1551 The Parable Of The Wicked Vinedressers

So many close their eyes and hearts to the savior. It’s nothing new. This parable from Jesus tells of those who ultimately rejected Him in a prediction of His own death. Learn more about this powerful parable.

ROBERT >> Thank you so much for joining us today here on The Truth In Love. Our God is such a gracious God, a loving God who has made every effort to make a way for us to be forgiven of our sins and to join him for all of eternity in the heavenly realm; and yet there are many who are so determined to persist in their wickedness, who have closed their eyes and their ears and their hearts to the savior. 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 >> Today we want to discuss the parable of the wicked vinedressers, which ought to convict the hearts of every one of us. This parable of Jesus is actually recorded by Matthew, Mark, and Luke. We’re going to read from Matthew’s account in just a moment. But I want to remind you that Jesus had gone to Jerusalem to die for the sins of the world. When he entered that city, he was met with hosannas, they proclaimed him as the Messiah, and now it’s Tuesday before his death, and he’s teaching in the temple when he gives this parable.

Let’s read it together from Matthew 21:33. “Hear another parable: There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. Now when vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit. And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them. Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, They will represent my son. When the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance. So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers? They said to Him, He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyards to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.”

Picture this, if you can today, how this man, this landowner planted a vineyard. As there were many vineyards in Judea in those days, the land would be made ready, the large stones would be taken out, the ground would be plowed, and the vines would be planted. He would set a hedge around it, maybe of thorns, perhaps a stone wall to keep out the animals and thieves who might break in. And then he would dig a vat, a winepress there in the vineyard. The ordinary press in those days was made of two pits dug out of rocky ground. There would be one pit connected by some kind of channel down to the other pit, one higher than the other, so when they pressed by foot the juice out of the grapes, it would flow down the channel into the lower pit. And there in the vineyard he would build a tower. The tower would be built probably of stone, and it would be used to lodge the workers of the vineyard and especially for a lookout against possible robbers during the harvest time. And so the landowner, having built this vineyard, would lease it out to vinedressers, and he would go off into a far country for a long time.

This was not unusual in the days of Palestine, a very troubled country. A man might leave his property in the care of others and go live somewhere else. But then I want you to notice here in verse 34, “Now when vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit.”

You see, he sent these servants back at harvest time to get some fruit from the vineyard. Rent from land in those days was often derived in different ways. The tenant might give maybe some money to the owner, or he might pay a certain amount of the produce, whether the harvest was good or bad. He might agree to share in a certain portion of the fruit, usually about a third or a fourth of the harvest. But in the parable, when the landowner sent the servants to receive this rent, what did the vinedressers do to his servants? Well, they beat one. They sent him away empty handed. They killed one, they stoned another. When you look at all the accounts in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, you get all the details of this. But it was not uncommon for land renters to abuse those absentee landlords when they weren’t around.

What did the landowner do when these servants were mistreated?

He sent some more servants, even more servants than he sent before. What happened to them?

Again, the same thing they had done to the others that had been said before. At least one was stoned, one was wounded in the head and sent away, some were beaten, some were killed.

What did the landowner do last of all?

Notice what it says here in verse 37. “And last of all, he sent his son to them, saying, They will respect my son.”

But that was not the case. Instead, the vinedressers were plotting to kill the son so they could seize his inheritance. They took him, they cast him out of the vineyard, and they killed him. What question did Jesus then ask the audience that was listening to him that day?

Look at it with me here in verse 40. “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?”

And look at their reply in verse 41. “They said to Him, He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.”

And you don’t see it here in Matthew, but in Luke’s account he adds this response: Certainly not!

What does Jesus mean by this parable? The details of the story, what historical situation are they describing? Who does this apply to?

Well, let’s notice that he’s really referring to the historical situation of the Jewish nation in his day. And you see the landowner here very obviously is representing God, but the vineyard speaks of the Jewish nation. You see, God brought them out of Egypt, out of their slavery hundreds of years ago. He planted them in a good land, the promised land of Canaan, and he made them his people and he gave them his law, and he blessed them in so many wonderful and special ways. So God is that landowner, and that vineyard must refer to God’s people, Israel.

But who is represented by the vinedressers left in charge of that vineyard?

This would be the priests, this would be the elders of the people who abused their responsibility over God’s people.

Who was represented by the servants sent back again and again?

Those would refer to the Old Testament prophets, those prophets that were persecuted because they spoke against the evil of the leaders among God’s people. They constantly pleaded for the people to repent. According to Jewish tradition, Jeremiah, the great prophet, was stoned by exiles in Egypt. Isaiah, another great prophet, sawn asunder by King Manasseh. In the Old Testament passage of 2 Chronicles 24:21, we read where Zechariah was stoned. And in that same book in chapter 36 and verse 16, the persecution of the prophets during the days of Zedekiah. And let me read to you from Acts 7:52, when Stephen was preaching to the Jews of his day, the rulers of God’s people.

In Acts 7:52, he asked this question:” Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute?”

And if I could, look at Hebrews chapter 11. At the end of this great faith chapter we read about the persecution that so many did towards God’s faithful servants.

In Hebrews 11 beginning verse 32, “And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jepthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented – of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens in caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise.”

Yes, just as those vinedressers persecuted the servants sent by the landowner to the vineyard, so Israel and the other nations often persecuted God’s prophets who warned them of their unfaithfulness and pleaded with them to turn back to God. But most importantly in this parable, who is represented by the son that was cast out of the vineyard and killed?

And of course we know now that’s Jesus Christ, our Lord and our savior, who was crucified at Calvary because they rejected him as their savior and as their Lord.

You’ll notice here at the end of the parable where Jesus asked the question, What will he do to those vinedressers?

