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In the Image of God

Mrs. Gertrude, an 81 year old Sunday school teacher who has been teaching Sunday school for 61 years, looks down at little Johnny, whose mouth is stuffed with gold fish, and tells him, “Johnny you are special because you are made in God’s image”. What a great fact for little Johnny to know.

I mean isn’t it great to be made in God’s image? “Well yes! It is wonderful! I love being made in God’s image, it’s just that…I uhhh…hmmmm….Its great, but I’m not really sure what it means.” Maybe this is your response. Maybe the only image of God that you have in your head is that which the Simpsons have placed in through their own cartoons sketches of God. Wherever you might be in your thinking let’s take a look at the image of God together and see the importance of us reflecting that image.   

First, let’s look at a quote by Andy Bannister. (Andy works with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and has a great article of what it means to be human here→ https://www.rzim.org/read/a-slice-of-infinity/what-does-it-really-mean-to-be-human

Andy says this:

“If atheism is true and there is no God, then there can be no grand purpose to life—we are just freak cosmic accidents, random collocations of atoms thrown up by the tides of time, chaos, and natural selection. We are nothing more than matter, molecules, and atoms.” 

Wow. That sounds depressing

He goes on to say: 

“But if that’s true, some fairly drastic consequences follow. For instance, there would be nothing wrong with treating our fellow human beings on that basis, as if they were just particles, as mere things. After all, they would have no inherent value or dignity.”

I want to start off with this: because God exists YOU are not here by accident, nor are you just a depressing collocation of atoms thrown together by the tides of time, chaos and natural selection. I want you to know that there is a grand purpose to life and I want you to know that you are created for a purpose by a CREATOR!

As human beings we are different from all the rest of creation. In Genesis 1:26 God says, “And let them have dominion over the fish of the seas and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on earth.” God has given mankind dominion over all creatures of the Earth. Just in that verse we see the privilege that God has given to humans.  

Verse 27 says “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

Humans hold the significant title of being made in His image! Being made in God’s image is not a title for super christians, but it is a title for every single human to ever live. If you are reading this you can bet 100% that you have been made in that image of God! Even brutal men such as Sudam Huessain and Adolph Hitler were made in the image of God. How could such destructive men like this be made in God’s image? Well, like all of us, our sin has distorted the image of God (we will look more at this in a moment), but this does not take away the fact that we are still made in his image. 

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Being made in the image of God doesn’t mean that we look like God. 

Wayne Grudem explains that “Being made in the image of God means that man is like God and represents God.” (Systematic Theology)

We are not God, nor are we little gods, but we do share some of the characteristics that God has. We have the ability to love, show compassion, be gracious and gentle, etc,etc. 

See God made us in his image so that we would be REFLECTORS of God! The whole point of creation is to bring glory to God and God made humans in his image so that they would reflect who he is!

So how well are you reflecting God? 

The thing is, even though we are created in the image of God we have sinned. And our sins have distorted God’s image. 

Sin doesn’t take away the fact that we are made in God’s image, but it does distort the image of God within us.

So think to yourself, are you reflecting God or are you reflecting a distortion?

Here is the Good News: Through Christ, God has redeemed us so that we might “be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29)

And Jesus was the perfect Image of God because he is God. Colossians 1:15 says that “He is the image of the invisible God”

Through Christ we can be conformed to that image. We can become more and more like Christ (like God). 

The more and more we reflect Jesus the more and more we reflect God and his beautiful, righteous, holy, magnificent image. 

Expectant-Something Good is Gonna Happen

 Think back to freshman year of college. What were your expectations going into it? Did you expect the best four years of your life? Did you expect to make friends that would one day be standing beside you on your wedding day? What were you expecting? Let’s say that you didn’t go to college. Think about your first job; what were your expectations there? Did you expect to become a manager or CEO one day? Did you expect to excel, do well, and retire from that same job? What were you expectant of?

 I believe it’s safe to say that everyone has expectations of something or some situation. The definition of expectant is this: “having or showing an excited feeling tha something is about to happen, especially something pleasant.

