Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The faith of a seed and the parables of our Lord

In spite of all this miraculous power being manifested, the Nation of Israel still rejected the King. When the disciples returned from their first missionary journey, they boasted that even demons were subject to them. In Matthew 17, the disciples accompanied Jesus to a mountain where they witnessed His transfiguration. Yet immediately after coming down from the mount, they could not cast the demon out of the father's lunatic son because of their unbelief. Shortly after this, Jesus proclaimed judgment upon Israel. From then on, His message was not that He was to establish their Kingdom but, that He was to die.

After the message of the Kingdom was rejected and no longer preached, the sowing of a seed is only mentioned once. It deals with a mustard seed and it is not to praise the disciples for having "seed faith" but rather to reprove them for not having the faith of a seed.

Let us get the true picture in context. Jesus said that if you had the faith of a mustard seed, you could say to the mountain "remove hence" and it would happen.

Matt 17:20...if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove;

Two days before He made this statement, Jesus wept over Jerusalem. He pronounced judgment upon the city, then judgment upon the temple, and then judgment upon the disciples' lack of faith. If they had exercised the faith of a mustard seed, they could have said to the mountain ..."Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you." Jesus is reproving them for not having faith as a mustard seed. A mustard seed, though the tiniest of seeds, grows to become the greatest of herbs; a great tree with spreading branches. If they had this kind of faith, they would have spread the message through all Judea, Jesus would have ruled the earth, the millennial Kingdom would have begun, and every mountain and all of nature would have been subject to the disciples!

When Christ sent the disciples out two by two into the cities of Judea, the authority and power He gave them was to establish and confirm one message only, that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand. This message was to be given to Israel only. It was for this very reason they were to have no sandals on their feet. Their feet must touch the ground promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If in any city they entered into the people rejected their message of the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel, they were to shake the dust off their feet. The dust on their feet represented the land God promised to restore. When a Jew left the land of promise and re-entered, he would take his sandals off and shake the dust off his feet to signify that he did not want even the dust of the heathen's land but only the land God promised Abraham.

This message and the parables of the Kingdom, which were rejected by Israel, also reveal the rejection of the Messiahship of Jesus. The reason that Israel did not accept this message is proved by the following facts:

Jesus placed judgment upon the disciples for not having the faith of a mustard seed. As we have stated, the mustard seed, which is the tiniest of seeds, when sown, becomes a great tree with branches spread. If the disciples would've had the faith of a mustard seed, the Messiahship of Jesus would have been spread throughout Judea, Christ would have reigned over earth, and every mountain would have been subject to any one of the people of Israel. Any Jew would have said to the mountain "Move" and it would have moved.

The Parables

The parables of the Kingdom were not given to the Gentiles but only to the Nation of Israel because Israel was the subject of the parables. Israel was blinded to the Messiahship of Jesus Christ. Jesus' reason for speaking in parables is given in Matthew 13:14 where He quotes from Isaiah,

Matt 13:14...And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

The parables of the Kingdom show Israel's rejection of the Messiahship of Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven. The parable of the sower in Matthew 13 is an example. The people are likened to the different types of soil. The message of the Kingdom is sown on four different types of soil. Only one€the good ground, produced a crop, teaching that the majority of Israel was going to reject the Kingdom.

Matt 13:3-13...And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, 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:

In the parable of the vineyard in Matthew 21:33-41, the lord of the vineyard sent his servants to collect his share. The wicked tenants beat his servant's and stoned them to death. Finally the owner said, "Then will I send my son". When the son arrived, the people said, "He's the heir. Let's put him to death." So they killed him. Likewise, Jesus Christ the Son was rejected and put to death. The Lord will come and bring vengeance on the caretakers of the vineyard.

Matt 21:33-39...Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.