And I want to read again their answer to that question in verse 41. They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.”

Yes, they recognized that those wicked vinedressers who killed the servants, who killed the son deserved destruction, they deserved to be destroyed; but they did not recognize that they themselves, because they had not been faithful over the vineyard God had given them, the Israelite nation, and because they would reject his son, Jesus Christ, also deserved to be destroyed.

Jesus had prophesied concerning the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem, how the Romans would besiege the city and kill over a million Jews, this great judgment of God that would take place in 70 AD. Jesus had spoken of it in Matthew 24, in Mark 13, and in Luke 21. They would be judged because of their unfaithfulness and their rejection of Jesus Christ. But I want to ask this: Who’s represented by the other vinedressers to whom the landowner would lease his vineyard after those wicked vinedressers were destroyed?

Well, this refers to the church, the church of Christ made of many people from all nations that you read about here in your Bibles. The Jewish nation would not be restored to God’s favor, not as a nation; but God chose a new spiritual nation, the church, to be his people.

Let me read with you 1 Peter 2:9-10, where Peter shows that that physical nation of Israel in the Old Testament was just pointing to the greater spiritual nation of Christ, his church.

1 Peter 2:9-10, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people, but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”

This is the spiritual Israel of God we read about in Galatians 6:16, in Romans 9:6-8. These were not of the physical seed of Abraham, but they had the faith of Abraham. And believing on Jesus Christ and responding in obedience to his gospel, they became a part of Christ’s kingdom, his church. And thus, the parable here, the parable of the wicked vinedressers, is really a commentary on God’s gracious dealings with his people: His constant pleadings for them to repent, their determination to persist in wickedness, their willingness even to kill Jesus, and their final and irrevocable rejection by God. Jesus asked what the owner of the vineyard would do to his rebellious servants, and the Jews gave a ready response in which they unwittingly pronounced judgment against themselves. But I want us to look a little closer here at some of the verses that follow this.

Notice verse 42 of Matthew 21. “Jesus said to them, Have you never read in the Scriptures: The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.”

This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes. This is a quotation from Psalm 118:22-23. And you might also compare it with Isaiah 28:16. But who is meant by the stone that the builders rejected in this passage that Jesus quoted? Well, that stone we know now is Jesus Christ.

We know that because Peter interpreted it for us.

In 1 Peter chapter 2, let me read to you verses 4 through 8. Here he writes, Coming to Him, that is, Jesus Christ, as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame. Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone, and, A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.”

They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. Not only does Peter show Jesus Christ as that stone that was rejected, but you can read Acts 4:11, Ephesians 2:20, and you’ll see that same understanding. Jesus Christ is that foundation stone upon which he built his church. Faith in him as the Christ, the Son of God, obedience to his gospel is absolutely necessary to be a part of this new great spiritual nation, the church; otherwise, we, too, are destined for destruction.

So what was Jesus’ explanation of the parable?

Look again back in Matthew chapter 21, and notice what he says in verse 43. Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. The kingdom of God would be taken from the Jews and given to another nation bearing those fruits.

And what is that other nation?

As we learned before, this refers to the church.

What did Jesus say would happen to those who fall on the stone in the scripture that he just read?

Look at it again in verse 44. “And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder. Yes, they would be broken.”

This mean means that there are some that would fall upon Jesus Christ, humbled by Christ to recognize their sinfulness, to come to him in faith for salvation, like those we read about in 1 Peter 2:6 who come to faith, who believe in that one, never to be put to shame. And what did Jesus say would happen to those upon whom the stone fell?

They would be ground to powder. All of this refers to the condemnation of those who are disobedient, rejecting Christ as Lord and as savior. But who here in Matthew 21 came to realize that Jesus was speaking of them?

Look with me here in verse 45 of Matthew 21. ‘Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them. The chief priests, the Pharisees, these leaders of Israel had been indicted by Jesus Christ and knew that they had fallen under the condemnation of God himself.”

What did they do about it?

Instead of repenting, instead of turning, look what the verse says in verse 46. “But when they sought to lay hands on Him, on Christ, they feared the multitudes, because they took Him for a prophet. If it were up to the chief priests and Pharisees, they would have taken him then to destroy him, because they refused to accept his message. They were going to take it out on the messenger, except they feared the multitude more. They were afraid of losing their popularity and the following by the people. They were more concerned about that than what was right and what was good and what God had done for them through Jesus Christ, and they sought to get rid of him altogether. Surely this message of the parable of the wicked vinedressers is one that convicts our hearts and helps us to re-examine our lives to see if we are right with God, to see if we’re really being honest about the truth concerning Jesus Christ and his gospel. If you’ll believe on him today, turning from your sins and confessing your faith in him, you can become a Christian by giving yourself to him in the waters of baptism. As the Bible says, Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord. I hope you’ll do that today, that you’ll let us know here at The Truth In Love how we can help you towards heaven.

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.

SINGING>> In heavenly armor we’ll enter the land.
The battle belongs to the Lord.
No weapon that’s fashioned against us will stand.
The battle belongs to the Lord.
And we sing glory, honor,
power and strength to the Lord.
We sing glory, honor, power
and strength to the Lord.
When the power of darkness comes in like a flood,
the battle belongs to the Lord.
He’s raised up a standard,
the power of his blood.
The battle belongs to the Lord.
And we sing glory, honor,
power and strength to the Lord.
We sing glory, honor,
power and strength to the Lord.
When your enemy presses in hard, do not fear.
The battle belongs to the Lord.
Take courage,
my friend, your redemption is near.
The battle belongs to the Lord.
And we sing glory, honor,
power and strength to the Lord.
We sing glory, honor,
power and strength to the Lord.
We sing glory, honor,
power and strength to the Lord.
We sing glory, honor,
power and strength to the Lord.

