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Archive for seed

Corrupt Seed

Spiritual death is one of the most difficult Bible truths to understand. It truly boggles the human mind. It is truth that human ears have never heard. To begin to understand we have to go back to the way that God created Adam – technically. I picture this special creation this way. God the Son was the Creator of all things (Col. 1:16). He made everything. He spoke everything into being (Psa. 33:6-9). He made Adam from the dust of the ground. I picture in my mind the Lord Jesus Christ in His preincarnate form working as the divine Potter, beautifully shaping the man – taking care of every detail: his head, torso, arms, and legs, and then the critical part. He bent down over the man and breathed into him the breath of life (Gen. 2:7). It is at this point that God gives another amazing glimpse. The Hebrew words should not have been translated “the breath of life.” That would have been the singular, nephesh chayah. This is the phrase that God used when He created the air-breathing animals (Gen. 1:20). The Hebrew Bible, in a crucial but silent contrast, uses neshima chayyim in reference to Adam. To make an English word plural, you add an “s” or “es.” If you sought to make a Hebrew masculine noun plural, you would add an “im.” For example, one cherub, two cherubim; one seraph, two seraphim, etc.

So, the Lord Jesus breathed into Adam literally breaths of lives – one breath for the soul, connecting Adam to the earth (earthy), and the other breath for the human spirit, connecting Adam to God (heavenly). The Lord Jesus breathed His image into us! This is the major truth that makes human beings different from animals. God equipped people to worship Him. God made man a trichotomy: body, soul, and human spirit. This fact is reflected in Paul’s words to the Thessalonian believers when he prayed that their whole spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 5:23). The soul and spirit are also divided in the book of Hebrews. The writer says that God’s Word has the ability to separate the soul (earthy) from the spirit (heavenly), “even to the division of the soul and spirit” (Heb. 4:12). Though soul and spirit are often interchanged in the Bible, there is a difference – a critical difference. The point? When Adam sinned, both he and the woman died twice – they died spiritually and they began to die physically. All of God’s created order that was attached to Adam began to die. And this death continued because all seed – human, plant, and animal – became corrupt, stained with death.

At the moment Adam sinned, the Bible says that “all sinned.” How was that possible? Remember, every word in the Bible matters. And every word is placed in just the correct order. There are no mistakes. Death passed upon all because all sinned (Rom. 5:12). There are many who want this part of the passage to say “all have sinned.” But the word “have” is not there. All sinned means that all sinned and died in Adam the very moment that he sinned. Being the original father of the human race, everyone’s DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid, the stuff of physical life) was in him seminally the moment he sinned. Thus, we were all there – in the garden – in Adam’s loins. We were all a part of him. The moment he sinned, everyone who would ever live became sinners too. Amazing! Repetition! All humanity was in Adam’s loins: every family, clan, nation, and tongue that would ever live would come from him. Everyone was in his genes, his DNA, at the very instant he chose to rebel against God. If Adam and Eve were truly our first parents – and they were – then we had to be in them. In a rightly mysterious but in a physical way, we were all involved in Adam’s act.

Adam, Eve, and the serpent were not the only ones present. And this death began to spread! At that moment his seed became corruptible seed, stained with death. In fact, all seed of all creation became stained with death. This is how sin and death passed down through the plant world, the animal world, and through us: plants die, animals die, people die. Death was built into Adam’s corrupt seed. This humanly corrupt seed passed from Adam to Cain, to Abel, to Seth, to Enoch, through Noah, through Shem, through Abraham, etc. This would be the seed that – generation after generation – would produce the rest of us. This corrupt seed continues its journey, generation after generation.

But hold it! This is what makes the virgin birth of Christ shout to us. Jesus missed this stain of the sin and the death seed. He was not born a sinner. He knew no sin! This is why He could die for sin. This truth of people being in the loins of another is not strange to the Bible. The Scripture clearly says that all of God’s high priestly line of Levi was in Abram’s loins (his seed, his DNA) when he met and submitted himself to a strange king/priest named Melchizedek. Abraham submitted himself to Melchizedek, symbolized by the giving of an offering.

Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him (Heb. 7:10).

The entire Levitical priesthood, though years from being born, were all in the loins of Abraham when he met Melchizedek. Amazing!

Blessings!

