Tree of Life Blog

Engaging Culture with the wisdom and power of Christ!

Tag Archives: Scripture

5 Ways to become more familiar with the Bible

0

5. Get a modern paraphrase like the Message or the NLT and read out loud a whole letter of Paul’s.  That is how they were written and that is how the original audience encountered them for the first time.

4.  Find a verse that you love, write it down and learn it by repetition… speak it over and over again.  That is essentially meditating on the Word.

3.  Take a well known verse and read the whole chapter paying attention to the structure, logic, and context of the chapter.  It may surprise you.

2.  Open the Bible at random and read 5 pages.  I know it’s not a good way to build a systematic theology, and it’s not a good way to hear God, but it’s a great way to encounter a passage you may never have deliberately turned to.

1.  Find a passage in the gospels.  Use a cross reference to find the same account in other gospels and read how the other gospel writer’s approach the same passage.  The Bible is fully divine and fully human and this is a great way to explore the Word.

Have You Checked Your Spiritual “Facebook” Today? (Paul Tautges)

0

Have You Checked Your Spiritual “Facebook” Today?

Meditation on 2 Corinthians 3:18

 

Paul Tautges

 

 

Facebook is the fastest growing social networking website, boasting over 250 million active users, with more than 120 million of them logging in at least once per day. Think of it! Over 120 million people checking up on their friends and family, sharing significant things (wedding pictures, prayer needs) and insignificant things (what they ate for lunch, comments about the weather), and remaining “connected” to an average of 120 friends each. That’s an amazing amount of “connecting” going on. But then I got to thinking. What would happen in our world, and in our churches, if 120 million believers in Christ made sure to check our spiritual “facebook” every day?

 

As fun as it is to peek into each other’s photo albums there is an infinitely more important “facebook” that we must discipline ourselves to spend time in. That, of course, is God’s “facebook,” the Scriptures. The Apostle Paul makes it clear that sanctification, becoming like Christ, is a cooperative effort involving both the Spirit of God and the believer: But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18).

 

Sanctification is a process: we are being transformed. The specific transformation taking place in the heart of the believer is into the same image from glory to glory. What image is that? It is the image of the glory of the Lord. Unquestionably, this is God’s goal for every Christian: “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). But how does this actually happen? It is the Lord, the Spirit who ultimately performs the work of our transformation; on the other hand, the change only takes place as we with unveiled face [behold] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord. What is the mirror that reflects the glory of the Lord? It is the Word of God. It is the gospel. James writes, “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was” (James 1:23-24). As we examine our hearts and lives in the mirror of the Word of God we, with the Spirit’s guidance, see the spiritual pimples that need to be removed and, by the Spirit’s power, are able to correct the sinful character patterns that hinder the image of Christ from being increasingly glorified in us. However, if we approach the Bible merely to gain information, without a desire to experience Spirit-empowered change, we become mere “hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22).

 

With no desire to throw a wet blanket on anyone’s online fire, let me gently exhort all of us to be sure that we keep the fun tools of technology in their proper place. There is no technology that even comes close to the infinite value of checking our spiritual “facebook” every day. Man’s technology doesn’t hold a candle to the supernatural power of the Word of God.

 

So, have you checked your “facebook” today?

 

I mean, how is your personal time of prayer and Bible reading going? The psalmist woke up in the morning with a desire for deep communion with God: “In the morning, O Lord, Thou wilt hear my voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to Thee and eagerly watch” (Psalm 5:3). Which “facebook” do you wake up with a desire to open? If your desire to check your online Facebook is more urgent than your desire to behold the face of Jesus Christ in the gospel, then it is time to repent of misplaced priorities and renew your commitment to daily read, meditate on, and apply a portion of Scripture to life. Decide right now that from now on you will refrain from booting up your computer until you have first spent time in communion with God through prayer and His living Word (Hebrews 4:12). As we behold the glory of the Lord in the truth of the gospel, the Spirit of God will continually transform us into the holy and gracious image of the Son of God.

Bible Increasingly “Irrelevant” in UK Study (Ingrid Schleuter)

0

by Ingrid Schlueter

It should come as no surprise to those who read the British papers that a new study claims that only one in twenty Brits can name the Ten Commandments. The same study shows that 16% can’t name one. The moral anarchy in the West as a whole can be directly traced to the abandonment of the truths of God’s Word and its substitution with the lies of evolution and humanism. Moral rot and societal carnage are the natural result of man’s rebellion.