ROBERT >> Thank you so much for watching our program today. I’d love to hear from you. Let me encourage you to contact us if you have any questions, comments, or requests.

You can write The Truth In Love at P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053 or e-mail us at requests@ttil.tv.

Call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966 or visit our web site at www.ttil.tv.

And remember, 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.

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.

1550 The Parable Of The Unjust Steward

Have you noticed that the people of this world are often wiser in the ways of this world than Christians? Jesus told a parable that shows the necessity of understanding our world and using the things of this world for a spiritual advantage.

ROBERT >> Good morning, and thank you for joining us today on The Truth In Love. Have you ever noticed how it seems the world is more wise and shrewd in using what they have to accomplish their worldly purposes than we as Christians are with what we have to accomplish the purposes of God? Well, 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 >> Today we’re going to talk about another parable of Jesus. This time, the unjust steward. Now, this parable of Jesus is only recorded by Luke, and so we’ll be looking together in Luke chapter 16. And I want you to notice how this parable is connected with the parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son, as well as the story of the rich man and Lazarus. If you’ll look in Luke chapter 15, you’ll see the story of the lost sheep and the coin and that prodigal son. But then after chapter 16 verses 1 through 8, after we read the parable of the unjust steward, we have the rich man and Lazarus. So it’s in between these two parables that we find Jesus speaking about the unjust steward. And you’ll notice that Jesus is speaking directly to his disciples. And yet the audience of this message was much greater. It also included the tax collectors and the sinners and the Pharisees and the scribes.

If you look back in Luke 15:1-2, it says, “Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” That’s where he gives the parables of the lost coin, the lost sheep, and the prodigal son. But just following that is where he brings in this parable of the unjust steward.

Those still listening there in chapter 15 are listening here in chapter 16. And then we look over in chapter 16 verse 1, and it says, He also said to His disciples. And in verse 14 of that chapter, “Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him.” And so we see that Jesus was speaking to many people on this occasion. And he speaks to us today if we’re listening.

Let’s notice today that Jesus tells the parable, and then he uses it to teach a very important lesson. Let’s first read it, and then we’ll discuss it, and then we’ll consider the lesson from Jesus that follows this parable.

The parable is actually recorded in Luke 16:1-8. Let’s read it together. “He also said to His disciples, There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. So he called him and said to him, What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward. Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, How much do you owe my master? And he said, A hundred measures of oil. So he said to him, Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty. Then he said to another, And how much do you owe? So he said, A hundred measures of wheat. And he said to him, Take your bill, and write eighty. So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.”

You’ll notice in this parable of Jesus that there was a steward. And a steward is someone who’s been entrusted with or given charge of that which belongs to another. So the steward here was responsible for the rich man’s goods.

Well, what did the rich man hear about his steward?

He heard that the steward was being wasteful, and so he was going to do something about it, and he called his steward to account.

But what then was the steward’s immediate thought?

He didn’t really know what he was going to do.

Did you see there in verse 3?

Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? For my master is taking away the stewardship from me. Sometimes we find ourselves not being responsible, and then we don’t know what to do when we get in trouble for it. And that was the case here with this steward. He didn’t know what he was going to do.

Now, there were two options that he dismissed, he didn’t really want to do. He couldn’t dig. I mean, he really wasn’t someone who had been doing that kind of thing. And besides, he might have been a little too weak or a little too lazy.

Was there no other work, we must have thought?

On the other hand, he also didn’t want to beg. He’d be ashamed to beg. But he wasn’t ashamed of his poor stewardship. He wasn’t ashamed of his fraudulent plans to further abuse his master that we read about here, how he resolved to go out to those who owed his master.

Look what he decided to do here. He reduced the debts of his master’s creditors, that they might be indebted to him.

If you’ll look at the first debtor here that’s mentioned, you’ll notice he reduced the debt by 50 percent here in verse 6. “He said, A hundred measures of oil, and he said to him, take your bill and sit down quickly and write fifty.”

He owed a hundred measures of oil. That’s about 800 gallons. That’s the yield of about 146 olive trees. That’s a thousand denarii, or about 170 dollars, a large amount in those days particularly, since a daily wage for a working man was only one denarius according to Matthew 20:22. And then the second debtor, he reduced 20 percent.

We see that here in verse 7. “He said to another, And how much do you owe? And so he said, A hundred measures of wheat. And he said to him, Take your bill and write eighty.”

And so he owed a hundred measures of wheat. That’s about 500 bushels, the yield of 100 acres, about 2500 denarii, about 425 dollars. When the master realized what the steward was doing, look how he reacted.

Read again with me in verse 8. “So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. The master reacted in this way, commending the steward for his shrewdness.”

Now, why do you suppose the master would commend his steward?

Well, he commended him because he was shrewd, because he had this foresight in preparing for his future.

He was quite astute, wasn’t he?

I would say that this was a person that was intelligent and clever and perceptive and wise and prudent, that is, in accomplishing the purpose that he wanted accomplished. Maybe his purpose was not good, fraudulently denying his master these things; but certainly here was one who was shrewd in acting in this situation.

Now, the important thing for us to see is Jesus’ lesson from this parable. Let’s read on a little bit further, and let’s notice here some things about how Jesus comments on this parable.

First of all, let me just ask, does Jesus condone the steward’s dishonest conduct?

Of course not.

You’ll notice here in verse 8 again that the “master commended the unjust steward.” The master calls him unjust. And Jesus then recognized that what he’s doing is not fair, it’s not right. He certainly doesn’t condone the steward’s dishonest conduct. But what observation does Jesus make about the sons of this world like that unjust steward, and the sons of light, like those of us who ought to be following Christ?

