Live and Learn? Learn and Live!


Learn and Live
Luke 8: 4-15; “And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: (5) A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. (6) And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. (7) And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. (8) And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit and hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath an ear, let him hear. (9) And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? (10) And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. (11) Now the parable is this: The seed is the Word of God. (12) Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. (13) They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which or a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. (14) And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. (15) But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.”
Note verse 11, “Now the parable is this: The seed is the Word of God.”
Key Verse: John 6: 63b; “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
          We’ve probably all been in a situation where, after we have committed some little blunder, or done something stupid, that somebody would say to us, “Live and learn!” This little phrase implies that we all make mistakes, and as we live we learn from those mistakes, and thereby live a better life.
          Unfortunately, this implication is not entirely accurate: Many people live a life full of mistakes, bad choices, and poor decisions, and never seem to learn anything. They just keep making the same mistakes over and over again, never improving themselves as people, or bettering their lifestyles. 
          A more accurate rendition of this little proverb might be “Learn, and live.” If one learns from life’s lessons, then one can truly live a better life. 
          Our key verse, in John, chapter 6 was taken from John’s record of a time when almost all of Jesus’ followers had left him. Only the twelve were still with him. Although Jesus was God manifested in flesh, he felt all the emotions that any person would feel; he knew the fickleness of people’s hearts, and knew that when his sayings became too hard that they would leave him, but the pain of disappointment was still real. In his sadness, he turned to the twelve and asked, “Will ye also go away?” Peter’s answer was to ask him a question: “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life!”
          Jesus’ friend Martha complained that her sister, Mary, would not help prepare dinner, but stayed near Jesus to hear every word he had to say. Jesus explained to Martha that Mary had chosen the more important thing, and that he would not take it from her.
          Nothing can be more important than the Word of God in our lives. If we truly want to live, if we want to live for eternity, then we will learn this.
          A few weeks ago, I posted a short story on the website, called, “The Careless Bride”. If you have not read it, go back to the “Slice for Life” tab, scroll down to the window dated March 16, and read this story. If you have read it, but it has been a while, then go back and read it again now.
          Perhaps you understood fully the message found in this little allegory, but if not, like Jesus did with his parable, let me explain.
The man is a type of Christ. The maiden is the church. The man’s instruction and letters are the Word of God, and the messengers are the men of God that preach His Word. The deceivers are teachers of false doctrine. Whether spoken in malice or ignorance, the result of false doctrine is the same: People are deceived into believing false teaching, and are destroyed.
          Again, not all those who teach and preach incorrectly or incompletely are trying to deceive. Many are just as sincere as they could be, but are in error. Acts, chapter 18 relates a story of a man named Apollos, who went about preaching repentance, and baptizing people as John the Baptist did. He had not yet heard of Jesus. Two disciples, a husband and wife named Aquilla and Priscilla, took him aside and “…showed him the way more perfectly”. Using the scriptures of the Old Testament prophets, they showed Apollos that Jesus was indeed the Christ.
          Nearly every one in America has at least one copy of the Holy Bible in their home. Certainly everyone who claims to be a “Minister of the Gospel” would have several copies. There is little excuse now for not searching for complete truth. II Timothy 4:3, 4 says that “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” Another translation says “they will gather teachers who say what their itching ears want to hear” The true Word gives instruction necessary for salvation. 
     The Word also gives direction. In Psalm 119:105, David wrote, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Paul wrote to the Corinthians (I Cor. 11:1), “Be ye followers of me, even as I am of Christ.” 
          If you have ever traveled without a roadmap, you know how easy it is to get lost, and of course, some of us just will not ask for directions. But maps are fairly inexpensive, and nowadays, we have in-car navigation systems that will tell us turn by turn how to get where we are going. There is really no good excuse to keep driving when you don’t know where you are or how to get to where you want to be. 
          It’s the same with God: With His Word readily available for most people, and men of God preaching the Gospel, there is no excuse to keep walking in false doctrine. It doesn’t matter if “That’s how Grandma believed!” or if you don’t think it matters what a person believes, as long as they are sincere.  God’s Word is true, and we will all be judged according to the same standard: The complete Word of God.  It is the one thing that will keep you from wandering aimlessly, searching for the answers to the questions in your life. It is not enough to just listen to what the preacher says. You must be able to discern whether he is a true messenger or a deceiver. This can only be done by studying the scriptures. As Jesus said, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39) 
          It is not even enough to just read the scriptures, you must seek to understand them. The Pharisees thought that they would be justified because they studied the words of the Law and Prophets, but they made no efforts to understand what they read. They knew the precepts of the law, but did not perceive the principles behind them. They were self-righteous and shallow; stony ground. Jesus called them snakes, and said to others, “You call me Lord, but do not do the things I say.”
          The pretty maiden in our story did occasionally read some of the man’s words, but made no effort to understand them, or apply them to her life. The messengers did her no good, because she had no foundation of knowledge with which to compare their words, and then be able to discern whether they were true messengers or deceivers.
          God has sent us Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, (Eph 4: 11), and said that “…By the foolishness of preaching…” he would “…save them that believe”. (I Cor 1:21).
          We must listen to the preaching of the Word, we must compare it to the written Word, and it must line up completely. (Paul said, “If we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel …let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8, 9). We must then apply that teaching to our lives.  If we do, it will change us, protect us, and liberate us: we will truly live.
          Psalm 119: 11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee.” The Psalmist is indicating that it is not enough to have his word in our heads, but it must be in our hearts. When it is in your head, you can know the scripture, and still continue dying in sin, but if it is in your heart, it becomes part of who and what you are. It is not just conscious knowledge, but subconscious barriers that keep you on the right path. It is part of your character.
          When we live this way, His word radiates through us. Others see something in us that they want to know more about. We enjoy His benefits because we have a relationship with Him. As Jesus said in John 15: 7, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
          His words tell us that to prepare for His coming, we must first recognize that we are all sinners, incapable of saving ourselves (Romans 3: 23), and that without redemption, we will all die in our sins and be lost for all eternity (Romans 6: 23), but that Jesus paid the penalty for our sinfulness (Romans 5: 8), and we can be prepared by repenting of our sins, being baptized in Jesus’ name for the remission of sins, and receiving his Spirit (Acts 2: 38).
          We do not know the day or the hour when our Lord will come back for us, but we know he will. And we know how to prepare for Him. The Bible says that it will be in a “moment, the twinkling of an eye”. There will be no time to prepare once we see Him coming in the clouds. Get ready today while there is still time.
          If you want somebody to pray with you, and help you to understand the scriptures, please feel free to contact us through our website e-mail. If you are anywhere near Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, we would be happy to set up a Bible study in your home or any other place that you would feel comfortable meeting.
          If you are not from this area, but would like to meet with somebody who could pray with you or give you a Bible study, please contact us. We have a large fellowship, with ministers close to almost anywhere that you might be, and they would be glad to meet with you and share the Gospel. They will use the only true guideline to true doctrine, the Holy Bible.
          We hope to hear from you soon.
God bless,
Pastor Colegrove
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