THE KEY PARABLE – The Way of the Cross

Have you ever read any of the Voice of the Martyr’s publications? I’ve been involved with the Voice of the Martyrs since the ‘60’s and have been to China, and have worked with the church there. There are some powerful testimonies coming out of China, and have been coming for some time. There have been more martyred in my lifetime of 60 plus years than in all previous lifetimes back to the day of Christ. But you read those testimonies and you see the grace and the lovingkindness of God coming forth because there is no running from death, there is no trying to save their lives. It’s a marvelous testimony.

Another book by Voice of the Martyrs is “Extreme Devotion.” I try to read one or two of the devotions very morning. It’s to help me relate to the parts of our body that is suffering. And it is a good discipline. You will find in books like “Jesus Freaks” and “Extreme Devotion” jewels and precious stones that will encourage and enable you to face what is coming.

And, if I were a prophet, I would prophesy because the scene is being set. The church in the West is about to be humbled. And in our immaturity we will call it persecution, but it is not. It will be first judgment. And then, after that, when that which is not of Christ has been dealt with, then it will be persecution because only God judges and He only judges that which is not from Him. And, He does not persecute. The ruler of this world and this age persecutes that which is from God.

There is a reason why there is still persecution in America. Now there are Christians who are suffering in a number of ways. I have a number of friends who have suffered for the cause of Christ. I have one friend who has been in prison since 1982, a dear woman. She was first in prison as a child under Hitler for being a Jew. And then she was imprisoned by the Russians as a teenager and young lady for being a German. And she has spent most of her years since 1981, when I was in prison with her, for praying at abortion clinics to save babies. When she is out she’ll be out for maybe a month or two months and then she’ll go back across the street from a clinic, not even on the property, and will set to praying.

She’s really praying for two things: she’s praying for the babies that are being slaughtered there, but she’s also praying for that which is being aborted in the church. And, because she has a restraining order, she can’t be within 1500 feet of any abortion clinic anywhere, they just come and arrest her. She spends a year or 18 months in jail, winning inmates to Christ. That’s her ministry. Praying in front of abortion clinics is not violent and it saves babies. She’s a dear lady from Akin, South Carolina.

There are others here in the states doing what she is doing but there are many around the world that are choosing the way of the cross too.

Mysteries –

The third thing you will find in the parables is that He does not intend for everyone to understand the mysteries of the kingdom. He hides a matter. He has hidden them from the wise and intelligent, and reveals them to infants and babes. Something about our intellect gets in the way. Boy, that’s hard to accept. That won’t fly in a lot of seminaries. But our intellect can get in the way. But it will not get in the way once you have the key. The intellect then becomes a servant of God who has given it to us. I am not in any way suggesting you turn your head off. I’m just suggesting you bring it under the reign. You let the Spirit rule. And then He leads the intellect. And then He gives you understanding.

I know that if you have read the paper or watched the news you have said to yourself, “How can men be in such high places and be so foolish?” You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Can men be in high places and be foolish? Can they be blind to obvious truth that most of the world can see but they, somehow, can’t see? It’s because their intellect got in the way. Sometimes it gets in the way of common sense. But God speaks in mysteries because He intends to hide it from some. And we have seen that.

“To you have been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables.”(Mark 4:11)

There’s a text in Mark 4:34, and in Matthew 13:34 that are the same situation, the same time, the same place. Jesus did not teach except by parables. I hope you are getting this. Whenever Jesus taught in public, He only taught by parables. Look in Matthew 13 to see this. Verse 34 says,

All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables…

You will find teaching in the Gospels that are not in parables. You will find Jesus teaching without parables but it was at a particular time. Can you think of a time when He did not teach in parables? It was when He was only with those who were on the inside. Whenever there were those who were on the outside, He would always teach in parables. Whenever He taught and there were those there who were uninitiated into the mysteries, He would teach in parables.

He always taught in parables whenever there were those who were on the outside present because He wanted to hide it from them. He did not want them to understand.

Many stumble over this Intermission in this particular parable. He makes it very clear in Luke 8:10 the specific reasons for His teaching in parables.

And He said, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.”

That is as concise a quote of Isaiah 6:9 as there is:

He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive; keep on looking but do not understand.’ ”

That’s why Jesus taught in parables. It was because He was in the presence of those He did not want to perceive and He did not want them to understand.

Who would these uninitiated be? Do you think it may have been you before you were ready? He does not want you to reject it or accept it for the wrong reason or on the wrong basis. We have tried so hard to make the Gospel so simple that anybody can say, “Yes!” We have even tried to put it into such a context that it would be very hard, once it is heard, to turn it down. Who wants to go to hell? Think about it. If we can convince them that they are going to go to hell, who is not going to accept the forgiveness of their sins?

It’s out on the water. It’s the one who has gotten into the boat, he’s understood the parable, he’s come under the reign, he’s living in intimacy, he’s being made by Christ Himself. And the day comes when we are in the boat and the storm is raging and we are struggling just to get on with life. He comes walking on the water, and says, “Come out here. You’re there because I put you there but come on out here, out of the boat and onto the water with Me.”

That comes out of intimacy. That’s the life. And we see that in this little intermission here. We see all four of these issues dealt with in this intermission.

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