Good Evening to you all, YHWH bless you all as we come together as family of the True Living Elohim, Amen! In light of what we have been going through, in the process of change and transformation through the Word, as a family, I want to talk about ‘how’ we receive into our hearts the very truth of His Word and ‘how’ we act on these truths. My Message is called, “The Sower, the Seed and the Heart”, and I ask that you turn with me to Luke 8:1-21 and let us learn from the teachings of our Rabbi and Saviour Yeshua. (Read)
One of the major themes in Luke 8 is ‘how’ to get faith and ‘use’ it in our everyday experiences in life. As we look at His teaching here, we can clearly see that faith comes through receiving, by hearing, the Word of Elohim into an ‘understanding’ heart – not understanding in the sense that we have to have it all figured out and we know it all, no - understanding in the sense that we ‘accept’ His Word as final authority on all matters. You know, when we learn truth through hearing His Word and as faith grows as we begin to act on His Living Word – then that very growing faith gets tested! Come on be honest – how many of you have faced some major tests of late – wrestling with the faith you have through the seed of His Word that has been deposited in your heart? Most of us, I am sure don’t mind and in fact probably enjoy, studying Scriptures (at least I hope so), however as much as many love to learn, they simply do not want the exams that follow the lessons!!! It is in the perseverance and endurance through the tests of life that faith can really grow and draw us closer and closer to Yeshua, amen!
Everyone lives by having faith in something or someone. The difference between a true disciple of Yeshua and as unbeliever is not that one has faith and the other not – for they both have a belief system of sort. The difference is the object of their faith – and faith is only as good as its object – and we faithful obedient disciples of Yeshua have put our faith in Messiah, and we base our faith on the Word of Elohim and actively live it out, so that our faith is seen by our ‘deeds’ or ‘good works’ – and what are those deeds or good works that He prepared in advance for us as described in Ephesians? It is walking in obedience to His instructions – to His Torah.
I want to assure you that there is no trick for knowing YHWH’S will for your life, and there is no stumbling block that is so big that it can stop you walking in His will! How do I know this? Well here Yeshua Himself said that His mother and brothers are those who ‘hear’ the Word of Elohim and ‘put it into practice’. In other words His family are identifiable by those who ‘hear’ His Word and ‘obey’ His Word!!!
I sent out by email the difference between a Biblical or Hebrew mindset vs. a Western/ Hellenistic/ Greek Mindset which I would like to repeat tonight:
HEBREW / BIBLICAL ORIENTATION TO THE WORLD vs. A GREEK-WESTERN WORLD VIEW:
• To the Hebrew / Scriptural mind REVELATION knowledge of the Omnipotent Elohim and conformity to His moral law is of ultimate importance!!
• To the Hellenistic / Western point of view - no revelation is considered ultimate because REASON takes precedence over revelation. And this reason is used to analyse, rather than to submit to the revelation. Submission to any form of instruction is resisted until reason can produce sufficient proof to submit, even then it is reluctant.
• To the Hebrew / Scriptural mind the ‘ultimate wisdom’ is to seek YHWH; the ‘ultimate virtue (love)’ is to obey YHWH; and the ‘ultimate freedom’ is in obedience to YHWH
• To the Hellenistic / Western mind there is no law to which he bows except self expression; and the ‘ultimate freedom’ is the freedom to SELF. “I will do it my way! I’ll do what I want!”
• The Hebrew typically asks, “What must I do?”
• The Greek would ask, “Why must I do it?”
Why am I saying this to you all? Well I know that it is vitally important to us in how we receive His Word by faith, and how open are our hearts in receiving His truth. Many struggle to know the will of YHWH for their lives – and this I must tell you is not difficult. The way to know the will of YHWH is simply to do His will – it is in the doing that the understanding grows – love expressed through obedience takes precedence over reasoning ‘why’! The highest expression of our love to YHWH is in our obedience to His Word. The way to know His will is to know His Word – His Word is the place to find His will.
When He took the Israelites out of Egypt, out of slavery, they did not know Him or know His will. He spoke to them the ‘Ten Words’ and then the rest through Moses and He revealed who He is and what His will is. He gave them instructions on how to worship Him – and this was His love language for His people – giving them the ‘rules for holy living’, and then He sent them into the world to be a light (evangelism) that the nations may see who YHWH is through the lifestyle and obedience of His called out, chosen ones; and so cause the world to want to be a part of His family. Yeshua, through His Blood sacrifice, has opened up the way for all who, by faith, receive the grace of Elohim to become a part of the called out, holy assembly and live by His way. When we begin to stray form His Word, we inevitably stray from His will.
