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The Christian: A Farmer in God’s Field

Saturday, September 02, 2023

The Christian: A Farmer in God’s Field

Wade Webster

The Bible gives us many pictures of a Christian.  These pictures are designed to help us to see who God wants us to be and what God wants us to do.  The first picture that we want to consider is that of a farmer in God’s field.

Plowing - The first step is to prepare the ground for planting.  To prepare the ground, the farmer plows the field.  The plough roots up what is presently growing in the soil and softens the soil to receive the seed that will be sown.  Isaiah detailed this process to make a spiritual application.  He wrote, “Give ear and hear my voice, Listen and hear my speech. Does the plowman keep plowing all day to sow? Does he keep turning his soil and breaking the clods? When he has leveled its surface, Does he not sow the black cummin And scatter the cummin, Plant the wheat in rows, The barley in the appointed place,And the spelt in its place? For He instructs him in right judgment, His God teaches him” (Isa. 28:23-26).  You may recall that Elisha was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen when he was called to follow Elijah (1 Kings 19:19).  I believe that you will agree that Elisha could plow a pretty big field with that tractor.  It didn’t run like a Deere, and it wasn’t green, but it got the job done.  No doubt, you recall that Jesus used ploughing in His teaching.  You may even see some clear connections to Elisha. He said, “And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”(Luke 9:61-62; cf. 1 Kings 19:20-21). To plow a straight row, the farmer had to keep his eyes focused forward (Phil. 3:13-14). 

Planting - The second step is to plant the seed.  You may recall that Jesus told a parable about a sower that went forth to sow (Mat. 13:3-9).  The more that the farmer sows, the greater the potential harvest.  Paul wrote, “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” (2 Corinthians 9:6). As you know, Paul was using sowing to teach a lesson about giving.  We read, “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Cor. 9:7-8).

Pulling - The third step was to pull up the weeds that appeared in the field. Although plowing disrupted the weeds and gave the seed an opportunity to come up and begin to grow, it did not totally eradicate the weeds.  Some of them would reappear and need to be pulled up to keep them from choking out the good plants.  You recall that Jesus spoke of that problem in the Parable of the Sower (Mat. 13:7).  As you may recall, Jesus did not address pulling up the weeds in that parable. That was not His focus in that parable.  In another parable, the Parable of the Tares, the subject of pulling up weeds would come up.  We read, “Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’” (Mat. 13:24-28).  Sadly, on that occasion, it was not possible to remove them without destroying the crop (Mat. 13:29-30).  Please note that though the tares were not pulled up that day, they were going to be rooted up one day (Mat. 15:13).

Picking - The fourth and final step was to harvest the crop.  The farmer waited patiently for this day to come.  James wrote, “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.” (James 5:7).  When the harvest finally came, the farmer rejoiced.  The Psalmist wrote, “Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, Bearing seed for sowing, Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, Bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psalms 126:5-6).  The farmer rejoiced as he gathered his crop into his barn.  You may recall that Jesus and others often spoke of gathering the wheat or the crop into the barn.  John the Baptist declared of Jesus: “His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:12).  You may recall that Jesus told a story about a rich man who had such an abundant harvest that he did not have room in his barns to store it all (Lk. 12:16-21).  Perhaps, you are thinking, but wasn’t he condemned?  Yes, he was.  But, he was condemned for the foolishness of leaving God out of His plans. 

If you have ever farmed, then you know that farming is hard,  but rewarding work.  Paul wrote, “The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops.” (2 Tim. 2:6).  Let’s be busy as Christians fulfilling this role that God has given us (1 Cor.3:6, 9).

Servants Service

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Servants Service

Wade Webster

At the funeral of President Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Sr., recounted a story that showed Reagan's greatness. Bush recalled a time when he came to visit Reagan in the hospital and found the President down on his knees wiping up a spill. When Bush asked Reagan why he was doing that, Reagan explained that he did not want anyone to fall or for the nurse to get into trouble.  Reagan could have pushed a button and had someone else wipe up the spill.  However, that isn’t how servants think.  That isn’t what servants do.

