Divine Encounters Part 3

The Samaritan Woman’s Story

John 4:3 – He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. (Verse 2) But He needed to go through Samaria. (Many Jews walked around this city to avoid it. However, the Bible says Jesus needed to go through it.)

(Verse 5) So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. (Verse 6) Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus, therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. (Noon) (Verse 7) A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”

Every person needs an encounter with Jesus. Here we have the Master Himself teaching us how to guide someone into an encounter with Him. If you are going to help someone have an encounter with Jesus Christ:

Don’t argue with them.

There is an entire realm of demonic spirits trying to keep people from coming to Jesus and they will try their best to use words to start an argument. Jesus was never drawn in to argue with this woman at the well, although the enemy tried many times. Jesus never argued with Satan either.

There are three areas in this story that the enemy tried to get Jesus to argue with him. (a) Race: (Verse 9) Then the woman of Samaria said to HIm, “How is it You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

There had been friction between the Samaritans and the Jews for a very long time. There was also friction by her being a woman and saying anything to her. So this woman thought Jesus didn’t understand that because of her race and gender, He wasn’t to address her.

However, Jesus never even addresses the fact that she is a Samaritan or a woman. Why? Because race is a man-made barrier! It is not God made! Don’t ever let race, culture, ethnicity, social status, or gender, stop you from talking to a soul that needs Jesus.

Most bigots think one race is more evolved than another. And most racist people believe in evolution instead of creation or they mix the two. However, we were all created in the image of God! Evolution is not only un-Scriptural, but it’s also unconstitutional. Because our constitution says that we were created equal and we have rights given to us by our Creator.

The second thing we are not to do is: (b) Try to reason with them. (Verse 11) The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?” That’s a reasonable question. Jesus was talking on a spiritual level and she’s talking on a natural level. 

When we talk to someone that needs Christ, we do it on a spiritual level. But their understanding is not there. People don’t realize that they are qualified to be a witness if they’ve had a face to face encounter with Jesus. You don’t have to know the answer to every question they ask. Here’s the third reason we don’t want to argue: (c) Religion

John 4:20 – “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” Jesus still never argued. He didn’t tell her why they were the true worshipers and her religion was wrong. If Jesus didn’t argue that, then neither should we!

Religion is also a man-made barrier. Religion is man’s attempt to get to God. Christ is God’s attempt to get to man. This is never about religion, it’s about a relationship. If we want someone to have an encounter with Jesus, just talk.

John 4:7 – A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” Don’t you think Jesus could have gotten His own water? He wanted a conversation with this woman and the only reason He started talking to her was to help her. He knew where the conversation was going to end up before He started it.

If we just start a conversation with their favorite subject, they’ll talk back. What is everyone’s favorite subject? Themselves! They’ll tell us about their children, their job, where they grew up and so on. We will never lead people into a face to face encounter with Jesus if we never talk to them and act like we are truly interested.

We can talk to them about  Abundant Life. John 4:10 – Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

Every person wants abundant life. Every person wants peace and joy in their life. Every Christian should be able to tell others about the peace of mind and joy that they have now but didn’t have before Christ came into their lives. That is not imposing religion on someone. People can and will argue about everything under the sun, but when we tell someone our story of how we came to Christ, they can’t argue with that. We have proof!

Titus 3:9 – But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. Talking about someone’s race and religion and even reasoning with them is all useless. You will never get to the point.

John 4:13 – Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, (Verse 14) “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Every person, even if they say they don’t believe in life after death, wants to know about life after death. God put that curiosity in them, in all of us.

We then need to talk to them about sin.

John 4:16 – Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” (Verse 17) The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ (Verse 18) for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that, you spoke truly.” (Verse 19) The woman said to Him, “Sir, I have perceived that You are a prophet.”

It is alright to talk about sin, but we don’t do it with a condemning attitude or tone. One of the barriers that Satan throws up is making the lost think that we, as believers, think we are better than them because we are saved. We simply tell them that we are not better than them but have received forgiveness and grace and they can too.

Then we need to tell them about a relationship that they too can have with the Savior.