In the Parable of the Sower, the Sower is Yeshua and the Seed is His Word. The Sower also represents for us today any of Yahweh’s people who share the Word of Elohim. Like seed the Word has life and power and can produce great spiritual fruit. But the seed can do nothing until it is planted. When a person hears and receives the Word it is then planted in their heart. What happens after it is planted is dependant upon the nature of the soil – soil representing the heart. This parable could also be called the parable of the soils – for the seed without the soil is fruitless and the soil without the seed is pretty much useless!
Let me repeat that – the seed without the soil is fruitless and the soil without the seed is useless! The human heart is like the soil; if it is prepared properly it can receive the Word of Elohim and produce a fruitful harvest.
In this parable Yeshua described four different kinds of hearts, three of which did not produce any fruit – in essence you could say only 25% of all the hearts produce fruit – in the worlds economy that is a failure –yet not in Yahweh’s economy – a remnant can produce a bountiful harvest of fruit, amen! The proof of our walk with Him or that we are saved is seen in the fruit of our walk, not simply just by listening only or making a verbal profession of faith in Messiah and not doing anything else. Yeshua made it clear that we will be recognised by our fruit. Let us briefly look at the four different soils or rather hearts that Yeshua speaks of. This can and does represent four different hearts, and can also even represent how the same heart can go through carrying phases described here – our quest is to always keep our hearts pure and good: let’s take a look at the four soils:
1 – HARD SOIL / HARD HEART (v5, 12)
This soil represents those who receive the Word (so they are attending in some way), but immediately allow the devil to come and snatch it away! You got to ask yourself, “but how?” or rather “how did the heart become hard?” He speaks of the seed falling on the path –the path would be hard by all the people walking on it – lots of foot traffic!!! So many on this path – with hardened hearts! It also represents being on the outside or on the sidelines so to speak, in other words they never are engaged in the labour of the field – they hear the Word yet chirp from the side. In fact those with the hard hearts are the biggest commentators and criticizers of those who are actively doing their utmost in living out a life of love for YHWH expressed in disciplined obedience to His Word. The other danger on being on the path is that many walk by and comment too – and this is dangerous for this can lead to confusion and cause one to easily become disillusioned by the Truth that gets all twisted! Whatever goes into the ear or eye finally enters the heart and so one must always be careful who is ‘walking over’ your heart – causing it to become hard. This soil speaks of one who hears the Word and then they hear hundreds of differing opinions to that Word – even form those who appear to be in the field yet are simply also walking on the sidelines, and this causes a resistance to the plain Truth that requires obedience, rather surrendering to trying to reason out the ‘why must I’ and sadly find satisfaction in becoming hardened, without realising it, towards the power of the Truth to change the heart, and so will go with the flow of the masses on the path – the broad path – how do you know they are walking on the broad way? Well check the fruit of obedience – is it easy for them to simply obey YHWH or do they have many reasons why not to obey everything? This is where replacement theologies etc. are birthed. Let us not be a people on the sidelines, get in and co labour with the family of Elohim keeping our hearts from being hardened by every wind of teaching that only leads to a hardening.
2 – SHALLOW SOIL / WEAK HEART (v6, 13)
This illustrates the emotional hearer – who will quickly respond emotionally, yet the interest is lost very quickly as the emotions change and so do not continue in what they first received. What I like about what Luke writes is that there is no moisture! For me this clearly speaks of one who walks not by the Spirit but simply by the flesh and so it is all based on whether they feel like it or not! Water is often linked to representing the Holy Spirit and so here no moisture is a significant picture of a shallow heart or weak heart. They may tend to ‘put on a show’ to look the part – but have no depth of character and certainly bear no lasting or real fruit. Their walk is dependant upon their mood or emotions. When up they will go for it, when they are down they will run or hide. In many parts of the Israel you will find a layer of limestone beneath the surface covered with a thin layer of soil. The shoot can grow up, but the roots cannot go down, and the sun withers the rootless plant. The sun here represents the testing that comes to all professing believers to prove their faith. Sun is good for plants if they have roots. Persecution can deepen the roots of a true Believer and cause great growth, yet the sun or ‘heat test’ can also expose the shallowness of the false/ shallow Believer. We cannot simply make decisions based on emotions – for emotions change, and if we base our faith simply on our emotions then our faith will be easily weakened when trials come. This soil represents one without moisture, always led by the flesh and it has no grip, no staying power, and no endurance and is exposed under trials!
