Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XXVIII: God's Certifying The LIFESTYLE CONTRAST Of Heeding Or Not Heeding Christ's Word
(Luke 8:1-3, 4-18, 19-21)
  1. Introduction
    1. You can take two different people, growing up in the same religious environment, exposed to the identical Bible training and associates, and see them go into drastically different ways of blessing or t ragic defeat.
    2. The question we have is: "Why? What causes one to become so productive and other to end up in defeat?"
    3. Luke's Gospel displays the great capacity for people to experience victory due to their response to the Messiah, Jesus in one particular area. Luke interestingly contrasts this victory with a dramatic defeat for others that serves to heighten for us the single ingredient that makes or breaks spiritual victory or defeat:
  2. God's Certifying The LIFESTYLE CONTRAST Of Heeding Or Not Heeding Christ's Word, Lk. 8.
    1. Luke's Gospel is written to demonstrate the great certainties of the Christian faith, Luke 1:4.
    2. In the process, Luke 8:1-21 clarifies the great contrasts experienced from how one heeds Christ's words.
      1. In Luke 8:4-18, Jesus gave a parable about the various results of a sower's effort to plant seeds:
        1. The parable is about a sower who went out to sow seeds in the ground to get a harvest, Luke 8:4-5a.
        2. Some of the sower's sowing was unproductive where some was extremely productive, Luke 8:5b-8: (a) some of the seeds fell onto first hard, then rocky, then thorny grounds where these various types of unproductive soil yielded no crop , Luke 8:5b-7. (b) However, some fell on very good ground and not only yielded a crop, but an hundredfold, the highest crop available in those days, Luke 8:8a. (c) This presentation only of the hundredfold yield is unique to Luke's Gospel as the oth er presentations also mention lesser-fold productions of sixty and thirty fold, cf. Mtt. 13:8 and Mk. 4:8! Obviously, Luke is trying to emphasize a contrast between very good and totally unproductive soils!
        3. Having given the parable, Luke records that Jesus cried out with a loud voice for those who had ears to hear what He was saying, Luke 8:8b. Apparently, it was important to understand!
        4. Taking the hint from this call, and knowing that they didn't understand the parable, the disciples later asked Jesus to explain it, which he did as follows, Luke 8:9-15: (a) the unproductive soils represent different attitudes in hearts that, due to hardness of heart, a worldly mindset or orientation get sidetracked into not absorbing and applying God's Words, Luke 8:9- 14. (b) Conversely, the good soil represents the heart of a person who focuses on the Word and its application, applies it and in time lives to be greatly blessed with spiritual victory, Luke 8:15. (c) Jesus went on to say that this contrast in how we hear and apply Scripture feeds on itself: ((a)) how well one applies Scripture eventually becomes evident for all around to see, either to his humiliation or to his honor, making it worthwhile to listen up when exp osed to Scripture, Luke 8:16-17; ((b)) also, the degree to which one heeds or doesn't heed Scripture intensifies in results over time, either equipping one to take more and more in or the receive less and less, intensifying his humiliation or honor before o thers, 8:18.
      2. Luke then provided two incredibly contrasting illustrations in real life applications of this truth:
        1. Positively, Luke records how some women who had been saved out of horrid demon possession by Christ, and who followed His teaching ministered in financially supporting Jesus, Luke 8:1-3.
        2. Negatively, He then recorded how Mary and Jesus brothers (contrast with Luke 1:35-38; 2:18-19) faithlessly came to talk to Jesus, Luke 8:19-20. Mark informs us that they had come to take custody of Jesus, faithlessly thinking Him to be insane, Mark 3:21 with 3:31-32.
        3. Jesus then complimented the godly people around Him like the ladies saved from demonism for their adherence to God's Word opposite His own family which should have known better, Luke 8:20-21!
    3. Thus, since there is such an enormous spiritual lifestyle contrast of personal victory or defeat hinging on how one simply heeds Christ's words, Jesus is the Messiah in truth, and we had better heed Him!
Lesson: How well we heed and apply what we KNOW Scripture says will have a "snowball" effect in our lives. If we start to heed it now, it will lead to more and more insight and more and more honor. If we FAIL to heed it, it will lead to more and more darkness and corresponding growths of dishonor!

Application: We can't afford to take Scripture lightly -- the effects of doing so long-term are too great to make it a worthwhile option! Take it seriously, and we will never regret doing so!