As great of an example of humility, love, and service as this is, there is one that is even greater. The Apostle John records an occasion when Jesus, the Creator of the Universe, got down on his knees and washed the dirty feet of the disciples. “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded” (John 13:1-5).

One of the last acts that Jesus did on the earth was wash dirty feet.  This small act of service was soon to be followed by a greater and more costly one - dying as our Passover lamb.  Jesus could have commanded one of the disciples to wash His feet and the feet of the others.  He was certainly worthy of such service and obedience. However, that wasn’t how His mind worked.

Over objections, Jesus kept washing.  Why did He do that? He did that because He did not want the to get into trouble. They were evidently arguing about who was the greatest. They were seeking positions of power and glory.   We know that this had been an ongoing issue with them.  On an earlier occasion, Mark records, “Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?” But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest. And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”  (Mark 9:33-35).

By admonition and action, Jesus taught them to serve. We read, “So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:12-17).

Salvation: It Requires the Blood of Christ

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Salvation: It Requires

the Blood of Christ

David Sproule

When it comes to our salvation from sin, it is essential that we understand the power at work in salvation!  Salvation only comes by means of the BLOOD OF CHRIST!

God “sent His only begotten Son into the world” (1 John 4:9), in order to offer “the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb. 9:26) and “shed” His blood “for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28).  It is not merely necessary that Christ would come and die.  It was necessary that He give His blood in His death, for only “by His blood” (Rom. 3:25) could Jesus satisfy the wrath of God and “make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Heb. 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10).  Consider how God has always placed the power of atonement in a sacrifice of blood.

In the Patriarchal Age, the sacrifice of blood was essential.  The first acceptable sacrifice of man at the beginning of time was one of blood (Gen. 4:3-5).  Noah offered sacrifices involving blood (Gen. 8:20), as did Abraham (Gen. 12:7-8).  The Passover was instituted with sacrifices involving blood (Ex. 12:1-13).

In the Mosaic Age, the sacrifice of blood was essential.  The old covenant was sealed with blood (Heb. 9:18-20; Ex. 24:6-8).  The tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry were sanctified by blood (Heb. 9:21-22).  The Law of Moses required multiple animal sacrifices daily (Lev. 1-7; Heb. 10:11).  However, we learn that the blood of those animal sacrifices could never take away sin (Heb. 10:1-4).  Every year the sins of Israel were remembered (Heb. 10:3; Lev. 16), and atonement had to be secured by the blood of an animal (Heb. 9:7, 25).  Truly, “without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Heb. 9:22).

The shedding of Jesus’ blood was absolutely essential for our salvation from sin.  The Old Testament prophets foretold of the Savior’s sacrifice (Isa. 53:5-6; Psa. 22:16; Zech. 13:1).  The New Testament reveals to us that it is only through the power of the blood of Christ that we can be washed from our sins (Rev. 1:5; 7:14), be cleansed from our sins (1 John 1:7; Heb. 9:14), be forgiven of our sins (Matt. 26:28; Heb. 9:22), be redeemed from our sins (Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:18-19), be justified from our sins (Rom. 5:9), be sanctified from our sins (Heb. 10:29; 13:12), be reconciled from our sins (Eph. 2:13; Col. 1:20), etc.  Read those again.  Our salvation from sin is only possible because of the precious blood of Jesus Christ that was lovingly shed for all mankind!

Truly our “redemption [is] through His blood,” giving us “the forgiveness of sins” (Eph. 1:7), but we can only be “washed…in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:14) by a proper response to the revealed will of the loving Savior!

