“Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.” John 1:35-42

We sometimes feel that we are not capable of leading others to Jesus if we do not have a formal degree or specialized training. But Andrew, who had only himself been directed to Jesus by the witness of John the Baptist saying that Jesus is “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” first went and found his brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah,” and brought him to Jesus.

Of course, knowing the rest of the story, Jesus called Simon “Cephas” (which, in the Greek form, is Peter and means a stone). Peter became an important leader among Jesus’ disciples and, after his fall, boldly bore witness to Jesus as the crucified and risen Messiah and Savior.

While followers of Jesus will want to learn more and more of Him and His Word, even a new follower of Jesus, or untrained believer, can still tell others, “I have found the Savior.” Though a person may not know theological terms or formal Christian dogma, he can still tell people that Jesus died for the sins of the world and rose again and that, in Jesus, there is forgiveness and life everlasting!

Nor should anyone minimize the importance of such a witness for Jesus. The Holy Spirit can and does use the weak, the simple, and even the uneducated witness of believers to call others to faith in Christ Jesus. Even if it is simply a “come and see” or “come and hear” witness, the Holy Spirit can, as He did in the case of Jesus’ first disciples, call people to learn of Jesus and bring them to trust in His sufferings, death, and resurrection as the source of comfort, forgiveness, and new life.

We learn, too, that Jesus’ disciples came to know Him and trust in Him by spending time with Him; for not only did they spend that day with Jesus, but they also spent three years walking with Jesus, hearing His Word, and witnessing His mighty works and power.

We, too, can spend time with Jesus by reading and studying His Word. The Scriptures were written to make us “wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). And through the Scriptures, the Spirit reveals to us Jesus — we see Him for who He is, and we witness for ourselves His love and mercy toward sinners and learn of His love and mercy toward us!

Dear Jesus, reveal Yourself to me through Your Word and grant that I know You and Your love and mercy toward me. And, Lord Jesus, give me the opportunity to tell others of You and direct them to You that they too might come to know and trust in You as their Savior. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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“A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Luke 8:5-8 (read v. 4-15)

From Jesus’ parable of the sower, we learn that not all who hear the Word of God with their ears rightly receive it in faith. In fact, some who initially hear it and come to faith in Jesus fall away again; but, by the grace of God, some of the seed of God’s Word falls on good ground — prepared by the Lord — and grows and produces faith and its fruits.

As we consider this parable, we remember that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Jesus said, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63; cf. Heb. 4:12).

We remember that the Gospel is “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:16-17).

And consider the words of the LORD in Isaiah 55:10-11: “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

As we read the parable of the sower and its explanation, we are quick to identify people we know with the poor kinds of soil and ourselves with the good. But, when we do this, we miss the warning and comfort of this parable for ourselves.

This parable certainly warns against being like one of the three poor kinds of soil. We may think of ourselves as the good soil, but how often do we not also fit the descriptions of the poor ground?

Many times we are like the hard ground. The Word of God is sown upon us, but it doesn’t sink in and produce fruit in our lives because we have either been uninterested or inattentive. Then the Word is snatched away by the devil.

Often we are also like the rocky soil. Though God’s Word begins to grow and produce faith in us, in times of trouble, affliction or persecution, we shrink back from a bold and faithful confession of the truths of God’s Word because we have not let that Word sink its roots deep into our lives. When trouble comes and our faith is put to the test, we turn away in doubt and unbelief.

And how often, like the thorny ground, we let the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things in this life keep us from faithfully hearing and learning God’s Word! These things choke out the Word and keep us from living our lives by faith in Christ Jesus and producing the fruits of faith — the works God would have us do as His redeemed children (cf. Eph. 2:8-10; John 15:1-8).

When we are good soil, we can take no credit. We must say with Jesus that it is a blessing of the Lord when the Word sinks in, grows and produces fruit in our lives (Matt. 13:16).

It is the Lord who cultivates the soil of our hearts, breaking up the hard ground, removing the rocks and pulling out the weeds, that the Gospel of forgiveness of sins and life eternal for the sake of Jesus Christ and His innocent sufferings and death on the cross might be heard and believed by us and produce fruit in our lives.

“Almighty God, Thy Word is cast like seed into the ground; now let the dew of heaven descend and righteous fruits abound. Amen.” John Cawood (1819)

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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“24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. … 36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. 37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Jesus explains the parable of the wheat and the tares for us. He, through His servants, sows the good seed. The field is the world. The good seeds are the children of the kingdom of God; but the tares (or darnel) are the children of the devil, the evil one.

Jesus, through His faithful ministers, sows the pure seed of the Gospel in this world and thus produces true believers who repent of their sins and trust in Christ for salvation, and are, therefore, members of His eternal kingdom. These are the good seeds, or the wheat.

But in the same field where the true Gospel is proclaimed and produces Christians, the devil and his false prophets sow error and false doctrine which produce false Christians. These may appear to be genuine Christians, but they do not repent of their sinful ways and have saving faith in Jesus Christ, and their fruits or works are unacceptable to the Lord God.