Look at the end of verse, and we see these comments from Jesus. “For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.”

Jesus points out that the worldly are sometimes more prudent in preparing for their futures than the spiritual. It’s sad, isn’t it, when they’re more diligent, they’re more resourceful in serving the world than we are in serving God?

I have this quote from Plummer, a commentary. He says, If an unrighteous steward was commended by his earthly master for his prudence in providing for his future by fraudulent use of what had been committed to him, how much more will a righteous servant be commended by his heavenly master for providing for eternity by good use of what has been committed to him?

I think Plummer well summarizes the great lesson that Jesus is trying to make here with this parable.

And let’s notice the meaning of Jesus’ admonition then that would follow this great lesson in verse 9. “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home.”

What is Jesus saying here in verse 9?

Jesus is teaching us to use our material means to accomplish good, that we might reap eternal benefits. This idea of the things of this world and the greater spiritual things is something we must always keep in mind as Christians. And I want to read a couple other places where Jesus addresses this very issue. For example, let’s go to Matthew 6:19-21. In his great Sermon on the Mount, he deals with this idea of the things of the world.

Here he says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Jesus reminds us that the things of this world, they’re going to pass. But there is something that’s going to last. And that’s what we need to be most interested in.

Look at 1 Timothy 6:17-19, because here the apostle Paul tells Timothy how to preach to those who are rich. And he has a great warning for them. He does not condemn them for being rich, but for how they use their riches.

In verse 17 he says, “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”

Money is necessary in our living out our life here on this earth; but we understand that there’s something far greater that we ought to really live for. In the parable of Jesus, he speaks of money and the things of this world as unrighteous mammon because it’s often associated with evil.

In fact, here in 1 Timothy 6:10, the apostle Paul also told Timothy, “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.

And so we need to recognize the dangers of money, lest we fall in love with it and all it can buy. We also need to recognize how to invest it wisely. And that’s what Jesus was emphasizing in this parable. Use your monies to help progress the gospel of Jesus Christ, to help build up and edify the church, to do acts of benevolence for those in need, to help others towards heaven. That’s our mission as God’s people. And when we do that, we’ll be greeted by many friends into heaven. And so Jesus is telling us to be more wise than that unjust steward, to use the things we have for God’s glory.

What does Jesus tell us about faithfulness in stewardship?

Look at verses 10 through 13 of Luke chapter 16, and let’s see his words that follow here. “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.”

Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?

And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?

No servant can serve two masters; for 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. Jesus tells us here it is required, this stewardship, this faithfulness in stewardship is required whether we have little or whether we have much. It’s required with our material things as well as our spiritual blessings. It is required with another’s goods if we’re in charge of those or the stewardship we have over our own things.

In 1 Corinthians 4:2 the apostle Paul reminds us of our stewardship. And here he’s particularly interested in the stewardship of the gospel which God has placed in the hands of his church. “Moreover, it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. We must be faithful with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must be faithful with all that we have that God has blessed us with so that we do not lose it and so that we may receive more.”

Do you remember Jesus’ words back in Matthew chapter 25 in another parable? Here in chapter 25 and verse 21 he said, “His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you rule ever over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” And then in verse 29 of this parable, “For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.”

You cannot be faithful to God and receive his reward if you don’t use wisely the things that you have. And you cannot faithfully serve two masters at the same time.

It’s impossible for us to be serving God as our master and money at the same time, because so often those two conflict one another. We must make God our master, and we must be a possessor of our possessions and not be possessed by them.

Colossians 3:5 gives us this strong warning: Covetousness, or greed, is idolatry. We have made money and the things it can buy our god instead of the one true and living God.

Well, now I want you to notice back in Luke chapter 16, how did the Pharisees react to Jesus’ teaching?

And what does Luke tell us about them that explains why they acted this way?

Look at verse 14, Luke chapter 16. “Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him.”

They sneered at Jesus.

Why? Because they were covetous. But in what way may the parable then be applicable to the Pharisees? And I think we’ll see that the Pharisees were certainly in view in this parable.

If you’ll look with me, you’ll notice in verses 15 through 18 how he draws them into this. “ And He said to them, You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God. The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail. Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery.”

Were the Pharisees faithful stewards?

No. What were they entrusted with?

They were entrusted with the law, the law of Moses. They were entrusted with the people of God, Israel.

Why did they do what they did?

To keep their power and to keep their position. You’ll notice here that Jesus calls them to account for not being faithful to their stewardship to God as leaders of this people, for reducing the standards of the law, like divorce and remarriage, to make friends of the people so they could keep their positions and keep their power instead of making preparation to receive the kingdom of heaven and the Messiah that had now come. So how would we sum up Jesus’ lesson from the parable of the unjust steward?

Let me sum it up this way: Be wise to faithfully use what you have been given by God to prepare for eternity, because we’ll all one day give account to him.

Romans 14:12, the Bible says each one of us shall give account of himself unto God. That’ll be me and that will be you. So what have you done with what God has given you? Right now, we all have time, and we have opportunity to get our hearts right with God. God is longsuffering, not wishing that any should perish, but all should come to repentance. God is patiently waiting for each one of us to turn our hearts and our lives over to him, to live our lives for him, to continue to trust in him.

If you’ve never become a Christian, you have opportunity now. You’ve heard the word. And do you not know what Christ has done for you to pay for your sins in giving himself at Calvary, and how that he rose again the third day to give us hope and assurance of eternal life? Putting your faith in him, turn away from your sins today, confess him as the Son of God, and be immersed into Christ for the remission of your sins so that you can begin that new life. And you can use your life then as a good steward, preparing for all of eternity.

