1549 The Parable of the Sower, Part 2

The parable of the sower reveals problems of the heart. Part One covered the first two soils and Part 2 covers the final two soils. You will learn more about your own heart by listening to the explanation of this powerful parable!

ROBERT >> I’m so glad that you’ve chosen to join us today for The Truth In Love. If you were with us last week, you remember we began to talk about Jesus’ parable of the sower, a parable that contained very important lessons for our heart, and challenges our discipleship to Jesus Christ. We want to continue that lesson today. Stay tuned. We’ll be back in just a moment.

SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth,
speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.

ROBERT >> The parable of the sower as told by Jesus Christ is recorded for us in Matthew chapter 13, in Mark chapter 4, and in Luke chapter 8. And we can look at all of these descriptions of that parable, and we remember the story of how Jesus describes a man who goes out, and he’s sowing his seed, and some of it falls on the wayside, some of it falls on the stony ground, and some of it falls among the thorns, and some on good soil. And you remember the seed that fell on the wayside was devoured by the birds; and the seed that fell on the stony or the rocky ground, it came up quickly, but soon withered away because it had no root and no moisture; and the seed that was sown in the thorny soil, after a while, it grew, but it was choked out by the thorns; but the seed that was sown in the good soil brought increase. It produced thirtyfold, sixtyfold, even a hundredfold.

Now, Jesus uses this parable to teach us some spiritual heavenly lessons about his kingdom, the church, about us, about our hearts. And you remember the interpretation of the parable as found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus tells us what this parable means. And he told us in Luke 8:11, for example, that the seed is the word of God. And so he wants us to think about that seed, the word of God, being spread, spread on different soils, soils which represent our hearts. In the interpretation that Jesus gives of the parable, he tells us that the wayside soil represents a hearer who really does not love the truth, a hearer who will not allow that word to produce faith in his heart. He is one who has pride or prejudice or bias, something in his heart that keeps him from truly accepting that word and becoming a Christian. But Jesus also interprets for us that seed that falls among the stony ground, among the rocks.

It describes for us that hearer who fails to count the cost of being a disciple of Christ. He hears that word and he believes it, but he does not continue in it. As soon as persecution or tribulation comes, he stumbles and he falls because he was not truly, deeply convicted and committed to the Lord Jesus Christ. But let us take a look today at the other two soils mentioned in the parable.

First of all, how does Jesus describe the hearer that was represented by the thorny soil?

If you remember last week from our reading, this is one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desire for other things and pleasures of life choke that word, and it becomes unfruitful, and it brings no fruit to maturity.

Let’s read this, if you will with me here, in Matthew chapter 13 to refresh our memories this morning. In verse 18 Jesus said, “Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received the seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.”

Yes, this is one who gets caught up in the world again and no longer has God as the priority in his life. I want you to look with me in Matthew, but go back to chapter 6, and look at some of the teachings of Jesus there about our hearts.

In Matthew 6:24 Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters; either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Mammon represents all the things of this world. And folks, we’ve got to make a decision if we’re going to set our hearts upon God or upon the things of this world.

Jesus goes on in Matthew chapter 6 to deal with the problem that so often attacks our heart, that problem of worry. We’re worried about the things of this world. He says in verse 25, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we wear? For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry with its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. You see, don’t get caught up in this world. Set your heart on God. Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.”

In John 15:1-8, Jesus tells another parable about the vine and the branches, and he reminds them that he is the vine and we are the branches, and that we must remain in him and that we must abide in him, because it’s in Jesus Christ that we can bear fruit for God.

If you’ll look with me in Colossians 3:1-4, we see where the apostle Paul speaks of those who given themselves to Christ in the waters of baptism, and they’ve been raised up with him to live a new life. But look what he warns them about here in this chapter. “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ is our life appears, then you will appear with Him in glory.”

Yes, he says don’t allow this world to take hold of you, don’t put your mind and your heart on this world; but keep it on Christ, who’s coming to reward us. One day we’ll be able to share with him in all his glory. Too many times we get our hearts so wrapped up in the things of this world that we lose our souls to it.

Look at these very strong words in 1 Timothy chapter 6 that we all need to consider very seriously, that we might keep our souls with God.

In 1 Timothy 6, let’s begin in verse 6. “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.´

Here we’re learning some more of those thorns in life that strive to choke out our spirituality. So many times it’s all wrapped up in the things of this world, what money can buy for us. Don’t be deceived by these things. It is true that if we set our hearts on this world, that we can drift away and lose our faith in God.

In 2 Peter the 2nd chapter, Peter warns us about this again. In chapter 2 verse 20, this is what Peter writes: “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb, A dog returns to his own vomit, and, a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”

Yes, it is true that once having come to a knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, we get wrapped up, we get entangled again in the affairs of this world so that the latter state’s worse than the first. It’s like a dog returning to its vomit. It’s like a pig going back to the mud. Those are repulsive pictures. But there’s nothing more repulsive than one who has known Christ, to turn away from him and go back into the world. But now let’s look at this other soil that Jesus describes in the parable of the sower.

How does Jesus describe the hearer that’s represented by the good soil?

Well, let’s go back to Matthew chapter 13, and let’s read Jesus’ interpretation of the parable on this point. Here in Matthew 13, let us read verse 23. “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

This is one who receives the word, or as Mark and Luke point out, they hear the word, and they do so with a noble and a good heart. They understand it, as it says here. As Mark and Luke tells us, they accept it, they keep it.

So that what? He bears fruit with patience. He produces some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. This is the one who is sincere about his faith. This is the one who continues in his faith to obey the word of God.

Look with me in the book of James chapter 1, because James is concerned that our faith is not hypocritical, but that it’s genuine faith. And in James the 1st chapter beginning in verse 21 he talks about those of us who are constantly listening to the word of God, but he challenges what we’re doing with that word.

In James 1:21, “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

You see, the blessing comes when faith obeys, when we’re not just hearers of the word, but we also do what God has asked us to do. In 2 Peter the 1st chapter beginning in verse 5, Peter encourages us as Christians to make every effort to grow in the knowledge and in the grace of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.

Here in 2 Peter, let’s take a look in the very first chapter, and let’s read together beginning in verse 5. “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these thing is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

You see, if we will keep striving to grow up and mature in the Lord, if we will continue to listen to the Lord and to do his word, then we’re not going to stumble so as to fall and to lose our souls, but rather we’re going to bear fruit for God. And remembering what Christ has done for us and how he’s cleansed us from all of our sins through that awful price he paid at Calvary, it ought to move us to make every effort to add to our faith.

John teaches us in 1 John chapter 1 beginning in verse 5 how we can know whether or not we’re really in fellowship with God and how we can have the assurance of eternal life.

