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Faith Types Parable of the Sower and Reapers Roadmap

Faith Types and The Parable of the Sower:

The Parable of the Sower soils can also be viewed via the lens of ones’  faith related to the four soil types, as follows:

  1. Faith Blinders
  2. Faith Rocky
  3. Faith Rebel
  4. Remaining Faith

Faith relates to one’s inner trust, belief, and following of Jesus Christ the Son of God, who is one in nature with God the Father and God’s Spirit.

Faith Blinders:

A person with Faith Blinders fails to comprehend the wisdom in trusting, believing, and following God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Consequently, God’s Word is disregarded, corresponding to seed sown along the path.

Matthew 13:19 (NIV): 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path.

Those with blinders to faith can be the worldly outside the Church, or even those who appear religious inside the visible Church. The net result are people who never let God’s Word sink into their soul to grow and change it!

Luke 6:39 (ESV): 39 He also told them a parable:  “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 

Hebrews 4:2 (ESV): 2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because  they were not united by faith with those who listened.

Faith Rocky:

A person with a Faith that is Rocky is content with a surface-level faith in God’s Word.  A contributor to surface-level faith may even be how faith was explained! This contentment is counterproductive, leading an individual to skip the dedication required to stand firm. To stand firm requires increased understanding in depth with application of God’s Word learning from Jesus’ life. To squander the initial faith, even if received with joy & enthusiasm, mirrors seed sown along the path with rocks right below the surface.

Matthew 13:20-21(NIV): 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.

To have a faith that overcomes the world requires a deep focus on faith, so the faith produces a love for all people and a righteousness not of works or religiosity, but in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is one with God, and is God.

1 John 5:4-5 (ESV): 4 For  everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world– our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 

It critical to consider how deep or shallow one’s faith is to apply special care to learn Jesus’ character to be like Jesus in love, truth, righteousness, and endurance. Why? Self-interest of one’s final  & eternal destination is at stake.

Faith Rebel:

People with Rebellious Faith destructively permit worldly priorities and aspirations to compete with faith in God as primary, rather than fully committing to Jesus Christ, despite knowing better.  The result is predictably putting worldly ways in positions to interfere with their walk with God. This happens over time as choices in life solidify & reveal ones’ degenerate character, like when God’s Kingdom’s seed is sown among thorns.

Matthew 13:22 (NIV): 22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.

To counter this self-destructive character pattern requires deliberate attention to make diligent efforts to pull up these competing worldly weeds. This responsibility to take steps to eliminate obstacles operates in tandem with our tending to God’s Words growing in our soul as number one.

Jude 1:3-4 (ESV): 3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

As the Bible verse in Jude illustrates, One’s Responsibility is to “contend for the faith” using all one’s heart, mind, body, and soul. The Holy Spirit will guide each serious contender in the ways of faith, truth, and love to know and imitate Jesus Christ and his apostles’ inner character. Like in the early centuries after Jesus’ life, crucifixion, death, and resurrection, be alert to any distortion of the Gospel of Grace that destructively encourages sin. Instead, apply deep knowledge of the truth of God to pluck up any weed seeds sown. God the Father oversees this process, to ensure true believers are never tempted more than they are able to bear, as God aids travelers through this faith journey.

Remaining Faith:

A Remaining Faith in Jesus the Savior exhibits a firm character rooted increasingly more deeply in God’s Word, that fruitfully understands and practices God’s Word. This faith tends to one’s own character diligently to work to eliminate evil thoughts and actions. The faith in God’s Son endures through hardship. This faith operates like the seed that fell on good soil.

Matthew 13:23 (NIV): 23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

In the Bible, Peter’s Letter informs us that even after God calls and elects a person to have a remaining & enduring faith, that the faith is made certain through the proper nourishing and practicing of that faith in Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:9-11 (ESV): 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

What type of harvest in your character & soul & in the world, ought you to see? Can you explain your part in pursuing it? Peter elaborates on need to “make every effort” to add to your faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affecting, and love. Why? Doing so will ensure you are effective, productive, and fruitful in your faith in Jesus.

2 Peter 1:9-11 (ESV): 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Faith Types Summary:

The seed of faith in Jesus gives us options regarding how the seed of faith, the seed of the Kingdom, is to grow in the soil of our soul, our mind, our character, and our heart:

  1. Properly understand & practice a Remaining Faith
  2. Strengthen faith or become blind again with Faith Blinders
  3. Deepen faith or let faith become week & wither away like a Rocky Faith
  4. Make faith the top priority or set it up to be toppled by the world’s cares, desires, aspirations, and concerns like a Faith Rebel

2 Peter 1:3-4 (ESV): 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

The choice that guarantees our eternity fruitfulness is to practice a Remaining Faith which continues to learn ever more about God’s character, through Jesus Christ the Son of God in whom the fullness of God’s nature is hidden, with guidance from the Holy Spirit as God’s Word is absorbed and applied.

Next Steps:

View the Parable of the Sower Slideshare Presentation.

You can also directly view the Parable of the Sower presentation at the Slideshare link http://www.slideshare.net/creationary/parable-of-the-sower-and-reapers-roadmap-slide-share

Continue your studies on the Parable of the Sower:

Invitation to Delve Deeply into the Parable of the Sower

https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/invitation-to-delve-deeply-into-the-parable-of-the-sower

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Parable of the Sower and Reapers Roadmap Faith Types

Heart Types and The Parable of the Sower:

The Parable of the Sower soil types can also be viewed via the lens of ones’ heart condition related to the four soil types, leading to these 4 heart types:

  1. Blind Heart
  2. Rocky Heart
  3. Rebellious Heart
  4. Remaining Heart

The heart here relates to one’s inner intentions and motivations, rather than to a biological / physical heart.

Blind Heart:

A person with a Blind Heart does not understand the value of God’s Word, and so the divine message communicated is disregarded, corresponding to the seed sown along the path.

Matthew 13:19 (NIV): 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path.

If you have a blind heart, God is able to replace it. When willfully blind, God has been known to willing to let people have their own way and ignore God to their  own detriment

Isaiah 6:10 (ESV): 10 Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”

Rocky Heart:

An individual with a Rocky Heart is at first enthusiastic upon hearing the Good News of God’s Word. Unfortunately, too much confidence is placed in this enthusiasm or even some ritual. The person with a Rocky Heart is on a shallow foundation, leading to a lack of will to strengthen & safeguard the initial gift, paralleling the seed sown along the path with rocks right below the surface.

Matthew 13:20-21(NIV): 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.

Even though people falling away from God and away from righteousness has been the way of humankind, God has much better desires for each person while there is still time.

Psalm 53:2-4 (ESV): 2 God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand,who seek after God.3 They have all fallen away;together they have become corrupt;there is none who does good not even one.

Once a person has been given the insight to know that Jesus is the one true God, then their mission is to continue to seek, pursue, and imitate Jesus and his righteousness to build a sure foundation.

Rebellious Heart:

People with Rebellious Hearts only partially commit to Christ, leaving disastrous vulnerabilities to worldly desires & concerns. Satan leverages these vulnerabilities to stifle their walk with God, because the Devil has their own consent because of people’s deliberate negligence to challenge and pull up these weeds. To do otherwise is like the seed sown among thorns.

