Hagerstown Christian Church Hagerstown Christian Church

Th'ot for Thursday

January 17, 2019

 

So, let’s get a little “down & gritty” this week.

 

 

Over the last year or two – I have been doing a little more research, bible study & been listening to   teaching on what a “believer in Christ” really is.  I do so as I find many (inside & outside of our churches) who use the terms “believer” or “Christian” in our society. I’ve even been challenged in my own personal walk as I look back over my life & cast it against the scriptures. I have truly been looking at whether my “walk” represents a true walk, to those who are watching or doing life with me.   How ‘bout you?  

 

Scripture challenges us with examples of true “followers of Christ” & teachings on what is “proof” that one is truly following him. Please understand that a relationship with GOD is not based on your works… your goodness… your upbringing… or even that “sinner’s prayer” you may have said at some point in your past. It’s truly based on your heart, which will lead you into a life of “follow thru” after your decision to “accept Him”, his teachings & life.  

 

We are challenged today… by this well -known passage  in  Matthew 13:3-9:

And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil,  but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”

 

This passage gives us a story of 4 different types of “ground” onto which “seed” has been spread. In this story… the seed is God’s truth. And the ground?  Different types of hearts of people who’ve been presented God’s truth.

 

 

The first type of ground or heart…  represents hearts that hear the “word” - the message of the kingdom of God, but they didn’t understand. They are “hearts” that “though they hear”… they “really aren’t hearing or wanting to understand”.  (13:13-15) They are calloused in their interest in spiritual things and/or spiritual truth.

Satan has them so strongly distracted from the “message of the kingdom of heaven”.  (NOT INTERESTED IN BEING A FOLLOWER JESUS)

 

 

 

The second type of ground - heart…  represents hearts that are excited about what they hear, & they want it! They may have even said the “sinners’ prayer” & have been attending church & Bible study. But when they are pressed in their faith or learn the expectations of following God – the “message of the kingdom” - they lose interest & walk away from it. They never allowed the “roots” of the seed to grow deep & hold them thru life. The message of the kingdom & the expectations as a follower is too costly & they abandon their so called “faith”. (NEVER TRULY A FOLLOWER OF JESUS)

 

The third type of ground - heart…  represents hearts that do hear the word, the message - but their worries of, & love for this world will not allow them to believe & follow thru on what they’ve heard & “say” they want. They’re hearts are overwhelmed by the worries of his world … & the wanting of this world & it’s offering.  They allow their desire for the “message of the kingdom” to be “choked out”.   (AGAIN, NEVER A COMITTED FOLLOWER OF JESUS)

 

The fourth type of ground – heart… represents hearts that hear the word, fully receive the word & choose His truth. A heart that chooses to grow in Him & follow thru in the decisions they’ve made to live for Him in this life here on earth.   (A FOLLOWER)

 

You see, the “message of the kingdom” that Jesus taught… may never be accepted by some intellectuals & those are who are obsessed with this world. But those hearts that will allow themselves to be amazed at his teaching, captured by his sincerity – and receive & live for Him, are HIS “followers”!  These are the ones who will enter HIS kingdom based on JESUS’ righteousness upon them – not their own merit.

 

I/we stand in no position of judgment of someone’s prayer or heart regarding redemption & salvation.  But what scripture does encourage in our lives as Christians/followers/believers is…

  • to discern between the righteous & the wicked – those that either serve God or don’t serve God

       Malachi 3:18: "Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked,   

       between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not."   KJV

“And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicke, between those who serve God and those who do not.”NIV

In order to discern the difference between righteous & the wicked, one must make a judgment based on what they see & what scripture says.

 

Galatians 5:22+… “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self-control.” 

(vs.24) “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its’ passions and desires.”

These spiritual fruits are a proof of one who is in Christ. How do we not use these to determine… or judge on who claims to belong to Christ?

 

In Christ we are called to hold each other accountable & to encourage & build each other up. We are also told, that if a brother/sister will not confess & repent from sin, after they’ve been confronted with it… then we are to take another with us to talk with them again. And, in some cases, we are to end fellowship with them.  Hmmm… isn’t it clear that “judgment” is involved in all this? 

 

Galatians 6:1 ESV “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”

Matthew 18:15-17 ESV “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”

1 Corinthians 5:1-13 ESV “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. ...”

Titus 3:10-11 ESV “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.”

1 Timothy 5:20 ESV “As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. “

2 Timothy 4:2 ESV “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”

 

So I ask as we close today… Is your heart his?  Is your walk a real walk? 

 

I ask this in light of  Matthew 7:3…  “You hypocrite, first take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. You therefore have no excuse, you who pass judgment on another. For on whatever grounds you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”

 

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.”

Matthew 13&14

 

Love ya’s!

 

Pastor Brad