Saturday, June 12, 2021

Faith Is The Key

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Faith is the key. Scripture tells us it is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8). We read that salvation is for all, because we all need it; we all need a Savior, because we all fall short of God’s glory. “But wasn’t man made in God’s image?” Genesis 1:26,27 says “Yes.” But then sin came into the world, and by Genesis 5 sin-in-us had become the norm, inherited from Adam. Seth was made in Adam’s image, but Adam was made in God’s image (Genesis 5:1-3). That’s the problem, Adam had already sinned before Cain, Abel, and Seth were born.

Faith is the key. We have the capacity to bear God’s image, but only after we deal with the sin that changed us in the first place. The Bible points to Jesus as the Savior, God himself in the flesh. Animal sacrifices brought atonement, but they could not remove sin from the hearts of sinners. Can a leopard work towards changing his own spots? Of course not. And like a leopard’s spots, sin became part of us, inherited from Adam. Self-reformation is noble, but insufficient to purify the human heart, purging it from the desire to sin.

Faith is the key. Jesus our Creator (Colossians 1:15-19) came to offer salvation to all because the Father so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16)!

Faith is the key, specifically faith in Christ Jesus. He changes everything, His sacrifice not only covered our sin, but His Resurrection brings eternal life to those who believe in Him. That’s faith, blind faith, faith without necessarily knowing the how, where, when, and why of God. But we can know the Who, and that’s Jesus Christ, the anointed of God.
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
Faith in Jesus is the key to understanding God’s words to us. Faith is a gift from God to us, and without it we cannot even speak the words “Jesus is the Lord.” But faith is a choice, nothing more. Without understanding it fully, we can still choose it! And if you desire understanding, then faith is the key.
“I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:”  Psalm 78:2

Today's Audio Message:

Matthew 13:1-23 - "Faith Is The Key"


Beginning in Matthew chapter 13, Jesus is on the Galilee while large crowds began to gather around Him, and He begins to teach in parables. Confused by this, His disciples asked Him why He was teaching them in parables. 

The parable is a story or an illustration placed along side of a truth with the intention of explaining the one by the other.  An old definition says a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning--some familiar thing of life on earth is placed alongside of some mystery of heaven, that our understanding of the one may help us understand the other.  Jesus drew from the common life of the people to explain some principle or teaching about the kingdom of heaven. In following this method a point of similarity is communicated, as well as a disparity between this life and the life in the kingdom
They are stories meant for every Spirit filled believer who has eyes to see, and ears to hear. He chose to use parables to begin to uncover the faith of true disciples, and to demonstrate judgment on those who refused to see and hear.  Parables are designed to communicate truth in every day terms. But the text says that they also conceal the truth from those who refuse to believe.

True disciples understand the things that Jesus is saying to them because they want to understand it, they believe Him and God has given them the power to understand it.  "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."  
Matthew 13:11

Others do not understand it because they do not want to understand it, they do not believe God, His Word, and so they reject their Savior.  God does not bless them with the power to understand it, because they refuse it.  They have no love God, they reject His Word, They love their own ways, not His.  Their hearts are hardened.  Therefore they are blind and deaf to spiritual things.  "For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should...understand with their heart and should be converted, and I should heal them."  Matthew 13:15

Here is recorded the Parable of the Sower.  It is recorded in three of the four biblical Gospels – Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:1-15. The human heart is like receptive soil to the seed of the Word of God. Jesus used this analogy in the Parable of the Sower. The soil that the seed fell on represents four categories of hearers' hearts, four different reactions to the Word of God: 
  • The hard heart -  "...some fell by the way side"
  • The shallow heart - "some fell on stony places"
  • The crowded heart - "...some fell among the thorns"
  • The fruitful heart - "...some fell into good ground"
“A man’s reception of God’s Word is determined by the condition of his heart.” D.A. Carson

While the Sower sows the seeds of the Gospel to everyone, not everyone will put their faith and trust in the Lord. It all comes back to the heart.

That which falls on good soil represents those who hear the word of the kingdom, understand it, and produce fruit for the harvest.

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