Keep the Seed In Your Soul
Eze 18:30 "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways," says the Lord GOD. "Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.
31 "Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?
32 "For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies," says the Lord GOD. "Therefore turn and live!"
“Therefore.” Remember, whenever we see that word in Scripture, we need to look back a couple of verses and see what the “therefore” is there for.
This therefore is there for the plain instruction from God that each person is responsible for his or her eternal destiny, and as long as that person has breath in their bodies, they still have time to be saved. The thief on the cross is the classic example.
V27 - “When a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive.”
On the other side of the coin we have those who find righteousness and salvation somewhere along their lifetime, but they leave the faith as evidenced by their departure from righteous living, and they die in their sins and are condemned to hell.
Demas, who is spoken of by the Apostle Paul in his second letter to Timothy is a classic example: “for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world........” Demas, who had at one time been a faithful worker with Paul in the Gospel, fell back to the ways of the world, and unless he had another conversion, he was lost.
V26 - “When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness. Commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies.”
SO you can see the importance of finishing the race of faith, and the marvelous opportunity presented to you by a God who takes no pleasure in “the death of the wicked,” (Exek 33:11) always leaving the door open for your own personal repentance,
This is what God will do for every soul He created because as He states in the beginning of this chapter: “Behold all souls are Mine' The soul who sins shall die. (That's God's rule for all souls.) Then He lists off some common sins.
Eze 18:10 "If he begets a son who is a robber Or a shedder of blood, Who does any of these things
11 And does none of those duties, But has eaten on the mountains Or defiled his neighbor's wife;
12 If he has oppressed the poor and needy, Robbed by violence, Not restored the pledge, Lifted his eyes to the idols, Or committed abomination;
13 If he has exacted usury Or taken increase-Shall he then live? He shall not live! If he has done any of these abominations, He shall surely die; His blood shall be upon him.
The Bible is full of such lists. Lists of do's and lists of don'ts. They are never complete, (not all sins are listed) but they certainly get you thinking about your own life don't they? Listening to Bob Cook tape this week and he commented on such a list in Colossians and he said, “I just get tired reading them!” How true! They are wearisome. Wearisome because as we read them we realize that we are all guilty and doomed to die! Unless some other form of righteousness comes along, and that someone is Jesus.
And so Ezekiel 18:31 says, “get yourself a new heart and a new spirit!” Get yourself Jesus!
That's what Jesus came to do. He came to take on flesh, live a perfect life, die on the cross to pay the penalty for all the world's sins, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and dispersed His Spirit, His righteousness to His church through baptism, so that we might have “power for living” Power to finish the race. Power to cope with those “lists.”
And that takes us to our epistle lesson.
1Jo 3:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
What a rich passage. How mind-blowing that we filthy sinners who receive Christ should be called God's children. And because we have put on Christ and His righteousness, the world looks at us and says, “Who ARE you!” I don't recognize you anymore, and the reason they don't recognize you is because you have put on Christ! And they are not acquainted with Him. Conversely, those who have put on the world are not recognized by Christ on the Last Day. More on that later.
2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
Oh beloved, the best is yet to come! Now imperfect reflections of Christ, then (when Jesus comes again) perfect reflections!
3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
Every revelation we receive of Christ by faith purifies us, makes us more like Him, until that day of perfection. And every revelation we receive of Christ comes from His Word...the Bible. For He is the Word!
4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.
Here we have the definition of sin. It is lawlessness. Living without regard to the Law. Living without regard for the Word of God. Lawlessness is Wordlessness, is Chrlstlessness....is sin.
5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.
Jesus was manifested (He came to this earth to take away our Wordlessness, (As John wrote in the beginning of His Gospel, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.....and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
So Jesus came to take care of our “Wordlessness” problem.
6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. (Does not live without regard for His Word!) Whoever sins (lives without regard for His Word) has neither seen Him nor known Him.
7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.
8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
These two verses are a confirmation of what Ezekiel spoke regarding individual choice and destiny associated with that choice. Practice Christ- like ness and live. Practice Christ -less-ness and die.
9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, (live without regard for the Word of God) for His seed ( Seed is another way of saying the Holy Spirit who is that little Jesus in all of us and who brings the entirety of God's Word with Him.) remains in him; (remains in his soul) and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.
