Review and then Focus on Receiving & Rooting
The Reapers Roadmap materials previously presented summarized how the Bible’s Gospel of John 1:10-13 and the “Parable of the Sower” found in Matthew 13:1-9 shows the way redemption typically happens, or regretfully fails to happen. That is, it shows how people come to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, or choose another course both for their life on earth and more importantly for eternity.
John 1:9-13 (NIV): 9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
God reveals his word and ways so people have the chance to learn more and get to know God better by applying their reason and strength. God presents his message both to Jews and Gentiles. Today, God through his word and the Holy Spirit calls to those who attend Christian Services and who hear God’s word elsewhere along life’s paths. In the “Parable of the Sower” this is like dropping seeds of God’s word along the path, as illustrated in the Bible in Matthew 13:1-9.
Parable of the Sower: Matthew 13: 1-9 (NIV): 1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.“
Focus on Receiving & Rooting
It’d be great if everyone believed and received the word of God for their own eternal benefit. This opens the door for God to work to improve their hearts. It’d be great if all people nourished this belief diligently, a process we’ll call rooting here based on the Parable of the Sower. God calls us to seek his kingdom and righteousness as the top priority, showing the high importance to create roots in God’s world, words, and ways.
Matthew 6:33 (NIV): 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
God is asking you to seek his kingdom and righteousness, because God is willing to help you find it, to search and discover what is good, right, and holy.
Matthew 7:7-12 (NIV): 7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Dig Deep Roots
We know that God calls us to seek his kingdom and righteousness as our first priority. God is watching us, and as a result of us seeking the kingdom and righteousness of God as a first priority, God will provide our life essentials like food and clothes. For those who receive the word of God and aim to dig deep roots, God commits to keep the worries of life and deceitfulness of wealth from interfering, even though it is self-inflicted by those who use their reason to reject God’s ways.
Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV): 24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
To find God’s kingdom, though, the believer needs to be born again of the Spirit of God as children of God.
John 3:3 (NIV): 3 In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.“ 4 “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” 5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.“
As we seek God’s righteousness and his kingdom, it is important to ask God to help repair our eyes, so we can properly live in the light, receive the Holy Spirit, and recognize the truth.
Matthew 6:22-23 (NIV): 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
By believing and receiving God’s word, we are given the right to become children of God. This is a right for our soul to be born again by the Holy Spirit of God. We are unable of our own power to do this, since this way of life is naturally foreign to us. We are unable to do what is right all the time due to our sinful nature. We are unable to completely change our own heart and ways ourselves. We are only able to be born again by God’s divine intervention, and hence by God’s divine choice for this to take place, a choice God made after our belief.
John 1:9-13 (NIV): 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Our journey to become children of God starts with faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God and continues to be fulfilled in faith. While the faith manifests itself in works, our works never earn us the title of righteousness, though a lack of works is evidence of a lack of faith. Putting your trust, your faith, in Jesus, is the only solid foundation, the only solid rock, as the scriptures say.
Romans 9:30-33 (NIV): 30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the “stumbling stone.” 33 As it is written:
“See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall,
and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
The righteousness of God that we seek to guide our lives is a righteousness rooted deeply in faith in Jesus Christ.
Romans 1:16-17 (NIV):16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
God is gracious and sees our belief and our effort to know him better. God uses our belief and helps us with our unbelief to work his word and will in our lives, souls, and mind. God causes changes by giving us a new heart and adopting us as his children through his divine intervention.
1 John 3:1-3 (NIV): 1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears,we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
Regardless of how we come to receive the Son of God, God is generous, and will reward people who receive him, his apostles, and his disciples.
Matthew 10:40-42 (NIV): 40 “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. 41 Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”
As children of God, we are in the process of becoming more like God, as the Holy Spirt reveals God to us through his Son Jesus Christ. Yet, we must be careful to avoid self-deception as people who are quick to stroke their self-esteem and place themselves in the prized category of the righteous as children of God. Scripture challenges us on this, calling us to back up this self-view with actions, and exhibit the faith internally in our hearts, by caring for others, even those who mean us harm.
1 John 3:7-10 (NIV): 7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.
We are called to reach out to communicate with God through prayer to help us through our life’s journey in a manner worthy of the honor to be called the children of God. Jesus teaches us how to pray.
Matthew 6: 5-15 (NIV): 5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
” ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Store Up Treasures in Heaven
As we seek God’s kingdom and righteousness, we must remember God’s children primary focus of their heart is to form roots that reach to heaven to eternity, rather than on the transitory treasures of this creation.
Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV): 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Branches of Belief Grafted to God’s Tree
There are similar analogies to receiving and rooting repeated throughout scriptures, such as a branch being grafted onto an olive tree, connected to its’ nourishing roots. The Apostle Paul in the Book of Romans calls upon believers to remain in the kindness of God. This is a call to remain in the grace of God, which was received through the faith that results in our being credited with righteousness. The analogy is to a plant being grafted to a tree. The believers in the Son of God are the plant that is grafted to the olive tree. Each believer must decide to remain grafted into the tree. Likewise, some who are currently unbelievers are given a chance to be grafted to the olive tree. The olive tree is a metaphor for God’s source of nourishment for believers.
Romans 11:22-24 (NIV): 16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. 22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
House on Rock Stands
Another similar analogy to having deep roots is a person building their house upon the rock. In the desert area near Israel there are parts where the ground is hard like rock when it was dry, but then becomes unstable when the rains come. Builders needed to dig deep enough to have their foundation on the rock deep below the grounds’ surface. Likewise, the believer must dig deeply, so their faith is firmly resting upon a rock solid foundation, a foundation on the Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the rock, the foundation and cornerstone. Jesus Christ shares here that ”playing church” with only “surface deep” superficial worship is a completely unreliable foundation. Those who truly receive, also root their faith to be strong enough to sincerely do what God commands.
Matthew 7:21-27 (NIV): 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.“
Key Points: Receiving & Rooting
- God asks you to seek his kingdom and righteousness, because God is willing to help you _______ it, to search and discover what is good, right, and holy. While you do this, God will provide life essentials like ______ and ______.
- God rewards people who _________ him, his apostles, and his disciples.
- Focus your heart to store up treasures ________ in heaven for eternity rather than earthly treasures in things that ______ and go _______.
- To be like a plant in _____ soil that produces abundantly, dig deep ______ in God’s word, way, and will. God _______ believers to his tree to be nourished by the roots, and ________ off unbelievers.
- Like a wise builder, each believer must dig deep enough to lay their faith firmly upon a rock solid _________, which is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to both hear God’s word and put them into ________.
- To see the Kingdom of God, you must be _____ again by water and the Spirit to receive a new ______ and be ________ as children, which only happens through _______ intervention after our _______.
- Children of God stop ______, do what is ______, _____ for others, and _____ all people, even those who mean them harm.
- Both the Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Wise Builder show the importance to dig _______ to make one’s faith resilient to life’s storms, a process The Reapers Roadmap calls _________.
Discussion Questions: Receiving & Rooting
(1) What are your most prized treasures? How do you currently value God, friends, family, your possessions, power, health, and others? What is the proper way to value these in relation to each other?
(2) When the metaphoric storms of life present their challenges, where ultimately do you place your trust? Why? Will this lead to disappointment?
(3) What are your natural tendencies for behavior and thinking patterns? Are they good or bad?
(4) What can you do to facilitate the process to dig deep roots in the Lord? How can those around you help you in doing this? What is the risk if you omit this important step?
(5) How have you received the Word of God? How do continue to do so with increasing depth in knowledge and application?
Receiving & Rooting: Further Study
To dig roots deeper into the faith, read the bible at the Bible Gateway http://www.biblegateway.com and at the Net Bible Online http://net.bible.org/home.php . You can also hear sermons online at the Mars Hill Church http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/sermons , and look for a Christian Church to join locally.
Continue your studies on the Parable of the Sower:
Hand Drawn Receiving & Rooting Roadmap
Key Points: Receiving & Rooting: Answers
- God asks you to seek his kingdom and righteousness, because God is willing to help you find it, to search and discover what is good, right, and holy. While you do this, God will provide life essentials like food and clothing .
- God rewards people who receive him, his apostles, and his disciples.
- Focus your heart to store up treasures rooted in heaven for eternity rather than earthly treasures in things that decay and go away .
- To be like a plant in good soil that produces abundantly, dig deep roots in God’s word, way, and will. God grafts believers to his tree to be nourished by the roots, and cuts / breaks off unbelievers.
- Like a wise builder, each believer must dig deep enough to lay their faith firmly upon a rock solid foundation , which is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to both hear God’s word and put them into practice .
- To see the Kingdom of God, you must be born again by water and the Spirit to receive a new heart and be adopted as children, which only happens through divine intervention after our belief .
- Children of God stop sinning , do what is right , care for others, and love all people, even those who mean them harm.
- Both the Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Wise Builder show the importance to dig deep / deeply to make one’s faith resilient to life’s storms, a process The Reapers Roadmap calls Rooting .