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Yaqin has not believed in the Lord for very long. She likes readingvery much. One day, she turned to Matthew 13:3-8 and read, “And he spoke many things to 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 on stony places, where they had not much earth: and immediately 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 hundred times, some sixty times, some thirty times.” She also saw many parables in the following several verses (See Matthew 13:24-33), such as the parable of the tares, the parable of the mustard seed, the parable of the leaven, and so on. After reading these parables, she thought: “Why did the always speak parables when He preached to the disciples? What was His will behind the parable of the sower?”
The next afternoon, Yaqin’s husband Han Lei, who had been away from home and preached, came home. Then Yaqin told him about the confusion she had when she read the Bible yesterday. Her husband said, “Recently I happened to read a passage of God’s words on a gospel website with several co-workers. I think it’s helpful toward you resolving this problem.” She said excitedly, “Really? Let me see it.” Han Lei dropped his work and swiftly turned on the computer to open the web page, and they sat before the computer to read these words.
God’s words say, “The first one is the parable of the sower. This is a really interesting parable; sowing seeds is a common event in people’s lives. The second is the parable of the tares. As far as what tares are, anyone who has planted crops and adults will know. The third is the parable of the mustard seed. All of you know what mustard is, right? If you don’t know, you can have a look through the Bible. For the fourth one, the parable of the leaven, most people know that leaven is used for fermentation; it’s something that people use in their daily lives. All of the parables … are all drawn from people’s lives; they all come from people’s real lives. What kind of picture do these parables paint? This is a picture of God becoming a normal person and living alongside mankind, using the language of a normal life, using human language to communicate with humans and to provide them with what they need. When God became flesh and lived among mankind for a long time, after He had experienced and witnessed people’s various lifestyles, these experiences became His textbook for transforming His divine language into human language. Of course, these things that He saw and heard in life also enriched the Son of man’s human experience. When He wanted to get people to understand some truths, to get them to understand some of God’s will, He could use parables similar to the ones above to tell people about God’s will and His requirements of mankind.”
After reading this passage, Yaqin became immersed in thought.
Han Lei said, “From God’s words we can see that the intention of the Lord Jesus when He preached to the disciples in parables was to allow them to understand His words and different aspects of the truth. By using human language and parables, He expressed God’s will to the disciples; by speaking this way, He made them feel that He was very close to them. Therefore, they all liked and wanted to listen to His preaching. In this way, the gospel of the kingdom of heaven spread around. When the disciples heard the preaching of the Lord Jesus and prayed in His name, they would receive His grace and blessings. Moreover, since we mankind do not have the organ to receive the truth, if the Lord Jesus didn’t speak parables in preaching, the disciples couldn’t better understand His words. Just like the parable of the sower, we are familiar with sowing seeds; farmers sow seeds every spring. It is a common thing in our daily life. The Lord Jesus used human language and everyday language to express His words, so that the disciples understood them easily. From this, we can see that the Lord Jesus put a lot of thought into His preaching, thus making the disciples better understand His words and put His teachings into practice and gain God’s salvation. This embodies God’s love for mankind.”
Yaqin agreed: “Mm, now I understand a little from your fellowship. The Lord came to earth to live among men and preach the gospel of the heavenly kingdom using human language and the parables for the purpose that the disciples could better understand His words and practice them.”
Han Lei thought for a while and continued fellowshiping, “Yes, we all know that these parables are all centered around the kingdom of heaven. Just as the Bible says: ‘When any one hears the word of the kingdom, and understands it not, then comes the wicked one, and catches away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that hears the word, and immediately with joy receives it; Yet has he not root in himself, but endures for a while: for when tribulation or persecution rises because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that hears the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that hears the word, and understands it; which also bears fruit, and brings forth, some an hundred times, some sixty, some thirty’ (Matthew 13:19-23). From this, we can see that there is no life in all those seeds falling beside the way, sown into stony places and among the thorns, and that they are unable to bear good fruits. The Lord’s will behind this parable is for us mankind to accept His words and His way in our hearts, and to understand His will and the results He sought to achieve in saying these words. If we can treat every word the Lord said earnestly and practice according to His words, we are the good seeds that bear fruits and we can enter God’s kingdom in the end. If we only listen to the Lord’s preaching but don’t understand His words, then we are unable to carry out His way; when someone deceives us, we would abandon the Lord’s way because we don’t understand His words, just like the seeds sown beside the way. If we listen to the Lord’s preaching but don’t act according to it, and we are pre-occupied with worldly matters every day, emphasizing eating, drinking and being merry, and pursuing reputation and position, in the end we would have no results and could only be eliminated just like the seeds sown into the stony places or among the thorns. At this point, I think of the condition of us Christians. Though many people listen to the Lord’s preaching, how many of the Lord’s teachings are in our heart? There are some people who can follow the Lord and practice a few of His words when His grace always accompanies them, but who then cannot stand witness for the Lord and even don’t believe in Him and betray Him as soon as they encounter calamities such as the persecution of their unbelieving relatives or the CCP government; there are also some people who cannot hold to the Lord’s words when faced with the temptations of wealth, fame, and status, and who will depart from the Lord’s requirements and walk the path of the worldly people, thus becoming indifferent to the Lord’s preaching in their heart. These two kinds of people are just like the seeds sown beside the way, into the rocky place, and among thorns. Only those who can overcome these temptations and tests and keep walking in God’s way can follow the Lord to the end. Only they are the good seeds sown into the good ground.”
