ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: KINGDOM ECONOMICS XXII
Mar 27, '08 10:33 PM
Did you have a great Easter? It was a wonderful celebration of our redemption. As I noted before, I much prefer to refer to the day as Resurrection Day. That's the day that Jesus rose from the dead and demonstrated his absolute supremacy over death, disease and decay.
Yessirree, Bob! What a day of celebration!
Last time I looked, there were a few "vitamins" (Shhhhh....don't tell Della I called them that.....) floatin' around here somewhere. Get some while the gettin' is good and pour yourself a good hot cup of dark roasted java afore we get underway.
Got a lot to share with you today concerning seedtime and harvest, so let's get started.
In the 13th chapter of Matthew (and the parable is repeated in Mark 4 and Luke 8) Jesus describes one of the most fundamental principles of the Kingdom of God -- and one that directly impacts our ability to live within the framework of Kingdom Economics, free of the world's system.
"Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And 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 sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear."
"And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand."
Let me pause here for a moment to highlight some of what Jesus is saying.
The Kingdom of God and its economy, and its operation are a strange thing to the world. In fact the apostle Paul wrote, "the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." (See Romans 8:7-8)
Because the flesh (which we define as nothing more than: a way of thinking in opposition to God)-- as Paul describes it -- is at war with Kingdom thinking, the world (which operates entirely in the flesh and not in the realm of the Spirit), Jesus chose to reveal Himself and the fundamentals of the Kingdom of God in parables. Parables, therefore, are nothing more than spiritual principles revealed in and through the telling of specific (but natural) everyday events.
Jesus picked the parable of the sower to outline one of the most basic of Kingdom principles because everyone who was listening would clearly relate to the picture of the farmer casting his seed in preparation for a harvest to come. Once He drew this picture for them and it was clearly fixed in their minds and understanding, He was ready to unveil a revelatory truth that could and would transform their entire way of thinking and operating.
As He prepared to reveal this truth to His disciples, Jesus said, "But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them."
What Jesus was about to share was of such great significance and such importance to their understanding that He set it apart from the truths and revelation possessed by the prophets of old and the righteous men and women who were sprinkled throughout ancient Israel. He was about to unveil a truth that even Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel had never heard or understood.
And He launches into the revelation.
"Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side."
So the very first revelation of the seed is that it is God's Word. Until that Word is sown into our hearts and we receive spiritual understanding, we will never be able to see the harvest that comes from that Word.
Let me explain.
In Hebrews 11:3, Paul writes, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."
Get it? The things which we see with our natural eyes came into being first of all because words were spoken. When God first spoke those fateful and explosive words, "Light, BE!" (that's the actual rendition of the Hebrew phraseology in Genesis 1:3), creative power went forth producing light. When light burst forth, everything that followed in the creative processes that followed came forth out of that light.
Are you seeing the picture? God sowed seed. The seed He sowed was His Word. His Word produced a harvest: light. Everything that came thereafter came into being as a direct result of words being spoken -- not something which previously existed in some material state. Thus, Paul says, "things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."
As Jesus begins to share this revelation with His disciples, therefore, He likens the seed of the sower (Himself, in this instance) to the Word which is sown into the heart of someone who hears Him. But Jesus continues to expand this picture by describing this first instance of seed being sown as having fallen by the wayside. The fowls, or birds of the air, are a picture of Satan (or more accurately, evil spirits) who absolutely does not want the individual to hear and receive that Word lest he/she utilize that Word in agreement with what God has said and deprive the Enemy of territory he illegally holds.
Let's draw another analogy for a minute. You've received a Word from the Lord. You've been suffering with some long-term illness or disability. The Holy Spirit comes along and says to you, "unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall." (See Malachi 4:2)
(That phrase "grow up as calves of the stall" is a Hebrew metaphor which describes being returned to the health and strength of your youth, and basically starting over again with that strength.)
To that Word, the Holy Spirit adds the prophecy of David from Psalm 103, "Who forgiveth ALL thine iniquities; Who healeth ALL thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s."
See! There it is again: the renewing of your youthful health and vigor. But the Holy Spirit doesn't leave it there.
One more time, He says to you from Isaiah's prophecy, "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5)
Peter even declares this as being in the past tense when he writes, "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." (I Peter 2:24)
There! How's that for receiving a direct Word from the Lord? Couldn't be clearer, could it? The Lord has sown His Word seed into your heart. There is a harvest of health to come forth from that Word. But, watch.