I like to go into life feeling expectant, believing that something good is gonna happen

I want you to feel this today. I want you to know today that God wants to do something great in you, and through you! I want you to expect that he is going to do great things in your life!

Before we expect great things in our life we need to look at what the Bible says about God so that we can know what he is capable of. 

Isaiah 55:8-9 says this:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

    so are my ways higher than your ways

    and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

The thoughts of God are far higher than anything that we could possibly come up with. While we see only what is directly and presently right in front of us, God has an aerial view over the entire universe and future!

Psalms 147:5 says, “Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;

    his understanding is beyond measure.”

God’s understanding is BEYOND measure!!! He knows all things, he know about all things, he understands all things; our God is an omniscient (meaning all-knowing) God! 

A.W. Tozer said this “Because God knows all things perfectly, he knows no thing better than any other thing, but all things equally well. He never discovers anything, he is never surprised, never amazed.” 

God is Omniscient. 

We also know that God is omnipresent, meaning he is everywhere. 

Psalms 139:7-10 says “Where shall I go from your Spirit?

    Or where shall I flee from your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, you are there!

    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

If I take the wings of the morning

    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

even there your hand shall lead me”

Wherever you go God is there! In your car, at the bar, in a box with a fox, in a house with a mouse, in a spaceship with a…you get my point. Wherever you go he is there!

God is also omnipotent! Meaning he is all powerful! Revelation 19:6 “For the Lord God the Almighty reigns.” God is ALMIGHTY! He’s got the power! 

Not only is God all-knowing, all-powerful, and everywhere, but we also know that God is all-loving. 

Psalms 86:15 says that God is “slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love…” Not only does God abound is love, but 1 John 4:8 tells us that God is love. The best definition of love out there is simply GOD! Thats his exact character; He is loving. 

Now, if God is all loving and he loves us with everything He’s got then we can trust that he wants the best for us. And with God being all knowing we can trust that not only does he want the best for you, but he KNOWS what is best for you. The great part about him knowing the best for you is that he is Omnipresent, everywhere at once, so at ANYTIME, ANYWHERE he can do something great in and through your life. And because he is omnipotent, all powerful, we know that he can do ANYTHING, ANYTIME, ANYWHERE, in our lives with his infinite amount of power. And we also know that he wants to do great things in us because he is all-loving and loves his children!

Our problem is that we don’t expect God to do great things because we have such a low value of God or a low mindset about Him!

Not long ago I was at a WKU game watching them play my alma mater, Campbellsville. My buddy and I went and sat right behind the CU bench because who doesn’t want free courtside seats that have been left open? As we were sitting there we got to talking to a lovely older couple. Within seconds of talking it was easy to find out that this older couple was LOADED. Two reasons I know this are 1. She had a ring on her finger that no lie, looked like the one the mayor had gotten Martha May in the Grinch. 2. I knew they were rich because simply, rich people, as you already know, LOVE to talk about what they have and what they do. So, I had a lovely conversation with the couple and on the way home I told my buddy that I was riding with, something quite frankly, strange and humorous. I told him that “man, this might seem weird, but when I’m around people that rich I sometimes just expect them to hand me $1,000 for no reason!” Me and him laughed, but in a joking way I was somewhat honest. I know that those people would have had not a problem in the world, by writing me a check for $1,000. They could have written it right there on the spot and not have missed it at all! In a sense I was being comical, but in I also expected that they could easily do that. (who knows…maybe one of these days someoen will do that for me :)) 

Because of the what I knew about that couple (they had lots of money) I knew and expected that they could have done something as absurd as writing me a $1,000 for no reason. 

Honestly though, I have to admit that sometimes I don’t expect great things from God when I’m talking to him.

Instead I ask for the basics and ask Him to do the little things in my life that truthfully don’t take a lot of faith to pray. 

Like I’ll pray things like “Dear Jesus, just help me to have a good day…” 

LIKE WHAT? Is that all I can ask when praying to an all-powerful God?

Colossians 4:2 says “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” 

I love that word watchful. When we pray we should WATCH for God to answer it! That’s being expectant! 