Yaqin nodded and said, “Right! Thanks be to God. From your fellowship, I come to some understanding of the parable of the sower and the reason why the Lord preached to the disciples in parables. I am willing to be a seed sown into the good ground, listen carefully to the Lord’s words, and practice the way of the Lord because the Lord Jesus said, ‘but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven’ (Matthew 7:21). Therefore, only those who obey the teachings of the Lord can enter into the kingdom of heaven in the end. I must strive to pursue being such a person.”
Someone believes the Lord Jesus will arrive in the image of a Jew. Is it right? If the Lord returns in a different form, how can we recognize Him?
The Lord’s return will be done in stages: The first stage is His secret return as the Son of man in the flesh; after that He will openly descend on a cloud and appear to all.
Where is God’s kingdom? Is it in heaven or on earth? You can find the answer in the Lord’s Prayer in the Bible. Read this article to find out the mystery of God’s kingdom hidden in the Lord’s Prayer.
One may ask: The Bible says, “That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). It says that the one who confesses with the mouth and believes in the heart that Jesus is the Lord is saved. In fact, we do have believed in the Lord; however, does it mean that we have been saved thoroughly? Speaking of the topic of being saved, it is familiar to brothers and sisters. They are all firmly convinced that they have been saved thoroughly since they have believed in the Lord Jesus, and that they will be taken to the kingdom of heaven when the Lord comes again. But is it really the case? What on earth is the true meaning of being saved? Is it true, as we think, that we are saved thoroughly as long as we believe in the Lord Jesus? We all know the Israelites had ever been enslaved by the Egyptian Pharaoh, undergoing all kinds of hardships. Jehovah God could not stand them being maltreated; therefore, He called Moses to lead them out of Egypt and then into the good land of Canaan. As for the Israelites of that time, they were saved. But it cannot be said that they no longer need the salvation of Jehovah God. Before they entered Canaan, Jehovah God set forth the law through Moses, causing them to know how to revere Him, how to serve Him, as well as how to live on earth, how to get along with others, etc. Henceforth, the work of God in the Age of Law made the Israelites know how to live, and to them, this means that they were saved again. However, at the end of the Age of Law, people were unable to keep the law, lost their reverence for God, and even offered blind and lame livestock on the altar. As a result, they all faced the danger of being condemned to death by the law. In order to rescue them from death, God incarnate came to earth and did a stage of work of redeeming mankind. The Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross as the sin offering for mankind, and bore the sins of man. For those accepting the salvation of the Lord Jesus, this means that they were saved again. As the Bible says, “That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved” (Romans 10:9). Actually here it means that after accepting the Lord Jesus’ salvation of the cross, people will no longer be condemned by the law for failing to keep it. Nevertheless, although our human sins have been forgiven, it doesn’t mean that we have no sins, for all believers still live in the vicious cycle of committing sins only to confess them and then to continue on to sin again, and no one can break free from it. The Bible says, “holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). “Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin to salvation” (Hebrews 9:28). We can see from these verses that although we have got the redemption of the Lord Jesus, we are not completely saved by God because our corrupt dispositions haven’t been purified yet. Therefore, God returns to flesh in the last days to do the work of thoroughly saving and purifying man. God says, “it is true that you were saved by Jesus, and that you are not counted as a sinner because of the salvation of God, but this does not prove that you are not sinful, and are not impure. How can you be saintly if you have not been changed? Within, you are beset by impurity, selfish and mean, yet you still wish to descend with Jesus—you should be so lucky! You have missed a step in your belief in God: You have merely been redeemed, but have not been changed. For you to be after God’s heart, God must personally do the work of changing and cleansing you; if you are only redeemed, you will be incapable of attaining sanctity. In this way you will be unqualified to share in the good blessings of God, for you have missed out a step in God’s work of managing man, which is the key step of changing and perfecting. And so you, a sinner who has just been redeemed, are incapable of directly inheriting God’s inheritance” (“Concerning Appellations and Identity”). “The sins of man were forgiven because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live in the old, corrupt satanic disposition. As such, man must be completely saved from the corrupt satanic disposition so that the sinful nature of man is completely cast away and never again develops, thus allowing the disposition of man to be changed. This requires man to understand the path of growth in life, the way of life, and the way to change his disposition. It also needs man to act in accordance with this path so that the disposition of man can gradually be changed and he can live under the shining of the light, and that he can do all things in accord with the will of God, cast away the corrupt satanic disposition, and break free from Satan’s influence of darkness, thereby emerging fully from sin. Only then will man receive complete salvation” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)”). From God’s words we can see that we Christians are only forgiven of our sins by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus. However, because the Lord Jesus didn’t do the work of thoroughly purifying our corrupt dispositions, thus if we want to utterly cast away the corruption to be cleansed and completely saved, we need to accept not only the Lord Jesus’ redemption, but also God’s work of judging and purifying man in the last days. Only when we, in the course of experiencing the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, gradually gain a true knowledge of our own corrupt substance, are able to break free of Satan’s influence of darkness and live by God’s words, can we be called the ones who are purified and saved thoroughly, that is, the ones who have received complete salvation and are truly saved. So, today when the Lord Jesus has returned, only if we walk out of the Age of Grace, follow the steps of God’s work, and accept the judgment of God’s words to have our corrupt disposition cleansed, can we be saved thoroughly by God, and ultimately be taken to a wonderful destination. You may be interested in this article: What Is Salvation? Once Saved Always Saved?