Now the Enemy comes along with his religious doctrine, and all the doubt, fear and unbelief that accompany it. So what makes you think you are deserving of God's mercies? What makes you think you are entitled to healing and health? It really isn't God's will for you to be healed. Now, really! All these afflictions and infirmities are nothing more than God's way of teaching you something. Oh, and Hey, don't forget Paul's thorn!
Ohh, Brotthhherrrrr!!! And what happens to you? What happens to that Word seed that the Holy Spirit sowed into you? You get robbed. The fouls....er, uh, fowls....of the air scarf up that Word seed, and steal it from you. And what happens to the harvest of healing and health you were supposed to receive? Zip. Nada. Nothing. You get nothing! No healing.
But Jesus didn't stop there with His revelation of seedtime, of sowing the Word, and the receiving of the harvest of that Word.
He continues. "Some (Word seed) fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away."
Then Jesus shares exactly what He means with this part of the revelation.
"But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended."
Understand? We'll use the example of the Word of health and healing in the previous illustration.
The Holy Spirit comes along and gives you this Word of healing. He plants that Word seed in you. You get all excited over the prospect and promise of your healing. It all sounds wonderful.
But there's just one problem. You have no spiritual depth. You don't meditate on and digest the Word on a regular and daily basis. You don't spend time with the Lord reinforcing that Word. You don't water it with your confession of agreement with what the Lord has said. So the Word seed never really gets into you. It's all surface.
Now your friends(?) (and I use that word with tongue very firmly in cheek) and religious compatriots come along, and you begin to share with them the promise of your health and healing. They scoff at the very thought of your healing by the Word of God because they have no trust or faith in His Word. They accuse you of living in some fantasy world. You are invited perhaps to see some medical professional who happens to specialize in the affliction or infirmity that besets you, and when you hesitate (because you want to believe the Word of the Lord that's been planted in your being), you are ridiculed and mocked and told to "get a life!"
It doesn't take a whole lot of the mockery and ridiculing, and accusations of living in a fantasy world to really get the wind up. Pretty soon, you've become another Peter during the arrest and trial of Jesus. "Who me? Afraid of doctors? Well, I don't really believe all that stuff about supernatural healing. Actually, I guess it's more a case of hope and wanting the healing than anything."
And just like that, you've taken a real fall. The word for "offended" in the original Greek text is skandalizo. It's the same word we get our English "scandalized" from, and it literally describes a place of entrapment because of personal displeasure. It's the same word Jesus used when He was talking about "offending" children who come to Him. Skandalizo describes the cause for entrapment as: stumbling, laying a snare for.
Am I helping you understand just how important this kind of seed sowing really is? Folks, if you don't have the Word seed sown in you, you'll never be in a position to sow seed yourself! That's a fact! How can you know what seed you need to sow if you've never allowed the seed to be planted in your spirit, and then watered and nourished it to a place of harvest?
But Jesus isn't through with His analogy of the sower. He continues: "And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them."
Again He explains exactly what He means with this picture. "He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful."
Again, for the sake of illustration we'll use the Word of health and healing we've already talked about.
The promise of the Lord comes to you. You hear the Word. The seed is good seed. There's nothing wrong with that seed. It is designed to produce health and healing for your whole being, but it has to have soil free from weeds and junk that will prevent it from maturing and producing the desired and purposed harvest.
The soil is good soil. The soil is your heart, your spirit, your innermost being. The Word gets planted in you. But something happens. Actually, a lot of things happen. The transmission goes out on your car and the warranty has recently expired. You are facing a $3,500 repair bill, and you just don't have enough money on hand to pay for it. What happens? You start figuring out how you're going to do it. You look at your credit cards to see how much room is available. Maybe you can make it work, but it's going to push things to the limit.
Your son or daughter gets in trouble and you begin to fret over how to get them out of the jam they're in. Next thing you know, you're trying to find a lawyer you can afford who will actually defend your child. To top things off, your water heater breaks in the middle of the night, and you wake up to a flood throughout the house. Sure, you have insurance to take care of the damage, but it's just one more thing added to a growing list of worries.