Recently, UK citizens were in an uproar over the abuse of the expenses system in Parliament. Both dominant political parties were shamed as MP’s were exposed for having lied or covered up their dishonest cashing in on a system designed to reimburse politicians for legitimate expenses. The Telegraph was filled for weeks with outrageous examples of greed and lies and profit taking at the public expense. But when a society as a whole can’t even name God’s command that stealing is sin, what do you expect? So exactly what moral code produces the public outrage? It’s the Law of God, written on the hearts of men, but deeply suppressed in unrighteousness, the Scripture tells us. God has given us all we need for life and godliness in His Word. Individuals and governments reject that at their own peril.

(Here’s an example of what’s going on: Britain’s National Health Service is handing out pamphlets letting students know about their right to a good sex life. This is in a country with the highest number of teen pregnancies in Europe.)

R. A. Torrey (The Pointed Personal Worker – by Don Krow)

0

R. A. TORREY  The Pointed Personal Worker


He sought to win to Christ the young lady whom he had been taking to dances the first time he saw her after his conversion. He says, “The first time I saw her after my conversion, I commenced to reason with her out of the Scriptures. It took two hours of talking to her, but she accepted Christ.”[1] This experience seemed prophetic of the way Torrey was to spend the rest of his life – winning people to Christ.

Reuben Archer Torrey (1856-1928), the successor to D. L. Moody in world evangelism, also rated high as a teacher, a writer, a champion of the faith once for all delivered to the saints, and especially as a personal worker. In the writer’s opinion, Dr. Torrey did more to emphasize and promote personal evangelism than any other one man since the days of the apostles.

Possessed with a brilliant, well-trained mind, he was logical, penetrating, positive, thorough and convincing, whether preaching, teaching or doing personal work. He held degrees from Yale University and divinity school and did postgraduate work in the Universities of Leipzig and Erlangen in Germany. His faith was sometimes imperiled as he battled rationalism and the higher criticism in these schools, but the grace of God and the prayers of a Christian mother brought him safely through.

From the pastorate of a Congregational church in Garrettsville, Ohio, he went to Minneapolis in spiritual stature, mastery of the Bible and evangelistic fruitfulness. D. L. Moody heard of him and brought him to Chicago in 1889 as superintendent of the Bible Institute. Here he remained until 1908, also serving for twelve years of this time as pastor of the Moody Church. In 1912 he went to Los Angeles as dean of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles for 1912-24 and pastor of the Church of the Open Door from 1915-24.

He frequently took time out to conduct large evangelistic campaigns in the major cities of America and other lands.But he always kept busy in personal evangelism. George T. B. Davis, who spent ten months in 1904-05 studying the work and methods of Dr. Torrey wrote:

Another characteristic of Dr.Torrey which strongly impresses one in close touch with his work is his enthusiasm for personal work. He believes thoroughly in doing personal work, not merely in the meetings but on the streets, in street cars, on buses, on trains and steamers – everywhere. Many of the most striking parts of his sermons are the stories of his experiences in soul-winning in all parts of the world.[2]

His highest ambition was to win souls. Mr. Davis gives us these words from Dr. Torrey in the South London Tabernacle:

I would rather win souls than be the greatest king or emperor on earth; I would rather win souls than be the greatest general that ever commanded an army; I would rather win souls than be the greatest poet, or novelist, or literary man who ever walked the earth. My one ambition in life is to win as many as possible. Oh, it is the only thing worth doing, to save souls; and, men and women, we can all do it![3]

Undoubtedly his most widespread and lasting contribution to personal evangelism has been made through his books. He published HOW TO BRING MEN TO CHRIST in 1893, perhaps the first real textbook on the subject to appear in America. This book was revised and enlarged as Part I of HOW TO WORK FOR CHRIST in 1901, a book of 518 pages. No better book on practical methods of personal and public evangelism than this has ever been written. Fleming H. Revell Company has issued 21 printings of this book, and Part I, printed separately under the title, PERSONAL WORK, has gone through 24 printings. The intensely practical power of these books lies in the fact that the author tells exactly what Scripture passages to use with various types of inquirers, how to use them, and illustrates with specific cases out of his own experience.