Thank God that he’s made a way for us through Jesus Christ. He’s made a way for you and for me. 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 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.
God of hosts on high adored.
Holy, holy, holy.

SINGING>> All hail the power of Jesus’ name,
let angels prostrate fall.
Bring forth the royal diadem
and crown him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem
and crown him Lord of all.
Oh, that with yonder sacred throng
we at his feet may fall.
We’ll join the everlasting song
and crown him Lord of all.
We’ll join the everlasting song
and crown him Lord of all.

ROBERT >> Thank you for watching our program today. God help us to be good stewards of what we have as we prepare for eternity. If you have any questions, comments, or requests, 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 would like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, let me encourage you to write us at The Truth In Love, P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.

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

Or call or 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 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.

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.

1547 Introduction To Parables

Jesus often used parables to teach. Why did He use them? What is their function? And why didn’t His Apostles use them as extensively? These and other questions will be answered in this introduction to the parables of Jesus.

ROBERT >> Did you know that nearly a third of Jesus’ teachings appear in the form of parables?

How would you define what a parable is?

And why did Jesus so often use parables in his teaching?

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

ROBERT >> What is a parable?

How would we define the word?

What does it really mean?

Well, our English word parable comes from the Greek word parabole. And that really is a compound word. It puts two words together: Ballo, to throw, literally; and para, literally, alongside. So literally it’s to throw alongside. The idea is that of a comparison. A parable is a comparison, comparing one thing with something else, or as some have put it, I think very well, an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.

Jesus is going to take things that we’re familiar with, stories that concern things concerning this world that we know about, and he’s going to use that to illustrate a spiritual lesson. He’s going to make a heavenly application to these earthly stories. And so that’s the idea of a parable.

I want you to notice also that parables are not fables. Fables are stories that use unreal elements or impossible situations. They’re not really true to life.
For example, back in Judges the 9th chapter in your Old Testament, you’ll see an example of a fable. And it’s to teach about Abimelech, who kills his brothers. And he does that to secure the kingdom for himself. But Jotham escapes, and he reproves him in this fable here in Judges 9. I just want to read a little bit of this fable so you can get a taste of what we’re talking about.

In verse 8 it says, “The trees once went forth to anoint a king over them. And they said to the olive tree, Reign over us!”

You see here in this passage that this is not a parable, something true to life; it’s a fable. It’s impossible. Trees don’t get up and run around and talk to each other and talk about being kings and reigning over us. No, that’s a fable. But parables are different.

Parables are always true to life. Let me give you a simple example of what we’re talking about concerning a parable. Look with me in Luke 8:5-8.

Luke chapter 8, beginning in verse 5. Jesus says, “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!”

Now, that’s a parable. Jesus speaks of an earthly story that, again, we all recognize and are familiar with it. Somebody’s going out sowing seed. And it falls on different ground. Some falls on the pathway, some fall on the rock, some fall among the thorns, and then there’s some on the good ground. We all understand that story. We can visualize that and imagine it. And then he says, He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Listen, I have a greater lesson that I want you to learn from that story. I have a heavenly message, a spiritual message that I’m going to make from that story. And Lord willing, we’ll begin to look at some of these parables, and we’ll see the meanings that Jesus was trying to put forth. But there’s something else I want you to notice about parables. Parables are normally intended to teach one
primary lesson.

For example, if you’ll look with me in Luke chapter 10, we have a very familiar parable. And I want to read it to you. Probably most of all of you will recognize this. Here it says, “Then Jesus answered and said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. And so he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you. So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves? And he said, He who showed mercy on him. And then Jesus said to him, Go and do likewise.”

Yes, this is the parable of the good Samaritan. And it was given in answer to the question, who is my neighbor? And so it is a parable with one main point, helping us to see that a neighbor is anyone who is in need that we can help. But frequently, as you’ll look at parables, you’re going to find not just one primary lesson, but you’re also going to find some supplementary lessons embodied within the parable. The parable of the good Samaritan not only teaches us how to be good neighbors and that we ought to be good neighbors, but it teaches us what mercy really looks like. You see in the parable it’s not passing by on the other side, but you see in the parable it’s doing something for the person in need.

Let me look back at that parable with you for just a moment. You’ll notice when the Samaritan saw the man that he had compassion on him. And it says in verse 34, he went to him, he bandaged his wounds, he poured oil and wine on it, he set him on his own animal, and he brought him to an inn, and he took care of him. And then remember, he even left money there for the innkeeper to take care of him. We’ve got to be careful. As we look at parables, we don’t want to miss the great lesson, and we want to see all the lessons that Jesus has for us; but don’t misuse a parable by teaching something inconsistent with what Jesus intended or with what the Bible teaches elsewhere.

Parables are so important and so helpful, and we can learn so much from them. And so I want you to think about why Jesus would use parables. Why do you think Jesus would so often use parables?

I think most of all us can see that parables are attention-getters, aren’t they? Jesus would use parables to get people’s attention so they would listen to what he has to say.

Parables are so easy to listen to because they capture our imagination. They paint pictures in our mind. And so for this reason alone, we could see why Jesus would want to tell these stories just to get people’s attention. But also, doesn’t it make it easy for us to remember? When you can imagine these things in your mind, when you see these pictures, you don’t quickly forget them.

Who cannot recall the parable of the good Samaritan, or the parable of the prodigal son?

I know I just read that story of the good Samaritan to you, but how many of you had already heard that story and remembered it?

Or the parable of the prodigal son, don’t you all remember that story, how the young boy left home, and he spent all of his inheritance, and he wound up feeding the pigs in the pig pen?