 

The Seed Spreads

What is not repeated will soon be forgotten. It is time for a little theological mucilage: repetition. When God gave His eternal word to the human race, each word was guarded and guided by the Holy Spirit as it passed through the minds of sinful men down through their pens and onto the pages of paper (2 Pet. 1:20-21).  These words are being preserved and reserved for those who receive the precious benefits of the gospel accompanied with the gift of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 3:2).  These receivers are taught by the same Spirit the meaning of words (1 Cor. 2:10-13).  God breathed each word into its very spot in the Scripture for this very purpose (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Not one word is missing. Every word has a meaning intended by the Creator to be understood – and taught – every word.  

 

The Bible contains the precious and powerful seed of the gospel of His amazing grace (1 Pet. 1:23-25). The gospel is the priceless worth of Christ’s true identity as the God-Man, His substitutionary death on the cross, and the amazing power of His resurrection. This combined truth is God’s seed (1 Pet. 1:23-25; 1 Jn. 2:8-10). This seed is guided by the Holy Spirit and being planted into the soil of human minds all over the world (Isa. 55:10-11).  This seed is then germinated by faith, and faith alone, in Christ, and in Christ alone (Jn. 3:16; Eph. 2:8-9). This seed can be heard and believed, but without mixing the truth with personal faith in Christ, the seed will never germinate. This seed cannot be added to or taken from, or it will give no life. This seed results in a spiritual birth and baptism in the one in whom it germinates.

 

Upon hearing the gospel, the moment faith is placed in Christ, the seed explodes, bringing a heavenly birth into a new world and an unseen immersion into the person of Christ. Wow! The believer is instantly reborn into God’s Kingdom (Jn. 1:13; James 1:18) and baptized (immersed) into God’s Christ (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27).  Both mysterious events occur at the moment of faith. The believer instantly receives Christ’s life (1 Jn. 5:11-13), Christ’s citizenship (Phil. 3:20-21), Christ’s righteousness (Phi. 3:9; 2 Cor. 5:21), Christ’s relationship (Gal. 3:26-29), and Christ’s home (Jn. 14:1-3).  Said simply, the believer in a moment receives Christ’s destiny and His identity. This is why the phrase “in Christ” became the apostle Paul’s favorite name for Christians. The believer is born into God’s forever family as a babe in Christ. Time and teaching spent in the Bible are necessary to grow to spiritual maturity (1 Pet. 2:2; 1 Cor. 2:12-13).

 

The Holy Spirit alone has the power to teach us the living words on the paper (John 14:26-27; 16:13-14). It was pleasing to God to reserve and unpack the Bible’s truth for a special group – not many wise (human wisdom), not many mighty (strong or powerful), and not many noble (with royal blood) are called to Him.  Said clearly, God called those that the world thinks are fools, weak, worthless, to become His own special trophies. God did this to suppress man’s pride so that His glory only would shine through (1 Cor. 1:25-31).  It was God’s genius to not allow a human being to come to know His Word through human wisdom. In fact, the world though its own wisdom will never know Him. To the contrary, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached (the gospel) to save those who believe (1 Cor. 1:21). This is a fact that must be hidden in our hearts as we observe God’s seed moving through history.

 

With these words in mind, go back to the Reformation. The Reformation in England was burning hot. Not with just the burning of the flesh of evangelical martyrs but with the white-hot power of true line-by-line and word-by-word teaching of the Word of God. The true gospel of the grace of God was being preached and believed. This proved to be a lethal combination and began to diminish the darkness of Satan and bring to light the immense value of God’s love. But no doubt confusion still reigned. Satan had not left the building. Many were giving their lives for the value of the truth of Scripture (1 Cor. 2:7-16), while others were taking lives; burning or beheading them. Some were teaching that salvation comes in its fulness through the true identity of Jesus Christ alone, His death as payment for sin alone, and His bodily resurrection from the grave alone (1 Cor. 15:1-8), yet others hated this message along with those who were giving it.

