Today was the second time Baby E and I attended the Moms Bible Study Fellowship (MBSF) in Zion Serangoon Bible-Presbyterian Church (ZSBPC).
It was pouring that day! And because the renovation workers turned up 3-hrs late at our apartment, we arrived in church much later than planned. Lunch was supposed to be at 12:15 pm, we reached church at 1:00 pm! which is the time Bible Study is expected to commence. Nonetheless, it was very sweet and patient of everyone to wait for Baby E and I to settle down our state of hurry-scurry, and finished our lunch that was prepared in advance for us. Thereafter, we went up to Judah room, as a group for the Bible Study.
Besides Baby E and I, there was Cheryl with her 5 month old baby boy Asher, Hazel, Linh and Xueqin who were present that day. During the study, babies E and A were hugging each other and started babbling away. 🙂
Also, as usual, Baby E was looking for things to soothe her teething gums. She was especially interested in Cheryl’s pencil.
Aunty Judy facilitated on Matthew 13:1-23.
Jesus tells the “parable of the sower” (v. 18) in verses 3-9; in verses 18-23 he provides the interpretation, in which only one who “hears the Word and understands it”! perseveres to eternal life (v. 23).
As it is difficult to judge and know the conditions of the hearers’ hearts before we share the Gospel, we must sow as widely as possible and let God bring forth the appropriate fruit.
“In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.” (Ecclesiastes 11:6 KJV)
Jesus spoke in parables because the Kingdom involved end-time “mysteries” now being revealed to those with ears to hear. The disciples’ eyes and ears were blessed (v. 16) as they lived in a time when they could receive a greater revelation than the prophets of old because of the greater One among them (v. 17). The rest of the hearers, unable to fathom His message, fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah about penal blindness: because of Israel’s sin, they would be unable to truly see, hear and understand God’s message (Is 6:9-10; 29:9-10). Yet those who did turn to the Truth would be “healed” (v. 15).
Some sort of ground, though we take ever so much pains with it, brings forth no fruit to purpose, while the good soil brings forth plentifully. So it is with the hearts of men, whose different characters are here described by 4 types of ground.
- A careless, trifling hearer, is an easy prey to Satan; who, as he is the great murderer of souls, so he is the great thief of sermons, and will be sure to rob us of the Word, if we are not careful to retain it. Also to note: simply hearing the Gospel does not guarantee understanding or embracing it.
- Hypocrites, like the stony ground, often get the start of true Christians in the shows of profession. Many are glad to hear a good sermon, but they do not profit by it. They are told of free salvation, of the believer’s privileges, and the happiness of heaven. However, without any change of heart, without any abiding conviction of their own depravity, their need of a Saviour, or the excellence of holiness, they soon profess an unwarranted assurance. When some heavy trial threatens them, or some sinful advantage may be had, they give up or disguise their profession, or turn to some easier system. *It is not about how quickly we run at the beginning of the race, what really matters is whether we truly finish it.
- Worldly cares are fitly compared to thorns, for they came in with sin, and are a fruit of the curse. Some embrace the Gospel, but when exposed to such worldly lusts as wealth, fame, security etc. turn away from the Truth eventually. Worldly cares are entangling, vexing, scratching, and their end is to be burned (Hebrews 6:8). They are great hinderances to our profiting by the word of God. The deceitfulness of riches does the mischief; they cannot be said to deceive us unless we put our trust in them, after which they choke the good seed. *It is crucial for us to fix our eyes on Jesus, Who must hold first place in our lives.
- What distinguished the good ground was fruitfulness. By the fruits, true Christians are distinguished from hypocrites. Christ does not say that this good ground has no stones in it, or no thorns; but none that could hinder its fruitfulness.
All are not alike; we should aim at the highest, to bring forth most fruit. The sense of hearing cannot be better employed than in hearing God’s word; and let us look to ourselves that we may know what sort of hearers we are.
The glorious kingdom of the future is present in this age only in an obscure and hidden way, except to those with eyes of faith.