We are in a new series today. It identifies where we are emotionally. An emotional infant, child, adolescent or adult. Let’s get started with the parable Jesus told.
5 “A farmer went out to plant his seed. While he was planting, some seed fell by the road. People walked on the seed, and the birds ate it up. 6 Some seed fell on rock, and when it began to grow, it died because it had no water. 7 Some seed fell among thorny weeds, but the weeds grew up with it and choked the good plants. 8 And some seed fell on good ground and grew and made a hundred times more.”
9 …Jesus’ followers asked him what this story meant.
11…The seed is God’s message. 12 The seed that fell beside the road is like the people who hear God’s teaching, but the devil comes and takes it away from them so they cannot believe it and be saved. 13 The seed that fell on rock is like those who hear God’s teaching and accept it gladly, but they don’t allow the teaching to go deep into their lives. They believe for a while, but when trouble comes, they give up. 14 The seed that fell among the thorny weeds is like those who hear God’s teaching, but they let the worries, riches, and pleasures of this life keep them from growing and producing good fruit. 15 And the seed that fell on the good ground is like those who hear God’s teaching with good, honest hearts and obey it and patiently produce good fruit. NCV Luke 8:5-15
The seed is the message of God. The message is amazing. Here it is: there is grace and healing and rest for your soul, and you don’t have to earn it. Let that sink in. Your heart feels messed up with sin and the junk of the week and God’s offer to you is to wash you clean. You walk through an awful divorce and it leaves deep wounds in you. God’s offer to you is healing. You walk through life and pick up stress, guilt, shame, fear and God’s offer to you walk free from it all. That is unbelievable. Imagine, you can enter into a relationship with Christ and He says, “I love you.”
You would think that message would transform everyone who hears it. It doesn’t.
Jesus said, some people hear it but like seed on a hard road, it goes nowhere. They aren’t transformed by God.
Some people hear it and excited about it. But like a seed that lands on rocky soil, there isn’t much depth to them. At the first sign of hardship, a relationship issue, a job loss, someone offends them, they are disappointed in God or the church or the pastor or their friends and quit. They aren’t transformed by God.
Some people hear it, like it and experience God’s grace. They go to church now and then. The God message begins to take root in their lives. But over time, their focus of life isn’t God. They go to church to hear about God but they live life at a ferocious pace. They get caught up into their culture; faster, bigger, better, more. The message of God that started to grow, begins to be mixed with stress, money and pleasure. Slowly, God focus is choked out. They would say, “I don’t have time for God.” They aren’t transformed by God.
I want to ask you; what is your response to the message of God? There is grace and healing and rest for you and you don’t have to earn it. Have you entered into that? Has it transformed you to your core?
For people not transformed by God, they share, ‘life is such a struggle.’ Not being transformed God means we stumble from church to church looking for that missing thing. The problem is, we are getting lots of information but we are not being transformed. We stumble from friend to friend. We will have friendships with this group for five years, dump them and have new friends for 10 years, dump them and on and on. We stumble from job to job looking for desperately for meaning and never finding it. We live a painful life. We are stressed and overwhelmed. What are we looking for? Transformation. It’s Tip-of-the-Iceberg living. We look great above the water line but want’s under the water is ugly.
Here are eight characteristics of not being transformed.
Living off of other people’s spirituality.
Scattered, fragmented, and uncentered.
Physically, spiritually, and emotionally tired.
Existing with only a one-inch-deep spirituality.
Praying and communing with God very little.
Not very intentional in pursuing Jesus.
Feeling stuck in our spiritual journey with Christ.
Struggling to stop our “life on the run.”
But then Jesus shares about another soil. Good ground He calls it. They hear the message, obey and produce good fruit. This means that the person allows the message of God to transform them.
When was the last time you allowed God’s message to transform you? Maybe never. Maybe a couple years ago. Maybe you grew up in the church and heard this all the time. One of the most dangerous places to grew up in is church. Not because church is bad but because we hear the words so much, we can grow numb. Whatever it has been for you, please hear God’s message today: There is grace and healing and rest for you and you don’t have to earn it. Imagine, your soul could be washed clean again. Imagine, you could be pure again. Imagine, you could be healed of old wounds. Free from the weight of stress and guilt. Imagine, you can enter into a relationship with Christ and He says, “I love you.”
Let’s be honest, you need that don’t you? You aren’t looking for more rules. You aren’t looking for more religion. What you need, what your soul wants is to hear God’s voice in your soul, “I love you.”
This series we are entering into will transform you it you allow it to. It will teach three key things. First, how to slow down, be in the presence of God and pay attention to God. Second, discover who God really is and who you really are. It will heal you. Third, how to break free from a godless culture that tells you, you need more. More accomplishment. More success. More stuff. More statues. More attention. More fame. More pleasure.
So today, we are going to start where all life and healing begins. In the presence of God through worship. Before that, I want to talk specifically to men and women. Guys, when you were a boy, the greatest thing you wanted was time with your dad. You wanted him to spend time with you and tell you that you were a man. Many of you experienced that and many of you didn’t. For those who didn’t, don’t blame your dad, but sin entered the world and destroyed the way God designed it. As you grow up into being a man, you can still have a little boy broken heart. What happens? We work. We get task oriented and can work for twenty hours a day but we can’t look into our wife’s eyes and tell her we love her. Why? Our hearts have been taken out. You need worship. You need time in the presence of God. It’s in worship that God wants to tell you that He loves you.
Ladies. Ever since you were a little girl, you wanted your dad. You wanted him to delight in you. You wanted to walk into the room with a new dress, twirl, and have your dad say, “Wow, what a beautiful young lady.” You wanted to be with dad on his lap and feel his strength that would protect you. You wanted to hear his voice tell you he loves you. For some of you, that happened. For many of you, you didn’t have that. Don’t blame your dad, sin entered the world and destroyed the way God designed it. You can grow up into a woman with a little girl broken heart. What do you do? Control. We have to try to control everything and everyone. When we release we aren’t in control, we feel fear, doubt and worry. You need worship. You need to be in the presence of God. It’s in worship you can hear your heavenly father tell you that He loves you.
Listen. Life begins, healing begins in the presence of God. It’s in worship where He can transform you. In the Old Testament, it says that God wants to take out our stone heart and replace it with a heart made of flesh. He wants to transform us.
22 “Therefore, tell Israel, ‘Message of GOD, the Master: I’m not doing this for you, Israel. I’m doing it for me, to save my character, my holy name, which you’ve blackened in every country where you’ve gone. 23 I’m going to put my great and holy name on display, the name that has been ruined in so many countries, the name that you blackened wherever you went. Then the nations will realize who I really am, that I am GOD, when I show my holiness through you so that they can see it with their own eyes.
24 “‘For here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to take you out of these countries, gather you from all over, and bring you back to your own land. 25 I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. 26 I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. 27 I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. 28 You’ll once again live in the land I gave your ancestors. You’ll be my people! I’ll be your God! MSG Ezekiel 36:22-28
During worship, I want you to tell God, “I surrender my life to you, come and transform me.”
Life and healing begins in the presence of God. It’s not about information, it’s about transformation.