Matthew 13:22 (NIV): 22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.

Each person has responsibility to promote the growth of God’s word as primary in their lives, eliminating obstacles, just like God expected from the people of Israel.

Ezekiel 18:31 (ESV): 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.”

While we have the responsibility to clean up our heart and our spirit to the extent we can, God through his Son Jesus Christ is holy and ultimately is the only one who can fully give us a new heart and new spirit.

Remaining Heart:

Characters with a Remaining Heart dedicate themselves fully to Jesus and are firmly established, leading to reaping the fruit of righteousness plentifully, like seeds down among good soil.

Matthew 13:23 (NIV): 23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

We learn from King David, a man after God’s own heart, the importance to direct our whole heart towards God. King David wisely presented the benefits that accrue and the consequences of doing otherwise, understanding God watches all we do, all we think, and all our motivations.

1 Chronicles 28:9 (ESV): “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.

Next Steps:

View the Parable of the Sower Slideshare Presentation.

You can also directly view the Parable of the Sower presentation at the Slideshare link http://www.slideshare.net/creationary/parable-of-the-sower-and-reapers-roadmap-slide-share

Continue your studies on the Parable of the Sower:

Invitation to Delve Deeply into the Parable of the Sower

https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/invitation-to-delve-deeply-into-the-parable-of-the-sower

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Understanding Jesus’ Parable of the Sower properly positions people to interpret all parables, which contain secrets hidden since the Foundation of the World. Learn more about the Parable of the Sower and the Reapers Roadmap, Courtesy http://BibleOpia.WordPress.com

YouTube Presentation Video (No Sound): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmuT3hRCPjc

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Come & Click & Enjoy the Parable of the Sower & Reapers Roadmap Slide Share:

View the Parable of the Sower Slideshare Presentation.

You can also directly view the Parable of the Sower presentation at the Slideshare link http://www.slideshare.net/creationary/parable-of-the-sower-and-reapers-roadmap-slide-share

Next Steps: Continue your studies on the Parable of the Sower:

Invitation to Delve Deeply into the Parable of the Sower

https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/invitation-to-delve-deeply-into-the-parable-of-the-sower

Parable of the Sower and Reapers Roadmap First Slide

View more presentations from Carl Frederick at SlideShare.net

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Reapers Roadmap Focus on Rejoicing

Review

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.

Inwardly Rejoicing:

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:

  1. God and his angels rejoice when the lost ________.
  2. Though counter-intuitive, believers are expected to rejoice through ________.
  3. Dealing with people _________ is another reason to rejoice.
  4. Knowing, understanding, following, and appreciating God’s wisdom leads to ________ rejoicing.
  5. Dancing, leaping, singing, playing instruments, and performances are forms of ________ rejoicing.
  6. While many find it natural to rejoice when initially receiving God’s Word, being joyful is an inadequate basis for confidence in ____________.
  7. 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

Reapers Roadmap 9 R's Focus on Rejoicing Hand Drawn

Black & White Rejoicing Roadmap Visual

Reapers Roadmap Focus on Rejoicing Black & White Visual

Key Points: Rejoicing: Answers

  1. God and his angels rejoice when the lost    repents   .
  2. Though counter-intuitive, believers are expected to rejoice through    trails   .
  3. Dealing with people    properly    is another reason to rejoice.
  4. Knowing, understanding, following, and appreciating God’s wisdom leads to    inward    rejoicing.
  5. Dancing, leaping, singing, playing instruments, and performances are forms of    outward    rejoicing.
  6. While many find it natural to rejoice when initially receiving God’s Word, being joyful is an inadequate basis for confidence in    salvation   .
  7. Caring for others leads to rejoicing in others’   progress    in their faith walk.

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How does being called, chosen, and faithful map to the Reapers Roadmap and the Parable of the Sower?

Revelation 17:14

14 They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”

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Parable of the Sower Initial Depth and Growth Chart

The Parable of the Sower Depth and Growth Chart shows key dimensions of each soil type. One dimension is depth and the other is growth achieved. The Parable explains too little depth is insufficient. To increase our own depth requires learning & following & giving ourselves to Jesus Christ more fully, and eventually completely. (Deuteronomy 6:5 (ESV): You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.) Despite depth enough to grow, those who receive the message who fail to eliminate weeds present in their own life as scriptures require, later find the world’s demands detrimentally competing with their spiritual growth and impeding their fruitfulness. (Matthew 6:24 (ESV):No one can serve two masters, for 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 God and money.”)

The Rich Young Ruler:

The Parable of the Sower provides a way to understand the interaction between Jesus and the rich young ruler.

Matthew 19:16-22 (ESV): 16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

The rich young ruler correctly addressed Jesus as Good Teacher, because Jesus teaches us authoritatively about God the Father’s character, since Jesus is God. The rich young ruler’s formal address to Jesus was technically correct, although he did not understand fully who Jesus was, so Jesus clarified that only God was good. As the rich young ruler lacked sufficient understanding about Jesus’ true identity, his condition parallels a shallow root depth like in the Parable of the Sower. When he asked Jesus what to do to inherit eternal life, Jesus graciously iterates the commandments the rich young ruler confidently felt he followed closely. When the rich young ruler sought to more deeply know what was lacking, Jesus’ answer revealed an idol in his life, which was his great possessions. The Parable of the Sower shows us this idol was a figurative weed, competing for  first place in his life. Like the rich young ruler having shallow roots and weeds at the same time, we too can suffer from multiple simultaneous conditions adversely affecting our growing properly in God’s Kingdom.

The Rich Young Ruler and Hope:

Like the rich young ruler, you too might assess that Jesus’ expectations of you are beyond your ability to fulfill alone. (Matthew 19:22 (ESV): 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.)

Matthew 19:23-26 (ESV): 23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

Unlike the rich young ruler, rather than walk away in despair, you can enroll divine assistance to conquer obstacles you alone find impossible to overcome. These otherwise impossible obstacles can be overcome when following Jesus to team up together with God.

Next Steps

View the Parable of the Sower Slideshare Presentation.

You can also directly view the Parable of the Sower presentation at the Slideshare link http://www.slideshare.net/creationary/parable-of-the-sower-and-reapers-roadmap-slide-share

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Invitation to Delve Deeply into the Parable of the Sower

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Parable of the Sower Reapers Roadmap Book Visual

Click to Download & View the eBook PDF Document “Parable of the Sower Reapers Roadmap Deep Dive 2011-07-16“, available at the following web address:

https://bibleopia.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/parable-of-the-sower-reapers-roadmap-deep-dive-2011-07-16.pdf

The eBook PDF Contains these updates:

* Reapers Roadmap Visuals Updated to Include Rejoicing
* Rich Young Ruler Parallel to Parable of the Sower Explained
* Focus on Rejoicing Chapter Added & Edited
* Parable of the Sower Depth and Growth Chart Updated
* Discussion Questions Included
* Enhanced Table of Contents Now for All Roadmaps
* New Section Headings Corresponding to Visual Image
* Controlling Nature Added to Two Roadmap Visuals
* Rearranged Focus on Remaining Roadmap Text Materials
* Fill in the Blank Key Points With Most Answers Added
* Converted Hand-Drawn Visuals to Black & White Images
* Added Road and Sign Visuals to Cover Page
* Exercises included in Chapter 1 and 2

Next Steps

View the Parable of the Sower Slideshare Presentation.