And then he came to himself, and he went back home, and his father received him, they had a great party for him. You remember that parable, how the older son was jealous of that son and envious of him and didn’t want to receive him?

Do you remember the parable of the prodigal son?

Do you remember the parable of the good Samaritan?

These parables Jesus used not only to get our attention, but to help us to remember. Here’s something else about parables that’s so important. Jesus would use the parables because they would reveal the meaning to some, but the meaning, the lesson would be concealed from others.

Let me read to you from Matthew chapter 13, where Matthew explains Jesus’ use of parables in this way.

Matthew chapter 13, beginning in verse 10, “And the disciples came and said to Him, Why do You speak to them in parables? He answered and said to them, Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 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 ad turn, so that I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

And so Jesus would use these parables for the very reason of concealing the message from those who don’t truly desire it, to conceal it from those whose hearts are not good and right; but at the same time to reveal it to those who are seeking the truth, who are desiring the truth of God’s word.

Let’s notice something also about the parables and the fact that they are convicting. They convict us of our sins. In fact, some parables actually cause us to pronounce our own doom.

A great example of this is found in Luke the 7th chapter, when Jesus was visiting in the home of a Pharisee, and a sinful woman came into that home. The man, the Pharisee had not welcomed Jesus with the anointing of oil or with the washing of his feet or a kiss of greeting; but look at this woman who came in here in Luke 7:37,”And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table at the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wipe them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with fragrant oil. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”

Now, it’s right here that Jesus answers this Pharisee and begins to tell a parable. In verse 40, “Jesus answered and said to him, Simon, I have something to say to you. So he said, Teacher, say it. And he said, There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more? Simon answered and said, I suppose the one whom he forgave
more. And He said to him, You have rightly judged.”

Here you see this Pharisee, Simon, recognizing that the one who owed the greatest debt was the one who loved the most. And you’ll notice in verse 47, where Jesus says, “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”

The Pharisee had actually pronounced his own doom because he was the one who owed so much. But it was the woman who owed even more, being the sinner that she was. And so we see here that she loved the Messiah most. And the Pharisee failed to appreciate the forgiveness that Jesus Christ has made possible for him. There’s something else about parables that we read in Matthew 13:35, and that is the fact that Jesus used the parables as actually a fulfillment of prophecy.

In Matthew chapter 13, read with me verse 35. “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.”

So Jesus, that long-awaited Messiah that had been prophesied in the Old Testament, actually showed him to be that one in the use of parables. Now, there’s a lot of questions that we might want to think about before leaving this lesson today.

How many parables did Jesus speak?

I counted 45 story parables in the New Testament. And there are also many other sayings, like, The blind lead the blind; or, You are the salt of the earth, you are the light of the world; If your eye offends you, pluck it out. Jesus spoke many different kinds of parables. But let’s ask today, how widely was Jesus’ use of parables?

In Matthew chapter 13, look at verse 34. “All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them.”

There was a time when he wouldn’t speak to the multitudes except in parables. But ask this question: Did Jesus’ apostles make as much use of parables as he did? Can you explain why not?

Look at Ephesians the 3rd chapter, and I want you to notice a very important principle about the teachings of the gospel. Yes, when Jesus was on this earth, he would often speak in parables. He would speak of the kingdom that was to come. He was speaking of the Lord’s church. And he used those parables until the time would come when the Holy Spirit would be poured out on the apostles and as they would lay their hands on others who would prophesy, who would teach. But before that, the parables were used. But in time, the Holy Spirit would be poured out on these apostles and these prophets, and they would make plainly known the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Notice here in Ephesians the 3rd chapter, look in verse 3.“How that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets.”

In time past, God had made promises about the coming savior and deliverer, the Messiah. He had not only made many promises, but there were many prophecies about this one who was to come, and Jesus spoke the parables of the kingdom. But here in Ephesians we see that these things of God’s kingdom are made known plainly. And that’s what Ephesians 3 is all about, how that these things have been now we revealed to us and made known to us, these great lessons of Christ and his church. Who are we supposed to look for in a parable? I believe this is the most important question of all. Who are we to look for in a parable?

Here we find it in Matthew chapter 21. Look with me at verse 45. Now
when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them. So often in the teachings of Jesus Christ, particularly in his parables, he wants those who are hearing the parable to see themselves, to see what it is in their heart or in their life that needs to be corrected, to see what lesson needs to be learned, to see what spiritual application Jesus is making to each of these parables. You might think this morning about the parables of Jesus that are personally meaningful to you and why.

What are those parables that you remember, and what are those great lessons that you have learned? Let me encourage you to tune in to The Truth In Love each and every Sunday morning as we take a look at some of the parables of Jesus together. And let us remember that the Lord has given to us a plain and simple understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ so that everybody can understand it.

Jesus wants you to know how much he loves you and what he’s done for you. And he gives us this message of good news so that we can be set free from our sins, so that we can live for him, and so that we can know eternal life someday with him in heaven. If you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who paid the price for your sins at Calvary, you’ll want to turn away from those sins, and you’ll willingly and boldly confess your faith in him as the Christ, the Son of God, and you’ll give yourself to him in the waters of baptism just as Christ gave himself for you. You can become a Christian today, you can live the Christian life.

And we hope that you would let us know here at The Truth In Love how we can help you towards heaven today.

SINGING>> I know that my redeemer lives and ever prays for me.
I know eternal life he gives from sin and sorrow free.
I know, I know that my redeemer lives.
I know, I know eternal life he gives.
I know, I know that my redeemer lives.
I know that over yonder stands a place prepared for me.
A home, a house not made with hands, most wonderful to see.
I know, I know that my redeemer lives.
I know, I know eternal life he gives.
I know, I know that my redeemer lives.

