Review and then Focus on Remaining in Righteousness
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 Remaining in Righteousness
Once you have known God, and his Son Jesus Christ, you are wisely instructed to remain firm in this knowledge and experience and relationship, so you will receive the promised eternal life, despite devilish deceptions denying the deity.
1 John 2:18-25 (NIV): 18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. 21 I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22 Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. 24 See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is what he promised us—even eternal life.
Our call challenges us to continue in Jesus Christ. We are reminded to remain in righteousness. God himself provides what is needed to do this. God provides the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, the life of Jesus, and the community of believers as support.
1 John 2:26-29 (NIV): 26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him. 28 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.
To remain in righteousness, requires us to follow our role model, who is Jesus Christ, whom the Holy Spirit uses to reveal God the Father’s character through his teachings and sacrificial giving. We are expected to care for others and help them out with pure motives. When most people do this, it will lead to a clear conscious before God. As we become more like God, loving and caring for others, our prayer petitions will become more acceptable to him and consistent with his will.
1 John 3:16-22 (NIV): 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20 whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.
There are many people who do what is right to advance their own interests by exalting their own self-image, increasing their popularity, and enhancing their career prospects. God sees all we do and transparently observes selfish acts cloaked in garments of selflessness. We are called to do what is right, and also do it with the right motives to receive rewards from God.
Matthew 6:1-4 (NIV): 1 “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Matthew 6:16-18 (NIV): 16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
To remain in righteousness, we must remain faithful to the fundamentals to follow Jesus Christ, who calls us to love each other. We must embrace God’s plan to have the Spirit of God live in our souls. The Spirit of God helps us to understand God’s words found in The Bible.
1 John 3:16-22 (NIV): 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
Once you are called, ordinated and elected into God’s favor, make your calling and election sure to remain in righteousness, through these guidelines the apostle Peter instructs us to follow to properly build upon our faith in Jesus Christ. Add to your faith in Jesus goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love, so your faith will have deep rooting, and you will prevail. This is so important for your to do, that we are assured that building upon our faith in this way will make our calling and election certain. God has provided us the menu, ingredients, recipes, and instructions, along with the responsibility to prepare the feast. God calls us to use our faith to be good to others. God calls us to learn more about how to be good to others, so we can be productive and effective in our outreach. As we gain knowledge about how to be more effective, we need to work on our self-control, so we can do what is necessary. To continual to be successful at doing what is necessary, we need to work on our consistency through perseverance, even in the face of opposition. This perseverance must exhibit and be rooted in a godly foundation and lifestyle free of pride, so we’ll be good witnesses to others and our conscious will further support our actions. Being godly must be sincere, as the sincerity that one caring person shows kindness to their brother, rather than insincere shows of godliness just to gain the flattery of others. The brotherly kindness needs to rooted in love towards each other, supported by the love of God, so that the motives are pure, so that the law of God is kept and we’ll be effective and productive.
2 Peter 1:3-11 (NIV): 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. 10 Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
As God’s children, we are instructed first to follow God’s commands with all our heart, mind, and soul, and second to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Matthew 22:36-38 (NIV): 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.“
Romans 13:8-10 (NIV): 8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Eliminate Disobedience and Love of Money
While you pursue godliness, realize the purpose of godliness is not financial gain. Instead, use your faith in God to crush the unholy, ungodly, love of money in your soul, so you are kept secure in your faith, and remain on the straight righteous path.
1 Timothy 6:3-10 (NIV): 3 If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Believers Safe in God’s Hands
Our sinful nature means our works will never be sufficient, because we like everyone has sinned and deserve God’s punishment both for what we do, and for what we omit doing. It is by faith that we work to live righteous lives, lives that are rooted in faith in God through his Son Jesus Christ, who reveals the God the Father.
Romains 4:1-3 (NIV): 1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
We are called to remain in righteousness, knowing God the Father who is one with the Son will keep our souls safe in his hands for all eternity.
Romains 8:38-39 (NIV): 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord
John 10:27-30 (NIV): 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
Encourage Believers to Remain True to God
Those who believe are to encourage fellow believers to remain true to the faith in the Lord with all their hearts, even as they face hard challenges.
Acts 14:21-25 (NIV): 21 They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. 23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. 24 After going through Pisidia, they came into Pamphylia, 25 and when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.
Acts 11:23 (NIV): 23 When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.
Equip Yourself Spiritually
As you root your faith deeply to remain in the righteousness of God promised to those who believe with their heart, mind, and soul, prepare yourself to become a rock solid witness. To become a strong witness to others requires utilizing the full armor of God. This armor is not military in nature, just as Jesus Christ instructed Peter to put away his sword and healed the ear of the soldier Peter cut off. Instead, this armor is rooted in the truth about God, and his Son Jesus Christ. This armor includes the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, readiness of feet for the gospel, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:10-20 (NIV): 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Romans 13:11-14 (NIV): 11 And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Submit to Authorities
Because God is King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Ruler above all Rulers, we are also called to obey rulers in authority, and to fulfill our obligations to others. We are called to faithfully meet our financial and interpersonal obligations.
