Robert Morris — Lordship
I want you to turn your Bibles to two passages and hang on to these two passages because we'll flip back and forth. Turn to Matthew 13 and Isaiah 57. So, we'll start Matthew 13. We'll go back to Isaiah 57, and then we'll come back to Matthew 13, and we're wrapping up the series, "You Are Here", and just to remind you, we talked about that every person is growing in his or her relationship with the Lord. We have people coming to church that are exploring God. Once you come to the cross, the beginning of God, close to God, and God-centered. We've talked about making the step from each to the next category, grace, God's word in giving, and we talked about fellowship, relationship, discipleship, and this week is Lordship.
Now, I want to tell you something about Lordship that may shock you because we look at this as a path or a journey that we're on. I want to encourage you to not see this as a chronology of the Christian life. In other words, I don't want you to think about this as this is some sort of a time series. In other words, if you get saved, you're beginning in God, and in one to three years or whatever, then you're close to God and God-centered. The reason I don't want you to see this as a chronology is that I don't want you to think, "Okay. I've been saved now ten years so I am automatically God-centered", because that's not true. Also, you can go backward, and I want to tell you something that's going to shock you.
We're talking about Lordship now, and listen carefully. This is where you began. I know you think it's beginning in God, that it's relationship, and it is, but when you got saved, you were God-centered. Jesus was the Lord of your life or didn't get saved. We accept Jesus as our Lord and our Savior, and here's what happens then. The birds of the air come. We talked about that. The cares of this world come, tribulation and persecution arises. So, how do we stay God-centered? That's really what this message is about is how do we stay God-centered?
I know you're in Matthew 13. We will get to that, but we've been focusing on Mark 4. This parable is in Mark 4, Luke 8, and Matthew 13. So, let me show you this fourth category in Luke for just a moment. Just one verse because here's what it talks about is good ground, and let me show you what good ground is. Remember I told you that you can define the symbolic language of the Bible if you look at every place it is. The Bible will at some point tell you. It tells us what locusts represent. It tells us what scorpions represent. It tells us what thorns represent. If you're new to this series, we've already gone through all that, but this is talking about good ground, and let me show you what good ground represents.
Luke tells us. Luke 8:15 says, "But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who having heard the word with a noble and good heart keep it and bear fruit with patience". Mark says that they bear fruit 30, 60, and 100-fold. All of us want to bear fruit. 30, 60, and 100-fold. Here's the key. Good ground represents a good heart. The key is keeping your ground good, keeping your heart good.
So, what constitutes a good heart? I have three points. Here's number one, a humble heart. A humble heart. Now, look at in Matthew 13 we have read in this series the parable Jesus talking about the birds of the air and the thorns and all of that, and then we have read where He explains it, but we haven't read what's in between, and I want to show you what's in between Jesus telling the parable and Him explaining it because it's extremely important. Matthew 13. Look at Verse 10. "And the disciples came and said to Him why do you speak to them in parables? He answered and said to them," this is very, very important, "because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given".
Now, I'll explain that in a moment. For whoever has to him more will be given, and he will have abundance, but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore, I speak to them in parables," now, He goes on to explain why He does this, "and in them the prophesy of Isaiah is fulfilled which says hearing you'll hear and shall not understand and seeing you will see and not perceive for or because the hearts. It goes back to the heart whether being good ground or stony ground, the hearts of this people have grown dull". I want you to notice your heart can grow dull. "Their ears are hard of hearing. Their eyes," this is very important, "they have closed". They have closed them. "Lest, they should see with their eyes, hear with their eyes. Lest, they should understand with their hearts and turns," this word actually means return, "to the Lord so that I should heal them".
Now, that's an amazing passage. Here's what He's saying. They said why do you speak to them in parables? He said because it has not been given to them to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but it's been given to you. Now, a lot of people have tried to make speculation about this, but let me tell you what He says. He says it's because they have a heart problem. Their hearts have grown dull or their hearts have grown hard.
Please hear me. If you wonder sometimes why does that guy get so much revelation or why does that person bear so much fruit because I read the word too? Listen to me carefully, but what's your heart? Because the seed is the word of God, and your heart is the ground, and if your heart is good ground, then the seed will product fruit, and good ground is a humble heart or a soft heart.
Let me read you a couple of scriptures, Ezekiel 36:26 says, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. I will take the heart of stone," that would be a hard heart, "out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh". A soft heart. Listen, this is what I said a moment ago. We all start here. We all start with a new heart and a soft heart, but persecution, tribulation arises. That was number two, and then the cares of this world come and thorns come in, and here's what happens. Our heart gets wounded, and we harden it, and we say I'm not going to let that happen again. I'm not going to let that heart happen, and the harder our heart gets, the harder the ground gets so that the seed just stays on top of the ground and the birds of the air come get it.