He says here in this first chapter, beginning in verse 5, “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, these thing I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

Yes, if we will strive to walk with God each day and be honest about our sins, then we can trust him to bring us home to heaven.

What is the main lesson of the parable of the sower?

It is simply this: That the results of the word of God upon our hearts depend upon how we hear. It depends upon the condition and the attitude of our hearts.

How is your heart today?

I want to read these convicting words from Matthew 13, if you’ll go back there one more time with me, in verse 9, where Jesus says, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

And he goes on to say in this very same chapter in verse 14, And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says, “Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear.”

How is your heart today?

Are you listening to God’s word?

Are you open to his word?

Are you ready to receive it?

Are you one who truly loves the truth, who seeks the truth, who wants the truth, who wants to please God, and that your heart’s not set upon the things of this world?

The condition, the attitude of our heart is what makes all the difference. That’s the great lesson of the parable of the sower. And I hope it will cause us all to examine our heart and our life today. But there are many other lessons that are taught in this parable.

Certainly we learn from this parable, my Christian brother and sister, that we must spread the word of God, that there are many souls who need his word, and it’s our responsibility, our mission as God’s church to go to all nations, to make disciples for Jesus Christ, baptizing them and teaching them, as he said in Matthew 28:19.

We’ve got to be spreading the word to boys and girls, to men and women all over this world who need to hear about Jesus. And we also learn from this parable that it is the word of God that gives spiritual life, that brings salvation to our soul.

My words, Jesus said in John 6:63, “My words, they are spirit and they are life.”

And it was Peter who asked him in that same chapter in verse 66, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Indeed, “the gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s power to salvation,” Romans 1:16.

“It’s the implanted word which is able to save our souls,” James 1:21.

Another lesson that we learn from this parable is that some, like those with the stony and thorny heart, will fall from grace if they do not continue faithful in the Lord.

The apostle Paul warned us in 1 Corinthians 10:12, “Wherefore let him that thinks he stands take heed, lest he fall.”

We’ve already learned from 2 Peter 2, and you see it throughout the New Testament, especially in the book of Hebrews, particularly chapter 10, that we can so sin as to lose our faith and turn our backs on Christ and find ourselves in jeopardy. We must not be discouraged as we go preaching the word and we get different results; but let’s keep on spreading the word. And let me encourage you who are listening today to open our hearts, to receive that word, to be obedient to God, and let us know here at The Truth In Love how we can help you towards heaven today.

SINGING>> On Zion’s glorious summit stood
a numerous host redeemed by blood.
They hymned their king in strains divine.
I heard the song and strove to join.
I heard the song and strove to join.
While everlasting ages roll,
eternal love shall feast their soul,
and scenes of bliss forever new
rise in succession to their view,
rise in succession to view.
Holy, holy, holy Lord.
God of hosts on high adored.
Who like me thy praise should sing,
oh Almighty king?
Holy, holy,
holy Lord.
God of hosts on high adored.
Holy, holy, holy.

ROBERT >> I want to thank you for watching our program today, and we would really like to hear from you. If you have any questions, comments, or requests, if you would like a personal home Bible study or special prayers, if you would like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, let me encourage you to write The Truth In Love at P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.

You may e-mail us at requests@ttil.tv.

Or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966.

And also, please visit our web site at www.ttil.tv.

Remember that all of our materials and our services are absolutely free of charge. We want to thank the many churches of Christ who help support this program and encourage you to visit one of them in your area very soon. You’ll see their names scrolled on the screen at the end of our program. We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.

SINGING>> Sing to me of heaven,
sing that song of peace.
From the toils that bind me
it will bring release.
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so,
showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow.
Sing to me of heaven,
let me fondly dream of its golden glory,
of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven,
sing the sweetest song of all.
Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low
till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary,
when the day is long, sing to me of heaven,
sing that old, sweet song.
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory,
of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.

1548 The Parable of the Sower, Part 1

The parable of the sower reveals problems of the heart. Part One covers the first two soils and what they mean for us. You will learn more about your own heart by listening to the explanation of this powerful parable!

ROBERT >> What can we learn from a man who goes out to sow seed in the ground? Jesus uses this parable to teach us something very important about our hearts. Stay tuned. We’ll be back in just a moment.

SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth,
speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.

ROBERT >> Jesus’ parable of the sower is recorded for us in the Bible in the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. And here Jesus not only tells the parable, but he also gives the interpretation of that parable so we can understand it and apply it to our lives today.

I want to read the three accounts of the parable; and as we’re reading those accounts, I want you to look for three main elements in the parable: The sower, the seed, and the soils.

So let’s look first of all at Matthew chapter 13, and we’ll read verses 3 through 8. Here the Bible says: “Then he spoke many things to them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: Some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”

Now take a look with me at the book of Mark, and I want you to notice how Mark records the telling of this parable.

In Mark chapter 4, let’s begin in verse 3. Here the Bible says, “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: Some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” You’ll notice Mark is very similar to Matthew, but each of these accounts give us a little bit more to look at.

Look at Luke the 8th chapter, and let’s notice verses 5 through 8. “ A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold. When He had said these things He cried, He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Let’s ask some questions today to bring our focus on the sower and the seed and the soils. First of all, let’s ask today, What did the sower do in the parable of Jesus?

Well, we just read how that he went out to sow his seed.

But then what happened to that seed?

Well, we noticed that it fell on different types of soil. And what were those different types of soil, and what were the different results of the seed that fell on each type of soil?

And if you remember the parable we just read, those on the wayside, that seed was trampled down, and the birds came, and they devoured the seeds on the wayside soil. Those seeds thrown on the stony ground immediately sprang up; but they were scorched by the sun and they withered away because they had no root and they lacked moisture. Those on the thorny ground, they grew up, but they were choked by the thorns. And finally, that seed on the good ground increased and produced, yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. That’s the parable of Jesus. That would have been a very familiar story, and you may have looked around while he was telling that parable and seen somebody there sowing in the field. And I think we’re familiar enough with that that we can imagine in our minds somebody out sowing seed, and that seed falling on these different soils. But now let’s take that very familiar story, that earthly story, and let’s see how Jesus interprets that and look for the spiritual lesson, the heavenly lesson that Jesus was really trying to teach with this parable.

Let’s go back to Matthew chapter 13, and let’s read the account of his interpretation as given there, Matthew 13, beginning in verse 18. “Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who receives seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

Now, this is the interpretation as given by Jesus here in Matthew 13. The interpretation of Jesus is also recorded in Mark chapter 4 and in Luke chapter 8. And we may make some references to those passages as well as we go through and we see what Jesus was trying to do with this parable. But let’s notice first of all, who does the sower represent?