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 tome;
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’m so glad that you’ve watched our program today and do hope that the lesson has been a blessing to you, helping you on your journey towards heaven. Let me encourage you to consider carefully the words that have been spoken. Like those fair-minded Bereans in Acts 17:11, search the scriptures to see if what is said is really so. Every week on this program we strive to speak the truth in love.
Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free,” John 8:32.

And he warned us that there are many false prophets in the world, and for us to test the spirits, to see whether they are of God, 1
John 4:1.

It is certainly not our intention to lead anyone astray, but to help everyone find the way that God has set out for us in his word, the Bible. Our motivation is a genuine love for your soul, its salvation in heaven forever with God. So please let us know how we can help you towards heaven today.

Write us with your comments, questions, or requests at The Truth In Love, P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.

E-mail us at requests@ttil.tv.

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

You may order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form. And please visit our web site at www.ttil.tv.

All our materials and services are offered to you absolutely free of charge, being provided by the churches of Christ and individual Christians that support this program. So let me encourage you to visit one of these congregations that you will see on the screen at the end of the program today. And let us know if you’d like a personal home Bible study, a Bible correspondence course that you could work on your own, or if you need prayers from the church.

Whatever your need, please let us know what we can do to help you towards heaven today, and don’t forget to join us again 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.

1546 What Will We Do In Heaven?

Have you ever considered what you will do in Heaven? Some people have the idea we will nap on clouds all day or play endless rounds of our favorite sports. Others think they would be bored. But what does the Bible say about our future activities in Heaven?

ROBERT >> I once dreamed that I died and went to heaven. And when I looked around, I found a beautiful golf course. The grass was green, the flowers were in bloom, everything was well manicured, and there on the first tee box was a bag of new Callaway golf clubs. A white tee was already placed there in the ground for the ball. But as I stepped onto the tee box for that first drive down the long, narrow fairway, I realized there were no golf balls. Yes, I had gone to the wrong place.

A lot of people have a lot of ideas about what we’ll do in heaven, from playing golf to polishing the foundation stones, to taking one long, endless nap on a fluffy cloud; but actually in heaven we’re going to be doing some of the same things we do here on the earth, only with some marked differences.

Today we want to consider some of these points as I have taken from an article written by Mike Vestal, and I hope you’ll stay tuned. We’ll be back in just a moment.

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

ROBERT >> As we think this morning about what we’ll do in heaven, the first point is this: In heaven we’ll worship without distraction. I want to go with you to the book of Revelation, where John was able to see into heaven. He was given a look, a glimpse into the heavenly real, and the first thing that he saw was God sitting on his magnificent throne.

Let me read to you from Revelation 4:3. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.

There John saw God. And the angelic beings that surrounded that throne, he went on to describe proclaiming, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come! And at the same time there were 24 elders, representing all of God’s people, and they fell down before God and they worshiped him.

And look what they said in verse 11: You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.

You look a little further after this in Revelation chapter 5, and John saw Jesus, Jesus in the midst of that throng, being worshiped by all. Here the Bible says in Revelation 5:11, Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing! And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying, Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb forever and ever! And then the four living creatures said, Amen! And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.

And that’s not the end of the visions of John. Turn over to Revelation chapter 7. Once again he’s able to see into that heavenly realm, and here he sees the faithful, the faithful who had died, who had gone to heaven, who had engaged in the worship of God and Jesus and the Lamb. Revelation 7, beginning in verse 9: After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb! All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.

When we get to heaven, worship will be one of the great and continuous activities. All the redeemed in heaven will continuously worship the Lord. We’ll truly know what it means to worship. And worship will never be forced or manipulated or contrived, and all the pretense and impropriety that sometimes we see here on earth, that will be lost in praise to God. The worship in heaven will be spontaneous and genuine, and everyone there will participate. The singing of hallelujahs to the Lord will ring forth.

All of us will lose ourselves in the joy of telling our wonderful God just how much we adore him. In heaven there’ll be no distractions. That’s for sure.

But let’s notice a second point: In heaven we’ll serve without exhaustion.

I don’t know all the specifics about what we’ll be doing, but we’ll be busy serving God. Read again with me from Revelation 7:15. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them, the Bible says.

Look at it in Revelation chapter 22, as once again John gives us a vision of that heavenly realm. In chapter 22 verse 3, And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him.

It seems that God has built into man a creative drive to produce something, to be productive, to be busy, to be at work. We get great pleasure from a job well done, from knowing that others are pleased with our service. And how true this will especially be of serving God in heaven. Sometimes service is difficult here on earth; but in heaven it will always be a matter of delight and devotion to the almighty God.

It’ll be service without time demands. It’ll be service without frustration. It’ll be service without limitations and without growing tired.

Let me read to you again from Revelation the 7th chapter, and let’s read verse 15 all the way through verse 17. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

That’s right. That’s the kind of service that we’ll enjoy in heaven, without exhaustion. Look at chapter 21 of Revelation and verse 4. Here he says, And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, no crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.

There’s an old hymn entitled, Heaven Will Surely Be Worth It All. And how right that old hymn is, particularly when it says, Often I’m hindered on my way, burdened so heavy I almost fall, and then I hear Jesus sweetly say heaven will surely be worth it all.

So there’ll be worship without distraction, there’ll be service without exhaustion; but in heaven, point number three, we will administrate without failure.

The Bible indicates that we will reign with Christ in eternity. We’ll be a part of his administration over all. Look in 2 Timothy 2:11-12, where the apostle Paul reminds the young preacher here, This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He will also deny us. So we will reign with Christ. We will serve with him and share with him in his power.

In Revelation 22:5, notice what it says. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.