Being watchful and expectant in our prayer life is like the farmer praying for rain during a drought. He gets down on his knees, prays for rain, and if though it hasn’t rained in weeks, and there is not a cloud in the sky, he grabs his umbrella on the way out the door! That is being expectant of God! 

It would be like this: Let’s say Bill Gates came to you and said “I will buy you anything in the world, just tell me what you want.” 

Let’s say that your stomach growled as he said it and feeling a little hungry, you began to ponder on the question. Then after a few seconds of thinking you said, “Mr. Gates, after thinking this offer over I would like you to buy me a hotdog!.” 

A hotdog!!!! If Bill Gates came to you saying that he would buy you anything in the world would you in your right-mind say a hotdog??? Heck no!!! If Mr. Gates came to me and asked, I’m buying the dang Dallas Cowboys and we are going to the Superbowl!!

In our lives, when we pray to an all-powerful God who knows all things and rules over all things then shouldn’t we expect more in our prayer lives?

Now, don’t get read this and immediately start praying for the house boat you’ve wanted and expect to wake up tomorrow and have one, but do expect God to do great things in you and through you AS you pray according to his will. 

William Carey was a famous missionary from England. In 1972, Mr. Carey organized a missionary society and at their very first meeting he preached a sermon titled, “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God!”. Within a year of that sermon Carey and his family headed to India. After a 7 miserable years in India doing mission work, William Carey FINALLY baptized his first convert! In the next 21 years Carey and his associates would go on to baptize 1,407 converts. Not only that he was able to translate the Bible into 8 different dialects. Carey, despite the hardships and the unknown expected God to do great things; therefore he attempted great things, and through the power of God great things were accomplished. 

Not only should we expect God to great things in our lives, but we should also expect something else. 

We need to expect the comeback.

 Hebrews 9:28 “so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”

Expect the comeback of Jesus!

The Waiting


 Everyone has spent a good portion of their life in some type of waiting room. Whether it be in a doctors office, dentist, hospital or car service and tire shop, we’ve all spent precious hours withering away in waiting rooms. Broadly speaking, there are two types of people in each waiting room. Before we look into those two types of people I want to look at Acts chapter one and see Jesus’ ascension to heaven, leaving his disciples and opening up a waiting room here on Earth that we as believers abide in until his return.

In Acts 1, we see the final day of the 40 days that Jesus spent on earth after his resurrection. In the 40 days that he was back, he gave his disciples further instructions, comforted them and most importantly he appeared to prove to them that he was alive and had conquered death!

This is very important that he showed them he resurrected because the resurrection is a crucial concept in the christian life.

Paul says this in 1 Corinthians 15:14 “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” 

If there was no resurrection then our faith is useless! 

Moments before Jesus ascended the disciples get one last question in, asking “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6) 

The disciples KNEW that he was going to restore the kingdom but they wanted to know if he was going to do it now (of course they were thinking more in an earthly, political, over throwing of the government type restoration).j

Jesus tells them that it is not for them to know the times or seasons that the father has fixed (v7), but instead he tells them “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (v8).  Jesus tells them that it isn’t for them to worry about when he’s coming back. The disciples were so worried about the future things, but Jesus wanted them to focus on what he was calling them to do now! 

Right after Jesus said these things he began to rise towards heaven and then he vanished. 

Earlier I mentioned that there are two types of people in waiting rooms so here they are: 

  1. The first type of people are the “Time Wasters”. These are the people that once they’re in a waiting room they sit while doing nothing productive. They check facebook, then instagram, then text, then send s snap chat, then go back to facebook, and then they get back on Instagram and look through everyone’s insta stories, and they continue to do this in an ongoing cycle until their name is called. I have been guilty of this myself and I am sure you have too. Time wasters are those who while in the waiting room get nothing accomplished.

  1. The second type of person I see in a waiting room are those who are “get-r-dones” The “get-r-dones” do exactly what you would think , they get stuff done. You will more than likely see this person with a book in there hand, a laptop on their lap of even possibly making phone calls. These are the people who if they do have their phone out they are getting something productive accomplished on it. 

