antinomians refers to as the weakness of the Law, was in actual a weakness of the people not the Law (Heb 8:7-8). The Law was meant to convict transgression and so sin got it power to kill from the Law but when man is born of the Spirit as stated in John 3:5 he receives the salvation of Christ and comes to life fulfilling the requirements of the Law (Moral not Ceremonial) in obedience because he now has a new heart upon which is written the Law of God.

Romans 8
3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

We therefore come to understand that in the very beginning God chose a people unto Himself and blessed them consecrating them as priest whom He would love and bring them to know Him and worship Him forever. We see that such a blessing can only come out of grace, His grace. In Eden man disobediently took a righteousness of self that is contrary to the righteousness of God. This self righteousness of man, has seen man see himself differently from the way God sees him, which has been in effect ever since the fall. Like the parable of the laborers in the vineyard who grumble against their Master concerning their wages, so too we see man grumble in regards to the doctrine of Sovereign Election because it makes no sense according to the self righteousness he has come to possess. God’s ways are not man’s ways so the Bible says and so the ‘parable of the sower’ tells us how the Sovereignty of God extends to the elect that He draws them through the Holy Spirit’s sanctification, out of the corruptions that has become of their nature and selves. This is the power of Almighty God that even angels look on (1 Peter 1:12) to see His Salvation at work in His elect.

Sovereign grace Vs Legalism and Antinomianism

There are large numbers of Christians, who have become subject to views of antinomianism or those which are legalistic. Legalism is that which says that one is saved purely by works of Law while Antinomians hold a view that the grace of God covers them to the extent that even though their carnal nature is not made subject to true repentance, they are still saved because of grace. Mat 1:21 speaks to both these extreme apostate ideas by showing the legalist that Salvation is in Christ alone, while it shows the antinomians that Christ’ deliverance is not “in our sins” but “from our sins”

Mat 1:21
21 “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

A preacher once said: one can only enjoy the benefits of Christ’ Cross when he bows before the claims of Christ’ Crown. What this refers to is essentially that one truly receives Christ in his life only when he receives Him as SAVIOR AND LORD. For those who try to merit Salvation it shows they have not truly received Christ as their Savior and for those whose nature shows no elements of any sanctification, they have not truly received Jesus as their Lord.

Sanctification is the work of His Spirit. To many believers, the Holy Spirit is generally associated with how much noise can be made at a spiritual gathering. The work of the Holy Spirit is very deep and for one to associate the Spirit primarily with the gift of tongues today is almost blasphemous. The gift of tongues was given only to the early Church, who did not have the compilation of the Bible, once the Bible was compiled in about the third or fourth century, the gift of tongues and prophesies ceased because the Bible is complete and sufficient to edify the Christian and cursed is that person who tries to add or take away from it. It is for this reason, that the many noise makers in spiritual gathering do not find one interpreter today for three of these people who are said to have this gift of tongues.

Quoting from the Nicene Creed, which was a faith declaration of the early Church, this is what is stated when it speaks of the Holy Spirit: “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life”. We know when God created Adam from the soil, He breathed life into Him. We also know that scripture in God breathed. So though it was His Holy Spirit, that God had put into Adam to give him life, which Adam lost in his disobedience. In the same way the Word of God in the Bible, is God breathed (Holy Spirit) proceeding from Father and Son as One, given to us in scripture that we may believe and have life.

It is interesting to note that the Exodus came before Mount Sinai, what I mean to say is that God first delivered His people from Egypt and then gave them the Law at Mount Sinai. It was not the other way around. As a preacher I know once said, it took God one day to get His people out of Egypt but it took 40 years to get Egypt out of His people. We see from all of this that though a believer is saved by grace and not His own merit, lawlessness cannot be a part of his life. He is always subject to the Moral Law of God, where He puts God first and his neighbor at par with himself.

1Thes 2
13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

You see the reason, we can do the stuff that is pleasing to God, is ONLY because of the life given to us in Christ i.e. His Holy Spirit. Had we not received Christ, we would not know or have the slightest inclination to please Him. So the word of God in the scripture, is the life given to us in Christ, which His Spirit i.e. God; who is at work, in us who believe. Thus even after we have been sanctified, the only statement we shall render to God is the one in Luke 17:10.

Luke 17
10 “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'”

Such is Sovereign grace, that he who receives it humbled not exalted in himself, for the very meaning of grace is unmerited favor i.e. when one receives (especially concerning Salvation) what he does not deserve. I need to emphasize here that sanctification is not our work but the work of God in us, it is hence seen from the parable of the master who calls people to work in the vineyard that he who is called to work even at the very last moment, receives full wages i.e. even the person who is on his death bed and repents unto Christ, he too receives the full measure of Salvation; for just as Salvation is of the Lord (Lam 3:26), Sanctification too is by Him (Lev 20:8) and so He does with what is His own as He pleases… Sovereign Grace!

Mat 20
15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’16 So the last shall be first, and the first last.”

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