John 4:21 – Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. (Verse 22) “You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. (Verse 23) “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. (Verse 24) “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

If you will continue reading this story, you will see that this encounter with Jesus changed her life. She went to the whole city and told them about a Man that told her all the things she ever did. Jesus knew all about her and He still loved her, just like us! We need to tell people not to judge how much God loves them by the way some “so-called Christians or preachers act!” Tell them Jesus loves them so much that He died for them to have a relationship with Him.

These relationships we have with the unbelievers may take time, but we don’t browbeat them into submission. We love them and tell them that they are deeply loved by the only One that can give them what they need in their life – forgiveness!

 

 

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Divine Encounters Part 2

Mary’s Story

We are going to look at Jesus’ first miracle through Mary’s eyes. Throughout Mary’s whole life, she knew something great was going to happen concerning Jesus.

In Luke Chapter 2, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem and a man named Simeon revealed to them that Jesus was the Messiah they had been waiting on, but told Mary a “sword will pierce through your own soul.”

When we talk about face to face encounters with Jesus, there is a “first time” when we realize He is the Son of God. But if we are going to grow as believers, we need many face to face encounters.

John 2:1 – On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. (Verse 2) Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. (Verse 3) And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” (Verse 4) Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”

(Verse 5) His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” (Verse 6) Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. (Verse 7) Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.

(Verse 8) And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. (Verse 9) When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. (Verse 10) And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then that which is inferior; but you have kept the good wine until now.”

A lot of theologians believe that this is John’s wedding. John doesn’t refer to himself by name in his gospel. They believe this because Jesus and the disciples were invited. This might also explain why Mary is so concerned about running out of wine. Some believe that Salome, the wife of Zebedee was the sister of Mary, Jesus’ mother, therefore John would have been Jesus’ cousin. So this wedding was important to the whole family.

Weddings in those days were very different than today. The couple didn’t take “honeymoons.” First, they had a celebration for seven days and they would treat the bride and grooms like a king and queen.

So when the story starts, John 2:1, says, “On the third day,” of a seven-day party, they run out of wine. That would have been embarrassing to the hoast and bride and groom. So this was a big deal! That’s why Mary goes immediately to Jesus. Why did she go to Jesus out of all the people that were there though?

If we read to verse eleven, it says this was the beginning of signs that Jesus did. Doesn’t that make you wonder if Mary had seen some strange “signs” concerning Jesus before this? Why else would Mary say to the servants to do whatever He says? Just makes you wonder how many other things out of the ordinary Mary had seen Jesus do while growing up. The words that Mary said are some of the most profound words when it comes to receiving a miracle. “Whatever He says to you, do it!” Pray and obey.

Obedience is measurable.

The verse says that they filled the waterpots up to the brim. They got as much wine as they had water, all the way to the brim. It’s amazing that Jesus once said, “Whatever measure you give, it will be measured back to you.” What if they had only filled them up halfway? However, we give, that’s what is given back to us. Obedience is measurable.

When Jesus tells us to do something, do we do it halfway or completely? People can tell us that they are “walking in obedience,” but we can tell by how giving they are. I’m not talking about the amount of money. So if God says something to us, are we going to obey to the full measure?

Obedience is exciting.

The waterpots represented dead religion until Jesus got involved. By the end of the evening, these plain ole waterpots were the center of the party. A lot of Christians’ walk is routine, just like the washing pots. Come in, sit down, sing a song, and their done with worship. However, our Christian walk can be exciting if we just do whatever Jesus tells us to do. How would you like to go from miracle to miracle to miracle?

Obedience is the key to your heart’s desires.

Think about Jesus first miracle: It was not raising someone from the dead or healing someone. His first miracle was saving a family from embarrassment! So many think that God doesn’t care about things like that, but He does!

Have you ever thought “If I don’t take care of me, no one else will?” That’s what Satan says to us. Every miracle that is done benefits someone. When a person gets healed, their life is so much better. They receive a benefit. The devil will try to convince people not to pray for healing because it’s selfish, but God wants to bless His children and He wants you healed.