His method of using the Scriptures in personal evangelism was to put the Bible in the hands of the inquirer and have him read a selected passage. Then Dr. Torrey would ask questions about the words and phrases of the passage until the seeker understood it. He believed that the Holy Spirit would take the Word as His sword and cut through the darkness of the unbelieving mind, bringing light and conversion.

For example, in telling how to deal with those lacking assurance of salvation, Dr. Torrey relates this experience:

I was dealing one night with a young woman who was in great distress of soul because she could not see that she had forgiveness of sin. I went carefully over the ground to find if she really had accepted Christ, and it appeared clear that she had. Then I read to her Acts 13:39, “By him all that believe are justified from all things.”

“Now,” I said, “who does God say in these verses are justified from all things?”

“All that believe.”

“Believe on whom?”

“Believe on Christ.”

“Do you believe on Christ?”

“I do.”

“Have you really accepted Him as your Saviour and Lord and Master?”

“Yes.”

“Then you are sure you believe on Him?”

“Yes.”

“And what does this verse say that all who believe are?”

“Justified.”

“What then are you?”

She would not say, “I am justified,” but wept over the thought that her sins were not forgiven. I went over it again and again and again. At last the simple meaning of the words seemed to dawn upon her darkened mind. I asked her as before, “Who does God say are justified?”

“All that believe.”

“From what are they justified?”

“From all things.”

“Who is justified from all things?”

“All that believe.”

“Who says so?”

“God says so.”

“Do you believe?”

“I do.”

“What are you then?”

A joyous light spread over her countenance, and she said, “Why, I am justified from all things,” and immediately she turned toward her friend standing near and said to me, “Now won’t you speak to my friend about Christ?”[4]

His approach to individuals in personal work was sometimes brusque and always direct and pointed. While he tried to avoid offense and make a wholesome impression, yet there is no record that he ever tried to win people to himself first as a means of winning them to Christ. Perhaps his piercing gray eyes and somewhat stern and cold personality made it difficult to win people to himself. Apparently he always sought to win men directly to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

In complete reliance on the Holy Spirit, Dr.Torrey used the Word of God to bring lost sinners to conviction, conversion and assurance. To him the Scriptures were always in place. Whether the prospect was interested in the Bible or not, whether he believed it or not, Dr.Torrey faced him with the Word of God, stood firmly on it, and virtually drilled him through with it. One of his favorite verses was John 6:37, and a good illustration of his skill and persistence in using Scripture is his story of how he used this verse with a young man who thought he had committed the unpardonable sin. He writes:

One time I received a letter, a very heartbroken letter, from a father who was a Presbyterian minister. He wrote that he had a son who was in awful spiritual darkness. The son thought that he had committed the unpardonable sin, and he was plunged into absolute despair. Would I take him in at the Bible Institute? I replied that though I had every sympathy with him in his sorrow, the Bible Institute was not for the purpose of helping cases like these, but to train men and women for Christian service. The father continued to write, beseeching me to take his son, and got other friends to plead for him. Finally I consented to take the young man. He was sent to me under guard, lest he might do some rash thing by the way.

When he was brought to my office, I showed him a seat. As soon as the others had left the room, he began the conversation by saying, “I am possessed of the devil.”

“I think quite likely you are,” I replied, “but Christ is able to cast out devils.”

“You do not understand me,” he said, “I mean that the devil has entered into me as he did into Judas Iscariot.”

“That may be,” I answered, “but Christ came to destroy the works of the devil. Now He says in John 6:37. ‘Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.’ If you will come to Him, He will receive you and set you free from Satan’s power.”

The conversation went on in this way for some time: he constantly asserting the absolute hopelessness of his case, and I on my part constantly asserting the power of Jesus Christ and His promise, “‘Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.'” After a while I sent the young man to his room. Days and weeks passed, and we had many conversations, always on the same line, and I always holding him to John 6:37.

One day I met him in the hall of the Institute, and made up my mind that the time had come to have the battle out. I told him to sit down, and I sat down beside him.

“Do you believe the Bible?” I asked.

“Yes,” he replied, “I believe everything in it.”

“Do you believe John 6:37?” I asked.

“Yes, I believe everything in the Bible.”

“Do you believe that Jesus Christ told the truth when He said, ‘Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out’?”

“Yes, I do; I believe everything in the Bible.”

“Well, then, will you come?”

“I have committed the unpardonable sin.”