These are the two types of people I see in the waiting room. Since the ascension of Jesus we are now all in a time of waiting. So what do we do in this time as we anxiously wait for his return? What has Jesus called us to do during this time? Simple. He has called us to get it done! What done though? The same thing he told his disciples in Acts 1:8! He told them that they would be his witnesses to all the ends of the earth and this is exactly what we should be doing as disciples today! 

So is that it? Yes! While we wait for his return let us be a witness for him to everyone, everywhere. 

We don’t know when Christ is coming back, but we do know that he is! 

Matthew 24:36 “But concerning the day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”

24:42 “Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming”

24:44 “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do no expect.”

In Acts 1:11 the 2 men in white robes said “This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” 

Revelation 1:7 “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him.”

Oh what a day that will be! Until then witness here, there and everywhere! 

Who is my neighbor?

It’s a beautiful day in the_____. I’m pretty confident that you filled in the blank with the exact word that I’m thinking. More than likely you probably didn’t just read this line, but rather you sang it. If you’re younger than me (I’m currently 23), then there is a possibility that you have no idea what I’m talking about. Let’s finish this song for the younguns out there:  

“It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. A beautiful day for a neighbor.

Would you be mine?

Could you be mine?

Won’t you be my neighbor?”

Good ol’ Fred Rogers or better known as Mr. Rogers from the famous TV show Mr. Rogers Neighborhood! Every episode Mr. Rogers would peacefully come in his house, remove his jacket, put on his famous red sweater and sneakers, singing this very song that we sang together above. 

To be honest I wasn’t a huge Mr. Rogers fan as a kid, I think the puppets kind of freaked me out, but I do respect who he was as a man; kind, gentle, meek and loving. I love how he wanted to befriend everyone and every kid, and honestly I am excited to see Tom Hanks play him in the upcoming movie. 

The famous line that he sang, “Won’t you be my neighbor?” brings about a question for us to ponder on. What does it mean to be a neighbor. Obviously Fred Rogers was not asking every kid and parent to build a house beside him. So, what does it mean to be a “neighbor”. 

One day Jesus was put to the test by a lawyer. The lawyer looked at Jesus and said “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus asks him what is written in the law, and the lawyer answers Jesus back correctly with, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27) Jesus told him that he answered correctly. 

Not completely satisfied with Jesus’ answer, Luke 10:29 tells us that “he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’”

Why would the lawyer ask this question? 

The lawyer asks this because he wants to know who exactly he has to love! This is not a good question. Basically, this guy is saying “Jesus, who do I NOT have to love”. He knows he is supposed to love his neighbor as himself, but what he wants to know is who exactly is his neighbor, so that he can pick out the people he loves! 

I hope this is never the case for us! Wondering if there are certain people in this world that you don’t have to love. It should be no question that we are to love every and anybody! That’s what Christ does. 

So, do I have to love that person who is just plain weird? Yes. 

Do I have to love that one guy who’s a punk to everyone? Yes.

Do I have to love the person who doesn’t even like me? Yes. 

This lawyer is asking who he has to love by saying who is my neighbor, so Jesus responds with what we know as the parable of the Good Samaritan. 

Luke 10:30-33

Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.  Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.  So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.

Quick summary of what you just read: 

-Dude gets jumped, and left for dead

-A Priest disses him, and passes him up

-A levite disses him, and  passes him up

This stands out because priest and levites were the men who served in the Temple of God. The priest would perform the sacrifices in the temple, and the levites were the group that God set apart to assist the priest and take care of the tabernacle and temple. 

These two men just passed right over this guy in need.

But we see in V33 that a Samaritan had compassion. 

The Samaritans were the half jew, half gentiles who during the Assyrian invasion were left in Samaria and chose to intermingle and marry foreigners that came in. Because they intermingled with the foreigners the Jews despised the Samaritans and had no dealings with them at all (John 4:9)! This lawyer probably even hated the thought of hearing the word Samaritan! 

But in this parable we see it was the Samaritan that showed compassion. Not the priest. Not a Levite. Not a Jew. A Samaritan.

The Samaritan not only checks on the half dead guy, but he goes the extra mile for him. 

-He binds up his wounds with HIS oil and wine. 