God will bless you more than you can bless yourself if you give Him the opportunity! Number one, He’s richer than we are. Number two, He loves you more than you love yourself. Don’t ever forget that He sent His only Son to die for you!

Psalm 37:4 – Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Obey and God will do a miracle in your life. 

Too many have been ruined by the “prosperity gospel” that it has affected how we think about God actually wanting to bless us. Don’t fall into the “poverty doctrine” either, thinking God wants you poor, because that’s not true. How would you ever bless someone else if you don’t have anything to give to others? People think it’s “Godly” to be poor. Well, I’ve got news for some: You can be selfish and be poor and you can be selfish and be rich!

Whatever situation a person has, the way to receive a miracle is, invite Jesus in and do what He says.

 

 

Divine Encounters Part 1

John’s Story

As we get to know God better, our lives begin to change and be transformed. How we view God can affect every area of our lives. But God is divine and we’re only human, so how do we discover who He is?

This study is about John, one of Jesus 12 disciples:

Revelation 1:9 – I, John, both your brother and companion in tribulation and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Verse 10) I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet,

(Verse 11) saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” (Verse 12) Then I turned to see the voice that spoke to me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, (Verse 13) and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.

(Verse 14) His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; (Verse 15) His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; (Verse 16) He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.

(Verse 17) And when I saw Him I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and Last. (Verse 18) I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and Death.”

John had a revelation of Jesus.

This is a face to face encounter with the resurrected Christ. John was the only living, and original disciple at that time. John was the only one that was not martyred. Acts 12:1 – Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. (Verse 2) Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. (Years later, we don’t know for sure, but some think it was Nero that crucified Peter upside down.)

History tells us that they tried to kill John, but he wouldn’t die. One time they put him in boiling oil and then he preached to them. The hot oil didn’t burn his skin at all. The Emporer, maybe Nero, got so afraid of him that he banished John to the island of Patmos. He was on this island for one year and while there he writes the book of Revelation.

The gospel of John begins like no other book in the Bible. It begins with the very same words that Genesis begins with – In the beginning. John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John wrote the gospel of John to help people understand that Jesus is not only the Messiah but the Son of God and God Himself! John had a greater revelation of the divinity and humanity of Jesus probably more than any other disciple. He writes the gospel of John to prove the divinity of Jesus and then writes 1 John to prove the humanity of Jesus.

1 John 4:3 – and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. 

1 John 1:1 – That which was from the beginning which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life – 

We know that John was probably over 100 years old when he died and he sees things going on in the church, so he writes 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John. Revelation is a direct commandment to write from Jesus Himself. He wrote the gospel of John much later in his life.

He wrote 1 John because in Ephesus there were false teachers saying that Jesus didn’t actually come in the flesh. So John tells them, “I was there! I touched Him. I saw HIm!” John was a first-hand witness to what he wrote.

John had a growing revelation of Jesus.

The gospel of John records more of what Jesus said about Himself than any other book in the Bible. The book of John has more “Red letters” than any other gospel. It also has more “I am” than any of the other gospels:

John 6:35 – “I am the bread.” John 8:12 – “I am the light.” John 10:7 – “I am the door.” John 10:11 – “I am the good shepherd.” John 11:25 – “I am the resurrection.” John 14:6 – “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” John 15:1 – “I am the vine.” John 10:36 – “I am the Son of God.”

John is also referred to as the “Love” disciple. He talked about how much he loved Jesus and Jesus loved him. John is the only one that recorded that Jesus said, “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another.” And then in 1 John, he backs this up by saying, “If anyone says they love God but doesn’t love his brother, he is a liar.”

It’s a growing revelation because John didn’t start out being the “Love disciple.” John was a Galilean, a little rough around the edges. Others said the Galileans were uneducated. James and John were called by Jesus, the “Sons of thunder.” In the original language, that’s not a compliment. It’s like saying they were a little wild and they needed help.

Luke 9:54 – And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” John was a long way from being the “Love disciple” at this point.

Mark 9:38 – Now John answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.”