“I replied, “Jesus does not say, ‘Him that hath not committed the unpardonable sin that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.’ He says, ‘Him that cometh to Me I will in on wise cast out.'”

“But I have sinned willfully after I have received the knowledge of the truth.”

“Jesus does not say, ‘Him that has not sinned willfully after he received the knowledge of the truth that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast our.’ He says, ‘Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.'”

“But I have been once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have fallen away, and it is impossible to renew me again unto repentance.”

“Jesus does not say,’Him that has not tasted of the heavenly gift, and has not fallen away, if he cometh to me I will in no wise cast him out.’ He says, ‘Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.'”

“But I am possessed of the devil,” he answered.

“Jesus does not say, ‘Him that is not possessed of the devil that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.’ He says, ‘Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.'”

“I mean that the devil is entered into me as he did into Judas Iscariot.”

“Jesus does not say, ‘Him that the devil has not entered into, as he did into Judas Iscariot, that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.’ He says, ‘Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.'”

“But my heart is hard as a millstone.”

“Jesus does not say, ‘If a man’s heart is soft and tender, and he come to Me, I will in no wise cast him out.’ He says, ‘Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out.'”

“But I do not know that I have any desire to come.”

“Jesus does not say, ‘Him that hath a desire to come,and comes unto Me, I will in no wise cast out. He says, `Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.'”

“But I do not know that I can come in the right way.”

“Jesus does not say, ‘Him that cometh to Me in the right way, I will in no wise cast him out.’ He says, ‘Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.'”

“Well, I don’t know that I care to come.”

“Jesus does not say, ‘Him that careth to come to Me, and comes to Me, I will in no wise cast out.’ He says, ‘Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.'”

The man’s excuses and subterfuges were exhausted. I looked him square in the face and said, “Now, will you come? Get down on your knees, and quit your nonsense.”

He knelt and I knelt by his side.

“Now,” I said, “Follow me in prayer.”

“Lord Jesus,” I said, and he repeated, “Lord Jesus.”

“My heart is as hard as a millstone.”

“My heart is as hard as a millstone,” he repeated.

“I have no desire to come unto thee.”

“I have no desire to come unto thee.”

“But thou hast said in thy Word.”

“But thou hast said in thy Word.”

“‘Him that cometh to Me I will no wise cast out.'”

“‘Him that cometh to Me I will no wise cast out.'”

“Now the best I know how I come.”

“Now the best I know how I come.”

“Thou hast said, ‘Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.'”

“Thou hast said, ‘Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.'”

“I believe this statement of Thine.”

“I believe this statement of Thine.”

“Therefore, though I don’t feel it, I believe thou hast received me.”

“Therefore, though I don’t feel it, I believe thou hast received me.”

When he had finished, I said, “Did you really come?”

He replied, “I did.”

“Has He received you?”

“I do not feel it,” he replied.

“But what does He say?”

“‘Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.'”

“Is this true? Does Jesus tell the truth, or does He lie?”

“He tells the truth.”

“What then must He have done?”

“He must have received me.”

“Now,” I said, “go to your room: stand firmly upon this promise of Jesus Christ. The devil will give you an awful conflict, but just answer him every time with John 6:37, and stand right there, believing what Jesus says in spite of your feelings, in spite of what the devil may say, in spite of everything.”

He went to his room. The devil did give him an awful conflict, but he stood firmly on John 6:37, and came out of his room triumphant and radiant. Years have passed since then. Though the devil has tried again and again to plunge him into despair, he has stood firmly on John 6:37, and he is today being used of God to do larger work for Christ than almost any man I know.[5]

Still another example of Dr. Torrey’s method of using Scripture verses is in order, because anyone can use this particular passage the same way. Concerning the use of Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all,” with those desiring to be saved, Dr. Torrey says:

Get the inquirer to read the verse himself, then say to him, “The first half of this verse shows you your need of salvation, the second half shows you the provision God has made for your salvation. Read again the first half of this verse.

“Is this true of you? Have you gone astray like a sheep? Have you turned to your own way?”

“Yes.”

“Then what are you?” Get the inquirer to say, “I am lost.”

“We will now look at the provision God has made for your salvation; read the last half of the verse.

“Who is the one in this verse upon whom our iniquity has been laid?”

“Christ.”

“What then has God done with your sin?”

“Laid it on Christ.”

“Is it then on you any longer?”

