Morning Bible Study
In two weeks we will be having our annual Baptism extravaganza. We will start with lunch at 12:30pm. There will be a bounce house and giant
waterslide for the kids. We will start
the Baptism around 1:15.
If you have not been baptized since you became a believer, come and be
If you want to help us pull this extravaganza off, take the flyer and put your
name and phone number on it and put it in the Agape Box.
Luke was a doctor and a travelling companion of the apostle Paul.
He wrote this book while Paul was in prison.
In writing his book, Luke made use of other older documents like the Gospel
of Mark, as well as extensive eyewitness accounts.
Jesus’ ministry has begun, and the people have been amazed not just at the
things He’s been teaching, but the things He’s been doing.
8:1-3 Certain Women
:1 Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and
village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the
twelve were with Him,
:2 and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and
infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons,
:3 and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many
others who provided for Him from their substance.
:2 Mary called Magdalene
There were many different gals named “Mary”.
“Magdalene” means she came from the town of Magdala, on the western shore
of the Sea of Galilee.
Here’s a news story from this year …
The only other time she is mentioned in the gospels is at the end of Jesus’
She was the first person that Jesus appeared to after His resurrection
:3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward
Joanna’s name means “Yahweh is gracious”.
She was married to a fellow who was a top manager in Herod Antipas’ palace.
Like Mary, Joanna was at the empty tomb (Luke 24:10)
Her name means “lily”.
We think she cried a lot because someone once wrote …
Actually, this is the only time her name is mentioned in Scripture.
:3 certain women
There have always been people who have claimed all sorts of things about people
in the Bible.
From time to time you will hear people claim that Jesus was married, and in
some instances to more than one wife.
You will also hear some of these same people claim that David and Jonathan
were homosexual lovers because David had said,
Samuel 1:26 NKJV) I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; You have
been very pleasant to me; Your love to me was wonderful, Surpassing the love of women.
Is it possible for a man to have a close, loving
relationship with another man and it not be sexual?
Is it possible that David had not developed a healthy
relationship with a woman to that point?
You will hear similar innuendoes about homosexuality with Jesus and His
What is really happening is that people are trying to look at the Bible
through the lens of their own twisted minds.
1:15 NKJV) To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and
unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.
If you have an impure mind, you will see impurity
We live in a very polluted society.
We are absolutely bombarded with sexual references and innuendoes.
I would dare say that it’s not just unbelievers who see the possibility of
sexual impurity in these passages, but some of us believers have thought such
things as well.
Isaiah saw it in himself,
6:5b NKJV) …Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell
in the midst of a people of unclean lips…
There is not a shred of solid evidence from the first century that Jesus’
relationships with His disciples and these women were anything but pure and
:3 who provided for Him from their substance
provided for – diakoneo – to
be a servant, to serve, wait upon
Saved to serve
These women, just like the men, have been touched and transformed by Jesus.
He has changed their lives.
They have decided to now serve Jesus.
It’s the same for us, beloved.
When Jesus has changed your life, you ought to find out how you can serve
These women not only “served” Jesus with their actions, but they “served”
with their “substance”, in learning to give financially to the work that was
We believe as a church that a mark of maturity in the believer is measured
by how you and I are learning to serve Jesus.
It might be in how you relate to your family.
Choosing to serve and meet their needs, even when they
gripe or complain.
It might be doing something in your neighborhood.
Helping an elderly neighbor.
It might be in how you related to others at work.
Choosing to serve your fellow employees as a way of
showing the love of Jesus to them.
It might be doing something at church.
Being a part of the prayer team on Sunday mornings –
praying in the back room while church is going on.
It might be in helping in the Children’s Ministry –
teaching the children about Jesus.
It might be in something simple like helping Lisa with
next week’s Baptism extravaganza.
We need many hands to help pull off the setup, food
service, and cleanup.
8:4-15 The Sower and the Seed
:4 And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from
every city, He spoke by a parable:
:4 He spoke by a parable
A parable is a short story that teaches some spiritual truth.
The story Jesus is going to tell is about a farmer, a “sower” of
seeds. The man is going to plant seeds
in his field.
:5 “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the
wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it.
:6 Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because
it lacked moisture.
:7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked
:8 But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a
hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear,
let him hear!”
:8 He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
If you can hear these words, then pay attention to the lesson they are
:9 Then His disciples asked Him, saying, “What does this parable mean?”
:10 And He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the
kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘Seeing
they may not see, And hearing they may not understand.’
:10 Seeing they may not see
The point is this: Those who have
hard hearts towards the things of God are not going to get this and will just
blow it off.
We see this all the time in the world today when non-believers read the
same text we read and come up with the strangest, goofiest ideas.
Those who want to understand are going to ask questions and find out what
Jesus is talking about, just like the disciples.
:11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
The story is about what kind of things will result when God’s word is
planted in different people’s hearts.
:12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and
takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
:12 the devil comes and takes away the word
The person whose heart is like the roadside is the person where the seed
never gets a chance to sprout.
It never stays longs enough to produce anything.
There are people who never seem to “get it” when you share the gospel. The enemy has stolen the seed.
One of the ways the enemy steals the seed is through the insidious lies the
world has told us:
“The Bible is just a bunch of made-up stories”
“Jesus was not a real person”
“We are all products of evolution, there is no God who created everything”
When a person has swallowed some of these lies, it’s easy for them to just
blow it off when they hear that God loved them so much that He gave His Son to
die for them.
:13 But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive
the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time
of temptation fall away.
:13 these have no root
The picture of “rocky soil” is the idea that there’s a little layer of dirt
on top of bedrock.
The seeds that land on this soil might actually be able to germinate and
produce a plant, but the roots aren’t going to go very deep because of the
Because the roots aren’t deep, when a dry wind blows, they will wither and
David painted a similar picture,
(Psalm 1:1-6 NKJV)
—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, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.