3 – CROWDED SOIL / COMPROMISED HEART (v7, 14)
This soil represents the heart of one who hears the Word yet does not repent and ‘weed out’ those things that hinder the harvest. There is enough soil in the heart and the roots can go down yet there is little room for fruit to grow as it is crowded out by weeds. This is a person who actively hears the Word yet lives a compromised life – they will not let go of things – “You cannot take my ‘Friday night’ and my ‘Saturday’ away from me! I will worship how I want to! I have a relationship with Him – my heart doesn’t condemn me – don’t tell me I have to anything!!!” Sound familiar? You see when change comes through the receiving of the Word we are required to rid the soil of our hearts from compromise or weeds, and this weeding can often be too hard for some and so they just simply and conveniently settle for living a double standard, trying to mix Yahweh’s standards and their own together! This is called syncretism – the mixing of worship styles or standards. YHWH has one standard – His Word, we cannot afford to mix it with any other for the sake of ‘ease’ or ‘custom’ or ‘tradition’. This can only cause great frustration. The crowded heart will gladly read study and even learn the Word as long as they can still have their own way! As soon as they may have to change or let go of something then they resist the change and still claim to be totally obedient! What happens in this case is that the ‘cares’ or ‘worries’ and the ‘riches’ and ‘pleasures’ of life come and choke out that very Word that is planted. I believe that this state of the heart represents the majority of professing Believers today – they are unwilling to let go of what they think is important to them and even tradition can take precedence over the Word. In other words, they truly have not considered the cost of being a disciple. The 12 disciples left everything to follow Yeshua Messiah. The 70, on the other hand, when the teaching became too hard for them they ceased to follow Yeshua!!! When Yeshua told them that unless they eat His flesh and drink His Blood they will not have any part with Him! Often when we get into the ‘meat’ of His Word – the crowded / compromised heart will not eat it and simply spit it out as ‘too hard – you are asking too much of me!’, they may even use terms like ‘legalism’ etc. as a reason not to obey His Word, expressing love to YHWH by His love language! Are there things in your heart that is taking up space – crowding it out with compromise! If there is chuck it out and let the Seed begin to harvest great fruit! We must be a people who can get past only drinking the milk of His Word!
Hebrews the writer tells them that they ought to have been teachers by then and that they need milk all over again and anyone who lives only on milk, being still an infant in the Word, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. Solid food is for the mature who have by constant use trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:11-14) Constant training means you are in the field – not in and then out and then in and then out as other stuff crowds out your commitment!!! A crowded heard never can fully give their all as ‘self’ still takes priority in their lives!
4 – GOOD SOIL / OPEN HEART (8, 15)
This soil alone is fruitful – in other words – full of fruit. “Open the eyes of my heart YHWH” – “Search me and know my heart – test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting create in me a pure heart” (Psalm 139: 23-24). “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight”
These were the words of a man after the heart of YHWH – David - he understood the importance of having an open heart – open for the Word of YHWH to fill it and so be emptied of self. It is out of the overflow of our heart that we speak – I have asked this before and will ask again – how is your speech? – it will give you an indication of what is in your heart!!!
Good soil or an open heart hears the Word and receives it, believes it and acts upon it in faith equipped by His grace. All Believers may not produce the same amount of fruit, but all true believers will produce fruit as evidence of a life lived in Spirit and in Truth. Our life is lived in Spirit and in Truth – the Truth is Yeshua – the very Word of Elohim – the Living Torah. We live by and are led by His Word – the Truth enabled by His Spirit that dwells within us, having written His Love language – His Torah on our hearts. The fruit produced from good soil may include many things such as winning others to Yeshua, giving money to the work of Elohim, greater character of a Believer, good works as you grow in the knowledge of Elohim and praise to YHWH etc. We are to revere His name, proclaim His name, love His name, and worship His name!
His name is YHWH!
This parable also shows that Yeshua is not necessarily impressed by the “crowds” that followed Him for He knew that most did not truly “hear” and receive the Word into their hearts. This parable was used to encourage His disciples in their future ministry and is used to encourage us today too. If you just think about how much, preaching and teaching and witnessing goes on in the course of a month or a year you - can often wonder why there is such a small harvest. The fault is clearly not with the Sower or the Seed – the problem is the soil – the hearts!!!