-He puts him on HIS animal, taking HIS time to bring him to an inn

-He gives up TWO days worth of work money to give to the innkeeper telling him to take care of this guy. 

-He even tells the innkeeper that whatever he spent taking care of the Samaritan, he would come back and pay off his DEBT. 

After telling this parable to the lawyer he then looks at him and says “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers.” (Luke 10:36)

Jesus answers the lawyers question with a story and then a question for him. 

The lawyer answer Jesus, “The one who showed mercy.” 

Jesus responds with “You go, and do likewise.”

In our walk with Jesus it’s all about becoming the person Jesus wants you to be! 

The lawyer was asking who was his neighbor so he could know who to love,

BUT Jesus doesn’t tell him who he needs to love, but instead tells him the kind of person he needs to be!

GO, and do likewise! Go and do like this man has done! Showing sacrificing his money and time for a complete stranger. Taking care of him! You GO and do this!

So, who is the person you are becoming?

Your goal is to become more like Christ. That’s what the word Christian means; little Christ. 

Jesus: 

  • He (like the Good Samaritan) had compassion on us
  • He (like the Good Samaritan) saved us from death 
  • He (like the Good Samaritan) pays our debt, so that we might be free and no longer slaves

Now you, go and do likewise. 

Intentional Living

Life on this Earth is limited. I’m not meaning that we are on the brink of extinction or that the end is here, but what I do mean is that you get one chance at life. Even if you have survived a traumatic near-death experience and deemed your recovery as a second chance at life, you still only have one life. Of course for the believer we know there is a new earth being prepared for us where we will live for eternity, but on this earth, this wretched, broken earth, we only have one chance. One life.

Though we long for the new world where we get to be with God forever, we can’t neglect the life that we have been given now. I believe God has made us and has given us purpose. How do we live with purpose though? Looking at the life of Jesus I see that a life of purpose is a life of intentionality. The word intentional means “done on purpose”, so lets live our lives on purpose to the glory of God. Lets live an intentional life! 

When you’re living an intentional life all of your words and actions have purpose and meaning. When all of your words and actions have meaning then you are going to see people’s lives truly changed. 

Real quickly: In order for us to be intentional with others we have to get rid of ANY selfish ambition! The Christian life calls us to do this. Luke 9:23 “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

3 things: 

1.take up your cross daily 

2. Die to yourself 

3. Follow Jesus and his example 

This life ain’t about us! It’s about Jesus! Say that to yourself right now, “This life ain’t about me!”

John the Baptist said it best in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” Less of us, more of him. 

As Christians we can all agree that we are to live for Christ, and are to live like Christ. If we are to live like Jesus then there is no question that we need to be intentional with others in our living. 

Think about Jesus and his life. Think about how he intentionally cared for others:

The woman at the well

  • Jesus purposefully went THROUGH Samaria even when all other Jews didn’t.
  • Once he got to the well HE intentionally started a conversation with the woman that was there
  • By doing this she came to know Jesus as Lord and told multitudes in Samaria about what Jesus had done 

Zacchaeus 

  • Jesus intentionally called Zacchaeus from the tree
  • And he told him that he had to stay at his house 
  • After this Zacchaeus proclaimed Jesus as Lord and even restored everyone that he had done wrong 

Disciples 

  • Think about how intentional he was with his disciples. Spending time with them and teaching them about himself and his father
  • Jesus humbly washed his disciples feet as a servant 

I mean we could go on and on about how Jesus was intentional and intentionally lived for others. 

John 21:25 says “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”

The libraries couldn’t contain all of the great works he did everyday, but through the stories we read in the gospels it’s easy to observe that Jesus lived his entire life for others and as followers we should do this too. 

Philippians 2:3-4 says this, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Paul tells us to look at the interests of who? OTHERS!

-look at what might make someone else’s day 

-look what might help someone else out

-look what might help better someone’s else’s life

-look what might change someone’s life

But don’t just think about helping someone! 

Poet Samuel Johnson is credited with saying “Hell is paved with good intentions.” Thinking about doing something for others in no way, shape or form helps anyone! We need to ACT in an intentional way to truly make a difference! 

