Jesus’ most important parable
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Jesus' most important parable
According to many New Testament scriptures, there is a simple condition to meet in order to be right with God. Believe in Jesus.
Believe in Jesus, that He died on the cross for your sins, that He was buried and that God raised Him from the dead on the third day.
The key word is the verb: believe. It means trust in, have faith in. It's a strong word. It goes beyond vague acknowledgement.
The person who truly believes in Jesus confesses their belief. Romans 10:9 says:
"If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."
Meet the condition: Confessing Jesus and believing that God raised Him from the dead. And you receive a promise from God: You will be saved. (You will not come into judgment).
The other aspect of believing is that it is not a one-time acknowledgement. It is an ongoing, life-changing, steadfast faith ... to the end.
In Colossians chapter 1, (verses 22-23), we are told that through faith in Jesus' sacrifice, we have been reconciled with God IF (that's a conditional word), "if we continue in the faith, firmly established ... and not moved away from the hope of the gospel."
That's the imperative ... going on, in faith.
By staying attached to Jesus, we bear fruit, naturally. His life flows in us and through us.
Jesus told many parables (a parable is a story with a meaning). The first parable He told is called the parable of the sower, or the parable of the soils. It is recorded for us in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.
Jesus said (Mark 4:13), if you don't understand this parable, "how will you understand all the parables?" In other words, this is the key. You have to get a proper understanding by grasping what He is saying here ... or nothing else will make sense.
Jesus tells the story of a sower sowing seed.
Some falls on hard ground and the birds take it.
Some falls among stones and takes root but the soil is shallow and when it gets hot the young plants wither and die.
Some falls among thorns. Plants grow but they get choked and don't mature and bear fruit. And some falls on fertile soil and bears a good crop.
Then Jesus interprets the story. The seed is the Word of God.
The seed that gets taken by birds is seed that never takes root in a human heart. Some people hear the gospel but it doesn't affect them. They don't receive it. They never come to faith.
The seed on fertile soil is also easy to understand. Some people are vitally affected in their born-again experience, and they are fruitful for God ... to varying degrees.
But there are two types that we need to learn from and to take heed:
Some people come to faith. They do believe. They start growing. They are saved, at that point. But ... they don't develop roots in their life of faith and, when trouble comes, they fall away. They believe ... for a while ... and then they fall away. They are lost.
And the other type that is also lost are those among the thorns that cause them to be unfruitful. The thorns, Jesus said, are the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of wealth (not wealth itself, but the way being wealthy can take you away from trusting in God) and, Jesus says, the desire for other things. All these rob us of the life that is in Christ.
Jesus appeals to us. Soften the soil of your heart. Play your part. You have responsibility.
Number one. Learn about the life of faith. Be a disciple. Get deep roots.
And, number two. Beware of the things that can take you little by little away from faith in Jesus. The temptations of this life are a trap.
Jesus doesn't say that this is the most important parable for no reason. It's a warning. You have something to guard.
Is this important principle emphasised elsewhere in the New Testament? Yes it is. There are five sobering warning sections in the Book of Hebrews. We will look at them in the next session.
Next session: "Guard your heart"