Listen, when you make a decision to that, you're making a decision to close your spiritual eyes, to harden your heart, and you'll read this book, but you will not know the mysteries of this book because your heart is hard. Okay, now, Isaiah 57 told you to hold a marker there. I want to show you the three points I have are all in Isaiah 57, Verse 15, "For thus says the high and lofty one," notice it describes God as being high, "who inhabits eternity whose name is holy". Now watch what He says here. "I dwell in the high and holy place". Everyone knows God dwells in a high place, but watch this. With Him, who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Your heart is made up of your spirit and your soul.
Okay. Here's what God says. I dwell in a high place with the person who has a low heart. That's what He's saying. A humble heart. Humble means to get down. To humble yourself actually means in the Hebrew and the Greek to prostate yourself to bow down, to get low. You do know the way up in the kingdom is down. The way up in the kingdom is down. Lower yourself, humble yourself. I say it this way in another message. Take the low road because the low road in the kingdom is the high road. Humble yourself. If you humble yourself and humble your heart, then God prepares your heart to receive the word of God.
Let me show you Scripture, Psalm 10:17, "Lord, you have heard the desire of the humble. You will prepare their heart". What will He prepare our heart for? To receive the word of God. He dwells with the person of a low heart. Are you following me? It's really important. Listen, you know why they couldn't understand the mysteries? Listen to me very carefully. Because they thought they knew everything so they couldn't learn anything. I don't work with people that think they know everything because a person who knows everything can't learn anything. If a person is not teachable, I don't want that person around because they're not going to be any good for the kingdom.
So, number one, the way to keep your heart on good ground is to keep it humble. Here's number two, a holy heart. A holy heart is good ground. Again, Isaiah 57:15, "Says thus says the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity whose name is holy, I dwell in the high and holy place". Okay. God is holy. No one would argue that. God is holy. The only problem is we don't know what the word holy means. We think it means perfect. God is perfect, and He is perfect, but that's not the word holy means. We think it means sinless, and God is sinless, but that's not what the word holy means. The word holy is a very, very simple word that actually means set apart or separate from, and it actually has to do with that something is moved over in proximity from something else so that it can be set apart. It can be set apart from that. That's all the word holy means is set apart.
Now, when it's applied to God, yes, it can mean perfection, and God is set apart from this world because He is perfect, and He is sinless, and obviously, He sent Jesus to be the bridge, but the point you have to understand is that the word doesn't mean sinless perfection because if it does, we're all in trouble because of this Verse, 1 Peter 1:15-16 says, "But as He who called you as holy, you also be holy in all your conduct because it is written be holy, for I am holy". Now, if holy means sinless perfection, then we've got a verse that says you also be perfectly sinless in all your conduct. That's not what this means, but here's what it does mean. You also be set apart in your conduct from a sin-filled fallen world. You act differently than this world because you belong to God.
Again, this word set apart, this Scripture here in 1 Peter is a quote from Leviticus, four times, be holy, for I am holy is in Leviticus. It's in Chapter 11, 19, and twice in Chapter 20. Now, let me show you, one of the times in Chapter 20, Verse 26 says, "You must be holy because I, the Lord, am holy". Now watch this. This explains it. I have set you apart from all the other people to be my very own". I have set you apart to be my very own. That's what God is saying.
Now, remember I told you to hold your place in Matthew 13? Okay. Go back to Matthew 13, and the reason I told you to hold your place there is because I want to show you a verse in Matthew 15, and it's close. So, in Matthew 15, I'm going to show you about your heart being holy, but I'm also going to show you two verses in here that don't have anything to do with the message, but they're funny and so I'd like to show them to you, all right? Okay. Matthew 15:1 says, "Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus saying why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders for they do not wash their hands when they eat bread"?
Okay. That's hilarious to me because most of them were fishermen, and the Pharisees said, you know, your disciples don't wash their hands when they eat bread. They didn't wash their hands when they ate anything. So, He explains to them about, listen, you transgress the commandments of God by your tradition, and then in Matthew 15 there, Verse 7, I love this because Jesus to me was running His campaign speech, and He said, "Hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy that about you saying these people draw near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their heart is from me". But now He explains it. Verse 15, Matthew 15:15, "Peter answered and said to him, explain this parable to us".