The person who delights in God’s Word will have roots that
go deep and find that river of life.
Jesus described the “hot winds” that can cause a person to “fall away” as
temptation – peirasmos – trial,
proving; the trial of man’s integrity; an enticement to sin, temptation
The hot winds that can wither a plant may be a time when
you are tempted to sin.
The hot winds may be a time when you go through great
The way to survive the hot winds is to develop deep roots where you can
How deep will you allow the Word of God to go in your heart?
Some people like to pick and choose which parts of the Bible they will
They don’t have any problem when the Bible tells them not
They get quite angry when somebody steals something that
belongs to them.
They don’t have any problem when the Bible tells them not
to commit adultery because they would be furious if their spouse ever cheated
But then when Jesus says,
5: 28 NKJV) But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has
already committed adultery with her in his heart.
It’s when they hear this that they start making excuses.
They ask the question, “Just what does it mean to look on
a woman with lust???”
They might say, “Well who doesn’t look on a woman with
And they never allow the Word of God to go deeper than the
surface of their life.
The shallow person is the one that says, “I’ve tried Christianity and it
didn’t work for me”.
:14 Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they
have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life,
and bring no fruit to maturity.
:14 go out and are choked
The picture is that the plants never grow up enough to produce an actual
crop because the weeds or thorns choke them.
Jesus actually lists three kinds of weeds that will stunt our growth as
believers and keep us from bearing fruit in our lives.
The NIV translates the word “worries” for “cares”. We might call it anxiety.
Anxiety is a “fear” over what might happen.
I believe there are folks who can get caught in an endless loop of anxiety,
where it’s hard to shut down anxiety attacks and it may be necessary to seek
medical help and take advantage of anti-anxiety medications.
What I believe we ALL need to do is
to learn how to trust God more.
56:3 NKJV) Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.
12:2a NKJV) Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid
Paul wrote that we can learn to trust God through prayer.
4:6–7 NKJV) —6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and
supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the
peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and
minds through Christ Jesus.
We need to learn to pray.
Video: War Room – The Heart of the
If you haven’t seen the movie “War Room” yet, you ought to
see it. It’s about the power of prayer.
It’s not wrong to have possessions.
It’s not wrong to be wealthy.
The problem comes when your possessions possess you.
Even poor people can get caught in living to “get more” in
The problem comes when you are never satisfied with what you already have.
Paul gives us a picture of maturity when he wrote about
his own financial needs:
4:11–13 NASB95) —11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in
whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to
live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of
being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all
things through Him who strengthens me.
Jesus wrote to the wealthy church at Laodicea about a problem He had with
them. They had become “lukewarm” (Rev.
Video: War Room – Lukewarm Coffee
Your love of things will make you lukewarm.
pleasures – hedone (“hedonism”)
– pleasure; desires for pleasure
“hedonism” is defined as “the pursuit of pleasure; sensual
In 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of
Independence that all men were created equal and that all men deserved the
“Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”
In America, there are people who have taken that last
phrase and decided that this gives them the license to pursue every kind of wicked
“pleasure” in the name of “pursuing happiness”.
That is NOT what that founding fathers meant.
God is not opposed to pleasure.
16:11 NKJV) You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness
of joy; At Your
right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Some kinds of pleasure aren’t particularly dangerous, but just messy.
Video: Peanut Butter Baby
What God is concerned about are the things that promise “pleasure”, and
might give us pleasure for a moment, but actually result in spiritual death.
Solomon wrote about the foolish young man who allowed
himself to be tempted by a beautiful married woman.
7:22–23 NLT) —22 He followed her at once, like an ox going to the slaughter. He was
like a stag caught in a trap, 23 awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart. He was like a bird
flying into a snare, little knowing it would cost him his life.
If your life becomes defined by anxiety, possessions, or lustful pleasure, you
are not going to mature the way God wants you to.
You will not bear the kind of fruit God wants to produce in your life.
:15 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
:15 the good ground
Bearing fruit and harvesting a great crop is the goal of every farmer.
This is why he sows his seed in the first place.
God wants your life to produce fruit.
(John 15:8 NKJV) By this My
Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
Bearing fruit might be bringing others to Christ.
It might be spiritual fruit …
NLT) —22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love,
joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness,
I’d like to point out a few farming tips that Jesus hints at in this
verse. Here’s some keys to producing
fruit in your life.
Cultivate your heart
Jesus talked about the seed landing on a “noble and good” heart.
I don’t think that He meant that God only uses “good” people.
He meant that you must continue to cultivate the ground you are planting
the seed in – your heart.
If you have a “rocky” or “shallow” heart, then learn to ask God to break up
the ground so the seed can go deeper into your life.
Even backyard gardeners know they have to keep the weeds under control.
If anxiety is your issue, then learn to pray. Work at trusting God with little things so
you can eventually trust Him with big things.
If your life is wrapped up in getting “stuff”, then make your next priority
to learn to be “content” with what God has given you. Learn to say “thanks” for what you do have
instead of working for that next “thing”.
If you are addicted to evil “pleasures”, you have a difficult but not
impossible road ahead.
I know people who can help you, but you will need to want
to actually change.
Jesus hinted at another key trait to bearing fruit – patience.
patience – hupomone (“under”
+ “to remain”) – steadfastness, constancy, endurance
In the New Testament this is the characteristic of a man
who is not swerved from his deliberate choice to follow God by even the
It’s the person who falls, but gets up again.
Feel like quitting? Don’t. Paul wrote,
NKJV) And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we
shall reap if we do not lose heart.
(Theodore Roosevelt once said,)
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong
man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The
credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by
dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again
and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who
does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great
devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the
end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least
he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold
and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”