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God Has A Green Thumb

God Has A Green Thumb

My mom has a green thumb. My wife and I, on the other hand, kill plants often. Once, after we killed a plant, we decided to throw it away. However, when my mom found it in the dumpster, she said, “wait, let me try to save it.” Today, that plant is huge. She took a small piece of the plant that was still alive, replanted it, and nourished it to health.
 
I believe something that is somewhat controversial. I believe God has a green thumb. If God’s seed is planted in you, it will grow. If you let it, it will change you. He will plant it, He will water it, and He will make it grow.
 
The apostle Paul outlined this process.
I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
I am a Wesleyan, and Wesleyans are often tempted to make everything about our free will, but we also believe God is sovereign. He does give us free will, but when we are His children, He changes us.
 
When we are in a relationship with Jesus, it changes everything. Our entire identity changes. It’s not about our knowledge, it’s about our relationship with Him. All the major monotheistic religions of the world claim to believe in the God of Abraham; the Jews, the Muslims (both Shia and Sunni), and the Christians, but only Christians have a relationship with Him.
 
If I jumped the fence at the White House, would the guards stop me and keep me from going in? Of course they would. What if I said, “It’s OK. I know the president.”? Like Buddy the Elf: “Santa…I know him!” No, the secret service would say, “I don’t care who you know. You can’t come in.” However, if the president looked out the White House window and said, “No, it’s okay. I know Mike Wilson. Let him in,” the guards would absolutely let me in. What really matters is not that I know him, it’s that he knows me. Why? Because he’s the one with the power.
 
You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.
Our salvation is not acquired by knowing who God is. Our salvation is accomplished by being known by God, by having a relationship with Him. Do you have a relationship with Jesus?
 
Jesus talked to His followers about the effect of being in a relationship with Him.
A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.
As I write this, I am sitting in my living room. There are two plants in the room. One is healthy, but imperfect. It has some dead leaves, and it leans to the left. The other plant is perfect. Every leaf is perfectly green, and it stands straight. There’s just one problem. The perfect plant is fake. It looks perfect, but it’s dead.
 
Some people are Christian in name only. Like plants, they look like they are alive, but they are spiritually dead. Like a politician who claims to be a Christian to get votes, they have alternative motives in claiming to know Jesus. We can look at these fake Christians and recognize they are fake by the lack of fruit that they produce. To identify Christians, we look for the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
 
We can produce other fruits, but if we appear before Jesus on judgement day bragging about those fruits, we will reveal that we had no relationship with Him.
 
Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 “On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’”
One of Jesus’ most famous parables is about seeds becoming fruit-producing plants. Matthew 13:3-9 is a parable often referred to as the Parable of the Sower. In it, Jesus tells a story about a sower who goes out to sow seeds. Some seeds fall along the path and are eaten by birds, some fall on rocky ground and wither, some fall among thorns and are choked, but some fall on good soil and produce a fruitful crop.
 
The unique thing about this parable is that Jesus actually interprets it for us.
Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: 19 The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. 20 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 
21 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. 22 The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced.
23 The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!
Jesus is the sower. He reveals the truth, but the truth seems like foolishness to some. Jesus tells the truth, and the satan tells lies. If we reject Jesus’ truth, or if we don’t listen to it long enough to understand it, the satan will take us right to hell with him.
 
Some people sign up to join the Christians, but they don’t know what they are agreeing to. Maybe they follow Jesus because of an emotional event or to follow a friend. Others choose to join the Christians because they like the music or because it makes them feel good. That’s consumer Christianity, and it doesn’t last. If they don’t mature past consumer Christianity, they turn their back on Jesus as soon as they don’t get what they want.
 
Jesus listed two types of thorns that distract people from developing a relationship with Him: the worries of life and the lure of wealth. If our attention is on the worries of this life, it is because we’ve taken our eyes off Christ and His goodness. The birds and lilies trust God, so should we. Similarly, if our focus is on power and wealth, they will eventually take our loyalty from God. It is very difficult for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.
 
Do you have ears to hear God’s word? If you do, you will produce fruit.
 
Let me also add some encouragement. Please do not allow this parable to cause you to doubt your salvation. If you feel convicted, that is the method Jesus is using to produce fruit in your life. Run to Jesus, not away from Him. Let conviction lead you to a deeper relationship with Jesus.
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