 

The message had the power to destroy the magnificent stained glass buildings, the beautiful rituals and religious services, the gorgeous robes and crowns of the clergy, the heart-stopping sound from the huge pipe organ, the smell of burning candles and incense, and the great financial gain that followed these religious acts. Ah, follow the money! Think hard once again about the powerful words connected to Noah’s prophecy. “Praise be to the LORD God of Shem.” The LORD God of Shem is the Lord Jesus Christ. This is prophet-speak pointing to the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ was going to come through the line of Shem – which He did. Think also about Noah’s prophecy concerning Japheth. Japheth is going to dwell in the tents of Shem (Gen. 9:25-27). This is prophet-speak saying that Japheth is going to help Shem accomplish his task. Japheth helped get Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem and is continuing to help spread the gospel around the world. The gospel launched by the Lord Jesus Christ through what is called “the great commission” began to spread. But it spread upon the backs of the many martyrs who were dying for their faith. In a time of persecution, the fire spreads. The gospel was moving so quickly around the world that Satan counterattacked.  The public proclamation of the gospel was submerged and confused under a sea of truth mixed with paganism. God resurfaced the public proclamation of the gospel in Germany (a land of Japheth) and it burned through England (a land of Japheth) and is headed for the USA. Blessings! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Powerful Seed of the Gospel

July 24, 2011

In an article in Popular Science Magazine entitled “The Power of Growth in Plants,” the writer, a botanist, documented a tree growing up through a huge millstone weighing several tons. The tree actually lifted the stone and displaced it and then completely filled in the hole. Remarkable!

This is nothing compared to the power of the spiritual seed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It has the amazing supernatural energy to completely transform a life. The gospel when guided by the Holy Spirit is the only force on earth capable of infusing the spiritual life of God into those who are spiritually dead.

This is why Paul was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. He realized that it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. The success of his ministry did not depend upon his human ability to present the gospel and make it work, but upon the intrinsic divine dynamite of the gospel itself.  Paul did not, nor could he, use human gimmicks to bring about conversion. God uses the gospel to make it happen.

It was in Bible college that I first began to witness this power.  The entire sophomore class went on a witnessing trip to the beach. The point of the outing was to share the good news of the identity and work of Jesus Christ with as many people as possible. I was teamed with a small girl named Nelda Salee.  Shortly after hitting the beach, she walked up to a stately-looking tanned fellow, introduced herself, and began to share the gospel. That was when things became a little tense. He responded with a barrage of intellectual sounding words denying everything she had said. He first attacked the credibility of the identity of Christ and His resurrection.

Her response was striking. She calmly said, “I don’t know about all that, but I do know that if you will believe in Christ, He will give you eternal life.”

He came back with another round of verbal assaults attempting to discredit the Bible and what he called her religious beliefs. She replied, “I don’t know about all that, but I do know that if you will trust Jesus Christ to save you, He will.” This went back and forth for some time. I remember feeling the overwhelming urge to jump into the conversation and give this guy a piece of my mind, but God held me back.

I watched in amazement as something that I never forgot began to happen. This man grew quiet and stopped his verbal abuse. He listened intently to what Nelda was saying. He became strangely calm and right there on the sand he fell to his knees and acknowledged that he wanted to accept Jesus Christ as his Savior. Why? The powerful seed of the gospel is the dynamite of God.  Does this mean that everyone will respond positively to it? Not at all! The Spirit of God must make it happen. But the power of God is unleashed when the message is proclaimed. Its success does not depend upon the skill of the messenger.

The gospel has the power to break through every barrier, every objection, every human argument, and all the rationalization that is thrown against it.  Like the tree and the millstone, it cuts right through them all and simply does its work. The simplicity of the gospel insults both man’s intelligence and his pride.  It alone can give eternal life.

Several years ago I had the opportunity to go to Vijayawada, India, to teach the Bible to Indian pastors. Before that time,  no protestant missionaries were allowed into India. Yet hundreds of evangelical pastors attended our Bible sessions. So where did the local churches come from that were represented by all these preachers?  I was told that Bibles written in the language of the people had been smuggled into India and distributed throughout the land.  Those who had come to faith in Jesus Christ did so through reading the Word of God. Churches sprang up and grew based solely on the ministry of God’s living seed. They all practiced believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper. What an amazing glimpse!

Sometimes this amazing seed lays dormant, maybe wrapped in an old dust-laden Bible tucked away on some bookshelf or in a small crevice in a grass house hidden in a remote jungle. When God is ready, the Holy Spirit guides the seed to a sinful mind and germinates it. The result is the birth of a new heavenly life.

