THROUGH THE BIBLE IN THREE YEARS

This program of daily Scripture studies is designed to help you in daily honoring God with adoration.

Each day, Monday through Friday, a Scripture with commentary is posted.

We have a great friend in Gary Godard. He has set up an archive page. To view ALL the prior Scripture studies by book and chapter, just clik


HERE.

Bro. Bruce's commentaries for the books of Genesis through Malachi are
now available in hard copy for $17.50. (Smaller books are only $9:50) Just mail your request for COMMENTARY ON (BOOK NAME) to:

Bruce McGee
P.O. Box 1627
Columbia, LA 71418

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE STUDY

MATTHEW

CHAPTER 13

1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. 2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. 3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; 4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: 8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. 9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. 10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11 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. 12 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. 13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 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: 15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. 18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. 19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. 20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. 22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. 23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

"The same day," meaning the same day Jesus spoke to the Pharisees about hardheartedness. Later that day, a huge crowd gathered. Jesus used the sea and seashore as an amphitheater to preach to the people. His words from the ship would carry across the sea easily and reach all the people on the shore. Our Lord takes care that EVERY sinner hears!

Jesus spoke "many things" to the people, but Matthew records here the "parable." Again, let me say a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. The parable teaching utilizes earthly examples with which people are familiar and relates a lesson to be learned. In a parable, something is revealed by the person of the teacher. And in order to get the full meaning from the parable used, the listener must know the teacher! Proverbs 2:6 says, "For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding." In order to understand the teachings of the Lord in the Bible, we must first come willingly to the Lord and receive Him as our Teacher.

In this parable, a lesson is learned from "sowing seed." Sowing seed is quite different from planting seed. Some seed must be planted in order to grow. But there are some seed that can just be thrown out, and they will grow by themselves. I remember, at our house, in the fall (and sometimes in the spring), we would sow turnip greens and mustard greens. Mmmmmmm, when they were grown, a little pepper sauce and some cornbread made a great meal!

Now this "Sower" went to sow seed, and He scattered it EVERYWHERE! The "Sower" is the Lord Himself, and the "seed" is the gospel of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ. The "soil" represents the heart of man.

Now there are four types of ground upon which the seed fell. These represent four types of hearts which hear the gospel.

First, there is the seed by "the way side." This is seed fallen on the "pathway." The pathway was packed dirt, and the seed was quite bare on that ground. The birds would come and pick up that seed quickly. When the "seed" of the gospel is fallen on a heart that is packed down with self, and not surrendered to the Lord; then the ole devil can come along and steal that seed away easily.

Second, there is the seed that fell on "stony places." The soil is rich and good around the stones, but there is no room for a root to grow from the seed. A plant pops up quickly, but cannot grow to full bloom and produce fruit. This seed is representative of those who gladly hear the Word of God, but do not continue to cling to the truth and grow as a mature Christian. They grow for awhile, but their lack of "root" in the Word soon separates them from the living of faith.

Third, there is the seed that fell "among thorns." Thorns were present, but unseen; and when they spring up (as they do each spring), the seed's growth is "choked" out. There are many who receive the gospel, but are easily "choked" by difficulty or persecution. Worldly cares often cause a person to detour from actively learning, growing, and serving the Lord.

Fourth, there is the seed that "fell into good ground." This seed "brought forth fruit, some some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty." True Christians are distinguished by continued study of the Word, regular attendance in church, growing to maturity, and producing witness, testimony, and evangelism. Not all produce the same amount of fruit, but all produce fruit. It is God's express desire that we produce "much fruit" (See John 15:8).

Once surrendered to Jesus, the exercise of faith will not keep a person from selfishness, weakness or problems. But the exercise of faith will certainly CONTINUE in those whose hearts are truly toward the Lord. "Who hath ears to hear,let him hear."

Let me digress for a moment here and explain something. Recently, I heard a sermon from well-meaning pastor that stated if you have strong enough faith, you will not have sickness and problems. Well, that doesn't line up with what the Word of God teaches. You WILL get old, you WILL get sick, and you WILL die! Furthermore, along the way, you will have many problems! No matter how strong your faith, these things WILL HAPPEN! But it is the exercise of faith which helps you CONTINUE, and the exercise of faith which will DELIVER you in the end. Jesus did not promise a paved road to heaven; He promised a "straight and narrow" and "rocky" road. Jesus did not call you to a "rocking chair," but to a cross. Jesus DID promise to be WITH you in all your problems (See Matthew 28:20)., and to deliver you from death into heaven immediately (See Ecclesiastes 12:6-7& John 11:25-26).

So make your "soil" rich with hearing and believing God's Word and CONTINUE STEADFAST in faith!

24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Here is another earthly story with a heavenly meaning. It is usually referred to as: "The Parable of the Tares." Tares are weeds which grow up around plants in a garden.

Many learn little from the Word of God because they spend little time in the Word. Some learn little from the Word of God because they fail to continue in the Word. Almost certainly, the Bible explains the Bible if we will but continue.

Let us be certain to study with this parable Jesus' explanation of it when He was later alone with His disciples.

We'll get the parable of the "mustard seed" and the parable of "leaven" in a minute. But right now, let's study this parable and Jesus' explanation.

