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The Story of the Seeds

“One day Jesus told a story in the form of a parable…” Luke 8:4

Now we’re just going to stop right there. Before we go any further, we need to talk about this verse – specifically about this word “parable” that we just read. Now if you don’t speak Christian-ese, this word “parable” might seem a little foreign. It’s not really a common, everyday-language kind of word. The guys at the shop don’t usually tell ‘parables’. But Jesus did. And lots of them. In fact the count in my Bible says that Jesus told 46 different parables. And I’m sure He told many more than that – they just weren’t recorded in the Bible.

So what exactly is a parable? Simply speaking, a parable is really just a short story about something very common and very familiar that illustrates a unfamiliar spiritual truth. For example, Jesus would tell a story about something very common like a farmer planting seeds – something that everybody in that time would understood and know what it was all about – many of his listeners would have been farmers themselves, so they knew about planting seeds. But within that story of a farmer planting seeds, Jesus would have a hidden spiritual truth that would be illustrated by the characters and events that happen in the story.

You could almost think of a parable as a parallel. You know how parallel lines run directly beside each other? Well, in parable, the story and the spiritual truth would run parallel to each other – you could compare the two. In fact quite often Jesus would begin his parables by saying something like “The kingdom of heaven is like…. THIS” – then He would tell this story – drawing a parallel between the story and the spiritual truth about the Kingdom of heaven that He wanted His listeners to learn.

So when we read in Luke 8:4 that…. “One day Jesus told a story in the form of a parable…” we know that Jesus is about to tell us a story about something very common and very familiar – something we already know all about – and that in that story will be a parallel, hidden spiritual truth that Jesus wants us to learn and understand.

So let’s try this again: Luke chapter 8 – starting at verse 4:

One day Jesus told a story in the form of a parable to a large crowd that had gathered from many towns to hear him: 5 “A farmer went out to plant his seed. As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a footpath, where it was stepped on, and the birds ate it.6 Other seed fell among rocks. It began to grow, but the plant soon wilted and died for lack of moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns that grew up with it and choked out the tender plants. 8 Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed grew and produced a crop that was a hundred times as much as had been planted!” When he had said this, he called out,“Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” Luke 8:4-8

So you can see that the story in itself is not all that profound. It’s just a farmer tossing seed around – some of it grows – some of it doesn’t. There’s no unexpected plot twists along the way. No surprise endings. It’s just a boring, mundane event of life. But there are some significant spiritual truths that are hidden within this story. So let’s see if we can wrap our heads around what those parallels might be.

Table of contents for Parables of Jesus Christ

  1. The Story of the Seeds
  2. Profitable
  3. Why I Can’t Be a Good Samaritan
  4. The Rich Fool
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Defining Worship

How many of you have ever played the game “Balderdash”? Its a simple game where the basic idea is that you get a word – a real word – but its a word that is so uncommon that no body really knows what it means. Maybe it’s a medical term or some old English word that’s gone out of use. But the idea is that everyone tries to come up with a plausible definition of that word. Then you read out all the definitions and everyone votes for the definition that they believe is the real one.

Well, we’re going to play that game today. Sort of. I’m going to give you a word and I want you to see if you can come up with a definition. It’s not actually a competition – just a fun little exercise to get your minds in gear this morning. Here is the word… Weorthscipe. Any guesses what that word means?

“Weorthscipe” is an old English word which really means to declare the worth of something. If you break it into two parts, you can start to see our modern english words hidden within the old….

The first part “Weorth” – means value or worth. You can see that – just drop the ‘e’ and the is the modern word “worth”. That’s pretty straight forward….

The second part is “scipe” and that means which means the condition of. We see this bit in modern english quite often today, although we spell it now SHIP.  It still means, the condition of… We add it to the end of word… as in friendship – the condition of being friends. Or leadership – the condition of being a leader.

Weorthscipe is the condition of having worth. 

That word is important to us today because it’s from this word “weorthscipe” that we get the modern idea of “worth-ship” or “worship” – and worship, of course, is absolutely central to everything we do as Christians…

As most of you know, through most of 2017 so far, we’ve been working our way through this series called Healthy Habits – A Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines. And basically, we’ve been talking through the practices of Christians that help us draw closer to God – they help us know Him more and they strengthen our faith in Him.

Worship is the next spiritual discipline that we want to look at. And I wanted to start with this old word – weorthscipe – because it really helps us understand exactly what we’re talking about when we’re talking about worship.

Because I think for a lot of us, when we hear the word worship, we often get incorrect or at least incomplete ideas of what worship is.

For a lot of us, perhaps based on what Hollywood has shown us, worship is bowing down before some person or idol. We envision these tribal or ancient people gathering around this big stone statue – all bowing low before it with their faces to the ground. Maybe we envision them chanting something or performing some strange ritual. Perhaps we even see them offering some kind of sacrifice to this god made of stone – in hopes that their god will accept their worship and bless their crops and their families.

And that’s not entirely foreign to what we see in the Bible – particularly in the Old Testament. In the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – we see the King commanding them to bow down before his giant golden statue of himself. In the story of Elisha, we see the prophets of Baal dancing around their sacrifice to their god – shouting and cutting themselves with knives and swords in hopes that their god would notice them. Even the Israelites – when they first came out of Egypt, molded a golden calf and made sacrifices and offerings to it.