He represents someone who is going out here and spreading the word of God. Just as this man was spreading his seed, so Jesus is telling us this one represents one who’s spreading the word of God. We know that because we know what the seed represents.

In Luke 8:11, where the interpretation of Jesus is given there, the Bible simply says that the “seed is the word of God.”

The word of the kingdom of which he was preaching in these parables. So the seed represents the word of the kingdom, the word of God.

What then do the different soils represent that are mentioned in the parable: the wayside soil and the thorny ground and the rocky ground and the good soil?

These soils, as we’re going to see as we work through this parable, represent the heart of the hearers.

It represents the attitude of those who hear the word of God. How do they receive that word, or do they receive it? And how does that word influence their heart?

Well, let’s take a look at each of these various soils that were mentioned in the parable and see how Jesus describes the hearer represented by these soils.

First of all, how does Jesus describe the hearer represented by the wayside soil? You remember, this is the one who Jesus says hears the word and he receives the word, but he doesn’t understand it; and so the devil comes and he takes it away, lest he believes and is saved. This is one who has a lack of love for the truth. Maybe there is a prejudice in his heart. Maybe there’s some kind of indifference in his heart. Maybe he has this pleasure to do what God doesn’t want him to do and involve himself in all kinds of unrighteousness; but whatever it is, it keeps him from truly seeing, accepting, understanding, believing, and obeying the truth.

If you’ll look with me in your Bibles in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, we read about this kind of heart, and we’re warned that we take heed to our hearts today.

Notice here in 2 Thessalonians in chapter 2, beginning in verse 9 and going through verse 12, here’s what the Bible says: “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.´

Paul here in this passage teaches us if we don’t really love the truth and want the truth, but rather our pleasure, our desire is in doing what’s wrong, then we will believe a lie, and we’ll never come to a knowledge of the truth.

Sometimes it’s our pride in our heart, a desire for popularity that keeps us from understanding and accepting the truth.

Look in John the 12:42-43. This was the problem with many of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, especially among the sect of the Pharisees. And it was this kind of prideful heart that infected many in the time of Jesus and also infects our hearts today.

John chapter 12, look at verse 42. “Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”

We need to be careful that that attitude does not keep us from receiving and believing and obeying the word of God. Because of our own pride, our desire to be accepted by others and received by others, we might have that word taken away from us, out of our hearts.

And then look at another passage if you will with me in Hebrews 3:13, where it warns us about the deceitfulness of sin. In this passage the Hebrew writer says, “But exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

You see, our earthly desires, our fleshly desires lead us astray, and we get involved in sin in our life. And sin is very deceitful. It lies to us. And because of that desire to do what is wrong, to go the ways of the flesh and the ways of the world, often we are blind to the truth, and we fail to receive it and to believe it and obey it and take it into our heart. All of that was represented by the wayside soil. And he warns us to guard our hearts against it. But now let’s take a look at another type of soil mentioned in the parable.

How does Jesus describe the hearer that is represented by the stony soil?

Well, Jesus tells us this is the one who hears the word all right, and he receives the word with gladness and he receives the word with joy; but it has no root in him so to endure, and he only believes for a while, he believes for a time. But then when tribulation and persecution and temptation comes, he stumbles and he falls away.

That’s the interpretation given by Matthew and Mark and Luke. And this is the one who obviously is without a strong conviction. He doesn’t have a good commitment to the Lord. He’s failed to count the cost of following Christ.

In Matthew 10:22 Jesus said, “He that endures to the end shall be saved.”

Jesus is telling us that eternal salvation is for those who will keep on keeping on in their faith, enduring whatever persecution or trial or obstacle the devil might put in their way.

You might notice with me what he said in Luke 9:23, because Jesus wanted us to understand what it meant to really be a follower of him. Here he said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

Jesus said real discipleship involves a denial of one’s self; not just a denial of the things that we might have, but of ourselves. And then to take up our cross.

And what is the cross?

It’s a symbol of death. It points us to the death of Jesus Christ, who died for our sins. And so we must die to sin and be willing to die for Christ and follow him not just some of the time or maybe even most of the time, but all of the time.

He says, “Take up your cross daily, and follow Me.”

Look at it in Luke 14:25-35. Here, Jesus says to the multitudes that were there, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”

You see, Jesus Christ must be first in our life. We must put Jesus before anyone else; and then that’ll help us to love our family and others and even ourselves better in a way that Christ would have us to. We’ll be better husbands, we’ll be better fathers, we’ll be better followers of Jesus Christ when we make him the priority of our heart and of our life. Jesus told us to count the cost of following him, of being his disciples.

Read on a little further with me here in Luke chapter 14, and let’s pick it up in verse 28. “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it – lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build and was not able to finish?”

Jesus reminds us here in this story that we need to count the cost.

Are we willing to surrender all?

Are we willing to continue with Christ to the very end and finish what we began?

He gives another illustration of that here in Luke chapter 14. As we read on now, notice here in verse 31, “Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”

And so we need to think very seriously about following Jesus Christ. We need to count the cost. We need to make that commitment to Jesus Christ, or we’ll be like that rocky soil. Maybe we’ll receive Christ, and maybe we’ll confess him and become a Christian; but if we’re not committed completely to our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, we’re going to fall away quickly when persecution or whatever it is the devil puts in our way comes, because we haven’t really committed ourself to him.

In Colossians 2:6-7, the apostle Paul reminds the Christians there in that congregation, and we need to be reminded as well about this very same thing. In verse 6 he says, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”

And then also notice with me in Ephesians 3:17-19, where he prayed for the church, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height, to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

Are you rooted, are you grounded in the love of Jesus Christ?

Does the faith of God dwell in your hearts today, lest you stumble and fall and lose your soul?

James the 1st chapter, look with me in verses 2 through 4, where he reminds us about the attitude we must have towards the trials that come into our life. He says here, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God.”

You see, trials are going to come; but let’s rejoice, recognizing that it’s a test of our faith. And passing that test, meeting those trials with solid, committed faith in Jesus Christ, he will use that to strengthen us to build our character, to make us who we need to be, pleasing to God, a vessel that can be used to his glory and to his honor. Jesus gives us this promise, and I want to leave this promise with you today to encourage you.

Revelation 2:10, Jesus simply says, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

Yes, whatever it is that Satan is putting in your way today, your faith can be sustained, your faith can be strengthened because you know that there’s a great reward of eternal life awaiting you on the other side of death. So I encourage you today to take heed to the warnings of Jesus in this parable, to not be hard hearted or blind or let prejudice or bias or your desire for this world in sin to keep you from receiving God’s word like those seeds that fell on the wayside, and that you’ll make a total commitment, that you’ll surrender your heart completely to the Lord Jesus Christ, lest anything cause you to stumble and to fall like that seed that fell on the rocky ground and grew up, but quickly it withered away. And I hope that you’ll let us know here at The Truth In Love how we can help you towards heaven today.