36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. 37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Notice that the disciples requested Jesus to EXPLAIN. It should be our prayer, when we are reading and studying the Word, that God EXPLAIN to us the meaning. All our study of God's Word should be done in the company of God's Holy Spirit and with prayer for Him to be our "teacher."

Jesus said, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John 14:26)

Now, having realized that God's intention is to explain, let us see His explanation.

The "Field" -- is the world. In all the world there is the potential for rightness with God. However, the "seed" are of one side or the other. Remember Jesus' statement in Matthew 12:30? Either the "seed" are aligned with Christ, or they are aligned with "the wicked one!"

The "harvest" -- Jesus said is "the end of the world." This statement provokes thought! The entire "world" is delegated as part of "the kingdom of God." In a sense, ALL men are under the control of the Lord. God is the ultimate Authority for all things. However, normal rules are suspended; and we are in a period of "GRACE"! Man is given freedom of choice. God is exercising "longsuffering" toward all sinners because He desires that all men become "wheat" - saved (See 2Peter 3:9).

At any time a "tare" can become a "wheat!" But a "wheat" can never become a "tare" because the person who is saved is "sealed in the Spirit!" (See Ephesians 1:13).

At the end of the world, God shall "send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity." This shall occur when Christ sits in "judgment" of all the world and the "books are open" (See Revelation 20:11-15).

The "furnace of fire" is not hell as most people think of it. The word "hell" in the Bible actually refers to the grave. This "furnace" is the "lake of fire and brimstone" which burns "for ever and ever!" (See Revelation 20:10).

It will be at the command of Christ that the angels shall gather all men to the great judgment day. It will be by the righteousness of Christ that all men shall be judged. The end result of that judgment shall be the determination of which are "tares" and which are "wheat." The "tares" shall be consigned to an eternal and everlasting "lake of fire" and there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth." The "wheat" (good seed) shall receive the eternal holy Kingdom of God where there is no sin. And they shall "shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father."

Now, let's go back and get the parable of the "mustard seed."

31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: 32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

This is another thought-provoking statement!

A mustard seed is very tiny. One can hold several mustard seeds placed between the thumb and forefinger. But when the mustard seed is planted, it becomes a bush! Sometimes the bush grows as tall as four or five feet!

The "kingdom of heaven," at this present time, contains the seed, the bush, and the dirty fowls! If it weren't for the mustard bush, the fowls would have no place to rest.

Just as the mustard seed grows to be a bush and has influence in the things of the world, so is the church. If it weren't for the church, the world would have no rest from sin! If the church and God's Spirit did not restrain sin, all men would be consumed by it!

The church of Jesus Christ today should be influencing the world and inviting all sinners to come to "rest" in Christ.

33 Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. 34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: 35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

Again, the "kingdom" contains the leaven and the other meal! Now, watch the analogy.

A "little" leaven in meal or flour makes it RISE! The church of Jesus Christ today (all denominations included) represents only about 22% of the world. Yet that small percentage influences the world tremendously. The people of God within the world live in such a way as to influence more righteous behavior. Though we are all sinners all the time, and we do not constantly live correctly; were it not for the church being an influence, the world would sink in the awfulness of sin!

The Bible says that, at this time, Jesus used parables. Remember, a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.

It was prophesied, in Psalm 78:2, that one day God would speak in parables. And when He spoke in parables He would not "hide" truth, but would present truth. Through this presentation of truth, the "children" would learn and know the principles of God, and would be able to teach them. Then, through teaching God's truths, people would come to place their "hope in God!" (See Psalm 78:2-7).

53 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence. 54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? 55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? 57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. 58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

When Jesus finished the parables by the sea, he left and went to Nazareth. There, He attended the "synagogue." Mark records the same instance in Mark 6:1-6. However, this instance should not be confused with His first rejection in Nazareth, recorded in Luke 4:16-30.

He was rejected earlier as Messiah, and is rejected again. The people cannot grasp the fact that the "son of the carpenter" can be the "Son of God." Even Jesus' "brethren" did not believe Him at that time. Later, James and Judas would write letters contained in our Bible. They became beleivers later, but were not believers at this time.

Jesus' statement, "a prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house," reflects the fact that people generally are more influenced by lifelong association than by the change God makes in a person later in life. Even though I surrendered to pastoral ministry in my home church, and have spent 27 years as a pastor and evangelist, I have only been invited to speak in my home church once.

And the closing verse states "He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief." Let me just say that God's power is UNLIMITED! Jesus certainly had power to perform mighty miracles there in His home town. However their UNfaith kept Him from performing very much, because only a few people came to Him in faith.

We have a mighty God! He Who created the universe by His speech is certainly a POWERFUL God! He HAS performed many miracles, and is STILL performing miracles today.

But how is His power limited in the world today? Because only a FEW come in faith! Unbelief is the barrier to God's powerful favor today. "ALL things are possible with God," but His power is to Him that "believeth." Salvation is the mightiest work of God, but it is to "every one who believeth" (Romans 1:16) It IS "by grace" we are saved, but it is also "BY FAITH" (Ephesians 2:8-9)

PLEASE CONTINUE WITH US IN BIBLE STUDY TOMORROW.