This is from the Parable of the Sower, where the farmer sows the Word…the Logos…the Word of God, onto a hard-packed path. The seed just sits on top of the surface, unable to germinate and grow because of the hardpan – the unbroken subsoil beneath. To have a hardened heart towards the Gospel is to have an indifference towards the things of God…or to have an unfeeling conscience. So how can we pray for that person? We can ask the Lord to plow up that hard soil of rebellion in their life… that the Word of God may germinate and flourish there.
Over the last years, the world’s moral pendulum has swung far off-center. What was once considered wrong, is now accepted as the norm. What was once thought as unethical, is now touted as chic. We are constantly being bombarded by commercials and advertisements that tell us how to think and act if we want to be accepted…but they are usually contrary to God’s Word. Psalm 94:21 tells us that the wicked will band together against the righteous. The evil world’s way of thinking doesn’t have to seep into your life and mind… for God is greater than any evil that may come your way…offering wisdom and happiness in place of misery and suffering.
It’s your first day of work at a new job, and how do you spend most of it? Reading and signing paperwork. There are contracts, job descriptions, and policies and procedures to review and sign. But as a Believer, you also have a job description for the work the Lord wants you to be doing here on earth. This scripture shows us we are responsible to so well represent the Lord, that if someone looks at us, they will only see the love of Jesus shining forth. Our relationship with God should be such, that our faith is never doubted…our love for Him never questioned…our worship of Him, uncompromising and pure. Yes, our obligation to the Lord is great…but not in any comparison to the reward.
The long-held Jewish Law was being turned upside down by Jesus in this scripture. He was in a way giving the crowd an Anatomy and Physiology lesson in explaining that nothing they could ingest would ever defile their hearts…their inner self. Rather, Jesus explained to them that it was what came out of a man…in word and deed…that degraded and profaned him.
If there are young people in your house, you probably either formally, or informally have House Rules. Principles that help maintain order, routine, and guidance for everyone within the household. The same goes for the Body of Christ. This House Rule – If it cries…love it, takes it context from II Corinthians 1:3-4, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” He is the God of all comfort…extending mercy, love and encouragement to us in our times of crisis and pain. And in that, we learn how to pattern and demonstrate that same love to others.
Healthy trees produce lots of fruit, so when they don’t, the orchardist looks deeper. The trees may look perfect from the outside, but hide disease within. Their roots may be withered and gnarled from lack of water or fertilizer. We too can look good on the outside, but be stunted within. We can act very spiritual in Church, say all the right things at Bible Study, and still be very withered inside. The Lord wants us healthy and productive – inside and out, for just like strong, hardy trees that produce lots of fruit… so should we.
When those of the world get caught doing wrong, they’re sorry…sorry that they got caught. And the rest of the world will scorn them for doing so. What’s happened to doing the right thing…to owning up to our mistakes, and with authenticity, making restitution for it?