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. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 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. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 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.”