How To Kill A Plant
ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast
ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast

Episode 110 · 2 months ago

How To Kill A Plant


God is going to grow your faith. He often uses difficulty to do that. And He connects you with other people to walk with you through it.

God wants you to grow.. but we often do things that put us in a position where that doesn't happen.

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How to kill a plant. Today I brought with me some plants, just so we're all on the same page. All right, this plant right here is what is. It's happy alive. Okay. This plant right here is dead. All right, this plant is artificial. Is a fancy word for me. Let's go fake. And this plant is what yes, and it is technically alive. But what it is, I'm calling it. Let's call it the cut. Alright. So it's like they're cut flowers. All right. So, in order to talk of growing in your faith, in order to grow in your faith, you must actually have faith in Jesus. In order to grow in your relationship with Jesus, you actually have to have a relationship with Jesus. And so when you put your faith, in trust in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, right when you do that, like at that moment, as you're coming to Jesus, how do you come to him? Do you come to him as alive or do you come to him as dead? You come to him as dead, and you come dead and Jesus transforms your life and makes you alive. The problem is is that almost everybody in our nation, at least in our culture, would tell you that like they're gonna be a Christian, they're trying to be a Christian and they're trying their best to be a Christian, and I'm like trying, like what does that even mean? Like I'm trying to jump into this first row right, okay, I'm trying to preach a sermon standing on one leg. I'm trying to do a cartwheel up here. I don't have like it's irrelevant what you're trying to do. It's not about trying um other words that we use to describe coming to Jesus. Is Like I'm trying to be a better person, okay, like I'm trying to say better words and and not say those bad words. I'm I'm trying to watch better stuff and not watch those bad videos. I'm trying to drink better things and not drink those other drinks and I'm trying to not read those books and I'm gonna write. So, like these are the things that we're trying not to do so that we can be a better Christian. But if that was helpful and if that was true, that... what exactly would you be able to say and not say? How many bad words is too many bad words? For God, how many drinks has too many drinks of this particular drink? And how do you decide which drink is okay and which drink is not okay? How do you decide which videos are good and which ones are bad? How do you decide which books are okay to read and not okay to read? It like, nobody knows the answers to those questions, because they're irrelevant. You come dead to Jesus. He works in your life, he transforms your heart, he makes you alive, he forgives your sins, he makes you born into the family of God. You are a new creation. The old stuff has passed away and all things that become new. That's what Jesus does. He died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sin, and he was raised again to give you life. The Apostle Paul said it this way and effusions chapter two. He said once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil, the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refused to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature, we were subject to God's anger, just like who everyone else. But God is so rich and mercy and he loved us so much that, even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. It is only by God's grace that you have been saved, for he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him and heavenly realms, because we are united with Jesus Christ. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness towards us, as shown and all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. So if if you are waiting to be more alive before coming to Jesus, you're never gonna come. And if you're trying to clean yourself up and make some significant life changes and then you'll come to Jesus and God will accept you, you never will. If you feel like you have to be a better person before you come to church, you will never go to church. You come dead as you are, that Jesus can make... alive. So now we can talk about growing in our faith. If we actually have a relationship with Jesus, then we become new, we become alive. Everyone say we're in Christ, in Christ, in Christ, that this is you when God looks at you. Believer, you are in Christ because of what Jesus has done for you. You are perfect because of what Jesus has done for you. You are alive. But then there's also that part of you that is the what Paul says, the old nature, the old man. He sometimes calls it the flesh. Everyone say the flesh. Yeah, so this is you. You got now you're a Christian, you get both of these things in your life. This is who you are, as God says you are. This is your new identity that you've received from God, and this is your old life, your old self. And now there is a battle, and you wonder when you become a Christian, while life doesn't go easier, it oftentimes gets harder. It's because now you've got these two, like different identities competing for your choices, for your heart, for your mind, and you have to learn, and this is what spiritual growth is to put the dead things to death and live in the reality of who God says you are. That is what it means to grow in your faith, that you're choosing more often to make decisions based on your reality of identity in Christ and not on who you once were, because that is not you anymore. So how do you do that? I'll tell you how. You don't do it like, Um, three ways. Right, I cannot force this dead plant to be made alive. Right, you cannot do it either. Right, it's like, come on, do better, come on right, like. There's no amount of pressure. There's no amount of pressure that you can give to a dead plant to make it grow flowers. There's no amount of nagging of people in your life, there's no amount of questioning them, there's no amount of forcing them to do something. You little child, you, you better obey me. I'm your dad. Right. There's a force doesn't produce life and fruit and health. Or what about yelling? For some reason humans, I think, we like to think that volume makes a difference. It's like, you better listen to me right. No, you better listen to me right. It's the same words, but for some...