John also wrote the book of Revelation, not Revelations. There is no “S.” Many think this book is the revelation of “end times.” It is not! This book is the revelation of Jesus Christ. Revelation 1:1 – The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants – If you try to figure out “what” this revelation is talking about instead of “whom” it’s talking about, you will never understand it. You have to see it all in the revelation of Jesus Christ.

John refers to Jesus as the Lamb of God, in the book of Revelation 27 times. The entire New Testament refers to Jesus as the Lamb only 31 times. And two of the four that are not in the book of Revelation, are in the gospel of John.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke are “synoptic” gospels, meaning the same. John is not a “synoptic” gospel. Matthew, Mark, and Luke wrote their gospels way before John wrote his. They wrote about the last year of Jesus ministry, with the exception of His birth. They wrote about Jesus birth, then baptism, temptation in the wilderness and then immediately they say, “Afte the imprisonment of John the Baptist. John the Baptist was imprisoned after the first two years of Jesus ministry.

As a matter of fact, Matthew, Mark, and Luke only tell us of one Passover other than the Passover when Jesus died. John tells us of three Passovers. We might not have known that Jesus’ ministry was for three years if it had not been for John’s gospel.

John writes his gospel between 85 and 95 AD. That would be about 60 years after Jesus died. Wow! I believe John was inspired to write it because the only thing available about Jesus last year of His ministry was from the others and John felt we needed to know more. That’s why we’ll find things in John we won’t find in the other gospels. We wouldn’t have known about Jesus first recorded miracle if it weren’t for John’s gospel of turning water into wine.

We wouldn’t have known about Nicodemos and Jesus telling him, “You must be born again.” We wouldn’t have had John 3:16 if John had not written his gospel. and many more recordings would not have been if John had not written the gospel of John.

Do you, as a believer, know Jesus better today than when you were first saved? You should. All of us should know Him better today than years before. As long as we stay close to Him by reading and studying His Word, we should never stop growing in the revelation of Jesus Christ. It’s not a “one-time-encounter.” There’s a first time meeting of Jesus but then many encounters with Him as we grow.

John also had a revelation of himself in Jesus.

John saw himself as Jesus saw him. John 13:23 – Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. 

John 20:2 – Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them,… John 21:7 – Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” (Notice that John does not refer to himself as John.)

John 21:20 – Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following who also had leaned on His breast at the supper… John 19:26, 27 – When Jesus, therefore, saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” (Verse 27) Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. (That was John.)

John writes five times in the gospel of John, “The disciple whom Jesus loved.” John wasn’t saying that Jesus loved him and not the others. He was saying that he knows Jesus loves him! John has a revelation of Jesus that we all need to have, Jesus loves us! John saw Jesus as Lord and Lamb.

We also have in Chapters 14, 15, and 16, of John, the conversation that Jesus had at the last supper. If John hadn’t written it in his gospel, we wouldn’t have it. No one else recorded it. And Chapter 17, John records the prayer that Jesus prayed in the garden. While Peter and James fell asleep, John listened to Jesus prayer.

However, John didn’t write this in the gospel of John until 60 years later. How could he remember all of this after 60 years? I believe because John kept having encounters with Jesus. John ended up seeing himself the way Jesus saw him and that’s why he refers to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved.

A born again believer is a child of the Most High God who loves us more than we can imagine. We are not who we think we are in our own eyes. We are who Jesus says we are and we are loved!

 

Does God Need You?

When most people give a talk or a study, they will have a title. Then they may have points that support the title. However, this study is going to be a little different, starting with my first point:

God Doesn’t Need Anything

When we look around at all of God’s creation and really see how big He is, we think, “Wow, God doesn’t need anything!” But deep in our spirits, we will soon find out if we haven’t already, God needs you!

God is self-existent, self-sufficient and He’s self-sustaining. He does not need us to exist. Acts 17:25 – “Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all, life, breath, and all things.” However:

God Decided To Need You

God doesn’t need us to exist, but He decided to need us, to co-exist.

Genesis 2:19 – Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.

If you remember the story, right after Adam named the animals, God caused him to fall into a deep sleep. As Adam had been naming the animals, he realized there was no companion found for himself.