AW Tozer: “Faith is not a matter of IQ or education – it is a matter of humbly preparing the heart to receive God’s truth.”
You see our ability to understand is not based on how smart or educated we may or may not be, it is upon the willingness to have ones heart ready and free from clutter to receive His Word that it may produce in us faith to follow after Him. We may not always understand, yet with the right mindset – a Hebrew / Scriptural mind - we lovingly obey without trying to always reason out ‘why’ we must but rather ask ‘what’ we must do and then the ‘how’ comes clearer as we walk in the truth obediently by faith. Our thinking must change – when Romans 12 says that we are no longer to conform to the pattern of the world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds, for then we will know how to test and approve the will of YHWH – then let us understand what really this passage is telling us – we need to change the way we think and His Word is the way we can do that! Stop always trying to reason why and simply by faith do what YHWH asks of us through the revelation knowledge of His Word. We are to rid our selves of ‘stinking thinking’ - that way of thinking that does not seek to obey YHWH!
We must also be aware that just as there are good seeds – the seeds of His Word – there are also bad seeds – the seeds of the Devil – the seeds of lies and deception. Lies are untrue statements with intent to deceive. The Devil is very clever is making untrue statements in order to deceive us – “Surely the Word doesn’t really mean that…” How often do we hear this being used when people find themselves easily escaping obedience when it doesn’t suit them! When Jeremiah 16 speaks of the Day of Disaster and many will ask, “why, what have we done wrong, what sin have we committed against YHWH?” He says, “It is because your fathers forsook me and followed other gods and served and worshipped them and did not keep my Torah. But you have behaved more wickedly than them by following the stubbornness of your hearts instead of obeying me.” He goes on to write in verse 19 that the Gentiles will come from the ends of the earth and say “Our fathers have inherited lies…”
In Acts 17: 30 we are told that in the past He overlooked or ‘winked at’ ignorance, but now He is commanding all people everywhere to repent. The devil has been sowing bad seed for many centuries – lies that have come and twisted the Truth leading many astray into a form of selfish worship – for they worship according to their selfish desires and not according to the will of YHWH as is written in His Word.
Where do weeds come from? They are the lies of the enemy that even comes from within as man has not guarded the Truth.
Think about weeds for a moment – weeds represent the lawless ones – weeds don’t need much soil to grow and take root. Weeds can grow quickly into an unkempt heart. Often, in the smallest cracks, a weed seed can blow in and before you know it takes over – just like weeds in between bricks on a pathway. The longer they are left the harder it is to get out. Just think about it – for centuries lies have been rooted in and become the accepted way of worship and those weeds are hard to get out!!!
We are to be diligent in keeping our hearts open before YHWH and kept pure through walking in Him – walking out of His will opens the door for compromise where weed seeds can easily drift in through ‘every wind of teaching’ sowing confusion and strife. We are to always be obedient to the Word.
There are many examples for us of great men of faith who by not obeying found themselves in trouble; here are a couple of examples:
1 – Abram – In Genesis 12 and 13 you can read of the account of how Abram was called by YHWH to leave his country and follow YHWH which he did, until the test came and the going got rough – famine was in the land and without asking YHWH Abram went to Egypt for help where he faced a new set of problems. As soon as you try run from one test you will face another!
He moved from trusting to scheming, from confidence to fear, from others to self until he left Egypt and went back to the very place he had fled from – He returned to YHWH and then let YHWH choose for him.
2 – Moses- Moses in Numbers 20 was told by YHWH to speak to the rock to bring our water and Moses being so ticked off with the disobedience of the Israelites struck the rock and as a result was told by YHWH that because he did not trust in YHWH enough to honour Him as holy before the people, he would not bring them into the Promised Land.
3 – Elijah – In 1 Kings 19 Elijah ran from Jezebel and YHWH asked Him what he was doing their and sent him back the way he came.
4 – Jonah – tried to run away from obeying YHWH and ended up in the belly of a big fish which spat him up on the place YHWH had commanded him to go
5 – Peter – the man whose confession of faith in Yeshua was commended by Yeshua, acted like a little coward when confronted by a little girl the night he denied Messiah.
