Today we conclude our message series which I’ve entitled “Adventurous Living.” Jesus spoke of two roads, a wide road and a narrow road. The life of adventure that God has for you is found on the narrow road that leads to life. Most of the people around you are on the wide road leading to destruction. The adventure is to work with God to bring people from the wide road to the narrow road where Jesus walks.
Today, I want to talk about “Adventure Goal.” The goal of your life of adventure is to see people’s lives transformed from walking on the wide road to walking on the narrow road with Jesus. In order to do that, you’ve got to live differently than the crowd and you’ve got to talk differently than the crowd on the wide road. You’ll never achieve God’s purposes for your life if you live to please the crowd. God has called every believer to be different, to stand out, to be strong and courageous.
So, today, let’s introduce the concept of Adventure Goal by looking at a parable of Jesus, called the parable of the sower. In this parable, a sower goes out to sow seed on all kinds of ground, looking to reap a harvest. The sower represents each and every believer. You are meant to sow the seed of God’s Word into all kinds of people, represented by the different kinds of soil. So, let’s look at what happens when the sower sows the seed.
Matthew 13:19 (ESV) When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.
Some people’s hearts are hard, like a well-trodden path. The truth of God can’t penetrate, and Satan removes the truth.
Matthew 13:20-21 (ESV) As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.
Some people receive God’s Word quickly and with joy become believers. However, their hearts are shallow and they do not let the Word penetrate deeply. When problems arise, they fall away.
Matthew 13:22 (ESV) As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
Yet others hear the word and it begins to grow in their lives. However, other competing thorns are growing as well. Those thorns are not removed and eventually, they choke out the life of God in their hearts.
Matthew 13:23 (ESV) As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
Finally is the good soil, the person who hears the word, understands it and puts it into practice for the long haul. This person bears fruit for God.
This parable prepares us for the work of being Jesus’ witness and sowing the seed of God’s Word into the lives of people around us. Here are some of the takeaways. You don’t know what kind of soil a person’s heart is, therefore sow the Word everywhere. If someone doesn’t receive God’s Word, the fault is not with you or the Word, the problem is the soil. Don’t take it personally. Those who believe needs lots of help. Two out of three who believed fell away over time. Remember, that prayer can change the quality of a person’s heart. Let’s now turn to how we can sow God’s Word into people’s hearts on a daily basis.
In order for people to have a desire to follow Jesus, they must be able to see the benefits of following Jesus. The benefits are all tied up in having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the creator of the universe.
Romans 8:15-16 (ESV) For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
When a person makes a decision to follow Jesus, they become a child of God. God becomes your Father, whom you can talk to on a personal level. When you have this relationship with God, you no longer need to fear or worry about anything in life, because your heavenly Father will take care of you. Let’s look more closely at the benefits of becoming a disciple of Jesus. What does God offer to everyone in the world?
John 3:16 (ESV) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Our disobedience or sin has separated us from a relationship with God. Ultimately, that disobedience will result in people spending eternity perishing in torment in a place called hell. But God loved people so much, that He sent Jesus to make possible forgiveness for our sin and disobedience. Jesus took the punishment for our sin that we deserved, so that we might have eternal life, a relationship with God that will last forever. Every person is plagued by guilt and condemnation over the sins that they have committed, whether they talk about it or not. The forgiveness that God offers, no matter had bad the sin, restores our relationship with God and removes our guilt and shame. So the first benefit is forgiveness and a fresh start in life with God. Everyone needs and desires that in their heart of hearts.
John 1:12 (ESV) But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
We’re going to talk more in the second point about how someone becomes a disciple of Jesus. But we see here it involves receiving Jesus and believing in Him. The benefit is that we become children of God. As we’ve said before God is our Father and Jesus becomes our friend. What benefit is it to have God as your friend? With God as your friend, you have a friend in the highest of places. There’s no one higher than God.
Jesus has promised to never leave or forsake us. He is always there for you, no matter what you’re going through. Jesus has promised to help you with the difficulties you face in life and to provide for every need that you have as you follow Him. Have you ever dreamed of having a millionaire friend who could help you ought when the going got tough? Well, God is a friend like no other. His friendship is worth more than all the money in the world.