Adam’s desire was for a companion. And Adam was made in the image of God, so this tells us something about God. Why did God ask Adam to name the animals? Why didn’t God just name them? I think God decided to need Adam in the operation and management of the earth. Maybe God decided to partner with us. Does God not show us through Scripture He partners with man?

Do you remember when Jesus couldn’t do many mighty works in His hometown because of the people’s “unbelief?” It didn’t say that He would not, it said He could not. Is it possible that God has limited His unlimited power on this earth to our faith? So it’s very possible that what we want to happen in our lives is being stalled, waiting to partner with Him through our faith.

And, is it possible that our enemy knows this? And is it possible that if he knows that God doesn’t move unless we partner with Him, that Satan uses that against us?

1 Samuel 17:8 – Then he (Goliath) stood and cried out to the armies of Israel, and said to them, “Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come to me. (Verse 9) “If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” (Verse 10) And the Philistine said, “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.”

Now imagine this: Here’s this huge giant, ready to take on any man that’s willing to fight him one on one. Do you not think that God could have struck this giant down in an instant without any help from anyone? Well, He could have because He’s all-powerful but, is it possible He couldn’t because He has limited Himself to someone on earth to partner with Him? And was it possible that Satan set this whole thing up because he knows how God works? Satan knew if there was not one person that had the courage to fight Goliath, he would get to take all of Israel into bondage.

Satan thought he had won this one unless someone stepped out in faith. But God showed him that He had one, David, a shepherd boy! And God had been preparing David with a lion, a bear, and a sling-shot!

God already has a David prepared for your Goliath! Is it possible that David is you? And just maybe He has been preparing you with little battles for the big battle. God really doesn’t need us, but He decided to need us. But:

Have You Decided To Need God?

God decided to partner with us. so, have you decided to partner with Him?

God has a part and we have a part: (1) God is never going to do your part. If we don’t put “legs” on our prayer, nothing will happen or change. Faith without works is dead! Example” When someone is praying for God to heal their marriage. But is the husband honoring her and loving her as Christ loves the church? If not, then nothing will change! God is not going to do the husband’s part to love and honor.

(2) Our part is never supernatural.

God’s part is supernatural, not ours. David slung the stone in his sling-shot, but God did the supernatural part of making it hit exactly where it would knock a nine-foot giant out! When we read it, we find out the giant fell forward not backward. The giant fell on his face ( 1 Samuel 17:49). That reminds me that every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is LORD! Moses held the rod up and God parted the Red Sea!

Our Part Is First

Jesus is never going to come and die again on the cross. He has already done His part. The Bible says, “You shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.” They shall recover is God’s part, but that doesn’t happen until we do our part. Here’s another verse: Jesus said “Whatever you bind on earth, will be bound in heaven.”

Sin entered the earth through Adam and then death to all men. In other words: Adam sinned and all were condemned. Doesn’t that seem a little unfair? One man sinned and the whole world was condemned.

It wasn’t unfair, it was brilliant! Only God could have thought of it. Why? Since it only took one man to lose it all, it only took one Man to get it all back? It only took one man to lose it, so God became a Man to get it back. That’s the Gospel.

The Son of God became a Man and defeated Satan, sin, and death and hell. And He did it for all! God’s done His part, but dependant on whether a person goes to heaven is whether they do their part – believe and receive!

 

 

Better Roots Part 3

The last study was on “bitter roots” and some of the causes for people to be angry and have bitter roots in their life. This study covers “better roots” to produce good fruit.

Proverbs 12:3 – A man is not established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous cannot be moved.

Proverbs 12:2 – The wicked covet the catch of evil men, but the root of the righteous yields fruit.

Colossians 2:6 – As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, (Verse 7) rooted and built up in HIm, and established in the faith, as you have been taught abounding in it with thanksgiving.

Romans 11:16 – For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

Better roots must be planted.

2 Kings 19:30 – “And the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.”

If we want to bear fruit, we have to take root. Judah had messed up big time! Have you ever messed up? That’s ok because you can take root again. We all have areas of our lives where we have good fruit and areas where it’s not so good fruit. In those areas where there is no good fruit, take root in something good. Find some help and take hold of what is being taught, let it take root and produce good things.

