True Salvation (Luke 8:4-15)

The Parable of the Sower and the Soils

As a large crowd was gathering, and people were flocking to Him from every town, [Jesus] said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. As he was sowing, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the sky ate it up.  Other seed fell on the rock; when it sprang up, it withered, since it lacked moisture.  Other seed fell among thorns; the thorns sprang up with it and choked it.  Still other seed fell on good ground; when it sprang up, it produced a crop: 100 times what was sown.” As He said this, He called out, “Anyone who has ears to hear should listen!”

Then His disciples asked Him, “What does this parable mean?”  So He said, “The secrets of the kingdom of God have been given for you to know, but to the rest it is in parables, so that, “Looking they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.”

“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.  The seed along the path are those who have heard and then the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.  And the seed on the rock are those who, when they hear, welcome the word with joy. Having no root, these believe for a while and depart in a time of testing.  As for the seed that fell among thorns, these are the ones who, when they have heard, go on their way and are choked with worries, riches, and pleasures of life, and produce no mature fruit.  But the seed in the good ground—these are the ones who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, bear fruit.  (Luke 8:4-15)

Some people “receive Jesus” with great emotion and tearful promises, but it seems Jesus is saying this is not evidence of genuine salvation.

Some people may journey for a time, being “good church people” until they grow weary or get wounded and ultimately walk away.  It seems Jesus is saying this “good start” is also not reliable evidence of a true resurrection of heart.

Jesus says the thing the Father desires and the evidence of a genuine faith is “fruit” displayed with faithfulness.

True salvation isn’t revealed by how quickly you turn to Jesus, but by how long you choose to follow Him and faithfully obey.

–Pastor Phillip

A woman’s place (Luke 8:1-3)

Soon afterward [Jesus] was traveling from one town and village to another, preaching and telling the good news of the Kingdom of God.  The Twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary, called Magdalene (seven demons had come out of her); Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward; Susanna; and many others who were supporting them from their possessions.  (Luke 8:1-3)

In a culture that told women to stay at home, Jesus invited them to come along with Him on His travels.

In a culture where women were relegated to “women’s work,” Jesus allowed them to support the most important work of all: His.

If the question is asked, “Where is a woman’s place?” the answer is clear.

A woman’s place is with Jesus, valued and vital to the Kingdom.

–Pastor Phillip

What kind of person…really? (Luke 6:45)

A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart.  An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.  (Luke 6:45)

“I know he’s done some terrible things, but he’s really just misunderstood.”

“Yeah, he cusses and yells and lies sometimes, but he’s really a good person.”

“Okay, so he cheated once and got violent a couple of times, but I know he’s got a good heart.”

Do you know what I think Jesus would say to all of that?

“That’s just silly.”

–Pastor Phillip

Who gets what? (Luke 6:19-20a)

The whole crowd was trying to touch Him because power was coming out from Him and healing them all.  Then, looking up at His disciples, He said…  (Luke 6:19-20a)

Jesus offers His healing power to all the people.  He uses miracles to draw them in, but look how He doesn’t expect every person healed to actually give Him a hearing.

He doesn’t make listening to His teaching a prerequisite for His touch.  Rather, He shows the lavish grace of God by healing all who come, and He shows the strategic wisdom of God by teaching only those who care.

Perhaps we would be wise to do the same.

–Pastor Phillip

Priorities [Luke 6:10-11]

After looking around at them all, [Jesus] told [the man with a paralyzed hand], “Stretch out your hand.”  He did so, and his hand was restored.  [The Scribes and Pharisees], however, were filled with rage and started discussing with one another what they might do with Jesus.  (Luke 6:10-11)

The religious leaders were more concerned about maintaining their protocol than experiencing God’s power.  Rather than rejoice that God showed His glory by making a man whole, they were enraged that He didn’t bow to their tradition.

These people were so hyper-concerned with practicing their religion “rightly” that they wanted to stop Jesus from changing a man’s life because it didn’t fit their box.

Some people still do.

–Pastor Phillip

Jesus’ second ministry: the WORD (Luke 5:1)

As the crowd was pressing in on Jesus to hear God’s word, He was standing by Lake Gennesaret.  (Luke 5:1)

People came for the miracles, but they stayed for the message.  They were drawn in by the wonders, but they were hungry for the word.

Credibility and interest can be built by the supernatural power and love of God.  This is why we must make space in our church gatherings and our relationships with others to let the Holy Spirit show up and show off.

Yet, it is just as vital that after the display, we have something deeper to give.

The people were hungry for an authentic word from God that was bigger than their personal experiences and traditional religion.

Maybe they still are.

What do you think?

–Pastor Phillip

Jesus’ first ministry: the WONDERS (Luke 4:42)

When it was day, [Jesus] went out and made His way to a deserted place.  But the crowds were searching for Him.  They came to Him and tried to keep Him from leaving them.  (Luke 4:42)

The people were astounded at the miracles Jesus did.  When He healed, it was authentic.  When He cast out demons, it was dramatic.  The people simply couldn’t get enough of it.

Those same people would feel very differently later on when Jesus began to call them to repent of their sins and selfishness and follow Him instead, but for now, they were transfixed and hungry for more.

Perhaps one reason we don’t see more people flocking to church gatherings is because we’ve emphasized the second part of Jesus’ ministry but nearly forgotten the first.

What do you think?

–Pastor Phillip

Service (Luke 4:39)

So [Jesus] stood over [Peter’s mother-in-law] and rebuked the fever, and it left her.  She got up immediately and began to serve them.  (Luke 4:39)

In the culture of Jesus’ day, it was customary and expected for a woman to serve as a hostess whenever guests were in her home.  So, the fact that Peter’s mother-in-law responded to her healing by serving is at one level simply a societal norm.

At another level, however, she is a perfect illustration of a proven truth.  One of the surest ways to tell if someone has been deeply touched by Jesus is their willingness to serve others.

How are you doing?

–Pastor Phillip

Defending Jesus (Luke 4:29-30)

[The people] got up, drove Him out of town and brought Him to the edge of the hill their town was built on, intending to hurl Him over the cliff.  But He passed right through the crowd and went on His way.  (Luke 4:29-30)

Jesus has no need of a bodyguard.  He is not helpless and fragile, hoping someone comes along to bail Him out.

Neither has He any need of a Public Relations team to make Him cool, a Brand Strategist to make Him relevant, or a Salesperson to make Him desirable to the disinterested masses.

He wants witnesses who tell the truth about what they’ve seen and heard and experienced.  That’s it.

Apologetics certainly have their place, but if you really want to help the cause of Christ, don’t worry about defending Him.  Instead, focus on developing a vibrant relationship with Him that actually gives you something to say.

–Pastor Phillip

The Father’s Delight (Luke 3:22b)

You are my beloved Son.  I take delight in you.  (Luke 3:22b)

The steadfast, unchanging posture of God the Father toward God the Son is not dutiful acceptance, but glorious delight.

The scandalous, unbelievable truth of the Gospel is that for those who are united with Jesus by grace through faith, the position He has before the Father is now given to us.

That means if you’re in Christ, God doesn’t just forgive you out of duty.  He deeply loves you out of delight!

He doesn’t just take away your sin.  He takes pleasure in your salvation.

–Pastor Phillip