October 2, 2023
Paul said that as long he was alive it meant more opportunities to do fruitful labor for his Lord Jesus.
Philippians 1: 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me.
So, like Paul, we must also have the same attitude as him and use our time on earth to be fruitful for our Lord. How do we produce fruitful labor for Jesus?
Jesus teaches what will and what will not produce fruit for him in his parable of the 4 soils.
Luke 8: 11 "This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
Jesus said those who are noble and good hearted have good soil that is needed to produce fruitful crops for him. When good soil hear the word of God they spiritually hear it’s meaning and retain it as God’s truth and his will for them.
A noble person is just, honest, and trustworthy. A good-hearted person is loving, humble, patient, compassionate, and kind, Jesus said good soil have all these qualities when they read God’s word making them spiritually understand it and persevere in it and produce fruitful crops for him.
Jesus also describes 3 other kinds of soils that will not produce fruitful work for him.
The first are those who hear God’s word, but they do not understand it. Why? It is because they do not have the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2: 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The reason why people do not receive the Holy Spirit is because they do not completely acknowledge God’s word as his truth, his will and obey it. Instead, they question God’s word and do not agree with it but follow their feelings or what they believe is best. So, Jesus said the devil comes and takes away any understanding of God’s word from their hearts, so that they will not believe and be saved.
Paul teaches in Ephesian that we need the Holy Spirit dwelling in us to be our seal that guarantees our eternal inheritance.
God prophesied about this kind of soil.
Matthew 13: 14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “ ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ 16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.
The second soil are those who receive the God’s word with joy when they hear it, but do not become disciples of it so they do not grow deep roots to firmly hold on to it. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.
These are the ones Jesus speaks of in:
Matthew 7: 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Deep roots are grown by those who put Jesus’ teaching into practice giving them a firm foundation to persevere and overcome times of suffering, trials, and persecution because of their love for Jesus.
The 3rd soil is those whose faith in God’s word is not genuine. They are not sincerely devoted to Jesus because God is not their greatest treasure, so they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, keeping them from spiritually mature in the acknowledge God’s truth to overcome the world’s hold on them.
Paul called this kind of soil being weak willed.
2 Timothy 3: 6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.
Not only weak-willed women but also weak-willed men.
When you are a faithful disciple of Jesus that does not doubt or question God’s word but obey them because you love him you will build a strong foundation that keeps you steadfast and not weak willed producing fruitful labor for Jesus and be a light for him.
Luke 8: 16"No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. 17For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.
Your light for Jesus is evident by the kind of spiritual fruit you bear by through the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5: 22 Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
So, you need the Holy Spirit to have good soil to hear God’s word it makes you noble and good hearted.
Luke 8: 18Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him."
Jesus promises that those who carefully listens to God’s word and put them into practice he will increase their understanding of it, but those who do not he will take away whatever understanding they think they have.
So, listen carefully through the Holy Spirit teaching you to have the complete knowledge of Jesus. Do not read Scripture as an instruction or self-application or better improvement book. Read it to know the mind and heart of Christ and how to walk like him.
Luke 8: 19 Now Jesus' mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. 20 Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you." 2He replied, "My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and put it into practice."
Jesus said only those who hear God’s word and obey them are his family members, children of his Father. So, examine yourself to see what kind of soil you have by the fruitful labor you are producing and shining for your Lord Jesus.
Your brother in Christ, Glenn.