We need to take heed what we hear, how we hear and why we hear:
WHAT WE HEAR – the Word is what we need to hear – that it can be rooted in our receptive hearts to create faith to walk out the fruitful abundant life
HOW WE HEAR – We receive to share with others. The more we receive the more we have to share. If we receive carelessly, we will have nothing to give. If we are always hearing with a critical heart – we will only receive what tickles our ears and so be a lamp without oil! YHWH shares His secrets with us, not to be kept for ourselves or hidden but to be shared with others! Hence the teaching of the lamp on a stand straight after the Sower! How we receive it is critical – our hearts must be pure and motivated by love in receiving His Truth and instructions that we may lead others too.
WHY WE HEAR – We are not to just hear the Word only to increase knowledge and try and boast about what we know – no we are to hear the Word because we want to grow in knowledge of YHWH and obey Him. If we truly desire intimacy with Him we must listen to His Word, receive it with joy and obey what it says. Obedience not only enables us to learn more truth – but it also brings us closer to YHWH.
This parable helps us examine our hearts and determine the attitude of our hearts and how we respond to the Word. Hearing alone is not the total answer – we must hear, trust, believe and obey/do the Word! Let me ask you – are your trusting and obeying skills as good as your listening skills or are you just listening? Perhaps only listening to what you want to hear?
It is a serious thing to hear and obey YHWH, because this puts on us an obligation to share with others the Word we receive. Everyone who receives the good seed becomes a sower of that seed, a light bearer of the Truth. If we simply keep it for ourselves we will lose it – however if we share it we will receive more. How good is the soil of your heart – is it receiving the good seed, bearing fruit to give out and able to receive more?
As His disciples, we must take heed what we hear and how we hear for we will be held accountable with what He has given us, and He has given us all His commands written on our hearts by the Holy Spirit – the seed of His Word has been sown upon Salvation – it is a question whether one keeps the soil good and open, free from weeds or becoming weak or hardened. Listening to the wrong things, or even listening to the Truth with the wrong attitude, will only rob us of truth and blessing.
Being a part of the family of YHWH is much more important than any human relationship and is based on obedience to His Word – this is what identifies us as His. It is not simply enough to just hear His Word; we must also keep His Word. You know it is so easy today to think that we are very ‘spiritual’ because we listen to one preacher after another, and maybe even take a few notes or even mark our Bibles, yet never really test the validity of what is taught or really put into practice what we learn through careful study and application. We will only be fooling ourselves. As believers we must stop being simply an auditor if His Word, we must become doers of His Word, amen!
His Commands are written on our hearts by His very Spirit – are we living them? It is sad to see that to keep His commands as an expression of love is so hard for many to do for this identifies us as His family – those who hear His Word and put it into practice. A small example is a simple command to remember His Sabbath by keeping it Holy – is it so hard for us to do – because tradition has dictated otherwise? What about proclaiming His name – something again tradition and the rules of men have suppressed! His name is mentioned more times in Scripture than any other Word – that says a whole lot- HE wants us to love, worship, revere, honour, respect and declare His name – YHWH. This has all been given to us in the form of good seed – how are our hearts receiving it is the question. Just think for a moment – what would be the best way for the enemy to deceive us? In our identity – many have an identity crisis. What gives you an identity or by what can one been identified by? Firstly it is by a name! Now the name of our Elohim (God) is not just a title as in The Lord, no His name is YHWH or YAHWEH! And so when we do not know or proclaim the name of our Creator, how do we identify ourselves as His.
Secondly YHWH has given us the Sabbath as a sign between us and Him forever – that is like our ‘wedding ring’ that shows that we are His and we belong to Him. The enemy has been very crafty and deceptive for centuries in causing many to forsake the sign of Sabbath remembrance by keeping it holy and set apart – instead he has counterfeited it with another sign – Sun-day – a pagan rooted day of worship to sun-deities. The enemy has used deception in the form of ‘tradition’ that has robbed many of an identity in YHWH, and our hearts need to be opened to be cleansed, purified by and filled with the very Living Seed of YHWH. May our hearts be open to receive the good seed and walk in the ‘love language’ of YHWH – obedience to His Word!
Our hearts may not be visible to each other, but YHWH knows our hearts and they are visible to Him – what condition does HE see your heart in – is it hard and critical over His truth, is it weak and emotionally driven, or is it crowded with compromise or it is good and open to receive His truth gladly? Allow the Sower to sow the Good Seed into your prepared heart today, that you may bear fruit – much fruit, amen! YHWH bless you!