What He's talking about is the heart. It's very important to understand He's talking about the heart, and they were talking about eating food, and that would contaminate them. Okay. Watch what He says. Jesus said are you also still without understanding? Do you not understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated, but those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts. I just want you to know that your heart can think. I talked about that before. I don't have time to go into all of that right now. Your heart can think. Evil thoughts come out of the heart. Murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies — this are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.
And it wasn't just washing the hands so you wouldn't get germs or something. They saw it as a religious tradition which they even said was a commandment of God, and they added it to the commandments, and that's what He's talking about. He's talking about a ritual, but here's what He's saying. It's what in your heart that can affect you. Now, that's what I'm trying to tell you. If you want your heart to be good ground to receive the word of God, you're going to have to keep your heart set apart from the world because what you allow to come into your heart will affect you whether you can hear and understand the word of God. That's what I'm trying to tell you. When you read this book, if you want to see the mysteries of heaven and you want your heart, your life to product good fruit and not be choked out by thorns and the birds of the air come and steal the word out of your heart, you have to keep you heart good ground and one of the ways you can keep your heart good ground is you set it apart from worldly thinking. That's what I'm saying. Okay?
All right, and here's the third type of heart that is good ground, a heavenly heart. A heavenly heart. Again, in Isaiah 57:15 says, "Thus says the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity," God is an eternal God, "and by His grace we have now been given eternal life". So, we become beings that will live forever. That means this home, this world is not our home. So, if you set your mind on temporary things, listen to me carefully, you will not be able to understand an eternal book. Are you hearing me? These are eternal words. So, if you read them with a temporary mindset, you won't understand the mysteries of the kingdom, but when you have a heavenly heart that this world is not your home, you're just passing through and you read this book with a heavenly heart, then you understand it.
2 Corinthians 4:18, "While we do not look at the things which are seen but of the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal". Colossians 3:1-2, "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God and set your mind on things above, not on things of the earth". And when we set our mind and when we meditate on eternal things, then those become thoughts of the heart and we can understand an eternal book.
Okay. I'll show you more scripture. If you are by Isaiah 57 still, this is in Isaiah 55. It's close like Matthew 15 is close to Matthew 13. I'm just a genius how I can arrange these things. Actually, you know, I'm talking about the one who wrote it who is the genius. Okay. So, the parable in Mark 4 talks about ground, seed, fruit. Those are just three words that it talks about, ground, seed, and fruit. Seed being the word of God, obviously. I just want to show you another verse from the Old Testament that uses these three words as well. Isaiah 55:10-11, "The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. The heart. "They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry". Watch Verse 11. "It is the same with my word. I send it out and it always," look at the word always, "produces fruit". Jesus said some 30, some 60, and 100-fold. "It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it".
Okay. You want the good news of this message? The word produces the fruit if I just keep my heart good. I don't have to product fruit in my life 30, 60, and 100-fold. The word does that. I just have to keep my heart good and if I keep my heart good and good ground, then the word produces the fruit and God even waters that word. Let me just show you the next verses because again we talked about analogies in scripture and symbolic and parabolic language. Verses 12 and 13 say, "You will in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst forth in the song and the trees of the field will clap their hands".
Let me just say this before we go. The trees of the field are you. Man who meditates on the word is like a tree. Trees will clap their hands. You've never been driving down the road and seen a bunch of oak trees clapping their hands. I know you've seen them waving in the breeze and that's what people think this is talking about. Trees of the field. They'll represent people, but watch Verse 13, the analogy, "Where once there were thorns," remember Mark 4, thorns that choke the word, "Cypress trees will grow". If you've ever been in the swamps of Florida or Louisiana what trees do you see? Cypress. You know why? Because Cypress trees love water, and here's what He's saying. My word will produce fruit. If you'll just keep the ground great and let me tell you what will happen. If you'll keep your heart right, I'll take care of the thorns, and you'll become a Cypress tree. You'll become a tree who loves the word of God, but it's all dependent on your heart.
Here's the great news. God's word always does its work. It never returns to Him void without producing what He sends it forth to accomplish. So, I want you to think about this. If we just get in the word of God and we protect our hearts, then God's word is the good seed as long as it falls on good ground, and we have that responsibility. It doesn't mean we're perfect. It just simply means we protect our hearts. So I want to encourage you. Project your heart. The Bible says guard your heart and when we do that and when we put God's word in our heart, here's the great news. God's word always works. Always. Hey, I have absolutely loved this series. I hope you get the whole series if you missed some so you can hear it again so you can listen to it and let God do His work in your life.