Get it? You've gotten so preoccupied with these worries that the Word of the Lord gets shuttled into the background. You stop with your confession of faith. What is coming out of your mouth is, "How in the world am I going to pay these bills? How am I going to make things stretch? Am I going to be able to find an attorney who will do the job? What happens if the lawyer can't pull off a good defense and my child goes to jail? I can't afford to pay the $1,000 deductible on my house insurance to the repair guys. How am I going to get all this mess taken care of?"
See what's happened? There's no confession of faith. Everything that's coming out of your mouth is I, I, I, Me, Me, Me! You've become so self-centered in your worries and concerns that the very thought of "casting all your care" on the Lord is long gone! Instead, you've got worry, fretting, doubt, fear and unbelief coming out of your mouth like horrendous thorns and weeds. The faith in God's promises to you has virtually vanished. Fact is, when you even think about it, you realize that your physical, emotional and mental well-being are all continuing on a downward trek.
Seed? Word seed? What seed? Truth be told, you're planting a whole different kind of seed right now, and it sure isn't the Word! Keep this up and you'll get a harvest, all right, and it's not the kind of harvest you really want. There's no homologeo, no confession, no covenant agreement with what God has said. The Word of promise has been choked right out of you by the cares of this world. Any harvest that might have existed from the seed planted is non-existent and unfruitful.
When Jesus began the parable of the sower, however, he didn't stop with examples of the seed that fell by the wayside, the seed that fell on stony places, or the seed that fell among thorns. He did talk about the Word seed that actually made it into good soil, weed-free, thorn-free, rock-free soil, rich soil nourished, fertilized and watered.
"But other (Word seed) fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear."
Then Jesus says, "But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."
Now, let's get back again to our illustration of the Word of health and healing. (We are talking about Kingdom Economics, here, and the same rule applies to the Word of supply, abundance and prosperity. The entire economy of the Kingdom of God is predicated on our ability to utilize the Law of Seedtime and Harvest by the covenant confession that comes out of our mouth.)
We've heard the promises of God concerning our health and our healing. We've received it into our hearts. We've meditated on that word day and night. We've confessed that Word by faith in agreement with what the Holy Spirit has spoken into our being. Despite seemingly contrary circumstances and scoffers who've laughed at the confession of our mouth, we've continued to stand in absolute trust. We've watered that Word with our prayers of thanksgiving for our health and healing.
We've refused to let contrary words come out of our mouth -- words like, "I don't feel good;" or "I have cancer (or lumbago, or the flu, or whatever)." When asked concerning our well-being by friends or family, we quote the Word by saying, "By his stripes, I was healed," or perhaps, "I'm the healed, being healed."
When Satan comes along to accuse us with the "feelings" of our infirmities, we respond, "Cancer, (or Arthritis, or Tuberculosis, or whatever) you're not in charge anymore! You no longer have the rule over me. The price for my healing was paid by the Lord Jesus Christ!"
And sure enough, just like God said, and just like we've said in covenant agreement with Him, the disease begins to diminish; and the day comes when we wake up in the morning with our health intact, healed by the Word of God, by the Blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and by the confession of agreement out of our mouth.
The concept of 30-fold, 60-fold, 100-fold is tied to the degree of the confession that comes out of our mouth. Some folks believe the Word of the Lord that comes to them, and they confess it. If, however, what comes out of their mouth gets occasionally contaminated with some expression of fear, doubt, or unbelief -- and it doesn't have to be directly related to what they're believing God for -- the harvest of healing and subsequent health may not be as complete as they like. They may see a 30% manifestation of healing. Maybe it will be 60%.
To have the hundredfold manifestation, however, one has to not only confess what God has said about their situation and believe it completely, they must also do as David prayed when he said, "Set a watch, Oh Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips," (Psalm 141:3) and guard the words that come out of their mouths so as to prevent any contaminated expression of doubt, fear or unbelief.
Jesus didn't stop with this particular parable of the sower in talking about seedtime and harvest. We've got a ways to go with this, and we'll pick up here in our next Coffee Break.
Poverty is a form of Hell caused by man's blindness to God's unlimited good (and blessing) for him. God's plan for man is the prosperity that comes by living in divine favor. Living in divine favor is the product of direct and committed -- covenanted -- obedience to Him and His Word!
The Blessing of the Lord: it makes rich and He adds no painful toil and sorrow! (Proverbs 10:22) Be blessed!
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