But of course, that was thousands of years ago. That type of worship is completely foreign to us today – especially in our western culture. I mean, in places like India, they still have stone or wooden idols that they pray to or make offerings to – but for most of us here today – that kind of worship is totally foreign.

In fact, for us today, our image of worship – in Christian circles anyway – typically involves a certain type of music.

In our churches we might have a worship leader that leads us in singing. Sometimes we have a worship team that might get together for a worship practice as they go through their songs. If you go to the Christian bookstore, they have a whole genre of music classified as ‘worship music’. In fact, this very event that you’ve come to this morning is often referred to as a worship service. So it’s pretty easy to see why Christians today might equate worship with singing a certain type of songs.

But is that really worship? What does it really mean to worship God?

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King Amaziah vs King David – A Matter of Heart

This morning we are going to conclude our series – Lessons from the Kings. Over the past couple of months we’ve looked at several different kings of Isreal. Some were very good – some were very bad. Some were famous – some were pretty obscure. But all of them had an important lesson to teach us. And I believe that’s going to be true for our last kings today.

Today we are going to look at two kings. King David & King Amaziah. Now I know you’ve heard of King David, but King Amaziah might be a little more obscure to you. Now he certainly isn’t one of the most famous kings. He’s not known for his goodness or for his badness or for his badness for that matter. But he is a noteable character. And I’ve chosen him today because I want to contrast his life with King David’s.

Let’s start today by looking at King David.

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King Asa – No Longer Fully Committed

Two weeks ago we began looking at the life of King Asa. As most of you know, we’ve been going through our series – Lessons from the Kings – over the summer months and so far we’ve looked at King Saul, King Hezekiah, and now King Asa.

Asa isn’t one of the most famous kings. In fact, if you missed the message two weeks ago, it’s possible that you may not have even heard of him before. So let me give you a quick recap of what we’ve been talking about.

King Asa was the great grandson of King Solomon. And the Bible tells us in 2 Chronicles 15 that “Asa did what was pleasing and good in the sight of the Lord his God.”

In the early years of his reign as king, his country was invade by the Ethiopians – and they had an army of one million men – plus chariots and charioteers. Well, long story/short – Asa called out to God and God gave Asa the victory. After this battle, God sent him a message through the prophet Azariah that said basically, as long as you stick with God, God will stick with you.

And so to keep up his end of the deal, King Asa and all the people of Judah entered into a covenant with each other – agreeing to seek the Lord their God with all their heart and soul. Anyone who didn’t, would be put to death.

And actually, following their example, we did the very same thing. (Minus, of course, the penalty of death.) I have a document in my office now that has 14 signatures on it – all of us agreeing to seek God with all our hearts – and agreeing to keep each other accountable in that endeavor.

So that was all last week. This week, we’re going to look at part 2 of Asa’s story. There are still some lessons that we can learn from this king.

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The Sower & the Soils

Turn with me in your Bibles to Luke chapter 8, starting at verse 4.

“One day Jesus told a story in the form of a parable…” Luke 8:4

Now we’re just going to stop right there. Before we go any further, we need to talk about this verse – specifically about this word “parable” that we just read. Now if you don’t speak Christian-ese, this word “parable” might seem a little foreign. It’s not really a common, everyday-language kind of word. The guys in the coffee shop don’t usually tell ‘parables’. But Jesus did. And lots of them. In fact the count in my Bible says that Jesus told 39 different parables in the books of Matthew, Mark, & Luke. And He probably told more that just weren’t recorded.

So what exactly is a parable? Simply speaking, a parable is really just a short story about something very common and very familiar that illustrates a unfamiliar spiritual truth. Jesus would tell a story about something very common like a farmer planting seeds – everybody in that time understood what that was all about – many of his listeners would have been farmers themselves, so they knew about planting seeds. But within that story of a farmer planting seeds, Jesus would have a hidden spiritual truth that would be illustrated by the characters and events that happen in the story.

You could almost think of a parable as a parallel. You know how parallel lines run directly beside each other? Well, the story and the spiritual truth would run parallel to each other – you could compare the two. In fact quite often Jesus would begin his parables by saying something like “The kingdom of heaven is like…. THIS” – then He would tell this story – drawing a parallel between the story and the spiritual truth about the Kingdom of heaven that He wanted His listeners to learn.

So when we read in Luke 8:4 that…. “One day Jesus told a story in the form of a parable…” we know that Jesus is about to tell us a story about something very common and very familiar – something we already understand – and that in that story will be a parallel, hidden spiritual truth that Jesus wants us to learn and understand.

So let’s try this again: Luke chapter 8 – starting at verse 4:

One day Jesus told a story in the form of a parable to a large crowd that had gathered from many towns to hear him: 5 “A farmer went out to plant his seed. As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a footpath, where it was stepped on, and the birds ate it.6 Other seed fell among rocks. It began to grow, but the plant soon wilted and died for lack of moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns that grew up with it and choked out the tender plants. 8 Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed grew and produced a crop that was a hundred times as much as had been planted!” When he had said this, he called out,“Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” Luke 8:4-8

So let’s see if we can wrap our heads around this story.

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