April 7th 2019

Heaven on Earth: Part 5

One of the significant stereotypes that happen inside the church is that once you are saved, you know everything about being a Christian. It’s like instant Christian maturity. You accept Jesus as your Lord, and like magic, you know everything there is about being a Godly man or woman. Man, I wish it had been that easy.

Main Scripture Verses

Mark 4:3-8

Speaker

Pastor John Richards

Online Campus Pastor 

 

Heaven on Earth: Part 5

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One of the significant stereotypes that happen inside the church is that once you are saved, you know everything about being a Christian. It’s like instant Christian maturity. You accept Jesus as your Lord, and like magic, you know everything there is about being a Godly man or woman. Man, I wish it had been that easy.

This weekend, my amazing children, Pastor Jared, and Pastor Vince’s son Bennett went to see the new superhero movie Shazam. I didn’t know a lot about Shazam besides the movie, but a young teenager says the word “Shazam!” and he is granted the almost identical powers of Superman.

In Church, we want that ability. We want to say a simple word that gives us a full understanding of who God is in our life. Sadly, being a Christian is not like the power of Shazam; there is no magic word.

Thank about it if there was a magic word, wouldn’t Jesus have used it? If Jesus had a magic word, he would have used it. Jesus studied in the synagogue under other teachers before Jesus began his ministry. He spent time learning from others to grow in maturity.

Maturity has to grow and be cultivated. We have to work to increase our maturity level.

Today, we are going to look at the 4th chapter of Mark to grow our maturity. Jesus told the parable of seeds growing in different environments. We need to remember that maturity can be determined by where you decide to grow.

‘“Consider this: A farmer went out to sow seeds. As he cast his seeds some of it fell along the beaten path and soon the birds came and ate it. ‘
Mark 4:3-4

If we place ourselves in dangerous situations or around dangerous people, our growth is affected. If we hang around the “wrong crowd” our maturity level will be affected.

In our home, we have a saying that starts for each of our children around the age of 12. Crystal and I attended a parents group, and in the group, they commented that some high percentage of teenagers go on to do drugs and have sex because their parents never told them not to do drugs or have sex before marriage.

So, what did Crystal and I do, every time our daughter left with friends or on a date we would scream at the top of our lungs “Don’t Do drugs and no sex before marriage!”

Well, I guess it stuck because in a conversation with my daughter a few months ago, she informed me that every time she got in a situation that phrase would scream in her head.

‘Other seeds fell onto gravel with no topsoil and the seeds quickly sprouted since the soil had no depth. But when the days grew hot, the sprouts were scorched and withered because they had insufficient roots. ‘
Mark 4:5-6

When you look at your life, we all advanced through school and matured as we progressed towards graduation. Our Christian walk is no different. If your depth of learning never increases, your level of maturity can never entirely increase.

Seniors in High School have more knowledge and maturity than a preschooler. That is part of maturity, advancing your understanding of harder concepts, digging deeper into your faith.

Your spiritual education has to keep getting deeper, or you could wither away.

‘Other seeds fell among the thorns, so when the seeds sprouted so did the thorns, crowding out the young plants so that they could produce no grain. ‘
Mark 4:7

This is the toughest aspect of this parable. The American church is full of a lot of thorns that like to rip apart other Christians for their glory. We have experienced this before; we have all felt “church hurt.”

When that hurt happens, our maturity is damaged, and we end up producing zero fruit in what should have been some of our most fruitful years.

We need to look deeper at ourselves and in our maturity learn to step away from negative people and find those that build you up.

Broken can’t fix broken. Negative doesn’t build positively. Jesus fixes the broken, positive people recharge the batteries of the people around you.

‘But some of the seeds fell onto good, rich soil that kept producing a good harvest. Some yielded thirty, some sixty—and some even one hundred times as much as was planted! ‘
Mark 4:8

So, in my head, this verse is often taken out of context. In my head, I always forget what may be the essential part of this verse. “kept producing.” It wasn’t a one and done. It was a growing harvest producing year after year.

As Christians, we can’t stand in our good soil and say, “ok it’s harvest time, I’m done.” We have to prepare for the current harvest, then start working for the next harvest.

Many years ago, Crystal and I attended a parents event, and the speaker shared a stat that seemed crazy to both of us. The stat was something like 90% of kids who did drugs or had sex before marriage were never told by their parents not to do drugs or have sex before marriage.

So in our sarcastic wisdom, every time one of daughter would leave the house with friends or on a date Crystal and I would scream out as loud as we could “Don’t do drugs, and no sex before marriage.”

What we started as a joke grew into something even our young boys scream at their sisters when they leave.

The aspect of my life brought this verse home for me. A few weeks ago, my daughter Nia and where driving to Starbucks, and she told me that every time she finds herself in a situation, those words ring through her head and that she wants to make sure that same ringing in her ears is heard in her now 12-year old sisters head and in several years her brother.

Like that saying, even in the best environments, maturity takes time.