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Continue your studies on the Parable of the Sower:

Invitation to Delve Deeply into the Parable of the Sower

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Click to download the updated PDF Document “Parable of the Sower Reapers Roadmap Deep Dive 2011-07-16“, which has been updated to include the Repentance Raceway materials and the updated Reapers Roadmap (The 9 R’s Roadmap Rebranded) Visuals.

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Reapers Roadmap and Parable of the Sower

The Parable of the Sower directly maps to The Reapers Roadmap (The 9 R’s Roadmap) as the table below shows.  The seeds are God’s Word revealed in the Bible, which contains the Kingdom Message. The Sower (or farmer) is God, who is represented by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who by diverse means is revealing God’s Word. The ground types reflect people’s hearts, minds, and souls, and their receptiveness to God’s Word. The seed falling on the path where the evil one Snatches away the message that is not understood corresponds to an error recognizing and receiving the message on “Blinder’s Boulevard”. The seed that falls among the thorns and was unfruitful represents remaining and reaping errors due to life’s concerns and deceptions corresponds to “Rebel Road”, where resisting and rejecting occur. The seed that falls upon the rocky places corresponds to a person who joyfully receives the message, yet who quickly falls away due to the lack of deep roots, corresponding to rooting and remaining errors on “Rocky Road”.

Table: Parable of the Sower Mapped to The Reapers Roadmap
Symbol Symbolizes Related Roadways Roadmap
Sower / Farmer God Revealing Jesus Christ
Son of God
Seeds God’s Word
Kingdom Message
Revealing The Bible
God’s Word
Ground Types (Path, Rocky Places, Among Thorns, Good Soil) People’s Hearts, Minds, Souls Reasoning
Recognizing

Receiving

Rooting
Remaining
Reaping
Roadways
Path: Birds Ate Lacks Understanding in Heart
Evil One Snatches Away
Reasoning
Recognizing Error
Receiving Error
“Blinders Boulevard”
Recognizing Error
Among Thorns: Choked Plants Deceitfulness of Wealth
Worries of Life &
Concerns of Life Choke
Making Unfruitful
Reasoning
Recognizing

Receiving

Rooting

Remaining Error
Reaping Error
“Rebel Road”
Resisting & Rejecting
Rocky Places: No Roots: Scorched Hears
Receives Joyfully
No Root
Trouble / Persecution
Falls Away Quickly
Reasoning
Recognizing

Receiving
Rooting Error
Remaining Error
“Rocky Road”
No Rooting
Good Soil: Yields Crop Hears the Word
Understands Message

Produces Crop
Yields 100x, 60x, 30x
Reasoning Recognizing
Receiving
Rooting

Remaining

Reaping
Repentance Raceway
Narrow Path to Eternal Life

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See related “Parable of the Sower Explained” post at https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2010/07/06/parable-of-the-sower-explained-mind-map/

You are invited to learn more about the Parable of the Sower and The Reapers Roadmap by following this link:

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Understanding the Parable of the Sower properly positions you to better interpret all the parables.

Mark 4:13 And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?

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As in the Parable of the Sower, those trusting the Lord are like deeply rooted plants in good soil, able to withstand scorching heated opposition, producing good fruit despite life’s droughts that cause worries and anxieties in others, because they are rooted deeply in streams of God’s Word.

Jeremiah 17:7-8

7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.
8 He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

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God instructs us to have an open heart towards him, removing the stubbornness and obstacles within our control, so when we hear his word, it will be fruitful like the seed sown on good ground in the Parable of the Sower.

Jeremiah 4:3-4

3 For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem:

“Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. 4 Circumcise yourselves to the Lord; remove the foreskin of your hearts,
O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.”

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The Parable of the Sower Explained Mind Map

Matthew 13:18-23 (NIV): 18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 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. 22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. 23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

Depth and Growth Chart

Parable of the Sower Initial Depth and Growth Chart

The Parable of the Sower Depth and Growth Chart shows key dimensions of each soil type. One dimension is depth and the other is growth achieved. The Parable explains too little depth is insufficient. To increase our own depth requires learning & following & giving ourselves to Jesus Christ more fully, and eventually completely. (Deuteronomy 6:5 (ESV): You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.) Despite depth enough to grow, those who receive the message who fail to eliminate weeds present in their own life as scriptures require, later find the world’s demands detrimentally competing with their spiritual growth and impeding their fruitfulness. (Matthew 6:24 (ESV):No one can serve two masters, for 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 God and money.”)

Exercise: Parable of the Sower Self-Assessment

Reflecting on your own journey, identify where you see yourself and those you know in The Parable of the Sower Meaning visual

The Parable of the Sower Explained Mind Map Assessment

This Parable of the Sower visual is based upon Mind Map’s (TM) techniques developed by Tony Buzan http://www.imindmap.com

The Parable of the Sower Self-Assessment Exercise has numbers on the mind map above, which maps to a position in the visual described in the following table.

Position Definition Here Now? Were Here?
1. Pre-Sower Going to learn God’s Word
2. Sown Just Recently Heard God’s Word
3. Not Understand in Heart Ignore lessons from God’s Word to continue as were
4. Evil One Snatches Away Focus quickly shifted from God’s Word to other things
5. Recipient Hears Recently Heard God’s Word
6. Receives Joyfully Initial inner excitement hearing God’s Word is basis of confidence
7. Falls Away Quickly Inclined to discontinue to follow God’s Word when face opposition / trouble / persecution
8. Worries of Life Concerns in life cause focus to shift from God’s Word to worldly things like food, clothing, friends, etc.
9. Deceitfulness of Wealth Obsessive desire to be wealthy shifts focus from God’s Word to career and business for money
10. Understands Understanding that what learned is really God’s Word brings you closer to God
11. Yields Crop Reaping Spiritual Fruits due to following God’s Word

Next Steps

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Continue your studies on the Parable of the Sower:

Invitation to Delve Deeply into the Parable of the Sower

https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/invitation-to-delve-deeply-into-the-parable-of-the-sower

See related “Parable of the Sower” post at https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2010/01/12/parable-of-the-sower-2

Parable of the Sower: Further Study

Numerous websites, books, and blogs on the Parable of the Sower each offer insights and perspectives on how to understand and apply it. The Reformer Martin Luther offers many insights, several of which apply for those who religious at http://homepage.mac.com/shanerosenthal/reformationink/mlsower.htm . Insights from the well-respected preacher and teacher Charles H. Spurgeon are available at http://www.spurgeon.org/misc/sower.htm .

Hand Drawn Parable of the Sower Meaning / Explanation

Parable of the Sower Meaning Hand Drawn

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The Parable of the Sower Mind MapThis Parable of the Sower visual is based upon Mind Map’s (TM) techniques developed by Tony Buzan http://www.imindmap.com .

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.

Why Parables?