In this world — and even within the outward visible church — true believers and false, unbelieving hypocrites continue to dwell side by side until the day of judgment. Then God’s holy angels will separate the false believers from the true.

Those whose religion did not spring up from the good seed of the Gospel will be separated from the true believers, gathered up, and cast into the eternal fires of hell! But those whose faith comes from the pure Gospel — who despair of their own righteousness and trust in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins and for eternal salvation, who also as a fruit of that faith produce fruit acceptable in God’s sight for Jesus’ sake — will be taken to heaven where they will live with Christ in righteousness and purity forever!

This is a warning to us that, wherever the Gospel is sown and true believers are in this world, the devil will also sow his lies and false teaching to lead people into false security and hope based on their own works and righteousness or upon some other lie or deception of the evil one. They may appear to be a part of Christ’s church in this world but they are not. They remain impenitent and unbelieving. In the end, they will be gathered up and cast into the fires of hell!

Only those who hear God’s Word, repent of their sins, and trust in Christ and His blood shed upon the cross for all will be gathered up by God’s angels and given eternal life in heaven!

Let us hold fast to Jesus Christ and continue in His saving Word lest we also be misled by the working of the evil one!

Defend Thy truth, O God, and stay this evil generation; and from the error of its way keep Thine own congregation. The wicked everywhere abound and would Thy little flock confound; but Thou art our Salvation. Amen. (The Lutheran Hymnal, #260, Verse 6)

[Scripture is quoted from the King James version of the Bible.]

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“Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.” John 1:35-37

We may not count it important to just point people to Jesus, but that is what John the Baptist did. He was standing with two of his disciples when Jesus walked by, and he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

The Lamb of God is that one foreshadowed by the ram caught by its horns in a thicket that was the substitute God provided to be offered up to the LORD in the place of Abraham’s son Isaac (cf. Gen. 22:1-19). The Lamb of God is that one foreshadowed by the paschal lamb whose blood was put upon the two door posts and the lintel of each Israelite home that the angel of death might pass over and not kill the firstborn of the Israelites when God carried out His judgment upon the Egyptians (Ex. 12:1-28). The Lamb of God was foreshadowed by the many unblemished lambs offered for generations to make atonement for the sins of the people (cf. Lev. 1).

Jesus is “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (v. 29). He is sinless and unblemished, having fulfilled all the righteous demands of God’s law in our place (cf. Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 1:18-19). And Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for our sins. The LORD God laid our sin and iniquity upon Jesus, punishing Him in our stead (cf. Isa. 53:6; 1 John 2:2). Therefore, when we look in faith to Jesus, the crucified and risen Lamb of God, we sinners have forgiveness and life — He paid in full for the sins of the whole world!

So also today, we who know Jesus can direct others to Him, telling them to look to Jesus, that Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Look to Jesus! He is the Son of God and the Savior of the world! He paid in full for mankind’s sins when He suffered and died on the cross. He rose from the dead and lives, and all who look to Him in faith for forgiveness and life eternal are graciously pardoned and received into God’s everlasting family.

Through John’s witness, the two disciples of John followed Jesus to learn more about Him. Through the Gospel witness of believers in Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit works to bring others to Jesus so that they too might know Him and trust in Him as their sacrifice for sin, their Redeemer and Savior!

As the two disciples of John heard John’s witness concerning Jesus and followed Him to learn more, so also today, people directed to Jesus by your witness and mine may be called by God’s Spirit to come to Jesus, learn of Him, and believe in His name. We may not be able to preach like John the Baptist; but we can still tell people to look to Jesus, for He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

In Jesus the Messiah, God offers forgiveness and life everlasting to all. Look to Jesus, for in Him you will find mercy and forgiveness. In Him, you will find eternal life!

O dearest Jesus, thank You for going to the cross and bearing the guilt and punishment for all my sins. Grant that I also might point others to You so that they too might follow You, learn of You, and receive forgiveness and life everlasting through faith in Your name. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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Those calling themselves Christian but who endorse or practice homosexual relationships, same-sex marriages, transgenderism, cross-dressing and sexual relationships outside of marriage between a man and a woman haven’t read and accepted the clear teaching of the Bible.

Look up what God says in His Word and see for yourself: Genesis 1:26-27; 2:18-25; 18:16 — 19:29; Leviticus 18:1-30; 20:1-23; Deuteronomy 22:5; Matthew 5:27-32; 19:3-9; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3-5; Jude 5-7; Revelation 21:8.

Rather than pretending to be Christian, those who endorse practicing what God calls sin should be honest and simply acknowledge that they do not accept the Bible and the teaching of Christ and His apostles. To do otherwise is hypocrisy and self-deception.

The Bible warns against these and other sins that we all might examine ourselves, repent of our sins and look to Christ Jesus and His cross for pardon and forgiveness and then seek to amend our evil ways and live for our God and Savior in accord with His holy Word (cf. Luke 24:46-47; Acts 3:19; 2 Peter 3:9; Psalm 32; Psalm 139:23-24; Isaiah 55:6-7). To do otherwise is the opposite of being Christian.

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