Go over it again and again until he sees that his sin is not on him but that it is on Christ, and has been settled forever. I often use a simple illustration in making the meaning of the verse plain. I let my right hand represent the inquirer, my left hand represent Christ, and my Bible represent the inquirer’s sin.

I first lay the Bible on my right hand and say, “Now where is your sin?”

The inquirer replies, of course, “On me.”

I then repeat the last half of the verse, “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all,” and transfer the Bible form my right hand to my left, and ask, “Where is your sin now?”

The inquirer replies, “On Him, of course.”

I then ask, “Is it on you any longer?” and he says, “No, on Christ.” Very many people have been led out into light and joy by this simple illustration.[6]

Dr. Torrey was able to get others to do personal work, especially in his pastorates. He said:

The fourth church, of which I am now pastor, is a metropolitan church in the heart of a great city, with a membership when I took it, of eight hundred. Each one of these four churches was as different as churches could be. I started out in each by going to work to train my people to be intelligent soul-winners, so that if a revival ever should come, I would have people ready to lead others intelligently to an acceptance of Christ.

The revival did come at the end of the first year in the first church, and it has been going on ever since. From that day to this I have lived in a revival. Some people say they believe, not in spasmodic revivals, but in perpetual revivals. So do I. I not only believe in them, but since the first year of my ministry I have had a perpetual revival, and that has been due largely to the fact that I have had a trained membership.[7]

Torrey’s power in soul-winning was in large part due to his deep and constant life of prayer. When Dr. Will H. Houghton preached Dr. Torrey’s funeral sermon, he said in part:

But those who knew Dr. Torrey more intimately knew him as a man of regular and uninterrupted prayer. He knew what it meant to pray without ceasing. With hours set systematically apart for prayer, he gave himself diligently to this ministry.[8]

One of Dr. Torrey’s specialties in personal evangelism was dealing with atheists, infidels and skeptics. So well did he know their arguments and excuses, and so well did he know the Scriptures, that few of them could stand long before him. Regarding this matter, he wrote:

My ministry has been largely a ministry to skeptics, agnostics and infidels. I have had their confidence, and I have yet to meet the first infidel that was made better by infidelity. I have known men whose characters have been undermined by infidelity – countless men…

One night I went down into the audience to speak to individuals after a meeting like this. I went down to a man who sat in the last opera chair. I said, “Are you a Christian?”

“No,” he said, “I should say not. I am an infidel.”

I said, “What do you mean?”

“Well,” he said, “I don’t believe in the divinity of Christ.”

I said, “You don’t believe in the divinity of Christ?”

“No,” he said, “I don’t.”

“Well,” I said, “let us kneel right down now and tell God so.” And he turned pale. “You go and tell God what you would like to tell me.”[9]

Robert Harkness, for many years Dr. Torrey’s pianist, wrote: “He was skilled in the art of meeting the difficulties of the unbeliever. He was powerful in answering the hackneyed arguments of the infidel.”[10]

Dr. Torrey believed in thorough dealing with inquirers, as is already evident. He wished the inquirer to be saved and know it, and know why. The writer attended a meeting one time in the old Moody Church when Dr. Torrey preached. The only person answering the invitation was a little boy about eight years old. Dr. Torrey lifted him up on the platform and dealt with him kindly but firmly so the whole audience could observe and hear. His clear explanations and searching questions brought the little lad into such assurance of salvation that he gave his testimony before the whole congregation before the meeting was dismissed.

Reuben Archer Torrey excelled in every form of Christian service he undertook. He could be satisfied with nothing less. Believing that those without Christ were doomed to endless darkness and eternal punishment, he gave himself unstintedly to use every means at his disposal to bring them into the full experience of personal salvation.

This article is by Faris Daniel Whitesell and was originally published under the title “Great Personal Workers.” This material was copyrighted in 1956 by Moody Bible Institute and is now public domain.