Matthew 13:10-17 (NIV):

10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

 11 He replied,The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

” ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.  15 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.  Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’

 16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

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See related “Parable of the Sower Explained” post at https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2010/07/06/parable-of-the-sower-explained-mind-map/

Continue your studies on the Parable of the Sower:

Invitation to Delve Deeply into the Parable of the Sower

https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/invitation-to-delve-deeply-into-the-parable-of-the-sower

Hand Drawn Parable of the Sower Visual:

Parable of the Sower Hand Drawn

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Parable of the Sower Hand Drawn

The Parable of the Sower visual in a hand drawn in black and white. This type of visual is based upon Mind Map’s (TM) techniques developed by Tony Buzan http://www.imindmap.com .

Matthew 13: 1-9 (NIV):

1That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9He who has ears, let him hear.

Next Steps

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Continue your studies on the Parable of the Sower:

Invitation to Delve Deeply into the Parable of the Sower

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Reapers Roadmap Parables & Parallels Perspectives Visual

Parables & Parallels Perspectives

The Reapers Roadmap (The 9 R’s Roadmap) is based upon the Parable of the Sower, which this visual maps to several Parables & Parallels Perspectives.  Like the original Reapers Roadmap (The 9 R’s Roadmap) visual, this serves as a summary slide with a particular perspective.  To increase your understanding, please review the original Reapers Roadmap (The 9 R’s Roadmap) materials, and the successive materials that elaborate on the revealing, reasoning, recognizing, receiving, rooting, remaining, and reaping focus areas, and the resisting & rejecting focus areas too.

God reveals his word, and we use our reasoning to recognize the truth about God, and his Son Jesus Christ, being careful to have reasonable standards of evidence. As believers who received the word of God, we are responsible to dig deep roots in God’s word in knowledge, faith, and action. God creates in believers a new heart, spirit, and inner creature, causing us to be born again, this time with a new spirit that follows God inwardly, and as a consequence, outwardly too. We can only be born again with God’s intervention, so we must seek God while he is open to being found by us. Building our lives upon Jesus, the Rock, practicing what God preaches, is wise, and causes us to weather the storms of life, standing firm. God keeps the souls of believers safe in his hands, since as we remain with God, God will remain with us.

As stewards of God’s word, we are called to plant, nourish, and care for it in our souls, by reading and practicing it ourselves, and sharing it with others.  God prunes our fruitful branches, and cuts off unfruitful ones, so we can be more productive.  That is, God shows us what we need to improve, to be on righteous path, doing good, following the truth, and being loving, even though these lessons can be challenging to swallow and embrace at the time.  Doing this will cause us to be fruitful, yielding large harvests, thanks to God providing the increase.

You can learn more from a vast array of teachers and preachers at One Place http://www.oneplace.com , which also contains several Bible translations http://bible.oneplace.com/bibles to study.

Next Steps:

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Invitation to Delve Deeply into the Parable of the Sower

https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/invitation-to-delve-deeply-into-the-parable-of-the-sower

 

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Reapers Roadmap Focus on Recognizing and Reasoning Visual

Review and then Focus on Recognizing and Reasoning

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 Recognizing & Reasoning

Recall that many people have difficulty recognizing God when God’s word is revealed. It’s possible people find it inconvenient to learn more when they have others things they’d prefer to be doing. It’s possible prior choices have moved people increasingly further away from the path of life. Their past decisions then make it more difficult to understand God’s word when it is revealed.

Parable of the Sower Explained: Matthew 13:18 & 19 (NIV): 18Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path.

The Stumbling Block

The scriptures identify the pride of human wisdom as a stumbling block to recognizing God, where people too quickly dismiss the truth, thinking what they have learned already makes them wiser, seeking the world’s wisdom rather than God’s. Scripture also explains people reject and ignore it on their own because they find the righteousness of God a discomfort, a stumbling block, compared to their own ideas of how God must be.

1 Corinthians 1:22-24 (NIV): 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

There are tremendous consequences for individuals and groups of people when they fail to recognize God, being too quick to favor their own reasoning and ideas above God’s. Here Jesus laments over Jerusalem, because their failure to recognize God in the present had far-reaching consequences into the future.

Luke 19:41-44 (NIV): 41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

Because God works through individual people to share his word, the ability to recognize God for most people, involves the skill to discern their beliefs, doctrines and understanding of Jesus as the Christ, the Savior of the World.

1 John 4:1-3 (NIV): 1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

Lazarus and Rich Man

To recognize Jesus Christ, it’s critical that one also believes what has been recorded in the Bible prior to his coming, by the prophets and teachers like Moses, Abraham, King David, Solomon, Isaiah, Micah, and likewise other witnesses of God, the Father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  God explains that evidence provided over thousands of years as to what to look for in the Savior Jesus Christ is absolutely abundantly adequate for people who are open to believing.  For those who wish to use their reasoning to disbelieve, to follow their own ways, and ignore God, even more fantastic evidence would just be discarded.  That is, if after so much evidence and miracles and prophesies, they are too little for a person’s impossible standards, well, their standards, methods, approaches, and motives to reasoning need serious review.

Luke 16:19-31 (NIV): 19 There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ 25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ 27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ 29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ 30 ” ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ “

Star and Birth in Bethlehem

How is it that Jesus is understood and recognized as the way to God, as the Savior of the World?  The promises of God to send a savior involved several specifics, such as the birthplace as Bethlehem in the land of Judah.

Matthew 2:1-7 (NIV): 1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”  3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6 ” ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'”
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.  8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

The quote the Jewish people offered to King Herod was from the Jewish book of Micah 5:2.  Further examining the prophesy in Micah 5:2 reveals clues to recognize the identity and origins of the savior as from ancient times.

Micah 5:2 (NIV): 2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

The wise from the east, likely from the territory we’d name as the middle east today, travelled a long distance to give gifts to the savior Jesus, while still just a baby under the protective hand of God the Father, because they reverently recognized his importance.

Matthew 2:9-12 (NIV): 9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Crucifixion & Burial & Resurrection Prophesies

The ancient prophesies about Jesus started to be fulfilled before his birth, then as a baby, and later into adulthood, followed also by his death, burial, and resurrection.  If you are open to evidence to help you use your reason to recognize God, there are 300 different prophecies about Jesus, The Christ, covered at the website http://bibleprobe.com/300great.htm , and several prophecies about Jesus as the Son of God come as on of us available at http://www.100prophecies.org/evidence.htm , and a yet another list of prophesies at the website http://www.aboutbibleprophecy.com/messianic.htm .

Beyond prophesies, the disciples of Jesus performed miracles in his name after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascent to heaven.  To understand how miracles are consistent with the science of world’s, visit the CreationOpia website at http://CreationOpia.WordPress.com to learn about that paradigm, to overcome limitations narrow science often portrays, by ignoring a broader spectrum of fields like computer science.

In Acts 4:9-14 is just one account of the miracles performed by the disciple Peter and John after Jesus’s death and resurrection to help you recognize Jesus Christ’s divinity, his ancient heavenly origins.

Acts 4:9-14 (NIV): 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 He is ” ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone. 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” 13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.

