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 Rejoicing:
The Apostle Paul’s message in the Bible’s Book of Acts parallels The Reapers Roadmap message, as once the Jesus was revealed and received as Lord and Christ, believers are encouraged to do their rooting in him, and remaining established as they walk in the faith, with rejoicing through thanksgiving. (Acts 2:6,7 (ESV): 6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.)
Rejoicing & Salvation:
When many learn the gospel’s good news, they receive it gladly and rejoice, like the believer in the Parable of the Sower represented by the plant with the shallow root, who later fell away quickly when troubles came. The lesson here is that being joyful is insufficient for salvation, and is an inadequate basis for confidence in salvation. (Matthew 13:20-21 (ESV): 20 The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.) While insufficient for salvation, rejoicing is a regular essential aspect to our faithfully following Jesus. (Philippians 4:4 (NIV): 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.) Those who seek the Lord are expected to rejoice. (1 Chronicles 16:10 (ESV): 10 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!) After learning the good news that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior, rejoicing is frequently a regular and sincere response to God’s love, mercy, and grace. The open-minded eunuch that the Holy Spirit lead Philip to teach about Jesus exemplifies this normal response. (Acts 5:39 (ESV): 39 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.)
Rejoicing through Trials:
Rejoicing is expected in all variety of circumstances, which includes tough circumstances. (1 Thesalonians 5:16-18 (ESV):16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.) In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explained believers properly following God are expected to be glad and rejoice, despite facing opposition. Why? God’s has rewards reserved for the righteous. Encountering opposition and persecution to good works is further reason to rejoice when your faith is authentic. (Matthew 5:11-12 (ESV): 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.) The apostles exhibited this response to rejoice after being beaten and instructed to desist from preaching the good news about Jesus. (Acts 5:41-42 (ESV): 41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.) To respond with rejoicing is expected of all believers as they face the tough trials of life, knowing God provides spiritual and emotional support. (1 Peter 4:12-13 (ESV): 12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.)
Rejoicing with Dancing, Singing, and Instruments:
Besides with words, inward rejoicing is expressed outwardly with music using a wide variety of musical instruments too. (1 Chronicles 13:8 (ESV): 8 And David and all Israel were rejoicing before God with all their might, with song and lyres and harps and tambourines and cymbals and trumpets.) Shouts to the Lord are other ways to rejoice. (2 Samuel 6:15 (ESV): 15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn.) Besides music, dancing and leaping are also ways to express rejoicing. (2 Samuel 6:16 (ESV): 16 As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart.) Today there are many more musical instruments, music videos, and theatrical shows. Professional quality media are available online and after performances. Electronics like smart phones, music players, and touch screen devices enable this music to be collected and played conveniently.
Rejoicing emanates inwardly from following God and appreciating his wisdom and instructions. (Psalms 19:8 (ESV): 8 the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; …) Understanding God’s message clearly is important for having a proper thought process for rejoicing. (Nehemiah 8:12 (ESV): 12 And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.) Teachers and preachers, who know the Bible and explain the gist of what is being communicated, facilitate a fruitful understanding of God’s word. (Nehemiah 8:8 (ESV): 8 They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.)
Rejoicing in Toil, Wealth, and Possessions:
Proper understanding of scriptures leads to rejoicing in all good material things God has given you and those with you. (Deuteronomy 26:11 (ESV): 11 And you shall rejoice in all the good that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house, you, and the Levite, and the sojourner who is among you.) Rejoice and thank God if you have been granted the gift to enjoy your work, wealth, and possessions under the sun, being careful to keep God first in your heart. (Ecclesiastes 5:18-19 (ESV): 18 Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. 19 Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil–this is the gift of God.)
Rejoicing when the Lost Repent:
Jesus’, Parable of the Lost Sheep, Coin, and Sons (see Luke 15) show God, his angels, and friends rejoicing over souls that come to a place of repentance to transform their life eternally. (Luke 15:5 (ESV): 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.) Likewise, the Apostle Paul rejoices when those whom he knew repented, even though it was sorrow leading them towards repentance. (2 Corinthians 7:9 (ESV): 9 As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.)
Rejoicing in Others Progress & Proper Dealings:
It’s right to rejoice in the continued progress of fellow believers’ faith. (Colossians 2:5 (ESV): 5 For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.) Be thankful and rejoice without gloating or hatred, when God handles those who reject all that is good, even as you still hope all will come to know God, perhaps through your kindness to them. (Deuteronomy 32:43 (ESV): 43 “Rejoice with him, O heavens; bow down to him, all gods, for he avenges the blood of his children and takes vengeance on his adversaries. He repays those who hate him and cleanses his people’s land.”) Rejoice when your dealings with people have been proper. When dealings have been improper, repent, for God watches and judges. (Judges 9:19 (ESV): 19 if you then have acted in good faith and integrity with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you.) Rejoice when God saves the poor and weak from evil adversaries and follow God to aspire likewise. (Psalms 35:19 (ESV): 9 Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord, exulting in his salvation. 10 All my bones shall say, “O Lord, who is like you, delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, the poor and needy from him who robs him?”)
Key Points: Rejoicing:
- God and his angels rejoice when the lost ________.
- Though counter-intuitive, believers are expected to rejoice through ________.
- Dealing with people _________ is another reason to rejoice.
- Knowing, understanding, following, and appreciating God’s wisdom leads to ________ rejoicing.
- Dancing, leaping, singing, playing instruments, and performances are forms of ________ rejoicing.
- While many find it natural to rejoice when initially receiving God’s Word, being joyful is an inadequate basis for confidence in ____________.
- Caring for others leads to rejoicing in others’ _________ in their faith walk.
Discussion Questions: Rejoicing
(1) How is it possible to rejoice in the midst of fiery trials inflicted because you are doing what is right?
(2) What types of outward expressions of rejoicing do you and fellow believers express?
(3) What modern devices have you used to facilitate your rejoicing in the Lord? What are your favorite artists, composers, and performers?
(4) Why is being joyful an inadequate basis for salvation, knowing the lesson from the Parable of the Sower?
(5) What is the proper basis for confidence in salvation?
(6) What type of proper conduct towards others does Jesus expect towards our friends, family, and enemies?
(7) When others do well and progress in their faith, do you tend to be happy for them, or become jealous and envious of them?
(8) How could those who became jealous of believers receiving praise from God use that to fuel their own missions to become closer to God?
(9) Knowing we are expected to rejoice in our hard toil under the sun, how does that influence how awesomely you do you work?
(10) When blessed with an abundance of wealth and possessions, how could you use them to solicit praise from God, leading to your own rejoicing due to God’s approval?
Hand Drawn Rejoicing Roadmap Visual
Black & White Rejoicing Roadmap Visual
Key Points: Rejoicing: Answers
- God and his angels rejoice when the lost repents .
- Though counter-intuitive, believers are expected to rejoice through trails .
- Dealing with people properly is another reason to rejoice.
- Knowing, understanding, following, and appreciating God’s wisdom leads to inward rejoicing.
- Dancing, leaping, singing, playing instruments, and performances are forms of outward rejoicing.
- While many find it natural to rejoice when initially receiving God’s Word, being joyful is an inadequate basis for confidence in salvation .
- Caring for others leads to rejoicing in others’ progress in their faith walk.