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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
Living Stone

How God’s word (the Bible) works.

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Do we really know how God’s word works?

 

The vast majority of Christians, who actually spend time in their Bibles, endeavor to conform themselves to the scriptures. They view the word of God as God’s ideal standard for life and try to attain to it. This carnal approach to the Bible is doomed to failure. Such Christians consequently will never be changed into the likeness of Christ and will most likely end up either in frustration or concluding that conformity to Christ is simply unattainable and that you must just do the best you can. They remain oblivious to the reality that the word of God does not work this way under the New Covenant. The word of God works in a completely different and infinitely superior way. What way is that?

 

Jesus explains how the word of God works under the New Covenant,

 

Mark 4:3 (Jesus gives the parable of the sower and the seed) Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow.

Mar4:10-13 (Jesus says this parable reveals the mystery of the kingdom of God and holds the key to all parables) But when He (Jesus) was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. And He said to them, "To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God… “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?”

Luke 8:11 (Jesus then explains the parable – The seed is the word of God) Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

Luk 8:8&15 (The soil is the heart of a person) And some seed fell into good soil… But as for that seed in the good soil, these are the people who, hearing the Word, hold it fast in a just and worthy heart… AMP

Isa 45:19 (The One who speaks the word and sows the seed is God) I, the LORD speak righteousness --- Prov 11:18 But he who sows righteousness…

 

This sowing of the word into a heart is how everyone that is a Christian, was born again,

 

1 Pet 1:23 Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible (seed), by the word of God which lives and abides forever,

 

The very first word of God (seed) that God speaks by His Spirit, either directly from the scriptures or from a Gospel book or tract or most likely through the mouth of a Christian, that a person hears with their heart (they may have heard thousands of scriptures with their heads) – it is the entrance of that first living word (Jesus) into their hearts that brings the beginning of the life of God into the person’s spirit and they are born again.The sowing of more of God’s words into a heart brings more of the life & nature of Christ,The parable of the sower and the seed not only reveals the mystery of how the beginning of the life and nature of Christ enters a person (through one living seed of God’s word being sown in the heart) but also how progressively more of the life and nature of Christ grows in that person (through more living seeds of God’s words being sown in the heart).This transforming process, by which the very nature of a Christian, after the new birth, can continue to be changed into the likeness of Christ, without that Christian grimly struggling to comply with the scriptures, is beautifully described in these pivotal verses:

 

2 Cor 3:15 (First, concerning the Jews) But even to this day, when Moses (part of the Bible) is read, a veil lies on their heart. (And the words cannot enter them)

2 Cor 3:16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

2 Cor 3:18 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 by the Spirit of the Lord.

 

Let’s consider this in some detail:

 

We can see from verse 15 that the veil being spoken of is a veil on the heart, therefore an unveiled (spiritual) face is simply an open heart that can now hear God (this is what the word meek means). With such an open heart we are now to look at that mirror which reflects God, what mirror is that, the mirror is the Bible. And what do we see, we see the Spirit of God glorifying the word of God, how? By making the word of God alive to us so that it now speaks to us personally. Each glorified word (seed) now sown in our hearts (our unveiled face) will change us into the very image, likeness and glory of that living word – or in other words into the image, likeness and glory of Christ who is the living word. This is precisely what Jesus said the Holy Spirit would do in John chapter 16:

 

John 16:13-14 (Jesus) But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth or Word giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth. For He will not speak His own message on His own authority but He will tell whatever He hears from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him (the word of God), …He will honor and glorify Me, because He will take of what is Mine (I am the word of God) and will reveal declare, disclose, transmit (and sow) it to you. AMP

 

Every word God sows into our hearts needs time to germinate, grow and bear fruit,

 

Mark 4:24 And He (Jesus) said unto them, Take heed what you hear: …unto you that hear shall more be given. (For any of the seed of God’s word to be sown in the soil of a heart, the word must be heard and believed by that heart – to the one who hears and believes the sown word, more word will be sown).

Mark 4:26-28 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed (God’s word) into the ground (a heart); And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he does not know how. For the earth brings forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. KJV

Luke 17:21 …For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.

 

Jesus says here’s how the Kingdom of God works. Seed is sown into the ground, springs into life and grows and given time begins to reproduce and bear multiple like seeds. If we understand the parable of the sower and the seed we can now understand this parable - that the word of God sown into the soil of a human heart will germinate and grow and given time will multiply itself as the seed of the word of God sown by that person into the hearts of many others. Does this divine means by which the words of God’s kingdom are passed on from person to person apply only to the first word of God that is sown in a person’s heart, the word by which they are born again? No, the same divine process is the way in which the rest of the gospel, the full counsel of God, the entire nature of Jesus Christ, is sown as seed into one heart, reproduced and then sown out of that heart into the hearts of others. Hence in the book of James the Holy Spirit has this to say to those who are already born again as Christians:

 

James 1:18-21 And it was of His own free will that He gave us birth as sons by His Word of Truth… Therefore, my beloved brethren (this clearly is being written to Christians)… In a meek and humble spirit (continue to) receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted in your hearts contains the power to save (deliver, preserve, keep safe, heal, make whole) your souls. AMP

 

The word “implanted” used in the above scripture, to reflect that after being born again God’s words should continue to be implanted or sown into our hearts – the definition of the Greek word translated as implanted is according to Strong’s concordance as follows:

 

New Testament word #1721 Emphutos (em'-foo-tos); Comes from a combination of the New Testament preposition # 1722 En commonly meaning in, within or among and a derivation of the New testament word # 5453; Phuo (foo'-o); meaning to "puff" or blow, or in other words to swell up; to germinate or grow (sprout and produce). Hence im-planted. Summary:

 

God the Father is the sower. The seed is the word of God, Jesus Christ. The soil is my heart. The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus by declaring the word of God to me. When I receive the word with unveiled face, a meek and humble heart, the living seed will be implanted in me. The seed will germinate and grow automatically night and day in the soil of my heart. In due season that word will be established in my heart conforming my nature to the likeness of itself (Himself) and starting to reproduce itself (Himself) out of my mouth as living seeds into the hearts of others, some 30, 60 some a hundredfold.

 

This is how the word of God is intended to work in the lives of every Christian.

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Living Stone, I am not convinced that we can ever say "The  vast majority of Christians" do anything in large numbers. Research shows less that one in ten Christians read the Bibles on a regular basis at all. Si I wonder if your statement is just as you think about Christians that read their Bibles, or was this a new research that has recently come out.

 

As with much in churches only about 6 to 10%  of the people do all the work or give on a regularly basis. When I kept a closer watch on what what churches and Christians did or did not do, I found it interesting how we church goers have been questioned and give pretty honest answers. 

 

When I was a pastor I never wanted to know who gave or did not give. I had a pretty good idea who gave what they thought was a lot especially when someone said if they left the church would be in serious financial trouble. There is at least one of these in every church.

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