SINGING>> Unto the hills around do I lift up my longing eyes.
Oh, whence for me shall my salvation come,
from whence arise?
From God the Lord doth come my certain aid,
from God the Lord whom heaven and earth hath made.
From every evil shall he keep thy soul, from every sin.
Jehovah shall preserve thy going out, thy coming in.
Above thee watching, he whom we adore shall keep thee henceforth, yea,
for evermore.

SINGING>> Years I spent in vanity and pride,
caring not my Lord was crucified,
knowing not it was for me he died, on Calvary.
Mercy there was great, and grace was free,
pardon there was multiplied to me,
there my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary.
Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan;
oh, the grace that brought it down to man;
oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary.
Mercy there was great, and grace was free,
pardon there was multiplied to me, there my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary.

ROBERT >> I want to thank you so much for watching our program today on the parable of the sower. And Lord willing, we will continue this parable and complete our study of the parable of the sower next Lord’s day.

If you have any questions or comments or requests about our program, if you would like a personal home Bible study or special prayers, if you’d like more information about the lesson today, or if you’d like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, let me encourage you to write The Truth In Love at P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.

And remember that you can e-mail us at requests@ttil.tv

or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966.

And visit our web site at www.ttil.tv.

All of our materials and services are absolutely free of charge. We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.

SINGING>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace.
From the toils that bind me it will bring release.
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so,
showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow.
Sing to me of heaven,
let me fondly dream of its golden glory,
of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.
Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low
till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary, when the day is long,
sing to me of heaven, sing that old, sweet song.
Sing to me of heaven,
let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.

Speak To The Whole Heart About God’s Love

The heart matters

I recently read about a psychologist bemoaning the treatment he received from scientists involved with “real” science (indicating that they thought psychology was not a legitimate science since it deals with “matters of the heart”). Apparently feuds exist. In summary, he said, “Biologists and physicists tell me that emotions are not real science and ultimately don’t matter, but then they complain constantly that their wives are leaving them and their families are falling apart.”

Whoever thinks emotions don’t matter is out of touch with his/her emotions. That’s a dangerous place to be. Why does the Bible talk about joy, love, peace, patience, kindness, and gentleness? Why do we sometimes define these clinically and not organically?

We sometimes treat the topic of emotion like Spock would–purely logical. But we’re not trying to convince Spock or some robot to become a Christian. We’re trying to reach humans. And a human cannot give himself completely to Christ without giving his heart–all of his heart.

The Heart Is A Wonderful Servant And A Terrible Master

As we reach out to others, we need to speak to their hearts. The Biblical “heart” comprises several different things. It thinks and decides. It also feels. A balanced Christianity is one that takes into account ALL of the heart. This is where influence begins.

And this is where you can help impact others for Jesus. No one wants emotional manipulation, so instead, let’s focus on spreading glad tidings that bring hope and joy to people who have little to look forward to in the world. That is a fundamental pursuit in The Truth In Love and a fundamental pursuit of Christians.

That’s not to suggest that we should be overly emotional or that truth should never feel painful. (Actually truth is not painful, sin is, and that pain is felt in the presence of truth.)

Our aim is not to please everyone, but it’s certainly not our aim to make everyone angry either.

How can we help you and encourage you? How can you serve and help others and reach their hearts?

How To Know If Your Heart Is Open To Truth

open heartThe first rule for spiritual development is to be open to truth. Without this, growth will be extremely unlikely. So if we want to develop properly, we need to accurately judge whether we are open to the truth so that we can make adjustments where necessary. One big problem with judging our openness is that we tend to fool ourselves. We can’t always trust our opinion because our mind can fool us. It often does.

 

  • It’s how a woman ravaged by eating disorders can see her 95-pound body in a mirror and call herself “fat”.
  • It’s why there are very few “guilty” people in prison. It’s always someone else’s fault.
  • It’s why Al Capone thought of himself as a “good guy”.
  • And it’s why you are not growing in Christ if you are stagnant.

We all have heard the saying that if you are not growing then you are dying. While true, that only serves to frighten us sometimes. How do we know if our hearts are developing properly? How do we know we are not simply fooling ourselves into thinking we are faithful? It’s not an easy question to answer.

The Difficulty in Answering the Question

It’s not easy to answer because there is no litmus test for development. Is there some way to know where any given human should be in his growth at any given time? There are no set of laws that once we have met them we have no other obligations for development. It’s not possible to look at another person and tell if they are “coasting” and not putting in any effort. And how can anyone look at themselves and know with certainty they are not fooling themselves and “coasting”? Paul himself said in 1 Corinthians 4:3-4, “In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.”

We might prefer to have a list to judge ourselves by. Of course, the “list” is the Bible, but we all know we are not going to perfectly keep God’s word and that there is the allowance for growth. How much development does God require? I’m not even talking about sin. For example, we know we are to be patient. How patient must we be? Where is the line that says, “After you pass this level you are patient enough”? And if we cannot find a “line” how will we know if we have surpassed it? This is a challenge, but there are some principles we can use to make some judgments about our progress.

How Open Are You To Truth?

Today I want you to consider that the fundamental question of faithfulness relates to our hearts, specifically, openness to the truth. If you are not open to the truth, there is no chance that you are developing properly. But openness is a sign of potential development.

How would you rate your openness? Here are some interesting principles from Proverbs 2:1-5 to help us make adjustments if needed.

Here are the verbs of an open heart:

An open heart receives and treasures instruction (Proverbs 2:1)

When is the last time you learned something new or saw something old in a better light? If it has been a while then we can conclude one of two things. Either you have already become perfect, or you are not looking for truth.

An open heart listens and applies instruction (Proverbs 2:2)

A heart that is open to truth is one that will try to understand it. Those struggles that you face from time to time where you are trying to figure out the best way to handle a situation and be faithful to God–those are times that show you are applying your heart to understanding.

An open heart asks questions (Proverbs 2:3)

Questions are the lifeblood of growth. We only learn the things we ask about. What was the last question you had about the Bible or how to apply it to your life? This is surely a sign of how open your heart is to the Word of God.

An open heart searches for more truth (Proverbs 2:4)

I’ve often had questions that I wanted to have answered but did not want to find the answers myself. Teachers, remember that if a student wants to know an answer, he or she will ask. He may not ask you, but the questions will be asked. Provide the answers for them. If they are not asking questions, even spoon-feeding them the answer will not work. They will only retain what they want to learn. The same is true in Bible study. When was the last time you decided to search out an answer for a spiritual question? The idea in that verse goes beyond merely asking a question. The verse mentions searching “as for hidden treasures”. Are you really interested enough to find the answers yourself without someone just giving you what you’d like to hear?