Seeds have to be planted in order to grow. It’s not good enough to just spread seeds on top of the ground once a week.

Psalm 92:13 – Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. (Verse 14) They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing.

Better roots must be watered.

Jeremiah 17:7 – “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD. (Verse 8) For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.

Hearing, meditation, and studying the Word of God, is watering the roots. In Scripture, the Word of God is water! You can’t just water a plant once a month and expect it to survive. Neither can you read, study, or meditate once a week, and expect to survive in your Christian walk.

However, there is another person that would like to water you with words and that person is Satan: Revelation 12:15 – So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood.

Have you ever had a flood of accusations come against you? I think we all have. When that happens, we need to raise up a standard against it. Our standard is the Word of God!

Better roots must be fertilized.

Luke 13:6 – He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. (Verse 7) “Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ (Verse 8) “But he answered and said to him, “Sir, let it alone this year also until I dig around it and fertilized it. (Verse 9) “And if it bears fruit, well. But if not after that you can cut it down.’ “

When we have an area in our life that is not bearing good fruit, fertilize it. Fertilizer is manure. Manure is going through the real tough times and not giving up and pressing into God. Standing on what you know God has said and beliving and trusting Him in these times is fertilizing the root. Fertilize those roots with faith and the word of God in order to start producing good fruit where there was none.

Manure doesn’t smell good at the time, but it makes everything that it’s been spread on turn out pretty. Water with the word of God and fertilize your life with prayer and see what God has in store for you. Stay connected to the root that lives on the inside and watch how much fruit you will bear.

 

 

Bitter Roots Part 2

The last study was on roots and fruit. This is a study on “What is the root cause of the fruit that is in my life?” Example: Why do people constantly stay in financial struggles, other than just not managing their money well. Some go from one bad relationship to another; some make bad decisions; some seem to be sick all the time; some go from job to job. All these things and many more have a root cause.

What if I told you there is a root cause for all root causes? The bitterroot is much more than just being bitter and unforgiving. The fruit of a bitter root can be many different fruits; addiction, pornography, lust, immorality, anger, unforgiveness, resentment, hate, envy, and jealousy. These are all the fruit from bitterness that can show up in a persons life.

Hebrews 12:14 – Pursue peace with all men, and holiness without which no one will see the Lord; (Verse 15) lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; (Verse 16) lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.

Bitter Roots Deceive

Bitter roots cause deception. People let bitterness blind them and can’t see clearly when they have a bitter root.

2 Corinthians 11:3 – But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Paul goes back to the original sin with Adam and Eve and says he fears the same thing is going to happen to us. Deception has a little bit of truth in it. The serpent said, “God knows the day you eat…” God had already told them the “day you eat” there will be consequences. So that part of what Satan said was true. Then Satan told them, “The day you eat your eyes will be opened.” And that happened after they ate. However, their eyes opened to something God never intended for their eyes to be opened to and that was fear and shame!

Then the serpent tells them, “and then you’ll be like Him.” The sad part about that lie was they were already like Him, made in His image. Satan was basically telling them, “If you do this you will have something you don’t now have.”

But as a believer, we have already been given all things that pertain to life and godliness. And God has already blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.

Then the serpent says, “knowing good and evil.” Adam and Eve already knew “good” because they talked and walked with God every day and had everything they could ever want. God didn’t want Adam and Eve to know evil.

So what was behind the lie that Satan told them? God wasn’t holding out on them. Satan’s main objective was to get Eve bitter toward God. Why? The original sin is not from Adam and Eve. The original sin was from Lucifer. He is the author of all sin. The original sin was bitterness toward God!

When we read Isaiah 14, it talks about how Lucifer fell. He wanted to be like God. He felt God was holding out on him by taking all the glory of heavens worship and Satan wanted some of that glory and developed a root of bitterness. If you remember, Satan leads worship in heaven.

