About Me

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I am the Pastor/Teacher of Rivers of Joy Baptist Church in Minford, Ohio since August 2008.  I am married to Charity since June 14, 1969.  I have four grown children.   Having served in the local church for over forty years as Pastor/Teacher, Asso., Youth Pastor, Minister of Education, Building Upkeep, Camp Director, Sunday School Teacher, etc. Also I have worked in the public place for as many years as I have preached. Charity and her sister are co owner of Union Mills Conf. (Bakery) in West Portsmouth Ohio

Listen The Words of Jesus Correctly

Spiritual growth is not like a linear development where we simply move forward along a straight line. It is essentially growth in what we already have in Jesus Christ and is coming to know Him better. As we come to know Christ better, the expression of His life within us is seen and conveyed in the world around us. Paul writes, "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better" (Ephesians 1:17). In Colossians 2:6, he says, "As you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him."
The first parable of the sower is about being rooted in good soil to enable a good crop to be produced. The second parable is about a man sowing good seed into his field and at night an enemy comes and sows bad seed that produces weed in the same field. To have an accurate interpretation of these parables, we first need to understand the symbolism used. Jesus explains, "Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart" (Matthew 13:18-19). The seed, Jesus says, is something sown into a person's heart.
In Luke's account of this parable, he explicitly says, "the seed is the Word of God" (Luke 8:11). In verse 20, he says, "The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time." Reading it carefully we notice that the word that was planted has now morphed into a person; it has become a "he." Since he (the seed) has no root, he (the seed) lasts only a short time. The word of God is present and starts the process, but now the emphasis moves into the word becoming a person.
The Greek translation Luke uses for ‘word' is ‘logos', the same word John used in his prologue, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). "Logos" is the embodiment of something and in this case it is truth personified. The "Word" is the person of Jesus Christ who is the Sower, and this is a picture of Christ sowing people into the world. The sower is Jesus Christ; the field is the world; we are the seed and the world is the field in which Christ plants us for the purpose of producing fruit for Him.
The first parable begins with a farmer sowing his seed, but some fell on the path and birds came along and ate it. Some seed fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, but when the sun came up, the plants were scorched and withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and chocked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown (Matthew 13:3-8).
The seed that fell on the path where birds came along and ate it is the shallow seed; the person who hears the word of God, but does not digest it, understand it or appropriate it. Truth must be combined with faith to become experience, but this person never takes truth into the realm of experience. We can be armchair theologians, astutely listening to the word of God, but never live in the good of it. This person's planting in the world comes to nothing. The seed that fell on rocky places, was scorched in the heat and withered is the superficial seed; the one who hears the word of God and receives it with joy, but when trouble comes, he quickly falls away. His faith blows with the wind and His planting in the world also comes to nothing.
Still other seed is sown among thorns that choke the plants. This is the secular seed; the person who starts off well, but the worries of life and deceitfulness of wealth choke his faith. He has never been weaned from his secular views and his planting in the world also comes to nothing. However, the seed that fell on good soil produced a crop a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. This is the successful seed; the person, who, like the first seed, hears the word of God; like the second seed, gets excited by it; and like the third seed, lives in a secular world subject to its temptations, but his roots are deep, and his planting in the world accomplishes its purpose.
The intention of this parable is not to show how people respond to the word of God, but to show how the kingdom of God is to be advanced. Everyone who belongs to Jesus Christ is planted by Him for the purpose of producing fruit. Anything planted will only be as strong as its roots, so to be effective in bearing fruit, our faith in God needs to be deeply rooted and permeate every aspect of our lives.
In the second parable, Matthew 13:24-30, Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, the weeds also appeared. The servants asked the owner, "Do you want us to go and pull them up?" "No," he answered, "Because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: "First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn."
The disciples asked Jesus for an explanation of this parable and He said to them, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil" (Matthew 13:37-41).
A man called John Hunter made a very prolific observation when he said that there are three testaments God gave the world to read; the Old Testament, the New Testament and the "You Testament." This is in effect what Paul says to the Corinthians. "You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts" (2 Corinthians 3:3). It is essential we remain rooted in our faith and continually nourished by the Word of God if we are going to be a successful seed. Jesus Christ is the Good Sower, beginning with truth taking root in our hearts and transforming us into people being sown into the world for the purpose of bearing fruit for Him.
"This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit,
showing yourselves to be my disciples."
John 15:8