Throughout the parables, we see object lessons of good fish and bad fish, wheat and tares, foolish virgins and wise virgins, all part of the message being given to Israel. But these parables do not teach the mystery of the Church. There is a vast difference between the church and the message of the Kingdom of Heaven. *

Some teachers in our generation have misapplied the parables to the Church and taught "sowing" money as seed, expecting to get 30, 60, or 100-fold as a return. The 30, 60, and 100-fold increase was to the Israelites that received the message of the Kingdom and had no reference to the Church or to money. There is no "sowing of money" in the parables of the Kingdom to Israel. Also, they could not sow the message of the Kingdom to the Gentiles for it was given to Israel only.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Beyond Calvary where Christ is!

Many people in the Church World today are constantly focused on the birth and life of the Lord Jesus Christ and yes that part of the Bible has it's place. Many people in the Church World are constantly focused on the parables the Lord spoke to Israel and yes these have their place too. What happens though when you get beyond the four Gospels and get into the Epistles? What primary message do you see? You will find the preaching of the cross. You will see everything that pertains to the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. This is the true Gospel message Christ commanded us to preach! Let's take it a little bit further. Let's get beyond Calvary where Christ is exalted! After all the Ephesian letter says that Christians are raised to sit together with Him in heavenly places.

So, why do we need to get beyond the birth and life of Christ? Why do we need to get beyond the Parables? Paul didn't teach the parables nor did he teach the four gospels. Paul a Jew who came out from under the Law did however teach to cross...but he lived according to Christ in Throneroom! This is what happens when you get beyond Calvary? You find the exaltation of an enthroned Christ. You will find a living Christ who "provides" and "supplies" all of our needs from Heaven. As Christians we should live in the present tense power of an exalted Christ in the Throneroom. Not in the past..under Law...but in the present tense under Grace. This is the Church, the body of Christ.

Since the birth, life, and Christ's crucifixion things have changed. The Church was birthed as Christ purchased it with His own blood! The omnipresence of the Holy Spirit that flows from the shows man what sin is in light of a living Christ in the Throneroom! Since the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin now from hearing the Gospel, no longer is it necessary for the Law of Moses to show man his sin. No longer does man have to strive to enter in. No longer does man have to seek ye first the Kingdom of God in order to receive righteousness! Under law they did! Under Grace not necessary! When the veil was rent twain in the Jewish Temple (torn in half) Christ said, "It is finished". What was finished? Man's effort to keep the Law. Now, Grace is given freely to all those who trust Christ for personal forgiveness. The ministration of Holy Spirit (for Jew and Gentile) came into play as the ministration of the Law (given to Israel) was abolished. Christians don't have to seek righteousness, "They find righteousness in the Grace of God" that comes through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. We are not under Law today...but under Grace. God's Grace is sufficent for every need of your life.

All power for the heart and life of a Christian comes from an exalted Christ. The Epistles teach the exaltation of Christ. The four Gospels teach a little bit about an exalted Christ and Jesus commanded the Gospel message to be preached for this reason. The Gospel Christ commanded us to preach makes no reference to the birth and life of Christ...but does make reference to the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. The following verses describe the true Gospel. This the Gospel that Christ commanded everyone to preach in "all the world".

1 Cor 15:1-4...Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Rom 1:1-5...Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,(Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

The Epistles teach we are to live our Christian life settin our affections in the Throneroom. The Epistles do not teach us to live under Law...they teach us to live under Grace. Grace goes beyond Calvary! Grace does flow from our faith in what Christ did at Calvary...but present tense Grace comes directly down from a living Christ in Heaven. Our faith should not be limited to living in the past only! Our faith should be present tense faith and present tense faithfulness to a living Christ in whom we are accountable to every second, every minute, every hour, and every day. Christians are to be faithful to Christ every day of their existence.

Christian's don't have to "seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness" like Israel did in the four Gospels. Christians have already found righteousness from the person of Christ. Christians live right, act right, think right, and behave right because Christ who reigns from Heaven, "makes them right". Christians are "kept by the power of God" through faith. Righteousness is not something we seek. Righteousness is something we have because we exercise our faith in a living Christ whose alive and exalted! Granted Christ died 2010 years ago, but He rules and reigns presently from the Throneroom ..."NOW!"

Will you consider getting beyond Calvary where Christ is exalted in Heaven? I love you all.