Romans 13:1-7 (NIV): 1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4 For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
1 Timothy 6:11-16 (NIV): 11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
The Bible contains the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures, the record of the works God performed, and God’s expectations of us. The expectations pertaining to the faith are realistic in the context of the grace, mercy, and help God provides, because Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was subjected to temptations as we are, yet remained in righteousness.
Hebrews 4:12-16 (NIV): 12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. 12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
To nurture our and our fellow followers’ faith, let’s continue to share our learnings about God, meeting together, being examples, and encouraging one another.
Hebrews 10:23-25 (NIV): 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Remaining: Further Study
To learn more, read The Bible at websites like The Bible Gateway http://www.biblegateway.com and The Online Parallel Study Bible http://www.bible.cc/ . Learn more about God at apologetics ministry websites like Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) at http://www.rzim.org/ , which also provide audio Podcasts freely available for download. Find a local Christian Community Church, at a mainstream church like the Presbyterians, Lutherans, Episcopals, Methodists, and/or Baptists to immerse yourself in God’s Word.
Key Points: Remaining
- To ________ in righteousness requires us to follow our role model Jesus Christ, whom the Holy Spirit uses to reveal God the Father’s __________ through his teachings and sacrificial giving. The _______ of God helps us to understand God’s words, which are found in the Bible.
- God’s commandment foundations instruct us first to _______ the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, and soul and second to _____ our neighbors as ourselves.
- Embrace godliness and eliminate __________ towards God and the love of ________, to avoid falling into temptations, traps, and foolish desires that cause ruin and destruction.
- Do what is ______ with the ______ motives to be rewarded by God, who transparently sees through our ______ acts even when they are cloaked in ___________.
- Do what is _______ and submit to __________ since they are ___________ by God. Give _________ what you owe them, whether revenues, respect, or honor.
- Equip yourself __________ with the full _______ of God to stand firm against the devil’s schemes. Believers are ___________ in God’s hands and __________ fellow believers to remain true to God.
- You are responsible to remain in righteousness by making your ______ and ______ sure by your every effort to add in increasing measure to your faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love as scriptures prescribe. “If you do these things, you will never _____”, you will be productive and effective, and “will receive a ______ welcome into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Discussion Questions: Remaining
(1) What character qualities being present in increasing measure will keep us effective and productive as Christians, certain of our calling and election, and setup to receive a rich welcome into heaven? How are you going to nurture those qualities with the help of the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and the Community of Believers?
(2) What are the greatest commandments? Do you love everyone, even those who frustrate and intimate you?
(3) How would you know if you were being led astray?
(4) How are we to equip ourselves spiritually? What do those attributes mean in terms of everyday application?
(5) Why are we to submit to the authorities?
(6) What is hidden from God’s site? Knowing this, are you able to be honest with God about your own shortcomings to pray to God and seek God’s help?
(7) Is belief really just a way to manipulate God into giving us worldly riches? What kind of riches does God wish to bestow upon us? What type of provision does God provide for those who seek his kingdom and righteousness?
(8) When we do good deeds in this world, what behaviors limit our rewards? How do we increase our rewards with God?
(9) What can you do to help fellow believers to remain faithful to Jesus?
Continue your studies on the Parable of the Sower:
Hand Drawn Remaining Roadmap
Key Points: Remaining: Answers
- To remain in righteousness requires us to follow our role model Jesus Christ, whom the Holy Spirit uses to reveal God the Father’s character through his teachings and sacrificial giving. The Spirit of God helps us to understand God’s words, which are found in the Bible.
- God’s commandment foundations instruct us first to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, and soul and second to love our neighbors as ourselves.
- Embrace godliness and eliminate disobedience towards God and the love of money , to avoid falling into temptations, traps, and foolish desires that cause ruin and destruction.
- Do what is right with the right motives to be rewarded by God, who transparently sees through our selfish acts even when they are cloaked in selflessness .
- Do what is right and submit to authorities since they are established by God. Give everyone what you owe them, whether revenues, respect, or honor.
- Equip yourself Spiritually with the full armor of God to stand firm against the devil’s schemes. Believers are safe in God’s hands and encourage fellow believers to remain true to God.
- You are responsible to remain in righteousness by making your calling and election sure by your every effort to add in increasing measure to your faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love as scriptures prescribe. “If you do these things, you will never fail ”, you will be productive and effective, and “will receive a rich welcome into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”