Think about how your church, or your community would be transformed if we all began to ACT on our good intentions. Change would be inevitable!

Let’s finish this with four things that will help us take the steps away from self-centeredness and towards a significant, intentional life. These four steps are from John Maxwell’s book “Intentional Living”, which is what inspired me to write this. So here are the four things that you can do RIGHT NOW to help you become less self-centered and more intentional with others: 

1. Develop a Great Appreciation for Other People 

  • no one is completely SELF-MADE. 
  • There are people in your life that have helped you along the way and added value to you
  • TONIGHT: create a gratitude list. Write out the people in your life that have made an impact on you. 

2. Ask to Hear Other People’s Stories

  • everyone has a story 
  • Fred Rogers “There isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story.”
  • Maxwell “Not only will stories inspire you to help them, but they will also show you ways  you can help them.”

3. Put Yourself in Other People’s Shoes

  • When you’re at a restaurant and the service is terrible, put yourself in you waiters/waitresses shoes
  • Imagine how you would respond to others (or help them) if you put yourself in their shoes

4. Place Other People’s Interests at the Top of Your List of Priorities 

  • you have to KNOW their interests 
  • Once you gain that information use it to serve them
  • Maxwell said this “As you start you day, are you wondering what you will reap, or are you wondering what you will sow?”

Prayer:

“God, help me to me intentional with others. Jesus show me how to live a life for others. Help me to rid my selfishness, take up my cross, and follow the example that you have set for me. Thank you for those who have helped me in my own life. Use me to impact someone today and this week. Amen” 

Now quit thinking and GO DO IT!

Eating, Drinking and Glorifying God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.”

Pastors, youth leaders, teachers, and speakers are all looking for ways to connect with their audience. Depending on the variety in the congregation it can be difficult to connect with everyone at once. Some examples will spark interest in a select few. Different stories connect to different people. Some jokes are funny to some and puzzling to others. Crowds are all unique and each person comes with their own set of opinions and ideologies. What I have learned though is that no matter who might be in the room when I speak an easy go-to to connect quickly is FOOD. Everyone loves food! In fact, most of the time when you’re up in front of people speaking their stomach has probably already growled and more than likely they are already thinking about food. Its human nature. Food is an easy connector. Most people eat 3 to 4 if not 5 or 6 times a day!(Don’t hide, I know you be sneaking in them late nighters and inbetweeners.) I’m thankful God has created food and a variety of it! 

In 1 Corinthians Paul is writing on this very subject! From chapter 8, to basically the Lord’s Supper in chapter 11, Paul writes a good portion about food! Paul wrote about food because it had become an issue amongst the brothers and sisters in Corinth. Today we have the big rivalry of Chic-fil-a vs Popeyes (if you can even call it a rivalry). But in Paul’s day the problem was food that was being offered to idols. Was it okay to eat meat that had been offered to idols? I mean it is just food, right? Well yes, it is food and Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 8:8 that “Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do.” In 1 Cor 10:23 Paul says “All things are lawful…”. Though all things are lawful right after that he finishes his sentence with “…but not all things are helpful.” In 1 Cor 8:9 he says “take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” Paul tells the church in Corinth to be aware of what they do around others. The last thing you want to do as a believer is to become a stumbling stone for someone else in their faith journey. In 1 Corinthians 10:27 Paul gives an example of when it is okay to eat whatever is in front of you, but he immediately says in v28 that if the thing you are eating has been specifically told to you that it WAS for an idol, then you should NOT eat it for the sake of that person’s conscience. So, was it wrong to eat all foods? No. But was it helpful? Did it build someone up in Christ? 

The same mindset is to be had today amongst us as believers. Are there things in our lives that could possibly be hurting someone’s walk in and towards Christ? In chapter 9 Paul surrendered his rights so that he could become a servant to all (v9:19), becoming all things to all people, so that by all means he might save some (v9:22).

That’s what it was all about for Paul. Becoming a living sacrifice so that others would see salvation. He never wanted to become a distraction or get in the way of someone coming to know the LORD. 