Sow & Seek & Learn

As you seek to recognize the righteousness of God as revealed through Jesus Christ, follow through.  Do your part to learn God’s word, to plant the seeds of eternal life by being disciples who learn God’s word in the Bible.  Be open to letting go of grudges, forgiving others, and caring for others.  Show God you wish to turn from doing evil and repent from hating others.  This is summarized eloquently by the prophet Hosea in Hosea 10:12.

Hosea 10:12 (NIV): 12 Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.

You of your own reasoning can never fully know God.  Yet, God calls you to seek him while he can be recognized and found by you.  God wishes to see you searching for him, as yet another avenue for God to elect you to know him intimately, which is impossible to do unless God’s votes to elect you into his private circle.

Matthew 6:33 (NIV): 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Isaiah 55:5-9 (NIV): 5 Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.” 6 Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

So, once you are ordained into God’s favor, make your calling and election sure, through these guidelines the apostle Peter instructs us to follow to properly build upon our faith in Jesus Christ.

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

Before this happens, recognize that God looks to see who will search for him, and who will turn to the Lord.

Psalm 53:2 (NIV): 2 God looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.

Unfortunately, without guidance from God or from those who know God, no one is wise to seek God on their own.

Psalm 53:3 (NIV): 3 Everyone has turned away, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.

So, God choses to inform people we know about God and the wisdom of God.  This is so they can reflect that wisdom and knowledge to us.  The reflecting provides us a reasonable option, the choice, the chance to recognize and come to know God.  God sent prophets and other messengers to inform us of God’s will, wisdom, and ways.  The apostle Paul, whom God blinded, restored vision, and revealed his word, was chosen by God for this purpose from birth.

Galations 1:13-17 (NIV): 13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus.

Righteousness by Faith

The apostle Paul sought to teach others to recognize the correct view of God, that can only be known through the redemptive faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  It is so important to have the correct view of God.  Those teaching a different gospel will be eternally condemned by God!  Wow!  So, search deeply the scriptures contained in The Bible, join a church that teaches that Jesus Christ is the savior of the world, and watch out, be on guard for any false teachings that are contrary to the written revealed word of The Bible.

Galations 1:6-10 (NIV): 6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! 10 Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

What is the message to which the apostle Paul speaks to have us recognize? It is the message that, although we are undeserving, God has promised grace to those who believe, whom Jesus Christ will justify by paying the penalty of death required of sinners. Jesus Christ is able to pay the penalty, because he bore the cost for us when he was unjustly crucified on the cross for our sins.

Galations 2:15-21 (NIV): 15 “We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ 16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified. 17 “If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. 19 For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

True Faith Accompanied by Actions

Because we are justified by faith rather than works, does this mean that faith is without works? Quite the contrary, faith is perfected by works. Works are evidence of faith. Yet, works can never justify those who sinned already. True faith is accompanied by works. Faith without works is dead. Recognize that doing good never justifies any wrong we’ve done.

James 2:14-18 (NIV): 14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

There are many people who honestly believe there is one God, even acknowledge and recognize Jesus Christ as God.  Does that mean they are saved?  During Jesus’ life work, several demons recognized Jesus as the holy one, yet they were not saved.  So, what type of faith are we talking about?  Academic faith that acknowledges and recognizes who the one true God is only?  No, much more than an academic faith.  True faith is strong enough to manifest itself in action and in heartfelt obedience to God.  True faith loves and forgives and repents and obeys.  True faith envelops ones mind, heart, and figuratively, one’s hands.

James 2:19-26 (NIV): 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. 20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

True faith relies upon God’s promises to those who are sincere and faithful.

Romans 10:6-13 (NIV): 6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?'” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?'” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11 As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Ask God to Increase Belief & Decrease Unbelief

In what category is your faith?  Ask God to help you to recognize him and have faith accompanied by works and to help you both to bolster your belief and to overcome your unbelief.

Matthew 9:24 (NIV): 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

Recognizing & Reasoning: Further Study

To recognize God correctly, requires your reasoning, and recurring reading and reflection upon God’s Word found in The Bible at websites like The Bible Gateway http://www.biblegateway.com and an audio bible at http://www.audio-bible.com/nasb .  You can help your reasoning and recognizing skills by listening to preachers like Miles McPherson at the http://www.therocksandiego.org and Pastor Chris Rowney at http://www.tcfnet.org.au , who entertain, educate, and edify, and use multimedia  formats like Apple iTunes.  Finding a local church that follows Jesus and recognizes his divinity can also help you to better learn more about Jesus.

Key Points: Recognizing & Reasoning

  1. Without God reaching out to people, people would never __________ God and would instead pursue their own fallen ways. Even when God reaches out and _______ his word, many people experience difficulty recognizing it. The pride of human _______ can be a stumbling block to recognizing God’s wisdom. Failure to recognize God in the present has far-reaching ___________ into the future.
  2. The account of Lazarus and the rich man teaches us that the scriptural _________ over thousands of years are sufficient for the open-minded to recognize Jesus Christ, and even more evidence would be ________ by the close-minded.
  3. The _______ men recognized Jesus even as an infant, reasoning from scriptural prophesies. Hundreds of specific scriptural ________ testify that Jesus is the promised messiah by announcing beforehand Jesus’ life, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. The ________ by the Apostles in Jesus’ name further showcase God’s continued witness.
  4. God wishes to see people _______ for him, for him to show them _______.  The only way to reach God’s righteousness is through _______ in Jesus Christ rather than the _____ of the law.
  5. True _____ confesses Jesus is Lord. It loves, forgives, repents, and obeys. It is perfected and accompanied by ______ emanating from heartfelt obedience to God and a _______ that God raised Jesus from the dead.
  6. You are responsible to make your ______ and ______ sure” by making 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 _____” and “you will receive a ______ welcome into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
  7. When you have doubts, recognize your current _______ level and pray to God to help you overcome your ________, to be most effective in recognizing and following God.

Discussion Questions: Recognizing & Reasoning

(1) When you learned about the religious leader (the Pharisee) and the tax collector, what does that tell you about the dangers of religiosity, and the importance to be humble before God and ask forgiveness for your sins?

(2) What in life do you believe in despite your doubts? How come you still believe? How does that relate to your beliefs & doubts about God?

(3) Were you surprised to learn that God expected you to responsibly tend to the quality of your soil? What can you do to make yourself to have “ground” receptive to God’s words which are designed to benefit you?

(4) Often time early impressions are difficult to overcome despite being inaccurate. Does your early impression about Jesus’ life offend you or those you know? How so? Are you or they able to suspend their offense long enough to learn more about God to overcome this early impression?

(5) What evidence standards do you apply for believing in past events? What are your evidence standards for identifying whether to believe in God and his Son Jesus based upon God’s historical interventions? What is reasonable?

(6) Does it make sense for an eternal God to prophesy thousands of years ahead of time about the sending a Savior? What is the benefit to using symbols in the sky to accompany prophesies? Would it surprise you to know scientific astronomy software showed the Star of Bethlehem occurred historically? (Learn more at the website http://www.bethlehemstar.net/ about the Star of Bethlehem DVD)

(7) How many Prophesies about Jesus our Savior are you aware of? What are the key Prophesies for you? Why?