Four Amazing Adjectives Applied To Us

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Four Amazing Adjectives Applied To Us

David Sproule

The apostle Peter was drawing a sharp contrast between children of God and children of the devil in the second chapter of his first letter.  On the one hand is “he who believes” on Christ (1 Pet. 2:6), and on the other hand are “those who are disobedient” (2:7).  In the New Testament, belief and obedience are used interchangeably (John 3:36; Acts 14:1-2; Heb. 3:18-19), for acceptable (in the eyes of God) faith is an obedient faith.  The contrast is also seen in their view of Jesus.  To the obedient, Jesus is “a living stone” (2:4), who “has become the chief cornerstone” (2:7).  To the disobedient, Jesus is “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” (2:8).

In this context, as Peter was trying to build up these Christians who were suffering persecution, the inspired penman uses a variety of adjectives to describe who Christians are TO GOD.  How does God see you as a faithful Christian?  Consider these adjectives in verse 9.

“You are a CHOSEN generation.”  This is not an unconditional choosing.  God calls us by the “gospel” (2 Thess. 2:14); therefore, He calls out to everyone with the promise of salvation (Rom. 1:16-17).  But He only “chose us” who are “in Him”—that is, He chose those who fearfully obey His will (Acts 10:35) and are “born again” (1 Pet. 1:23) through baptism into Christ (Gal. 3:27).  TO GOD, you are CHOSEN!

“You are a ROYAL priesthood.”  You are “royal” because of your relationship to the King Himself.  The church is “a kingdom of priests” (cf. Ex. 19:6), for the King has “made us kings and priests to His God and Father” (Rev. 1:6; 5:10).  All Christians are priests, for the King has given us access to the throne of God to worship Him personally and directly.  TO GOD, you are ROYAL!

“You are a HOLY nation.”  The word “holy” was used in verse 5 for the “priesthood” and here for the “nation.”  Peter used the word in chapter one, reminding his dear readers that “as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” (1:15).  Christians are citizens of a spiritual nation (i.e., the church is now “the Israel of God,” Gal. 6:16), made up of all people who have been set apart BY God, TO God and FOR God.  TO GOD, you are HOLY!

“You are HIS OWN special people.”  You are special to God because you are “God’s own possession” (NASB).  You belong to Him, for He has “bought” you (1 Cor. 6:19-20; Acts 20:28), and now you are His “jewels” (Mal. 3:17), as His own “special treasure” (Deut. 7:6).  TO GOD, you are HIS OWN!

When you realize, amazingly, who you are TO GOD, it ought to motivate you to “proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness” (2:9).  Are you doing that?

Endeavoring to Keep the Unity of the Spirit (Part 4)

Saturday, August 05, 2023

Endeavoring to Keep the Unity of the Spirit (Part 4)

Wade Webster

In the first part of our study, we laid the foundation for unity.  In the second part and third part, we made two connections that exist between Jesus and unity – The Prayer That Jesus Prayed and The Price That Jesus Paid. In this final installment, we will notice a third and final connection.

The Peril That Christ Portrayed

Mark records an occasion when the scribes came down from Jerusalem and accused Jesus of casting out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils (Mk. 3:22).  Jesus’ response to the scribes teaches an important truth about unity.  Mark records, “And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.  And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end” (Mk. 3:23-26).

Please note the simple peril that Jesus portrayed.  A house that is divided against itself simply cannot stand.   Although Jesus was not specifically talking about the church, the principle that He gave holds true.  United we stand, divided we fall.  As you know, inspired writers often described the church as a house.  To Timothy, his own son in the faith, Paul wrote,”But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15; cf. Eph. 2:19; Isa. 2:2-3).  

Please notice that the church of the living God is the house of God. If a house divided against itself cannot stand, and the church is a house, then what does division do to the church?  Clearly, it will cause it to fall. 

Today, we need to consider again the peril that Christ portrayed.  If we will do so, then it will help us to keep the unity of the Spirit.

In the simplest way that I know how, I have laid out three reasons why we should endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit.  We should labor to keep the unity of the Spirit because of the prayer that Christ prayed, because of the price that Christ paid, and because of the peril that Christ portrayed.

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