Here is a way to test your heart, to see if you are genuinely open to the truth. Your life may well depend on how you relate to these points. The good news is that if you find yourself doing these things, you can have good confidence in your pursuit of truth. Even if you are not at the goal, with these attitudes, you soon will be. Jesus said that whoever seeks will find.

And if you are not where you should be, the good news is that you CAN be this way. It’s merely a decision you make daily.

Open Your Heart To Truth

Your heart is the garden in which the plants of your life grow. What grows is determined by what seeds you allow in the garden. Put God’s word deep within your heart and what will grow will astonish you! The first step to that growth is an open heart to truth. (By the way, if you’d like to see more lessons on the heart, click here.)

Where are you in the journey? Need some help? Let’s talk!

1486 Heart Problems: Worry

Do you often find yourself worrying? There are certainly legitimate concerns in life, but when they become overwhelming, we need tools to help us cope. In this powerful lesson, Robert shares with us a way to cure our worries from a biblical perspective. His wise advice includes how you can solve all of your worries with only one penny.

ROBERT >> High blood pressure, heart disease, stomach ulcers, anger, frustration, discouragement, distraction, a loss of productivity. These are the kinds of things that worry can do to us. Worry is another problem of the heart. What is it? What is it that we worry about? Is there any remedy for worry?

>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love

ROBERT >> What is worry? Someone defined it this way: A painful uneasiness of the mind usually over an anticipated ill. We fret, we’re anxious, in our heart there’s such a stressful emotion; but what is it that causes this to come upon us? What is it that we worry about so much?

I’m afraid that many of us worry about money, how we’re going to get it and earn it and make it and steal it and spend and save it and hoard it and invest it. And then what do we do? We lose it all on a six month to a nursing home.

We worry about what we have said and done more than what we should say and do. We worry about baldness and bridges and bifocals and bulges, and generally die of a heart attack. We worry about things purely imaginary. Yes, worry can be a big problem of the heart for many of us.

I want you to think this morning about two kinds of worry; because you see, there is a proper care and concern that we ought to have in our hearts about certain things, and there’s also an improper care and concern that can really cause problems and can be a real problem of the heart.

For example, in 1 Corinthians 12:25 we read about the care that we ought to have for one another in the body of Christ. That’s proper. It’s not that we’re always worrying about each other, but that we do care and we are concerned about the souls of our brothers and sisters in Christ. In 2 Corinthians 11:28 the apostle Paul talked about the anxiety that he had for all the churches. This great minister of the gospel had a proper care and concern for these churches, that they not be drawn away by false doctrine, that they not fall into sin and lose their souls, but that they be the kind of churches that God would have them to be. And in Philippians 2:20 we read about the apostle Paul writing to the church at Philippi, sending them Timothy, his coworker, to help them, and how that Timothy cared for them like no other.

There is a proper care and concern that we all ought to have for each other. That kind can be good. It moves us to take care of things. It helps us to be careful. Some things we need to be concerned about; and certainly we need to be concerned about each other and about our relationship with the Lord.

But there’s also an improper care and concern that we need to address that so often becomes a problem of the heart. If you will, look with me in Psalm 37:8. Here’s what the Bible says: Cease from anger, and forsake wrath. Do not fret; it only causes harm.

Yes, there is an over concern or a misplaced concern. Some people are even neurotic about their worries. And so he says don fret like that. It can be very harmful to you. Look a little further in the book of Proverbs. Proverbs 12:25, Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression; but a good word makes it glad. Yes, we’ll be wise not to become so over concerned about things that it causes us to become discouraged and puts us in a condition of depression. That kind of over concern and misplaced concern or neurotic worry is useless; in fact, it’s very harmful to us. Jesus has much to say about worry and many things that will help us here. I want you to look over in Matthew 6:25-34. And you’ll notice in this passage that not once and not twice, but three times Jesus says do not worry, and he tells us why we should not worry.

Notice here in Matthew 6:25, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”

Isn’t it true that sometimes we worry too much about these things? And that’s what Jesus is talking about. The most important thing is not this life or the things of this life. Certainly we need to take care of our bodies, we need things to eat and to drink, but let’s let God take care of that for us, and let’s put him first in our life as Jesus teaches us in this very passage.

Look at verse 33, where he says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

You see, if we’ll put God first, we’ll make him the priority of our life, our number-one concern, then these other things will take care of themselves. If you look a little closer at Jesus’ teaching, he says in verse 26, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

Yes, we can see that God is going to take care of his creatures. And if he takes care of his creatures, how much more is he going to take care of us, his people? Look at it a little further as you go on down in verse 30. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field which today is and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, oh you of little faith? Yes, you see, worry is just a symptom of little faith. But instead of worrying, let’s learn to trust in God with the things that we need.

There’s another interesting point that Jesus makes in this reading. In Matthew 6, notice again now in verse27-28. He says, Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin. You think those lilies worry about it, worry about what they look like and how they appear?

We worry about our clothing, we worry about these things and our appearance and all of this so much; but he says it’s useless, it’s not going to do any good. Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? Is it going to make you any taller? Of course not. We know that worry itself is not going to do us any good. And so Jesus says don’t worry, trust God with these things in your life.

He reminds us as we look further here in verse 32, For after all these things the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. Don’t think that God doesn’t know everything about us. He knows what we need, and he promises to provide that for those who seek him first. Jesus concludes this section in verse 34 when he says, Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things; sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

It seems that if we can’t find anything in the past to worry about or anything in the present, then we’ll look to something in the future and worry about that, things that probably will never happen, anyway. We’ve got enough to take care of right now today, and so let’s take care of the things that we have before us, and let’s trust God with everything else. Worry is useless, Jesus teaches us, and never lifted a single burden and never solved a single problem and never dried a single tear. And besides, it’s unnecessary to worry about what God promises to take care of. But now before we leave this lesson today, we need to talk about the remedy for worry. How is it that we can overcome this problem of the heart? Well, the remedy for worry is prayer.

Look with me if you will in Hebrews 4:16. The Hebrew writer encourages us to pray. He encourages us to come to the Lord with the things that we need. Tell God your needs. Hebrews 4:16, Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Yes, God encourages us to come boldly, to come with confidence and assurance that he will hear us and that he will provide for us. He tells us here that his throne is a throne of grace. That is, God wants to give us the things that we need. He wants to be gracious towards us. And he says in coming to him with that kind of confident faith that we can be sure that we will obtain his mercy, that we will find his grace to help us in our time of need.

Let me encourage you when you come to the Lord and you come to him in faith with confidence to be very specific about what it is you feel that you need, that you want in order to carry out God’s purposes for your life and to be the kind of Christian that he would have you to be. If you’re worried about something, whatever it is, tell it to God.