God has delegated to us a great deal of responsibility, and we often feel the pressure and the guilt of not being able to measure up to our own self-imposed expectations; and how guilty we feel when we don’t measure up to what God expects. But in heaven, we’ll never have to face failure. The one who overcomes will be privileged to sit down with Jesus around the throne.

In Revelation 3:21 he reminded those persecuted saints of this great place with Jesus in heaven. He said here in Revelation 3:21, To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

You remember the words of Matthew 25:21, how encouraging they are as we work and we strive and we continue to trust Jesus for our heavenly home. Here Jesus says, His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.

Finally today, I want to make this point: In heaven we will fellowship without suspicion. There’s no way a human being can really comprehend the beauty of heavenly fellowship.

We’ll be privileged to commune with all of the patriarchs of old who had been faithful, and we’ll be able to see them there.

In Matthew 8:11 Jesus describes what it’ll be like in that everlasting kingdom. In Matthew chapter 8, let me read verse 11. And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.

The Hebrew writer also reminds us of these faithful men and women of old, these who have gone before us and who will share with us in the joys of heaven in that wonderful fellowship. In Hebrews 11:10, speaking of Abraham, For he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. And then in verse 13 through 16, speaking of the many faithful like Abraham, These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly, country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

All these patriarchs of old, the faithful of the Old Testament, as well as the faithful of Christianity throughout all the ages, the babies, the little children who pass from this life before reaching an accountable age, most important, will enjoy the fellowship of God.

Let me read to you another passage concerning that place on the other side of death and the fellowship we enjoy there. Look at 2 Corinthians 5:6-8. 2 Corinthians 5, beginning verse 6, So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Oh, what it’ll be like to not only have all of these who have gone before us, but to be in the presence of God himself.

In Philippians 1:23 the apostle Paul spoke of this great desire, he says, to depart and to be with Christ.

And in Revelation 21:3, hear these words: And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

And finally let me read Revelation 22:4, They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. To see God, to be with him face to face, that’s the glory and that’s the joy of heaven.

What limitless possibilities for fellowship will exist in heaven. The lure of heaven should be that irresistible thing that keeps us going here on the earth when the sin and the death and the pain and the struggle threaten to overwhelm us. Don’t forget about our hope.

Look at 1 Peter chapter 1 beginning in verse 3. Peter wants to encourage us in the trials of this life, pointing us to that wonderful fellowship in heaven. He says here in chapter 1 beginning in verse 3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith – the salvation of your souls.

It’s no wonder that God spared us a completely detailed description of heaven. We couldn’t wait had he told us more.

Let me add this one point before we leave today. In heaven we’re going to rest. And we’re going to rest without boredom.

One of the many horrible characteristics of hell is that those who are lost will never rest from their torment day or night. You read about it in Revelation chapter 14 beginning verse 10, where the Bible says, He himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.

We see here that those who are lost will never rest from their torment day or night.

One of the great beatitudes of the Revelation promises rest to the faithful. In Revelation 14:13, John writes, Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.

Perhaps the thought of rest does not sound particularly appealing to some people. After all, some like to keep moving, don’t they? They’re always on the go, and when they’re not, they’re miserable. How can the rest of heaven possibly be so wonderful for them?

Well, the answer hinges on how one defines heavenly rest. The rest of heaven, it means that we’ll never be tired, we’ll never be weak and sick and unfulfilled or interrupted.

A glorified spiritual body that we’ll enjoy in heaven, it’s going to know nothing of fatigue or exhaustion. The rest that God promised will not be rest from all work, but rather a rest from all want. That’s one of the reasons why in 2 Thessalonians 1:7, that’s one of the reasons why that verse should be so precious to the Christian.

Look what it says here as Paul writes to the churches of Thessalonica in 2 Thessalonians 1:7. Here he says, And to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels. That precious rest.

Let’s don’t be discouraged. Rest and relief are in sight. That’s the message of God. That’s what it’s going to be like to be in heaven.

No, the Bible doesn’t tell us everything about heaven and what we’re going to do when we get there. What it does say should cause us to forever praise our God. When we consider what we were apart from Christ and what we will enjoy in heaven because of Christ, it should cause us to live more humbly, to love more deeply, to serve more willfully, and to behave more obediently.

Yes, how beautiful heaven must be. Don’t miss out on what God has prepared for us all. Turn from your sins today and get right with God. If you’ve never been baptized into Christ, trusting him to save you from your sins, do that today. If you’re a Christian, but you’ve sinned before others, you openly, honestly confess it.

Let God’s people pray for you. Get your heart right with God. Let us know here at The Truth In Love how we can help you towards heaven today.

>> In heavenly armor we’ll enter the land. The battle belongs to the Lord. No weapon that’s fashioned against us will stand. The battle belongs to the Lord. And we sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord. We sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord. When the power of darkness comes in like a flood, the battle belongs to the Lord. He’s raised up a standard, the power of his blood. The battle belongs to the Lord. And we sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord. We sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord. When your enemy presses in hard, do not fear. The battle belongs to the Lord. Take courage, my friend, your redemption is near. The battle belongs to the Lord. And we sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord. We sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord. We sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord. We sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord.

>> All hail the power of Jesus’ name, let angels prostrate fall. Bring forth the royal diadem and crown him Lord of all. Bring forth the royal diadem and crown him Lord of all. Oh, that with yonder sacred throng we at his feet may fall. We’ll join the everlasting song and crown him Lord of all. We’ll join the everlasting song and crown him Lord of all.

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’d like a personal home Bible study or special prayers, 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. 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.

All our materials and services are absolutely free of charge. And 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. Their names will be 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.

>> 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.