Sunday, September 25, 2011

Which group are you in?'s 1 of these 4

There are some things in life that you can be neutral on and it is of no consequence on your life. For example, you can have no interest in who wins the World Series, the Super Bowl or even the Presidency.  Whether you go to McDonald’s or Burger King may not matter to you one way or the other. In contrast, how you respond to Jesus Christ has an eternal impact.  Where as many people think that Heaven is your “default” destination, the Truth is, separation from God is your “default” condition and you will stay in that condition unless something changes. Isn’t it interesting that our society thinks it is so much smarter now because we aren’t “so closed minded to think that there is absolute Truth”. You can believe the philosophy of men and think that “what is true for you is true for you”; but the fact is, God’s Word says there is absolute Truth whether you believe it or not.

(In the following set of verses, keep in mind that Paul is talking to people that have surrendered their life to Jesus Christ)
Ephesians 2:1-14  And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5  even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. 11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,

Ephesians makes it very clear what we who are born-again are “suppose to” look like now, and what we “used to” look like before we were saved.  Ephesians also leaves no room for doubting the reality that we are either separated from Christ or we are “in Christ”; there is no in between.

In addition, God’s Word tells us that our response to the Gospel will be one of four ways; and of these four “group responses”, only one group will be saved. Which group do you fall in?

First let’s look at Luke 8 verse 1 which says Jesus went to every city and verse 4 says the multitudes came from every city. It seems that He preached (as the Word says He did) and then He moved on, but the people continued to follow Him from every city. Clearly they desired more of Jesus. Do you desire more of Jesus?

Luke 8:1-4 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. 4  And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable:

Here’s the parable that Jesus speaks:

Luke 8:5-9 "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 it. 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!" 9 Then His disciples asked Him, saying, "What does this parable mean?"

Verse 10 makes it clear that if someone understands the things of God it has been given them by God. If we humble ourselves before God He will give us understanding; but if we remain prideful, we will be as those that hear but do not understand.

Luke 8:10 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.'
(Jesus speaking)

Group number one of these four groups that Jesus tells us about is the group that hears the Word of God, but before understanding is given the devil comes along and takes it away and they are not saved.

I can’t help but think that this is the group of people that choose to remain neutral; they don’t want to take seriously the Word of God and God’s Word never takes root on any level, making it very easy for the devil to snatch away the seed.

Luke 8:11-12 "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 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.

The second group are those that receive the Word with joy, but then temptation comes and there is no solid roots and fall away. Clearly an emotional response to the Word of God does not save you. Many times alter calls are an emotional response of someone receiving the Word with joy, but as the lures and temptations come, they fall away.....and are not saved.

Luke 8:13 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.

The third group loves the world. Jesus said that it is His desire that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be His disciples. The fruit we bear is how Jesus and the world know that you belong to Him. This ties in to the third group of people. The seed that fell among thorns speaks of those that seemed to have “went out”, having received the Word, but the cares of the world, the riches of this world, and the pleasures of life choke out any seed that was planted.....and they are not saved.

Luke 8:14 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.

The fourth group seems to be the only group that is saved, which definitely helps us understand why Jesus said, "broad is the road that leads to destruction and many go that way".

Matthew 7:13-14 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

This fourth group not only receives the Word with joy, but their heart is prepared for the Word to take root and not waiver from anything this world has to offer. The Word takes hold in their heart and they not only bear fruit, but they bear fruit with patience.

Luke 8:15 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 patience.

This is a faith that is not hidden, it is a faith that is out in the open for all to see...what other reason would Jesus immediately follow up with verse sixteen.

Luke 8:16 "No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light.

Verse 18 warns us to rightly receive the Word of God when you hear it.

Luke 8:18 Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him."

This verse is not for material things; this verse is referring to the fruit of the Spirit. Even if a person that belongs to one of the first three groups and seems to have an “appearance of Godliness"; if it is without root and this world is more important to them, even what they have (spiritually speaking) will be taken. On the other hand, for those that hold fast to the Truth and are firmly rooted in Christ, they will be given more. More love, faith patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, etc.

Galatians 5:19-26 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23  gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Then Jesus leaves no doubt that a simple profession of faith means nothing. Yes, it starts with confessing with your mouth that Jesus is your Lord and Savior; but Jesus commands us to walk out our faith. We cannot be among the first three groups that hear it and although they have different "levels of knowledge", ultimately they all fall away. We must be as the fourth group that hears the Word of God and becomes a "doer" of the Word.  Saving faith is belief in Jesus, but is a belief unto obedience; not just a profession of faith. It is obedience to Jesus and His Word, NOT obedience to any religion.

Luke 8:20-21 And it was told Him by some, who said, "Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see You." 21 But He answered and said to them, "My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it."

James 1:21-22 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

1 comment:

  1. start to finish, this is Powerful! thank you Jesus