Find a place, find a time to talk to God about it. The Bible teaches us to let your requests be made known unto God. That’s in Philippians 4:6-7. He tells us to do that, to turn it over to God so that we can get rid of our worries. So tell your needs to God. There’s something else that will help us when it comes to the remedy for worry, and it comes to praying to God and talking to him.

Don’t just tell him your needs, but remember to be thankful. There in Philippians 4:6 when he said, Don’t be anxious, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And so when we come to God with these needs, let’s remember to be thankful. Ephesians 5:20 tells us to always be thankful for all things. It’s when we’re thankful, when we realize our blessings that it’s easy for us to forget our worries. And not only that, but being thankful reminds us of how God has taken care of us in the past, reminds us of what God is doing for us in our life today, and it gives us more confidence and assurance so we can turn our present worries back over to him.

You know, blessings and the wonderful things that God has done for us bring such joy to our hearts. And that joy is so much greater than our problems. When we realize as Christians we have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, as the Bible says in Ephesians 1:3, then our worries seem to fade into insignificance. I think about how God has blessed my life with forgiveness, how he’s blessed me with the church and his word, how he’s blessed me with the privilege of prayer, the joy and the hope that God has brought to each and every one of us who have put our faith in him who belong to him. So when you ask God for your needs, when you take your needs to him, remember to be thankful, and that will assure us of God’s ability to take care of us.

But there is a third thing we must learn to do, and maybe this is the hardest one. It’s one thing to tell God our needs and to remember to be thankful, but it’s something else to take our worry and just leave it with him, just turn it over to him, because we want to keep carrying it around with us. Look with me in Psalm 62. The Psalmist helps us to learn how to turn things over to God. In Psalm 62:1 it says, Truly my soul silently waits for God; from him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense. I shall not be greatly moved. You see how the Psalmist is talking to himself? He’s calming his spirit and he’s building his faith in God. He says, Truly my soul silently waits for God. He believes in God. He’s trusted God for many years, he’s seen what God has done in his life and he is able to do, and so he says there’s no reason for me to be upset and to be worried. And so he calms his soul and he waits for the Lord. But he waits for him with expectation.

He knows that God is going to come through for him or that God is going to help him to get through whatever it is that he’s facing in his life. He says he’s my rock, he’s my salvation. I can stand firmly in my faith for God because, you see, I know that he’s that stable one I can always trust in. He’s the dependable one I can always rely upon. He changes not. And just as he’s been faithful in the past, he’ll continue to be faithful now. He’s my solid rock that keeps me from being moved. Yes, he’s my salvation, he’s my deliverance, he is going to deliver me out of whatever it is that’s going on in my life. And so as I come to him and as I wait for him, I do so with great confidence knowing that he’s going to come through for me. I look down in verses 5-8 of Psalm 62, and the Psalmist says, My soul waits silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.

Once again the psalmist speaks to himself, be silent, be calm, don’t worry. I know, God, that you’re going to be there for me. He goes on to repeat again, He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense. I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory. The rock of my strength and my refuge is in God. Yes, the psalmist has one to whom he can come and rest secure and safe. God is his refuge. And so he says in verse 8, Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him. Got is a refuge for us. When you’re worried, when you’re upset, you take all of that, and you take it to God, and you leave it with him.

In 1 Peter 5:7 Peter simply says, Cast all your cares upon Him because He cares for you. When’s God going to answer our prayer? When is going to meet our need? When is he going to bring deliverance into our life? When will our burdens be lifted? The moment that we give our worries up, the moment that we turn these things over to him, we can trust that God will take care of them. It’s as though they’ve already been done. It’s like a hitch hiker with a backpack, and he’s walking down the road, and a car comes and pulls over to pick him up, and he jumps in the car. But the driver of the car looks over and says, You still have your backpack on. Why don’t you take it off and put it here in the back seat? I think we’re a lot of times just like that hitch hiker when we come to God and he need his help, but we keep the backpack on. We won’t let go of the worries and the things that are burdening us. Until we take it off and give it to God, God’s not able to bless our lives like he really wants to.

You know, you may be able to cure all your worries for a penny. Carry a penny everywhere you go. When you’re tempted to worry, you take it, and you read the message inscribed on it, In God we trust. There is the real remedy for worry.

You see, before we can worry, we’ve got to think three things about God. We’ve got to think, number one, he doesn’t know my problem. We’ve already found out that God knows everything about us. He knows our needs even before we ask him. And so we don’t have to worry about that. He knows your problem today. He knows whatever it is that’s going on in your life. He understands your worry.

But before we can worry, we must also think that God doesn’t care. Maybe he does know, but maybe he doesn’t care. Oh, no, God cares for us, as we’ve already learned. God cares for us, and he loves us, and he does not want us to have to suffer, and he doesn’t want us to have to be hurting. He’s made a way for us. You know, sometimes we don’t understand why we go through the things that we do and why God doesn’t immediately answer our prayers, or even after a long time we’re wondering where is God, and we have all of these questions and doubts in our heart.

But I want to take you back 2,000 years to the cross of Calvary and remember what he did for all of us there. Having left heaven and come to the earth as a man, Jesus Christ the Son of God lived a perfect life and then gave himself on the cruel cross of Calvary to pay the penalty for our sins. Folks, that’s love. That’s genuine care. That’s how God feels about you today. So never doubt his care and his concern for you. Never doubt his love for you.

But before we can worry, we must also think that God can’t do anything about it. If he knows my problem and he loves and he cares for me, then why doesn’t he do anything about it? Maybe he can’t. But that, too, is not true. Because he’s God, he can do anything. He can do everything.He’s greater, Hebrews 6:13 tells us, he’s greater than anyone or anything. With God all things are possible, Matthew 19:26.

So today, don’t worry. Turn it over to God. He knows your problem. He does care about you, and he can do something about it. He can bring deliverance and blessing into your life. Just pray this simple prayer. Lord, help me to remember that nothing is going to happen to me today that you and I together can’t handle. And let us know here at The Truth In Love how we can help you towards heaven today.

>> There is beyond the azure blue a God concealed from human sight.
He tinted skies with heavenly hue and framed the worlds with his great might.
There is a God, he is alive, in him we live, and we survive.
From dust our God created man, he is our God, the great I Am.

Our God whose son upon a tree a life was willing there to give
that he from sin might set man free and evermore with him could live.
There is a God, he is alive, in him we live, and we survive.
From dust our God created man, he is our God, the great I Am.

>> On Zion’s glorious summit stood a numerous host redeemed by blood.
They hymned their king in strains divine.
I heard the song and strove to join.
I heard the song and strove to join.