As long as you live with a regard for God's Word, you cannot sin (live with no regard for God's Word)
Let's look at this seed thing as it relates to baptism. In baptism, God brings the Holy Spirit and all of His associated blessings to us. They include forgiveness of sins, new life, spiritual gifts, and the Word of God. Remember the Holy Spirit is the author and He brings everything about this Book with Him.
When we study it, we are merely unearthing things that He meant for us to know. What joy you bring to the Holy Spirit, when you purpose in your heart to know more about His Word.
This seed, comes to us at our baptism. The seed that dwells in us cannot sin. It is the Holy Spirit! It is God's Word, therefore it cannot sin. However, the soul, ( our will, emotions, intellect) can indeed sin, (reject the Word) and can indeed die if the sin (the rejection of the Word) is not taken care of!) So our soul needs to be a welcome host for the Seed, the Word. The Holy Spirit..
The soul of an infant is very receptive to the seed implanted at baptism. A young child is very receptive to the Word of God, that's why Jesus reminds us that we need to have the faith of a little child. But as the soul is influenced by the world around it, it is possible for that child's soul to reject the seed and as Ezekiel said,....... die.
“It is the Spirit (the seed) who gives life (to the separate entity we call the soul) (the soil if you will) the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life. (Jn 6:63)
It's not enough to have the seed present in your body, it's got to find soil and remain in that soil in order to bear fruit. So it must be accepted and present in your soul. And again, this is very observable in young children, who are eager to hear about God.
Baptism (the deposit of the seed alone will not save you, it must be accompanied by faith (an acceptance of the Word by the soul.) By God's grace we start out there in our baptism, but if we aren't careful, that seed can be plucked away. By indifference, shallow soil, or the cares of this world. And the soul that rejects the Spirit or the seed, the Word, pushes it out) will die.
When Jesus judges us on the last day. He will not be looking at your body, (heart) or mind. He'll be looking at your soul, because that was created in His image. And if your soul has received His Word and kept His Word, that image will be restored, and He will recognize Himself in you and reward you with eternal life. But if your soul is Wordless, He will say depart from me for I don't know you. I don't see anything in your soul that I recognize.
That's why He says in Jn 12:48, “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges Him the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.
Speaking to the baptized believers at Rome, Paul said, “ the word is near you even in your mouth and in your heart, (that is, the word of faith which we preach) That word must also remain a part of your soul in order to be saved. Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, mind and soul!
The seed given to us at baptism provides all the raw material needed for salvation, but the soul that goes to heaven must die with a true regard for that seed, that Word, that Holy Spirit. If not, they commit the unpardonable sin. The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. The rejection of Him, His seed, His Word.
How do we know if we have this regard for the Word? Simply put, we seek to put it into practice. We seek to learn more of it and apply it by faith in our daily living. This Word that is implanted in the soul will bear fruit. This is automatic for those who have high regard for His Word.
The body of the soul who has received the Word will break out in righteousness and especially in love of the brethren, love of other Word Bearers.
10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.
And finally in our Gospel lesson we see the illustration of this manifestation of the Word in our individual souls. Joh 15:12 "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
13 "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.
14 "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. (If you have regard for His Word!)
15 "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. (The Holy Spirit brought them all to you in your baptism, and they are brought to remembrance as we meditate on God's Word.)
16 "You did not choose Me, but I chose you (He chooses us in baptism. It's something He does, not us) and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, (The seed, the Word was placed in you in order to bear fruit, and in order to bear fruit it must be held in high regard by your soul.) that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
The higher you regard for His Word, the more those whatever you ask passages will come to mean to you in your life.
17 "These things I command you, that you love one another.
In Portals of prayer on Friday, I was struck by a passage from 2 Kings 19:30. it said, “Take root downward and bear fruit upward.”
Friends, seek to sink the seed of the Word of God (the embodiment of the Holy Spirit) deep into your soul. In so doing, you will bear fruit upward. Virtually all the passages associated with “strong roots” and fruit bearing are connected with finding the living water, and the living Water is the Holy Spirit.
Ps 1:1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
4 The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, (And the way of the righteous in found in having a high regard for His Word). But the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Does this make sense to you? Do you understand now why some people fall away from the faith? It's not, “once saved always saved.” You can push the Word out of your soul, you can crowd it out. The seed once planted in your body remains, but if it ever becomes uprooted from your soul, the image of Christ is lost and so are you. Yet, you still have an opportunity to replant that seed, you can repent, for God does not take pleasure in the loss of any soul.
Guard the seed that has been planted in your soul. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, knowing the consequences of allowing it to be pushed out.