One of the recipients of this amazing seed was considered to be the most dangerous man in all of India. His gang attacked, plundered, and terrified many of the villages of a certain area. He was wanted, dead or alive. While ransacking through a room in one of the small villages that he was holed up in, he found a little black book. At first he started to throw it away, but he noticed that the pages were very thin, just the right thickness to roll his cigarettes.

Each evening after a meal, Ramad would relax with a smoke. He would take out a page in the little book, fold it, and roll it around his tobacco. One evening while rolling up the paper, he noticed that the writing was in his own language. So he began to read the words on the page before he rolled it to smoke.

One day he knelt down and trusted Jesus Christ as his Savior. The small black book was the gospel of John. Ramad was born again from the living seed of the word of God. He gave himself up to the authorities. They quickly tried him and sent him to prison. The prison became his personal mission field. The Holy Spirit had moved the amazing seed of the gospel into that prison through this bandit turned prisoner of Christ. The gospel is still transforming lives today.

The message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is not contained in the Muslim Koran, the Hindu Veda, the writings of Buddha, the book of Mormon, or any other so-called “holy book.” The Bible alone contains God’s powerful seed.

For more on the gospel go to this article.

 

God’s Amazing Seed

 

Corn 2

July 14, 2011

I just finished helping my family put up approximately 300 ears of corn at our little farm. I remembered planting the seeds back in late April. This ritual has happened many times before, but it never fails to bring to my mind God’s faithfulness to germinate the seeds. Our corn is a product of God’s ordained plan for the cycle of life.

From the very beginning, God established His unchanging blueprint of biological reproduction. God commanded that all living things reproduce after their kind, both plants and animals. This reproductive cycle has held its pattern since the dawn of creation. The phrase according to its kind is repeated over and over for an incredible purpose. Apple seeds produce apples; peach seeds produce peaches; corn seed . . .  you get the idea.

God created human beings and placed them upon the earth. Like the plants and the animals, He told them to be fruitful and to multiply and fill the earth.  He provided all that they would need to thrive. There was only one thing God told them not to do. To disobey Him at this one point would bring death. We know what happened.  The first couple disobeyed, and they died. Their human spirits – their connection to God – died. They became natural, sinful people separated from God. Sin and death had entered the world.

In obedience to God, after the fall Adam and Eve began to reproduce. True to God’s regeneration formula, they reproduced after their kind.  They were now sinners, and they populated a world of sinners. Death spread to all because Adam’s seed had become corrupt seed. God connected the entire biological world to Adam’s fall. Paul said that the entire creation was subjected to futility and locked in the bondage of corruption. All biological seed is stained with death. Regardless of whether we get rain or not, Papa’s garden is going to die. Why? Corrupt seed!

But wait! Amazingly God allowed at least two kinds of seed to slip past the corruption of the fall. These two seeds are the very reason that we become Christians. The first was the miracle seed of the Holy Spirit planted in the womb of the virgin Mary. This seed produced the Lord Jesus Christ.  Without a human biological father, He was born without the sin of Adam.  Thus, He who knew no sin became the sinless Lamb of God who died for us.

The other seed is the living seed of the Word of God. The words of the Bible are living and powerful spiritual seeds. God, You are a genius! This miracle seed is being used to spawn a new generation of people – spiritual people. The apostle Peter said that “we have been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever. Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you” (1 Peter 1:23-25).

Born again? Yes. Christians experience a second birth – a spiritual birth that connects us to God. An incorruptible seed generates this birth. Peter contrasted all human life that comes from corrupt fallen seed with grass. Like grass, we are all destined to die. And all of our human achievements, no matter how impressive, are fleeting. All of man’s glory – that which sheds light upon man: pride, wisdom, intelligence, beauty, talent, wealth – is temporary.  It appears briefly like a mist, and then it is quickly gone. In contrast, the spiritual seed of the word of God is eternal seed. The only thing that lasts through this fallen world must come from this seed.

Peter stressed that the gospel of God’s grace is that eternal seed. When physical seed, like our corn seed, is placed into the ground and is germinated, new life begins. Likewise, when the gospel is planted into the soil of the fallen human mind and germinated by the Holy Spirit, new life is generated. But this life, unlike the fallen corn seed, will never die because seed that will never die produces it. Amazing, absolutely amazing!  God, what a genius you are!