(8) Is it more important who you are becoming, who you follow, or what you do? How would you expect who you are becoming and who you follow to result in what you do? What things can you learn about what a person is following by observing what they do? What are the limits of observation and how does hypocrisy manifest those limits?

Next Steps

Continue your studies on the Parable of the Sower:

Invitation to Delve Deeply into the Parable of the Sower

https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/invitation-to-delve-deeply-into-the-parable-of-the-sower

Hand Drawn Recognizing & Reasoning Roadmap

Reapers Roadmap 9 R's Focus on Recognizing and Reasoning Hand Drawn

Key Points: Recognizing & Reasoning: Answers

  1. Without God reaching out to people, people would never    recognize    God and would instead pursue their own fallen ways. Even when God reaches out and    reveals    his word, many people experience difficulty recognizing it. The pride of human    wisdom   can be a stumbling block to recognizing God’s wisdom. Failure to recognize God in the present has far-reaching    consequences    into the future.
  2. The account of Lazarus and the rich man teaches us that the scriptural    evidence    over thousands of years are sufficient for the open-minded to recognize Jesus Christ, and even more evidence would be    discarded / rejected    by the close-minded.
  3. The    wise    men recognized Jesus even as an infant, reasoning from scriptural prophesies. Hundreds of specific scriptural    prophesies    testify that Jesus is the promised messiah by announcing beforehand Jesus’ life, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. The    miracles    by the Apostles in Jesus’ name further showcase God’s continued witness.
  4. God wishes to see people    searching    for him, for him to show them    mercy   .  The only way to reach God’s righteousness is through    faith    in Jesus Christ rather than the    works    of the law.
  5. True    faith    confesses Jesus is Lord. It loves, forgives, repents, and obeys. It is perfected and accompanied by    actions / works / deeds    emanating from heartfelt obedience to God and a    belief    that God raised Jesus from the dead.
  6. You are responsible to make your     calling    and    election    sure” by making 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   ” and “you will receive a    rich    welcome into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
  7. When you have doubts, recognize your current    belief    level and pray to God to help you overcome your    unbelief   , to be most effective in recognizing and following God.


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Reapers Roadmap Focus on Receiving and Rooting Visual

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

  1. 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 ______.
  2. God rewards people who _________ him, his apostles, and his disciples.
  3. Focus your heart to store up treasures ________ in heaven for eternity rather than earthly treasures in things that ______ and go _______.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 ________.
  6. 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 _______.
  7. Children of God stop ______, do what is ______, _____ for others, and _____ all people, even those who mean them harm.
  8. 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.

Next Steps

Continue your studies on the Parable of the Sower:

Invitation to Delve Deeply into the Parable of the Sower

https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/invitation-to-delve-deeply-into-the-parable-of-the-sower

Hand Drawn Receiving & Rooting Roadmap

Reapers Roadmap 9 R's Focus on Receiving and Rooting Hand Drawn

Key Points: Receiving & Rooting: Answers

  1. 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   .
  2. God rewards people who     receive    him, his apostles, and his disciples.
  3. Focus your heart to store up treasures    rooted    in heaven for eternity rather than earthly treasures in things that    decay    and go    away   .
  4. 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.
  5. 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   .
  6. 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   .
  7. Children of God stop    sinning   , do what is    right   ,    care    for others, and    love    all people, even those who mean them harm.
  8. 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   .


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Reapers Roadmap Focus on Remaining

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.

Make Certain

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

Commandment Foundations

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Embrace godliness and eliminate __________ towards God and the love of ________, to avoid falling into temptations, traps, and foolish desires that cause ruin and destruction.
  4. Do what is ______ with the ______ motives to be rewarded by God, who transparently sees through our ______ acts even when they are cloaked in ___________.
  5. Do what is _______ and submit to __________ since they are ___________ by God. Give _________ what you owe them, whether revenues, respect, or honor.
  6. 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.
  7. 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?

Next Steps

Continue your studies on the Parable of the Sower:

Invitation to Delve Deeply into the Parable of the Sower

https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/invitation-to-delve-deeply-into-the-parable-of-the-sower

Hand Drawn Remaining Roadmap

Reapers Roadmap 9 R's Focus on Remaining Hand Drawn

Key Points: Remaining: Answers

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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   .
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.”


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Reapers Roadmap Focus on Revealing

Focus on Revealing

The Bible’s Gospel of John 1:9-13 and the “Parable of the Sower” in Matthew 13:1-9 shows the way redemption generally happens, or regretfully fails to happen. The parable shows how people come to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, or chose another course both for their life on earth and more importantly for eternity. God prefers that all will come to know him and offers the adoption right to become children of God to all who come to believe in him (John 1:9-13 (NIV): 9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10He 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.)

Revealing Review

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 call 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.

God Revealing Word Like Farmer Sowing Seed

Jesus revealed in the related Parable of the Weeds, that the one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, who is Jesus, also known as the Son of God. Like the Parable of the Sower, the Parable of the Weeds instructs us that God Revealing his Word is like a Farmer Sowing Seeds.

Matthew 13:36-37: 36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

Look and Be Healed

God revealed his word many times to the Israelites through messengers granted grace from God to instruct his people. As the prophets predicted, God sent his Son Jesus Christ to be our savior and an example to us by his life and words, clarifying the way to God the Father.

John 3:14-18 (NIV): 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. 16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Revealing Faith: Abraham & Sarah’s Son by Faith

God reveals those trusting in his resurrected Son Jesus Christ have his promises, the right to be children of God, their sins forgiven, and righteousness credited to their account.

Romans 4:18-25 (NIV): 18Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

Revealing Promises by Faith

God calls us to believe, so God’s promises and guarantees can be ours.  To illustrate this key point, let’s say people committed evil atrocities, yet God grants them another chance to find him. Even though they deserve death and punishment, God will grant forgiveness, if they repent from your past ways and sincerely believe. Claim your right to become a child of God, through your faith, without turning back.

Romans 4:16-17 (NIV): 16Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.

Revealing Righteousness by Faith

King David of Israel elaborated upon the blessings of righteousness available through faith. Without God, works are futile. With faith in God works performed are evidence of your faith, and flow from your faith. Faith in God leads to forgiveness of believers sins. This is a blessing from God.

Romans 4:4-8 (NIV): 4 Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7 “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”

Kiss the Son

King David in Psalms 2:10-12 reveals that people believed in the Son and knew his power prior to the Son of God’s coming. We are advantaged to believe in the Son after he authoritatively brought God’s cleansing word, endorsed by powerful merciful miracles.

Psalms 2: 10-12 (NIV): 10 Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment.  Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Revealing Jesus the Way: Jesus & Cross, Faith & Forgiven

The Holy Scripture clearly reveals the only true way to God the Father is through God the Son, as the Bible witnesses several times. To reject the Son of God is to reject God the Father and to fall outside God’s eternal life promises. By presenting this challenging truth, God reveals our choice and its’ consequences. Use your reason to consider and choose carefully where you’ll place your belief.