While everlasting ages roll, eternal love shall feast their soul.
And scenes of bliss forever new rise in succession to their view, rise in succession to their view.

Holy, holy, holy Lord.
God of hosts on high adored.
Who like me thy praise should sing, oh almighty king.
Holy, holy, holy Lord.

ROBERT >> Thanks for watching our program today. We’d love to hear from you. Let me encourage you to contact us with your questions, comments, or requests at The Truth In Love, P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053. You may e-mail us at requests@ttil.tv. Or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966800-819-2966 FREE. Also, please visit our web site at www.ttil.tv.

All our materials and services are absolutely free of charge. We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.

>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace, from the toils that bind me it will bring release.
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so, showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow.
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.

Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall, sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.
Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary, when the day is long, sing to me of heaven, sing that old, sweet song.
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall, sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.

1485 Heart Problems: Pride

Someone said pride is all about its central letter: “I”. Its caused the fall of nations and individuals. Are you suffering from a pride problem? In this lesson, Robert shows us the meaning of pride and how to remove it from our hearts.

ROBERT >> Are you a prideful person? I don’t mean do you have a normal self-respect and a dignity about yourself that we all ought to have; I’m not talking about being happy for the success of others like a parent is proud for his child; but I’m talking about an inflated sense of worth or importance, thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, as Paul warned about in Romans 12:3.

I love how one missionary translated the word to a tribe he was working with as, Ears being too far apart. Yes, pride is having the big head. Or as Abraham Lincoln put it, He who sings his own praises usually gets the pitch too high. What does the Bible say about this other problem of the heart, pride?

SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.

ROBERT >> Somebody said, People are strange; they want the front of the bus, the back of the church, and the center of attention. Yes, it’s true that many of us have a pride problem. Somebody said, “Pride is the only disease that everyone around you suffers from except yourself.” Isn’t it hard sometimes to see that we have a pride problem when it’s so easy to see that in others?

Another said, “The mental cases most difficult to cure are those people who are crazy about themselves.”

Yes, pride can come into our heart, and we might not even know it. And it could be that this is a problem that you’re dealing with in your heart, in your life today, and you don’t even know it. Let’s consider what the Bible has to say about it.

What is wrong with pride, and how can we deal with this and root this out of our heart that we might be the kind of people God wants us to be? Well, first of all, let’s look at the Proverbs, because the Proverbs are filled with information that will help us with this very problem. In fact, I want us to notice four warnings from Proverbs concerning pride. Let’s look first of all at Proverbs 11:2. Here we find inspired messages of wisdom.

And he says, “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom.” Yes, wisdom doesn’t come from pride, but shame. Wisdom comes from humility, rooting out that pride.

How many times has pride caused you to embarrass yourself? Doesn’t it keep us from maturing spiritually in our knowledge and in our understanding? Only when we set pride aside and humble our hearts are we going to be able to learn and to grow in the Lord. So we need to be warned that pride brings shame and not wisdom.

But here’s another warning from the Proverbs. Look at Proverbs 13:10. “By pride comes nothing but strife; but with the well advised is wisdom.” Yes, not only does pride keep us from growing in wisdom and keep us from understanding and knowledge and cause shame in our life, but pride also brings strife. How many times has pride caused you to get at odds with others? Doesn’t it keep us from enjoying so many blessings of God? I look over in Proverbs 28:25, and here the wise man writes to us, “He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife; but he who trusts in the Lord will be prospered.” So let’s take pride out of our heart. Let’s humble ourselves. Let’s put our trust in God and not in ourself.

But there’s a third warning from the Proverbs concerning pride. Look at Proverbs 16:18. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Yes, it’s true that pride often gets us into trouble. We shame ourself, we stir up strife, and it ultimately brings destruction to our heart, to our soul, to our life, to our families, to our nations.

Somebody said, “The higher you stand, the harder you fall.” Yes, pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. As Paul warned us in 1 Corinthians 10:12, take heed to yourselves. He says, “He that thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall.”

Just about the time we get to thinking that we cannot fall, that we have arrived spiritually, that nothing could ever happen to us, that’s when we fall, because we’re not on guard. We’re no longer careful about how we walk and puffed up in our pride. That’s what brings our destruction.

Still there’s a fourth warning from the Proverbs that I want to remind you of, Proverbs 29:23. Here it says, “A man’s pride will bring him low; but the humble in spirit will retain honor.” Yes, pride can humiliate us. It can bring us low. It will cause us to be shamed, embarrassed; it will cause us to stir up strife and get at odds with others; it will cause us to fall on our face; it will bring us low.

Somebody said, “People who sing their own praises do so without accompaniment.” The person was emphasizing the fact that we might think we’re something else, and we might brag about ourself and boast about ourself, but if we truly want to be honored by others, we need to humble ourselves.

In Luke 18:14, this was the message of Jesus, especially towards the religious leaders of his day who thought they were better than everybody else, who looked down on others. He said here in this passage, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Yes, this man in this passage was the man who would not so much as look up into heaven, but he beat his breast and called out for God’s mercy because he was a sinner. When we humble ourselves before God, then we’ll be lifted up.

You know, you see this contrast between those of pride and those of humility in Satan and in Jesus. I want us to think a little bit today about Satan and pride, about Jesus and humility. In 1 Timothy 3:6 we read about the pride of Satan, the devil. And this is given as a warning to elders. The apostle Paul reminds Timothy that men should not be appointed to be bishops or overseers of the church, that elders should not be brought in as pastors of the church that are novices, that are new converts, lest they be puffed up in pride. Here’s what it says, “Not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.”

This must have been Satan’s problem. He became too proud of his power and his position that God had blessed him and privileged him with. And that was the reason for his fall. There’s a few passages that seem to suggest this very thing in the Old Testament scriptures. In Isaiah 14:12-15, I want you to notice here what Isaiah has to say to the king of Babylon who had become puffed up in his pride. He’d been given power over all the earth as king of this great nation, but he would fall because of his pride just as Satan fell. And as we read this passage, can you not see the allusion to the fall of Satan and that Isaiah’s warning the king of Babylon that just as Satan fell, he also could fall?

Isaiah 14:12 says, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High. Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.”

When we begin to exalt ourself above God, begin to think that we’re greater than all, that we can do anything, that’s when we’re going to fall just like the devil.

There’s another passage with a similar teaching in Ezekiel chapter 28. Notice here this, too, is a prophet speaking to a king. In Ezekiel chapter 28 he’s talking to the king of Tyre, who like the king of Babylon had become puffed up in his pride. But again he compares his fall to that of Satan. Listen to what it says. “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord God: You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and the diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. And by the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; and therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you.”