NOTES

1. The Moody Monthly, Oct.,1937, p. 65, article entitled, “Personal Work” by Rev. Reuben A. Torrey, D.D.

2. George T. B. Davis, Torrey and Alexander (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1905), p. 245

3. ibid, p. 209-210

4. R. A. Torrey, How to Work for Christ (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1901), pp. 111-112

5. R. A. Torrey, Real Salvation and Whole-Hearted Service (London: James Nisbet & Co., Limited, 1905), p. 132-137

6. How to Work for Christ, p. 39-40

7. Davis, Torrey and Alexander, p. 35

8. Will H. Houghton, The Moody Monthly, Oct. 1936, p. 57

9. Real Salvation and Whole-Hearted Service, pp. 104-105

10. Robert Harkness, Reuben Archer Torrey, The Man and His Message (Chicago: The Bible Institute Colportage Assn., 1929), p. 52

Get Ye Wisdom And Understanding

0

Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve
from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her,
and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.
Though it costs all you have, get understanding. Esteem her, and she
will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.
NIV

There are some people whom we may love and admire and seek to do
good to, and yet in the end they will turn against us and fail us and
betray us. It’s one of life’s tragedies to invest your love and to give
yourself to someone who ultimately betrays you. But the advice of
Scripture is: love wisdom. Devote yourself to wisdom, she will not
betray you, she will honor you, she will uplift you, she will protect
you. And wisdom comes from the word of God.

Wisdom is more important and more precious than all the things that
men seek after. Wisdom is like that pearl of great price that Jesus
spoke about: when the merchantman found it, he went and sold all that
he had and bought that one pearl. He was a merchantman and knew the
value of things. That’s how wisdom is. It’s a pearl of great price.

Even if it costs you all you have, the Scripture advises you sell
it. Give yourself to wisdom, devote your life to her, she’ll never
betray you. She’ll exalt you, she’ll bring you to honor. Your latter
end will be better than your beginning. – Derek Prince

Tozer on the Word of God and Leadership

0

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)

I knew a man from India who got hold of a New Testament, was converted and started to preach, but he had no background at all. That is, he started from scratch. He did not have a Greek Orthodox or Roman Catholic or Protestant background. He just started from the beginning. He didn’t know anything about churches. He testified, “What I did when I had a problem in the church was to go straight to the New Testament and settle it. I let the New Testament tell me what I was to do.” The result was that God greatly blessed him and his work in the land of India.

This is what I would like to see in our church–the New Testament order of letting Scripture decide matters. When it comes to a question–any question–what does the Word of God say? All belief and practices should be tested by the Word; no copying unscriptural church methods. We should let the Word of God decide. RRR140.

“Lord, help us to lead our churches to seek clear direction from Your Word and Your Spirit. Amen.” (A.W. Tozer, Tozer on Christian Leadership, July 10)

God’s Word – The Seed of His Blessing (Andrew Wommack)

3

A true revelation of God’s Word is the single most important element of a victorious Christian life. The Word of God often refers to itself as a seed. There are a total of forty-four verses in the New Testament where the Greek word “sperma” was translated “seed.” This is the same word from which we derive our English word “sperm.”

To conceive and give birth to the miracles you need, you must first plant God’s Word like a seed in your heart. Conception cannot take place without first planting the seed. There has only been one virgin birth, and the birth of you’re miracle won’t be the second. I constantly meet Christians who pray and believe for God’s intervention in their lives, but remain frustrated with the results.

It’s because they are missing the seeds of conception; they just don’t know God’s Word. In Mark 4, the Lord taught three parables which illustrate that the Word is to the kingdom of God what a natural seed is to a harvest.

The first of these parables, the story of the sower, is the key to unlocking all the Word of God (Mark 4:13). If we don’t understand these truths, Jesus said we won’t understand any of His other parables. There are many life-changing truths in these parables, but one fact must be understood to get the full benefit of this teaching.

The Lord used the comparison of His Word to a law of nature that is unchangeable, not an institution of man. Here’s what I mean. You can cheat or manipulate nearly all systems that men have created. The legal system can be beaten, letting the guilty go free. Our educational system can be beaten, passing students who haven’t really learned the material. But you can’t change seedtime and harvest.

What if a farmer waited until he saw his neighbors reaping their crops before he sowed for his crop? Regardless of how sincere he was, or the justification for not sowing his seed at the proper time, he would not reap a crop overnight. The law of seedtime and harvest cannot be violated.

This is why our Lord chose to compare the way His Word works to a seed. There is a germination process of the Word of God in your life that takes time and can’t be avoided. In the second parable of Mark 4, Jesus said in verses 26-29, “So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.”

The seed is the Word of God (verse 14), and the ground is our hearts (verse 15). Our hearts were created by God to bring forth fruit when His Word is planted in them. Just as a seed has to remain in the ground over time to germinate, so the Word of God has to abide in us.