John 3:31-36 (NIV): 31 “The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

Revealing Jesus’ Burial Preparations

Jesus Christ the Son of God entered our world to live a sinless life and die unjustly. Since he did not deserve to die, that death penalty payment Jesus is free to apply to forgive sins of believers, who are instructed to live righteous lives. Shortly prior to Jesus’ death, a woman prepared his live body for burial with expensive perform, as recounted in the Bible’s Gospel of Mark 14:3-9, emphasizing the centrality of Jesus’ death.

Mark 14: 3-9 (NIV): 3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. 4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. 6 Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9 I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.

Revealing: Further Study

The Bible reveals much more about God and about his Son Jesus Christ.  To learn more, read the bible at the Bible Gateway http://www.biblegateway.com or use the Net Bible Translation at http://www.netbible.org .  Learn more listening to audio sermons and reviewing instructional materials, courtesy of preachers like David Legge at http://www.preachtheword.com .

Key Points: Revealing

  1. God sent his Son Jesus Christ to be our ________.
  2. Like a farmer ______ seeds, Jesus Christ has been ________ God’s Words.
  3. As the Lord instructed Moses to put a bronze ______ on a pole for all to look to _____, similarly the Lord Jesus Christ was placed on the cross for all ________ to have eternal ______.
  4. Abraham’s ______ in God was credited to him as righteousness, like God will credit righteousness to _________ in Jesus Christ.
  5. Righteousness is by a sincere ______, from which flows external _______ as evidence to one’s internal faith.
  6. The only true way to God the Father is through God the _____, who is Jesus Christ.
  7. All kings and rulers in authority are wisely advised to _______ the Son.
  8. The woman poured very expensive ________ on Jesus’ head to prepare his body beforehand for _________.

Discussion Questions

(1) Who is Jesus? What do you think? What does the Bible say about Jesus?

(2) Why did God the Father send his Son Jesus on a mission that included his Son being killed via crucifixion?

(3) How is Jesus as Savior like Moses’ Snake on the Pole?

(4) What role does faith and belief have in being saved for eternal life?

(5) Why is it best for even kings and rulers in authority to “kiss the Son”?

(6) If God made a promise to you that defied your understanding of nature would you believe like Abraham did?

(7) Who else in scriptures exhibited faith against the odds and how did it turn out?

(8) Who is ultimately responsible behind the scenes for you hearing God’s word? Who is ultimately responsible for your accepting & following God’s word?

Next Steps:

View the Parable of the Sower Slideshare Presentation.

You can also directly view the Parable of the Sower presentation at the Slideshare link http://www.slideshare.net/creationary/parable-of-the-sower-and-reapers-roadmap-slide-share

Continue your studies on the Parable of the Sower:

Invitation to Delve Deeply into the Parable of the Sower

https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/invitation-to-delve-deeply-into-the-parable-of-the-sower

 

Hand Drawn Revealing Roadmap

Reapers Roadmap 9 R's Focus on Revealing Hand Drawn

Key Points: Revealing: Answers

  1. God sent his Son Jesus Christ to be our    Savior   .
  2. Like a farmer    sowing    seeds, Jesus Christ has been    revealing    God’s Words.
  3. As the Lord instructed Moses to put a bronze    snake    on a pole for all to look to    live   , similarly the Lord Jesus Christ was placed on the cross for all    believers / followers    to have eternal    life   .
  4. Abraham’s    faith    in God was credited to him as righteousness, like God will credit righteousness to    believers / followers    in Jesus Christ.
  5. Righteousness is by a sincere    faith   , from which flows external    works    as evidence to one’s internal faith.
  6. The only true way to God the Father is through God the    Son   , who is Jesus Christ.
  7. All kings and rulers in authority are wisely advised to    Kiss    the Son.
  8. The woman poured very expensive    perfume / cologne   / fragrance    on Jesus’ head to prepare his body beforehand for    burial   .

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Reapers Roadmap

The Bible’s Gospel of John 1:9-13 and the “Parable of the Sower” in Matthew 13:1-9 shows the way redemption generally happens, or regretfully fails to happen. The parable shows how people come to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, or chose another course both for their life on earth and more importantly for eternity. God prefers that all will come to know him and offers the adoption right to become children of God to all who come to believe in him (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.)

Revealing:

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.

Resisting & Reasoning:

Many who know and have heard the word is good, unfortunately resist and ignore it to their own present and eternal detriment. Several suspect obeying God will mean turning from their sinful ways and lifestyles which they wish to continue. They fear society will impart a cost like rejection and reduced influence in life. They are worried their wealth outlook in life will be reduced by choosing what is right. The parable of the sower presents the worries of life and deceitfulness of wealth as the reasons (Parable of the Sower Explained: Matthew 13:22 (NIV): 22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful). These people use their reason to decide it’s better to focus on other things in life, so they’d rather ignore, resist, and reject God’s word, than to seek it out with their whole heart, mind, and body. We see God’s sorrow for Israel, as they resist God, and willingly forgo God’s generous grace and mercy, that God’s will prefers, and longs for them to embrace (Matthew 23:37 (NIV): 37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing). Knowing the time each person has to search for and recognize and embrace God and God’s word is limited, while God can be found (Isaiah 55:6 (NASB): 6 Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near), means paying special close attention to any resisting or rejecting of God is critical for one’s own eternal benefit.

Recognizing & Reasoning:

Others have difficulty recognizing God, when God’s word is revealed. There are people find it inconvenient to learn more when they have others things they’d prefer to be doing. Prior choices have moved some increasingly further away from the path of life. Their past decisions then make it more difficult to understand it when it is revealed.

Parable of the Sower Explained: Matthew 13:18 & 19 (NIV): 18Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path.

The scriptures identify the pride of human wisdom as a stumbling block, where people too quickly dismiss the truth, thinking what they have learned already makes them wiser, seeking the world’s wisdom rather than God’s. Scripture also explains people reject and ignore it on their own because they find the righteousness of God a discomfort, a stumbling block, compared to their own ideas of how God must be.

1 Corinthians 1:22-24 (NIV): 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

Receiving without Rooting:

It’s great that people do receive God’s word and believe God joyfully. Yet, it’s a tragedy when that belief is only short-lived. Jesus explains why this happens.

Parable of the Sower Explained: Matthew 13:20-21 (NIV): 20The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.

The lesson here is that when a new believer comes to the faith, it’s important to nourish that faith to establish deep root in God’s word. It’s important both for the new believer to nourish it, and also for the current believers to provide a nourishing environment. This is one reason the Apostle Paul stressed how critical it is to meet together, to become part of God’s community of believers.

Hebrews 10:25 (NIV): 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.

For those who receive the word of God, without working to dig the roots deeply following Jesus, the tragedy is they forgo the right to become the children of God, to their own eternal detriment.

John 1:12 (NIV): 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

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.

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, 13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

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 cause a changes by giving us a new heart and adopting us as his children through his divine intervention.

Repentance Raceway:

The Lord God forgave Nineveh’s people when they believed Jonah’s message from God and repented of their sins. Jonah was disappointed because what he prophesied at God’s direction did not come to pass. It’s also possible Jonah was disappointed because God spared his peoples’ enemies. God recognized Nineveh people’s repentant hearts and rewarded them with his mercy. This pattern of God rewarding belief and repentance with pardon and mercy is a pattern more fully revealed when Jesus’ comes and instructs his followers on righteousness.