...reason we think that volume actually makes a difference in someone's life. Right, I don't like you. Right, you're not listening, you're making bad choices. Right, come on, right. Or what about like pruning, like if this will only hurt a little bit? Okay, like, you know, forcing yourself, maybe self disciplining yourself to like I'm gonna do this better and I'm gonna do this and it's just gonna hurt just a little bit and maybe then I will grow. You know, there's people in your life, right, that you want to see grow. It's your loved ones, it's your spouse, it's your husband and your wife, it's your kids, it's your neighbor, it's your person. You're sitting next to a church. You want to see them grow in their faith. In those ways that we oftentimes just resort to don't work. But if we're honest with ourselves today, as we should be in church, right, the person that we want to see grow the most is often the person that we see in the mirror, where we might not yell at other people and force them. But, man, you've had those conversations with yourself. Right. Why do I still deal with that? Man, I really blew that again today. Really, come on, I need to do better. I need to stop doing that. I need to stop messing this up, I need to stop ruining relationships, I need to stop right and we just we want to grow, we want to do it, but we oftentimes do it in such a bad way and it's so hard to grow in our faith and that's why a lot of times growing in our faith looks like this. It's fake. It's like I can't do this, and so let's just pretend that everything's okay. You know, like you ever been there before, like a prayer meeting, and someone's like last week, they're like, I had a really bad week, I'm struggling with this, that and the other thing. This is so bad, you know, and somebody who's praying for you all week actually cares about you, know they're praying for you, and then they follow up with you and be like Hey, last week you said that like life was really hard, it was really bad, like, I've been praying for you. How you doing? Fine? I'm doing great. Life is good. God is good. You know, when somebody says they're fine, you know they're they're not, and you know we just pretend like yeah, yeah, I've been praying about it. I've been reading my Bible, I've been growing in my faith, like things are good, God is with me. Yeah, who, don't you see? I'm growing right. That's that's reality. And then for some of us this is reality too, like these fly or has looked beautiful, but...

...a week from now the water is gonna be disgusting and the flowers are gonna be dying, and a month from now that's not good. And for some of you that's your faith, like you have such a powerful encounter with God. Maybe you got baptized two weeks ago. Maybe you're like have this amazing experience in life, is incredible, Jesus is great and he's amazing and he transforms your life and you're like yes, and then a week later you're like, I don't know, and a month later you're dead and like literally. So, how do you kill a plant? How do you kill a plant? M You don't do anything, you let it be, you don't give it water, you don't give it light, you don't give it nutrients and you just kind of let it die. M So often, then, living into the reality of being made alive, growing in our faith then sometimes makes it feel like a checklist, like if I just water this plant, if I just give it light, if I just give it the right nutrients, then life will happen. And in our Christian world we use like instead of water, light, nutrients, like we're not a plant. We'll use it like if you read your Bible and if you pray and if you go to church, then you will grow. I mean you won't, it might help, like it's not like you're doing nothing, but if you're just doing it to do it and expecting all this stuff, it's there's it's different. It's different than a plan. It's not a checklist, it's a it's a relationship with Jesus. It's a connection with Jesus, it's a rooted nous in Jesus and and John Uses the word abide. It's a it's an abiding with Jesus. and Jesus says it this way in John Chapter Fifteen. He says I am the true grape vine and my father is the gardener, and he cuts off every branch of mine that doesn't produce fruit and he prunes the branches that do bear fruits so that they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain. That's the word. Abide. Remain in me and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. You can try to talk to God, you can try to read your Bible, you can physically attend church,...