After talking about food, and idols, and surrendering rights, and becoming all things to all people, Paul wonderfully sums up chapter 10 with this, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

What a great way to sum up everything he just wrote. It’s like Paul is pulling up a chair to his friends in Corinth and saying, “Look fam, lets make it easy. If you’re eating food, or drinking, in fact lets make it easier, WHATEVER you do, do it all for the glory of God!”

This rings true for us today too! No matter what we are doing, we MUST do it to glorify God. To lift his name high. Everything in a Christian’s life should be to his glory alone and not ours. 

Questions to Think on: 

  1. What areas in my life are not glorifying God?
  2. If you started doing everything (even the small things) to glorify God, how might your life change? How might the lives of others around you change?

The Parable of the Sower

“And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable,  “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it.  And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Luke 8:4-8

I remember listening to old Adrian Rogers sermons and hearing him say a parable was “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning”. In the parable of the sower, Jesus uses the familiarity of sowing seeds (an earthly story) to the spreading of the word of God (a heavenly meaning). When Jesus first told the parable his disciples did not know the meaning of it, so they had to ask Jesus (Luke 8:9). Jesus responds by telling them that the seed is the word of God. In this parable the “word of God” is being spread by a sower. Most of us have had plenty of sowers in our life. A sower being someone who has shared the word of God with us. This could be our parents, a friend, or a pastor; anyone who shares the word of God is a sower. What we see in this parable are four places that the seed lands once sowed. 

Place #1- The Path 

The path represents the people who hear the word, but after hearing the word it is quickly snatched out of their hearts by the enemy. The enemy being displayed by birds in the parable. The devil comes and takes the word right from their own hearts like the very thief he is (John 10:10). Why does the devil take it? V12: “so that they may not believe and be saved.”

Place #2- The Rock 

The rock represents those who once they hear the word of God they recieve it joyfully! In fact, you have probably seen people like this before who get pumped up and might be Jesus fanatics for a week or two or three, but then that quickly fades away. The ones on the rock are those who could have a dramatic emotional Jesus moment where they receive the word of God with joy, but Jesus says that this group believes for a little while and then all of a sudden fall away in a time of testing. They get on this spiritual high and then once that wears off and reality sets in they fall away from Christ all together. Why does this happen? Jesus says that they have no root. And since there is no root, and they haven’t truly rooted themselves in Christ (Col 2:6) they wither away (Luke 8:6). With no root there is no connection whatsoever to the living water that they need to stay replenished. 

Place #3- The Thorns 

The ones among the thorns are those who hear the word, but are choked out by the cares and riches and pleasures of life. They get choked out about all the meaningless cares in life such as their popularity and status, along with worrying what others think about them. These are the people who hear the word, but are to consumed in their own riches and wealth (or wanting of wealth) to grow any further. These are the people who hear the word, but are choked out by pleasures in life. Pleasures in the things they have, pleasures in the sensual. Because of these things choking them out their fruit NEVER matures, which is utterly devastating.

Place #4- The Good Soil  

The good soil are those who hear the word and hold fast to the word. They are the ones who keep the word of God with an honest and good heart. By doing so, the ones in good soil are the only ones who bear fruit! 

What is bearing fruit?

Bearing fruit is the outward display of what is going on in your heart. 

Paul shows us in Galatians 5:22 that the fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self control. All of these are going to be an outward display of how you truly love others. These fruits are evidence and a result of following Jesus!

John 15:5 say this: “whoever abides in me…he it is that bears much fruit.”

Abide. An odd word that might not register in most people’s brain, including mine, means to obey, to follow to stick to and to hold to. So if you obey, follow, stick to, ABIDE in Jesus it says that you will bear much fruit!

In John 15:4 we see Jesus saying, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine.”

Reading this we know that we cannot bear fruit without Jesus! It’s impossible! We need him, our true vine! 

Questions for reflection: 

Am I bearing fruit? 

Does my life look like those who are in the good soil, or like those on the path, rock or in the thorns? 

Prayer emphasis: 

Everytime you are in a service, pray that God would allow all seeds to land in GOOD SOIL!