All sin goes back to a root of bitterness toward God. For instance: If a person falls into immorality, they think that something better is out there somewhere other than what God has for them and they become bitter, thinking God is not giving them all they deserve.

In this passage of Hebrews we just read, we see three times the word “lest.” The first time: Hebrews 12:15 – lest anyone fall short of the grace of God.” There are two ways we fall short of the grace of God: One is lasciviousness and the other is legalism. Lasciviousness means evil and evil sexual desires. 

People think they can live any way they want and there will be no consequences. For a believer, that’s trodding underfoot the blood of “Christ. Hebrews 12:14 – Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. We know we receive holiness through grace through faith, but we are to also “walk ” holy!

The other way we fall short of the grace of God is legalism. Trying to earn our relationship with God through good works. These are both extremes in the body of Christ.

Bitter Roots Defile

Hebrews 12:15 – lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;

Defiled in the Greek means “stained,” “to dye” with another color. Sin stains us. However, the blood of Jesus cleanses every stain.

Now in Hebrews 12:16, we read about Esau, most think it is about when Jacob was pretending to be Esau when deceiving Isaac, but it’s not. (Verse 16) lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 

This verse is actually referring to this: Genesis 25:29 – Now Jacob cooked a stew, and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. (Verse 30) And Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary. Therefore his name was called Edom. (Verse 31) But Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright as of this day.” (Verse 32) And Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; so what profit shall this birthright be to me?” (Verse 33) Then Jacob said, “Swear to me as of this day.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. (Verse 34) And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then ate and drank, arose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

Esau gave up his birthright because he didn’t value it. His birthright was twice the inheritance of his brother’s because he was the firstborn. This caused a root of bitterness between the two brothers. Later on, Esau is continually trying to get back at his father, developing resentment. Any time Esau saw that Jacob would do something to please his father, Esau would do the opposite.

How many people do things out of spite, bitterness, and resentment, but it is detrimental to them? How many people have a deep root of bitterness towards others but it’s really against God because God didn’t help them? So many will ask, “Why didn’t God stop this from happening to me?” They become bitter and many times take their bitterness out on those around them but are really bitter toward God because He could have prevented them from going through a terrible time.

Is it hard to watch a person that does you wrong and they are blessed by God? That’s exactly what happened with Jacob and Esau. God blessed Jacob after he deceived his father by pretending to be Esau.

However, did not God bless Esau also? God’s a merciful God and has blessed us even when we’ve have done wrong. The Bible says God blesses whom He chooses!

People get angry and bitter toward God because they know God is “sovereign” and He could stop any tragedy He chooses. That is not what the word “sovereign” means. Sovereign doesn’t mean that God can do anything He wants to do. It means that God is the Supreme Ruler of the universe, but God can never act outside of His character! And because God didn’t want robots, He gave us all a free will and we are the ones that mess things up. Because there is sin in the world there is now death and sickness in the world.

Things happen in our lives because we live in a fallen world and if we’re not careful that line of thinking will cause a root of bitterness toward God! Sin brings all manner of evil (Romans 7:8).

When life becomes “bitter,” just like Moses placing a tree in the bitter water to make it drinkable, if we put Jesus in the middle of that bitterness He will make our lives sweet!

Bitter Roots Depress

Bitterness just might be the number one cause for depression. Hebrews 12:17 – For you know that afterward when he (Esau) wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.

Any time a person lets a root of bitterness or resentment take hold in their lives, all they can focus on is themselves. It becomes all about how others treat “them”; what is not being done for “them”; why hasn’t God blessed me like He blesses them?

Isaiah 26:3 – Thou will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Everyone at some time in their lives will taste bitterness, but we have a choice whether to drink it or not!

 

 

 

Roots and Fruit Part 1

As Christians, we should desire to bear fruit in our lives. But there has to be a root in order to bear fruit. There will be different root causes of whether we succeed or fail in areas in our lives.

We all see areas in our lives where we will see a lot of fruit being produced. However, there are areas where we won’t see any fruit or we see bad fruit being produced.