When you’re discouraged, He will encourage you. When you need healing, He will bring His healing touch. When you need resources, He will be your supply. And we could go on and on. As a disciple of Jesus you become part of God’s family, as His child and forever friend.
John 15:14 (ESV) You are my friends if you do what I command you.
In this verse, Jesus talks to His disciples about being His friends. He makes it clears that in order to be a friend of Jesus, you must do what He commands. Some might ask how it is a benefit to do what Jesus commands.
First of all, you can’t be a follower of Jesus without following Jesus. To follow Jesus is to obey His commands and go where He leads. The benefit of Jesus’ direction is that He knows best what we should be doing with our lives. God has a perfect plan for your life and He wants to lead you in every step of that plan. When you don’t know what to do, when you don’t know what decision to make, God will give you the wisdom you need to make the best decision. That’s a wonderful benefit of following Jesus.
So, we’ve talked about three main benefits of following Jesus: forgiveness, help from a friend and guidance. How can we communicate these benefits with others in our lives? The easiest and best way is to simply share how these benefits are working in your life. How has God forgiven you in the past or currently? How has God answered your prayers and given you help when you needed it? How has God given you direction and guidance in your life?
The second way to communicate these benefits is to offer to pray when a friend has an issue in their lives. If they need help or healing in their lives, offer to pray for God’s help or healing. If they need direction or guidance, offer to pray for God’s guidance. As you share stories of God working in your life and pray for your friend about their issues, they will become more receptive to learning more about becoming a follower of Jesus.
Another way to sow the seed of God’s Word is to invite people to Life Church. Next Sunday is Easter, the Sunday on which people are most likely to respond to an invitation to come to church. Pray this week about who God wants you to invite to our Easter service next Sunday. Then be bold and courageous and invite them. You can use the Come Alive invitations in your bulletin. There are more on the Resource Table in the foyer. On Easter Sunday, we’ll be talking about the resurrection of Jesus Christ with a message entitled “Come Alive.” Don’t forget to pray for the people that you invite as well, that the seed will penetrate and that they will respond, both by coming to the service and by responding to the message.
As a believer, there will be times where God will give you an opportunity to share with someone how to become a believer. You need to be ready for those times. Let’s briefly go over …
Colossians 4:3-4 (ESV) At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
God wants every believer to be able to clearly lead another person to begin following Jesus. The process is very simple, we go through it every Sunday. When a person is at the point that they desire to know how to become a follower of Jesus, this is what you must explain to them.
Romans 3:23 (ESV) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Everyone has sinned, there are no exceptions. Everyone needs forgiveness. Everyone has fallen short of the plan that God had for their lives. So a person must admit that they have sinned and ask for God’s forgiveness through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Romans 6:23 (ESV) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The end result of sin that is not forgiven is eternal death in a place called hell. But God offers the gift of eternal life to everyone who puts their faith and trust in Jesus as their Lord. You must believe that Jesus died for your sins, rose from the dead and is alive today. By accepting Him, you become a friend and child of God.
Romans 10:9-10 (ESV) because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
So you must believe in your heart what we’ve already discussed. Then you must confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord. What does that mean? To confess that Jesus is Lord means that you will follow Him as your leader in life. You will ask for, receive and follow His direction in every decision. You give up the reins of your life to Jesus to follow His plan, not your own any longer.
So, it is not complicated to become a disciple of Jesus. The person you’re talking to must simply pray and do these three things. These three steps are essential for salvation. I’ve talked to many people who considered themselves Christians, but didn’t understand these three things. They were deceived. You can’t become a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, by simply believing in God, by trying to be a good person or by being baptized. You become a follower of Jesus by following the steps in God’s Word. The person can pray with you or you can invite them to church and they can make their decision here. If you lead someone to the Lord or invite them to church where they make that decision, it is important that the person follow up to solidify their faith. We have a booklet for first time and recommitments called Startup Studies. It has four studies, which you can go through with your friend in four weeks.
The benefits of being a disciple of Jesus are incredible: forgiveness, friendship with God and direction for your life as you follow Jesus. If you’re a believer here today, God has given you a great gift of salvation. As you follow Jesus’ commands in the Great Commission, you can be used by God to give that gift to someone else. Being a witness for Jesus is the primary reason we are still here on this earth. Let’s pray and believe God to sow seeds into people’s lives this coming Easter here at Life Church.