Jonah 3:10 (ESV): 10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.

The Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector instructs that a repentant heart is one God expects in prayer and when reaching out to him, while also informing that to be self-righteous, full of pride, and unrepentant, is sinful.

Luke 18:9-14 (NIV): 9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10 Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Remaining in Righteousness:

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?” 37Jesus 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.

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. Yet, 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): 1What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? 2If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

We are called to remain in righteousness, knowing God 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,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither 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

Reaping:

Those who truly receive God’s word dig deep roots in scripture, in faith, and knowledge, and will share their lives, experiences, and God’s words with others. The sharing of faith yields the harvest the “Parable of the Sower” describes when God’s good seed falls upon fertile ground.

Parable of the Sower Explained: Matthew 13:18-23 (NIV): 23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

Rejoicing:

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!)

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.)

Review & Reflection:

With this detailed presentation, if you have ears to hear, listen carefully and learn deeply the wisdom contained in God’s word as we are reminded in the “Parable of the Sower”.

Parable of the Sower: Matthew 13: 9 (NIV): 9 He who has ears, let him hear.

Read The Bible further at the Bible Gateway, http://www.biblegateway.com, and remember to keep yourself rooted in the word and with the community of believers.

Key Points: The Reapers Roadmap

  1. God _____ his Word for people to know him, scattering _______ as the Sower.
  2. Excessive concern for wealth and worries lead many to ______ and ______ God, like a plant ______ by thorns.
  3. Prior choices and pride cause failure to _________ God’s message in their heart, enabling the evil one to snatch the message like a bird carrying ______ the seed.
  4. _________ faith in Jesus Christ without rooting becomes short-lived belief like a plant without deep roots is unable to withstand the sun’s _______.
  5. _________ after receiving and believing Jesus Christ is key to perseverance over troubles and persecution like plants with deep nourishing roots withstanding scorching heat.
  6. The Parable of the Pharisee & Tax Collector shows God forgives the sincerely _________, yet withholds forgiveness from the self-righteous before God, who are full of pride, which is sinful.
  7. Believers’ _________ in righteousness seek to love God and love their neighbors.
  8. ______ results from deep faith with understanding like a plant in good soil.
  9. Despite being insufficient for confidence in salvation, ________ is a regular essential aspect to our faithfully following Jesus.
  10. The _____ Soil represents believers applying reasoning to recognize, receive, and dig deep roots in God Word on the way to remain and reap a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was _______.

Exercise: Reapers Roadmap Self-Assessment

Reflecting on your own journey, identify where you see yourself and those you know in The Reapers Roadmap, using the visual here. If you pick “Rejoicing“, also pick another category.

Reapers Roadmap Assessment Chart

The Reapers Roadmap Self-Assessment Exercise has letters on the map above, which maps to a current state/ position as describe in the table below here.

Position Definition Here Now?Were Here?
1. Pre-Revealing Going to learn God’s Word for the first time
2. Revealing Just Recently Heard God’s Word
3. Reasoning Thinking about God’s Word
4. Recognizing Understanding that what learned is really God’s Word
5. Receiving Letting God’s Word sink in to follow it
6. Rooting Digging Deeper into God’s Word to know & follow well
7. Remaining Continue to follow God’s Word despite opposition
8. Reaping Reaping Spiritual Fruits due to following God’s Word
9. Repentance Raceway Drawing away from God’s Word due to life preferences, concerns, and worries
10. Resisting & Rejecting / Rebel’s Road Drawing away from God’s Word due to life preferences, concerns, and worries
11. Recognizing Error / Blinders Boulevard Ignore lessons from God’s Word to continue as were, and/or unsure whether message is really God’s Word
12. No Rooting / Rocky Road Efforts and Excitement to know God’s Word faded
13. Miracles U-Turn Careful consideration of the miracles in God’s Word in History, leading back to God
14. Prophesies U-Turn Analysis of the Prophesies in God’s Word leading to recognition of Jesus as God
15. Church & Word U-Turn Involvement in Church & Learning Word leading you back to God
16. Rejoicing Excited about learning God’s Word and knowing Jesus as God

Discussion Questions:

(1) Reflecting on your own journey and the prior exercises, where do you see yourself and those you know in the Parable of the Sower and The Reapers Roadmap?

(2) What is your responsibility towards God?

(3) What are the eternal rewards and consequences regarding your choice to follow Jesus Christ in this life?

(4) How often have you planned and actually delved deeply to learn scriptures to know Jesus better? How do you and how could you support others in this? How does the Church Community support this? What else could the Church Community do?

(5) When did you first hear the Gospel and what was your response? How has your response changed over your lifetime?

(6) What surprised you from the Bible scripture teachings presented in The Reapers Roadmap, if anything?

(7) How would you draw out visually your path towards God and our Savior Jesus Christ?

(8) What does it mean to be born again? Did you realize you needed God to make you born again? Why do you need God to be born again?

(9) What in this life is keeping you from fully committing yourself and your life to God?

(10) What now makes more sense to you, that previously you found confusing?

(11) Which prophesies about the Savior are you aware?

(12) What miracles made you think more seriously about scriptures and Jesus? What did you learn from these?

Next Steps:

View the Parable of the Sower Slideshare Presentation.

You can also directly view the Parable of the Sower presentation at the Slideshare link http://www.slideshare.net/creationary/parable-of-the-sower-and-reapers-roadmap-slide-share

Continue your studies on the Parable of the Sower:

Invitation to Delve Deeply into the Parable of the Sower

https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/invitation-to-delve-deeply-into-the-parable-of-the-sower

Hand Drawn Reapers Roadmap (The 9 R’s Roadmap)

Reapers Roadmap 9 R's Hand Drawn


Key Points: The Reapers Roadmap: Answers

  1. God    reveals    his Word for people to know him, scattering    seed    as the Sower.
  2. Excessive concern for wealth and worries lead many to    resist    and    reject    God, like a plant    choked    by thorns.
  3. Prior choices and pride cause failure to    recognize    God’s message in their heart, enabling the evil one to snatch the message like a bird carrying    away    the seed.
  4.    Receiving    faith in Jesus Christ without rooting becomes short-lived belief like a plant without deep roots is unable to withstand the sun’s    heat   .
  5.    Rooting    after receiving and believing Jesus Christ is key to perseverance over troubles and persecution like plants with deep nourishing roots withstanding scorching heat.
  6. The Parable of the Pharisee & Tax Collector shows God forgives the sincerely    repentance   , yet withholds forgiveness from the self-righteous before God, who are full of pride, which is sinful.
  7. Believers’    remaining    in righteousness seek to love God and love their neighbors.
  8.    Reaping    results from deep faith with understanding like a plant in good soil.
  9. Despite being insufficient for confidence in salvation,    rejoicing    is a regular essential aspect to our faithfully following Jesus.
  10. The    Good    Soil represents believers applying reasoning to recognize, receive, and dig deep roots in God Word on the way to remain and reap a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was    sown   .

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