John 15:8 – “By this, My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”

When we only focus on the fruit, we seem to forget what was the root cause for the fruit to be produced. For instance: What is the root cause for blessings? What’s a root cause for bondage in a person’s life? Some people go from job to job, never seem to be able to stay in one particular position. What would be the root cause of that? What’s the root cause of bad relationship after another?

Matthew 7:17 – “Even so, every good tree (root) bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. (Verse 18) “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.”

This should help us understand that if we have a good root in our life we will bear good fruit. So how do we uproot the bad roots and nourish the good roots?

Matthew 12:33 – “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.”

Jesus Is The Vine

John 15:5 – “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” Jesus is the root that grows on the inside of each believer.

Isaiah 11:1 – There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. Isaiah 11:10 – “And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious.”

Revelation 22:16 – “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches, I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”

Jesus is the First and the Last. He’s the Root because He’s God and He’s the Offspring of David because He became a Man. So without the Root, we can do nothing! Nothing is one word but made up of two words – no thing. Philippians says, “Through Him, we can do all thigs.” But without Him, we can do nothing. With Jesus, all things, without Jesus, no things are done.

A fruit-producing vine is opposed to a jungle vine. And we know from John 15 that Jesus is a fruit-bearing vine because the Father prunes the branches. You don’t prune a jungle vine. The jungle vine that the world produces will tangle up your footsteps when trying to walk.

We Are The Branches

John 15:4 – “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”

Galatians 5:22 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (Verse 23) gentleness, self-control. Against such, there is no law. Do we not all want these things in our lives? Yes, but Jesus said we can’t do it without Him.

We think that the word “bear” means “produce.” Not so. The word bear actually means to carry. Like when we carry a “burden.” So this changes things a little. It makes these verses say, “You can’t carry the fruit without Jesus.” Jesus is the One that produces the fruit, so we have to stay connected to the vine. We bear or carry fruit for two reasons: One is to display God to the world by displaying what true love is; peace, joy, all the things Galatians 5:22 and 23 listed.

The other reason is so that people can eat the fruit. In other words: When others come in a relationship with a Christian that stays connected to the vine, they can taste and see that the Lord is good! But the keyword in all this is the word “abide.”

Abide – to stay in one place for a long time. We even stay through struggles. The people that really bear good fruit are the people that stay in a committed relationship with Christ through the hard times, not just the good times. These are not the ones that go “in and out.” Not the ones that leave when things are really tough.

The Father Is The Vinedresser

John 15:1 – “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.”

God owns the vineyard!

Isaiah 5:1 – Now let me sing to my Well-beloved a song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard: My Well-beloved has a vineyard on a very fruitful hill. (Verse 2) He dug it up and cleared out its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, and also made a winepress in it; so He expected it to bring forth good grapes, but it brought forth wild grapes.

The “choicest” vine is Jesus. (Verse 3) “And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, please, between Me and My vineyard. (Verse 4) What more could have been done to My vineyard that I have not done to it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, did it bring forth wild grapes? (Verse 5) And now, please let Me tell you what I will do with My vineyard; I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned; and break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.

Did you know that every believer has a hedge of protection around them? The hedge is the Word of God. (Verse 6) I will lay it waste; it shall not be pruned or dug, but there shall come up briers and thorns. I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain on it.” (The briers and thorns represent the enemy coming in.) (Verse 7) For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel,…

Now here is what Jesus says about this vineyard in the New Testament:

Matthew 21:33 – “Hear another parable: There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. (Verse 34) “Now when vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit. (He sent prophet after prophet to see if Israel would come back to Him.)

(Verse 35) “And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. (Verse 36) “Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them. (Jesus is telling this story about Himself and its about seven days before He is crucified.)

(Verse 37) “Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son!’ (Verse 38) “But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ (Verse 39) “And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. (outside the city) (Verse 40) “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?”

What’s going to happen to those who don’t accept His Son? If you are not a Christ-follower yet, you still have a choice. The bad fruit in someone’s life is because Jesus is not their root. But as a believer, we have a choice also and that is, “Are you going to abide through the struggles? Are you going to stay in a committed relationship to Christ no matter what?”