Can you see in this passage that God created Satan beautiful and privileged and blessed, but he sinned; and as a result of that, he was cast from heaven. This is a warning to the king of Tyre, and it’s a warning to any of us who become puffed up in pride.

There’s another passage in Revelation the 12th chapter that also speaks of the fall of Satan. And the one writing the Revelation, the apostle John, reminds us of the fall of Satan as a warning to the Roman empire that was persecuting God’s church, that just as Satan was defeated and cast out of heaven, so would these servants of Satan, Rome, fall. In Revelation the 12th chapter we read about how that Satan tried to destroy the Christ child as he was born into the world. But he was unsuccessful. He was defeated. And then we see how that he tried to destroy the Christ child in putting him on the cross and not allowing him to be raised up and establish his kingdom; but of course we know again Satan was defeated.

Jesus was raised and ascended to heaven, and there he won the victory over Satan, over sin, over death. Now Satan is out to destroy the church, but he can never do that. As Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, “I’ll build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

Satan is a three-time loser, and Satan will always lose when he comes against Jesus Christ. But I want you to see in the Revelation how that when John pictures Satan being cast out of heaven, he’s reminding us of that original defeat when he was puffed up in pride so that we not be puffed up in pride. In Genesis 3:1-8, the first temptation of that old serpent, the devil, Satan, had to do with this very problem of pride. You remember the woman was tempted by Satan to partake of that tree of the knowledge of good and evil that God warned her not to take of, lest she die; but she being deceived partook of that fruit.

You remember the temptation of Satan? Notice what he said here in verse 4. “Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die; for God knows that in the day you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ And so when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.”

Yes, that desire to be like God, that desire to be powerful, to be great, a prideful reaching for that kind of position and power is what deceived the woman and caused her to die that day, spiritually become separated from God because of her sin, and the man also as he partook of that fruit.

We need to be warned as John said in 1 John 2:15-17 not to love the world and the things in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life because they’re not of the Father, they’re of the world.

But now having talked about Satan and pride, let’s consider Jesus and humility. Oh, the humility of Jesus Christ. How that Jesus, though he was in a form of God or an equality with God, did not think it a thing to be grasped or to be held onto, but he emptied himself, taking the form of a servant. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. We read about that in Philippians 2:3 and 8. But you see, it’s Jesus coming to this earth, humbling himself that he was able to fulfill the mission of God in saving the world.

Having come and lived a perfect life, he was then able to offer that as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. But what humility, to give up the glories of heaven, to become one of us, to suffer, to be tempted and tried, to be rejected, to be crucified upon a cross. But Jesus was willing to do that to serve us. And it’s that kind of humility that will enable us to help others and to help others towards heaven and to please our God and ultimately to be raised to glory. As Jesus himself was raised from the dead and ascended back to glory, so we’ll share with him in that glory someday if we walk in humility.

In Matthew the 20th chapter, Jesus wanted to teach his apostles this very thing because they were arguing about who was the greatest among them, they were fighting for great seats in the kingdom on his right hand and on his left hand. But he wanted them to know that that’s not what his kingdom was about, and that kind of pride is completely opposite of the humility that Jesus displayed in his own life, that that kind of pride is not true greatness.

Listen to these words in Matthew chapter 20 and let’s begin in verse 24. “And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them; yet it shall not be so among you. But whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant; and whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.'”

Oh, the ten were displeased with the two, James and John, whose mother wanted them to sit on the right hand and the left hand of Jesus, because you see, they desired those same kind of seats of power and position and authority. They wanted to be great like God. But Jesus said to be great like God is to be not first, but last, is to be not served, but a servant. For He Himself came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many. Yes, the very heart of the gospel is the teaching of humility, of sacrifice, of giving.

As Jesus was with his apostles before going to the cross, at that last Passover meal, you may remember they had all gathered there to eat, but no one had washed their feet. Coming in off the dusty roads of Palestine, it was their custom to wash their feet before they would go on in the house and continue to eat the supper together. But no one had been washed. I suppose that they might have been thinking, you know, it’s somebody else’s turn to wash our feet, and certainly I should not have to wash the feet. But it was Jesus Christ who got up and who took the towel and the water and went to each one of them to wash their feet.

He was setting them an example to do for each other what he had done for them, to be a servant, to love others, to give to others, to sacrifice for others. And that takes humility.

Pride will always cause us problems. Let’s remember the warnings of the Proverb, that it will bring us to shame and embarrassment, that it will cause all kinds of problems with others, that it will bring our destruction, it will bring us low. But it’s humility that will bring us in favor with God so that he will lift us up and he will reward us and he’ll bring us home to heaven to be with him someday.

I’m no so thankful to God that he’s made a way for me, a sinner. One lost without Jesus, I was in desperate straits. Needing his salvation, needing his forgiveness, knowing that I could never obtain it on my own, I put my trust in the one who came to save me, who humbled himself, who became obedient to the death of the cross. I realized there how much God loves me and how awful my sin is, that it cost the blood of that perfect one. It was in humility that I decided to turn away from my sin and to live for Jesus, to give myself to him. I remember walking the aisle at the church building, confessing the name of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, my Lord, my Savior, and then being immersed in the waters of baptism so that my sins could be forgiven, and then raised up out of that water, cleansed, pure, whole a child of God, a new start, a new life.

It’s in humility that each of us who have made that same decision, who have come to Christ in that same way, who have been cleansed, who have been forgiven, who have been saved, it’s in humility that we must continue to walk before our God, to be honest about ourselves and who we are, and continue to strive to follow Jesus Christ, always trusting him, knowing that he can bring us home to heaven. God bless you with the humility of Jesus. And please, let us know how we can help you towards heaven today.

SINGING>> Great is thy faithfulness, oh God my Father.
There is no shadow of turning with thee.
Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not.
As thou hast been, thou forever wilt be.
Great is thy faithfulness, great is thy faithfulness.
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed thy hand hath provided.
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.
Great is thy faithfulness, great is thy faithfulness.
Morning by morning new blessings I see.
All I have needed thy hand hath provided.
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.

ROBERT >> I hope that you found today’s lesson helpful. And to help you in your continued study, we’d like to offer you a free copy of today’s lesson. Thankfully, members of churches of Christ make these materials available to our viewers absolutely free of charge. And all you have to do is contact us and let us know the name of the program that you’d like to have a copy of. You can see the title of today’s program on your screen. Let us know the format in which you’d like to have it. You can have the program in the form of an audio CD or a DVD or a written transcript. You can have any of these formats, again, free of charge. It won’t cost you a thing.

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SINGING>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace, from the toils that bind me it will bring release. Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so, showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow. Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam. Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall, sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all. Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go. When my heart is weary, when the day is long, sing to me of heaven, sing that old, sweet song. Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam. Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall, sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.