God’s Word Will Produce Life

December 2, 2008

Dandelion

I remember walking through fields of seeding dandelions when I was a small boy. I would pull the plant and blow the tiny fluffy parachute like seeds into the air and watch them float away. I discovered later that some could travel several miles away from the parent plant before finding enough soil to germinate, producing more dandelions.

This is small in comparison to what happens on the eighth day after the first full moon in August each year. Every coral reef in the entire Gulf of Mexico explodes at precisely the same moment shooting millions of eggs into the deep looking for the necessary ingredient to bring life.

Throughout the generations of human history, the Lord Jesus Christ has unleashed the seeds of His word into the world. God’s Holy Spirit has guided these seeds, depositing them into the soil of human minds all over the earth. These tiny seeds may be read directly from the Bible, preached from a podium, read from a printed page, or even sung.

Sometimes the seeds lie dormant for many years, maybe wrapped in an old dust-laden Bible tucked away on some bookshelf or in a small crevice in a grass house hidden in a remote jungle of the world. Or they may be lodged in the memory bank of someone’s mind for years. God moves heaven and earth to get the seeds precisely where He wants them to be. When He is ready, the Holy Spirit germinates those seeds and a brand new life occurs.

Several years ago I had the opportunity to go to Vijayawada, India, to teach the Bible to Indian pastors. Hundreds of pastors attended our Bible sessions. I was surprised to learn that missionaries were not allowed into the country. So where did all the churches come from, represented by these pastors?  I was told that Bibles written in the language of the people had been smuggled into India and distributed throughout the land.  Those who had come to faith in Jesus Christ did so through reading and listening to the word of God. Churches sprang up and grew based solely on the ministry of God’s living seed. What an amazing glimpse!

One of the recipients of God’s word was considered to be the most dangerous man in all of India. His gang attacked, plundered, and terrified many of the villages of a certain area. He was wanted, dead or alive. While ransacking through a room in one of the houses in a village, he found a small black book. At first he started to throw it away, but he noticed that the pages were very thin, just the right thickness to roll his cigarettes.

Each evening after a meal, Ramad would relax with a smoke. He would take out a page in the little book, fold it, and roll it around his tobacco. One evening while rolling up the paper he noticed that the writing was in his own language. So each evening he would read the words on the page before he rolled it to smoke. The small black book was the Bible.  One evening he knelt down and trusted Jesus Christ as his Savior. Ramad had been born again from the living seed of the word of God. Ramad then gave himself up to the authorities. They quickly tried him and sent him to prison. The prison became his personal mission field. The Holy Spirit had moved the amazing seed of the living word of God into that prison through this bandit turned prisoner of Christ.

God’s spiritual seed will always accomplish its divine purpose. Speaking through the prophet Isaiah around 700 B.C., God said, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

God’s thoughts tower high above the thoughts of this fallen civilization. He does not think like us for one very simple reason: God is not like us! To our human way of thinking, strength is strength, weakness is weakness, intelligence is intelligence and foolishness is foolishness.  But in God’s mind, the strongest things are the weakest, and some of the seemingly weakest things are the strongest, and some of the wisest things are the most foolish. God delights in turning human wisdom inside out and upside down.  The world promotes great wealth, superior intelligence, extreme popularity, and high position. These are things that God places on the bottom. God continues, “For as the rain comes down and the snow from heaven, and do not return there but water the earth and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater” (Isaiah 55:10).

God sends the rain and snow down to the earth and then He returns it to the sky as vapor.  But it does not return until it accomplishes its purpose. It causes the earth to bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater. The water always accomplishes that which God has ordained. God then says, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).

God’s word comes down from Him – generation after generation – and it does not return to Him without accomplishing its appointed task. God does not arbitrarily cast His seed into the winds, allowing it to fall where it will. Nor does He hope that someone by chance will respond to it. The Holy Spirit directs the spiritual seed to minds from every nation, kindred, and language group. Generation after generation, God determines both the path and the performance of His spiritual seed.  If the gospel is faithfully preached for years and only a few trust in Jesus Christ as Savior during that time, then that is God’s design. God’s word will never return to Him without completing its heavenly mission. Jesus said, “He who is of God hears God’s words” (John 8:47). Christians become Christians because we are born by means of the word of God.