...and if you are not rooted abidings, remaining in Christ and Christ in you, you won't experience all the growth that God has planned for you. And so he continues on. He says, yes, I am the vine. You see this plant imagery right, you are the branches, and those who remain in me, and I and them will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing, just a little bit, no, nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. And such branches are gathered into a pile and burned. And but if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want and it will be granted. Man, don't you want to figure out what that means? When you produce much fruit? You are my true disciples and this brings great glory to my father. I have loved you even as the father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love. So, okay, remain of my love. I'm going to obey the commandments. What are the commandments, just as I obey my father's commandments and remain in his love. I've told you these things so that you will be overflowed with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow. This is my commandment. Go to church. This is my commandment. Pray, this is my commandment, study the Bible. This is my commandment. Love each other in the same way as I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends. If you do what I command I no longer call you. I don't want to that part. It's good. It's all good. It's all good. Love one another. You're obeying what Jesus has done. You're connected with Jesus, you're rooted with Jesus, and he has given his life for you, so you give your life for him. You love one another, you remain connected with one another, and God brings the fruit you can't force it, you can't yell at it, you can't prune it off to make it work right. If it's dead, it's dead, but if it's alive, you're giving it the right conditions. These flowers were not a result of anything that I did. Okay, I just put this plant in the right conditions, in the right place. It had the right and ingredients. It had Jesus, if it's combining metaphors here in the life, it had Jesus all a part of it. I don't even know what this is, and yet it happens and it's beautiful and that's what God does in your life, the spiritual life that comes...

...out when you are giving it the right ingredients. and Jesus says that he is the living water. He says that in John Four and John One, he says, or in other places, and in John One is a part of it. But he said I am the light of the world. Water and light and obeying his commandments help us grow in our faith, which is loving one another. There's two other quick things I want to share with you that help us grow in our faith. The first one is other people. We've talked a lot about this already. But there are so many commandments in the New Testament that tell us we need to do this with one another. There's fifty nine commandments to do this with one another, and I almost guarantee that almost all of them, if not all of them, cannot happen in this environment. Right, sitting in a row, not saying anything, like not looking at the person next to you, like you cannot obey God right in this way, like, for example, James, five, sixteen, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. WHO's signing up to confess their sins to everyone right now? Right, I'll give you the microphone. Go ahead, right and, but if you don't do it, you're disobeying God. You bad sinner. You. So what's this mean? If you've got one or two or three people that you know loves you, that cares about you, that's gonna be with you no matter what you say, you can confess your sin to each other and you can experience the amazing promise of blessing, of healing in your life if you obey this commandment to confess your sins to each other and pray for each other and it almost can't be done like this. I mean, if it's a public sin and you've got a public confess then sure, but that's not what it is the time. So we have to create other environments so that we can follow what God tells us to do and love each other in this way, so that we can obey Jesus and we can abide in him. So God uses other people to help grow our faith, and he also uses something else that we don't like, called difficulty and trouble to grow our faith. And I have to read a verse in the King James Version for the full effect of this particular point. Okay, so you can help me. Jesus told a parable in Luke, chapter three, team, and he...

...was walking around. Right, there's a certain man with a fig tree planted in his vineyard and he he came and sought fruit thereon and found none. Right, like Jesus is walking around and he's like everyone is dead, like this is a waste of my time, like he said, until the dresser of the vineyard behold these three years. Three years I come seeking fruit on this tree and find nothing. Cut It down. Why cumbereth it the ground like this is wasting space. Just get rid of it, like, cut it down, throw it away, get rid of it. And then answering him, look what this dresser of the vineyard said. He said, Lord, let it alone this year, just give it some time. We all need time to grow untill I what dig around it. So he's putting a little effort into it, he's he's changing some things, he's putting some effort into it, and then what does he do? He dungs it. He dunges it because why? He wants it to grow. You have a little dungue in your life. Some dungey stuff happened to you lately. Yeah, yeah, what's it there for? To help you grow? And these are things that we want to avoid. Right, bad stuff. Let's not do that, let's not go there. I don't want to deal with that other people. Oh my really, you really want me to do that? Are you serious? Yes, we avoid the very things that God uses to grow our faith and we wonder why we're not growing. That's what God does and if we don't do it right, if we don't do these things are spiritual, life is is dying. But if we're connected with Jesus, if we remain in him, abide with him, he grows our faith. So may our faith bro Let me pray for us. God, thank you that you grow our faith, thank you that you do this one way or another. And Lord, I just pray for us today that we would be in the right posture to receive all that you have for us to grow. When we are tempted to run away from certain things, when we're tempted to leave people, when we're tempted to leave hard situations, when we're tempted to fake everything is fine, when we're tempted to just look great in the moment and a month from wow, it goes bad fast. I pray that we would learn... to remain in you, Jesus, that we would know how much you'd love us, that you are with us, that you are for us, that you are working in us. And Lord, help us to just do that in the best of our ability, in the context with other people, and receive all that you have for us. Help us to grow, and grow like never before, in Jesus name, Amen. m.

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