Jesus said in John 15:7, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” What would happen if you planted a seed in your garden and then dug it up each morning to see if anything was happening? It would die and never produce fruit. You have to have faith that the seed is doing what God created it to do.

Some people put God’s Word in their hearts for a day or two, but if they don’t see fruit almost immediately, they dig up the seed through their words and actions and wonder why it didn’t work. You have to leave it in the ground over time. Then, there are also different stages of growth. Mark 4:28 says, “First the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.”

Many people are impatient, wanting to bypass the growth cycle and get the full ear right now. I’ve actually had to tell people that what they were believing God for was not going to happen, not because the vision wasn’t good, but because they were expecting a complete ear of corn immediately.

For example, one of our Charis Bible College students came to me who had never held a job, had been in a mental hospital, and had lived on welfare his whole life. When he heard the teaching on prosperity and vision, he started dreaming big. He had a plan to buy and renovate an old hotel. The total cost would be over four million dollars. It really was a grand plan. I complimented him for the fact that he was dreaming and told him to keep dreaming big.

Then I told him that it might work for someone but it wouldn’t work for him. Why? Because this person had never believed for a dime before. There has to be “first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.” You may think that’s not so.

It’s possible that he could have won the lottery or the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes. It’s possible, but that wouldn’t have been God. God’s kingdom operates on laws, like the laws that govern the fruit-bearing process of a seed. God will not give you the full ear of corn if you haven’t seen the first blade.

That’s the way God’s kingdom works. And this is precisely the reason most people don’t see God’s best come to pass in their lives. They think that since God loves them, He will just grant their request regardless of whether they put the miracle of the seed to work or not.

Look at what happened after Jesus taught His disciples these principles of the seed. Mark 4:35 says, “And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.” In a sense, Jesus was giving them a test. On the same day that He taught them the principles of God’s Word as a seed, He gave them a seed. He said, “Let us pass over unto the other side.” He didn’t say, “Let us go halfway across and drown.” The disciples had a seed from the lips of the Creator that gave them authority over the creation.

What happened? A two-hour trip turned into a fight for the disciples’ lives. Instead of using the seed the Lord had given them, they did all they knew to do in the natural and then got put out with the Lord. They said in verse 38, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” This wasn’t a cabin cruiser. Jesus was in an open boat full of water (verse 37) sloshing all around Him. He was well aware of their plight and yet was trying to sleep. They wanted Him to pick up a bucket and bail or row or do something.

How did Jesus respond? Did He apologize and say, “I’m sorry guys. I was really tired”? No! Instead He said, “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” (verse 40). Jesus was telling them that they should have stilled the storm.

If they would have operated in faith instead of fear, that’s exactly what they could have done. The Lord did His job by giving them the seed of His Word. Their job was to take the seed and make it work. Instead, they doubted Jesus’ love for them and thought He wasn’t pulling His weight. Likewise, we often complain to the Lord, “Don’t You love me? Why aren’t You healing me or prospering me, etc.?”

God has done His part; He has given us the Word. For example, the Lord doesn’t give us money directly.

Deuteronomy 8:18 says that the Lord gives us the power to get wealth. The power is in His promises, His Word. As we plant those promises in our hearts, the truth of His Word germinates and prosperity comes. Healing operates the same way.

There are numerous scriptures that get the point across that God’s Word is health to all our flesh. Here’s two: “For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh” (Prov. 4:22). “He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions” (Ps. 107:20). Yes, a person can get healed without planting God’s Word in their heart. It comes through the prayers of others with the gifts of healing (1 Cor. 12:9), but it is not God’s best.

We should never be too proud to ask for help, but the proper way to get healed is to take God’s promises of healing and plant them in our hearts until they release their life-giving power into our physical bodies.

This law of seedtime and harvest operates in every area of our lives. If we will plant God’s Word in our hearts, then allow the seed to germinate and the plant to grow to maturity, we will reap the fruit of a harvest. That is God’s best!

I cannot tell you strongly enough how important it is that you know God’s Word and that you plant the seed of His Word in your heart long before you need the fruit of the harvest. It could mean the difference between prosperity and poverty, or even life and death. I believe this is so important that it’s the very first class I teach to new students at CBC every year.

%d bloggers like this: