The Crucial Revelation of Life in the Scripturesby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the Gospels the Lord Jesus likened Himself to a sower sowing the seed. The seed is the word of God (Luke 8:11), the sons of the kingdom (Matt. 13:38), and Christ Himself (1 Pet. 1:23). The word of God is the embodiment of Christ. The word of God being the seed means that the seed is Christ. As the sons of the kingdom, we are also the seed. This means that we are the reproduction of Christ, the unique seed. In John 12:24 the Lord Jesus indicated that He was the unique grain, or seed, who fell into the earth and died. Through the death of the one grain of wheat, many grains are produced. The one grain is Jesus, and we are the many grains. Thus, we are the reproduction of Jesus because the many grains are the reproduction of the one grain. Human words are not adequate to explain the marvelous and deep mystery of the rich, all-inclusive seed of life. We must remember that the word of God, Christ, and we are the seed. We should not have the ambition to be merely Bible teachers, but we have to be seeds for the reproduction of life. The apostle Paul told the Corinthians that he was their father who begot them through the gospel (1 Cor. 4:15).
In 1 Corinthians the apostle Paul used three phrases to describe his relationship with them: I fed you (3:2, ASV), I planted (v. 6), and I have begotten you (4:15). Paul emphasized the fact that he had begotten the Corinthians and that he had planted and fed them. Paul was a father, a farmer, and a feeder. We need to be sowers and seeds in our locality. We have to sow ourselves into the church life in our locality. We have to be those who beget, plant, and feed others. We need to be the seeds with life in them for food. We should not be in our localities to pass on merely teachings or knowledge. We should be there as seeds with life in them, which are good for food to feed others. We need to plant ourselves, sow ourselves, as the seed in our localities. Then we will be fathers and farmers. We will be those who reproduce and bring forth life.
Matthew 13 and Luke 8 show us that the Lord came to sow the seed, which is Himself. After being sown into us, the seed of life needs to grow, and its growth needs our cooperation, our coordination. Our cooperation, or coordination, is to have a proper heart. The problem is not with the spirit but with the heart. The heart includes the conscience (Heb. 10:22), the mind (4:12), the emotion (John 16:20), and the will (Acts 11:23). If we are going to coordinate with the growth of the seed within us, we have to deal with our conscience, our mind, our emotion, and our will. If we do not deal with all the parts of our heart, it will be hard for the seed of life to grow within us. The Lord Jesus gave four illustrations of the kind of heart we might have: the wayside, the rocky places, the thorns, and the good earth (Matt. 13:4-8, 19-23; Luke 8:5-8a, 11-15).
The wayside is the outskirts, or the edge, of the field that is close to the way. Because it is so close to the way, it is easily hardened by the traffic of the way. Many unbelievers’ and believers’ hearts are hardened. The wayside signifies the heart that is hardened by worldly traffic. Our heart may be too close to the traffic of today’s world. The seed cannot penetrate such a heart hardened by worldly traffic. The seed can only fall on the surface where the birds, signifying the evil one, Satan, can come and snatch it away. Satan, the evil one in the air (Matt. 13:19), realizes that the seed cannot get into the heart that is like the wayside, so he comes to snatch away the seed. Before farmers sow seed, they generally till the soil to loosen it. But the wayside is hardened, so it is easy for the birds to snatch away the seeds. If our heart is the wayside, it is easy for Satan to come and snatch away the word that was sown in our heart.
The next type of soil is the soil with the rocky places. Matthew 13:5 tells us that this kind of soil lacks “depth of earth.” On the surface is the earth, and underneath are the rocks. Underneath the soil of our heart, there may be rocky places. The wayside is hard, but not as hard as rocks. On the surface our heart may appear to be soft, but underneath we may be hardened as rocks. The seed within us may grow and spring up, but it cannot root deep within us because of the rocky places. The ones with a shallow heart and with hidden rocks cannot stand against any temptation or persecution. The rocks may signify hidden sins, personal desires, self-seeking, and self-pity which frustrate the seed from gaining root in the depth of the heart. Luke 8:6 tells us that the seed which fell on the rock sprouted up but withered because it had no moisture. The shallow earth is easily dried up by the heat of the sun. If the earth is deep, the surface may dry up, but there will still be some moisture or water underneath that maintains the growth in life. We all have to go to the Lord and allow Him to examine us so that we may see how deep the earth is within us.
The thorns signify the anxiety of the age, the deceitfulness of riches, and the pleasures of this life that choke the seed (Matt. 13:22; Luke 8:14). These thorns choke the word from growing in the heart and cause it to become unfruitful.
A good heart is a heart that has been thoroughly tilled and is soft toward the Lord. It is a heart that is not hardened by worldly traffic, without hidden sins, without the anxiety of the age, the deceitfulness of riches, and the pleasures this of life. The wayside, the rocky places, and the thorns have to be dealt with thoroughly in order for us to have a good heart. The good heart is a heart with a pure and good conscience, with a considerate and sober mind, with an affectionate yet restricted emotion, and with a softened and flexible will. Such a heart gives every inch of its ground to receive the word that the word may grow, bear fruit, and produce even a hundredfold (Matt. 13:23).
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