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CHRISTIANS ARE DIRT BAGS

            Ever been called a dirt bag? It’s not so bad. Plants and such will not grow if the dirt they are buried within is not rich in nutrients. Christian people are like the dirt. Contrary to secular belief, our first ancestor was formed from the dirt.  Today we find Jesus teaching the masses using a parable. This time, however, is different. After speaking the parable, Jesus then explains it in simple terms so that his disciples, the originals, and we can understand. I am not going to add to anything, but rather elaborate on his given points.

Luke 8:4-8

"A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. 6Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown."

11-15

"This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

          While I hold to the philosophy there are only two kinds are people in this world, those whose names are written in the book belong to and with the Lord God and those, whose names are not, will be in the Lake of Fire forever, Jesus elaborates by speaking specifically about how people react upon hearing the Gospel message or the seed as Jesus explained in verse twelve. First are those who know of God, but do not believe.

“Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.”

          Other than pompous, in your face, agnostic comedians, educated idiots, and self-proclaimed atheists, everyone on this planet if asked, will say they are aware of a greater power, a Supreme Being, and or God. The first kind is those who just don’t know enough to make a life altering decision. Teenagers are the best example here. A child can be a “bad” kid regarding his behavior with most people in authority, but the same kid will in many cases not ever use God’s name in vain or let others poke fun at the concept of God. The “bad” kid more times than not does not understand the concept of Cross, Christ, and Grace, but he knows instinctively that God is real. He just doesn’t make the the connection between God and the fact that The Bible are inseparable.

        Jesus mentions Satan’s role. Satan, as Peter described in I Peter 5:8, is a roaring lion seeking those he may devour. James wrote in chapter 4 verse 7 in the book same as his name: Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Satan wants to kill, decimate, destroy and annihilate every one of God’s beloved creations. That’s you by the way if you did not know that. Many people think that Satan is as powerful as God. They read the line, then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, and think, Satan is equal to God. That is not the case at all. All we have to do to avoid sin, Satan’s initial hold on us, is to look to God. Remember James wrote to submit ourselves not to the sin, but to God. We do not have the power to fend off carnal, fallen desires without Jesus. No Christian is perfect. We are new creations in Christ. Our old desires and thoughts will be erased if we truly submit and give our hearts fully to God. If we do that, Satan cannot touch us. However, those who know not of Christ, submitting, and His Grace, do not know or have the word in their hearts. These are people who have the theological knowledge of a third grader that goes to Sunday school every fifth Sunday. Sin is never ugly to those it consumes. The consequences are hideously repulsive after we realize our actions were sinful.

            The second type is the one that covers most Americans if recent polls indicate the flip-floppy thoughts of those who wear the mantle of Christian.

13Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.

          Most people leave their Sunday services with a refreshing zeal if they have truly given God the full hour or so. We are a people that are on fire for God right up until the minute trouble comes and we forget what Jesus has done for us. If we don’t have roots then we cannot stand firm. Isaiah said we must stand firm in the faith or we won’t stand at all. Scripture consistently teaches that God does not want those who are lukewarm. With Christ, all things are black and white without gray areas.  Jesus says in Matthew 12:30, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.” Those people without roots despite their good intentions or big plans to perhaps start a ministry will end up scattering and falling away.

        Salvation is not something that can be lost. To think it is, would mean scripture, God’s Word is mistaken. Peter teaches in I Peter 3:18, For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. I am not going to pretend to know whether or not a commitment made to God is real. That is between the person and the Lord. Said person’s life, if a real commitment is made, will reflect their desire to live for God. We are not saved by the number of good actions we do, although commendable, God’s Grace is a gift to all who accept and believe. Teenagers again are good examples to use. A kid can grow up going to church but never grows in church. Their walk with God is not so much a walk, but a casual stroll on Sunday and maybe Wednesday. When a kid either goes off to college or simply out of her parents’ home, she will be exposed to many other secular influences and will become disobedient in essence falling away. How many times have you heard someone say, “When I was little, I was big into church,” or “I was involved in my church’s youth group, but we stopped taking so many trips. It’s not fun anymore.” So many people act like Christians because it makes them feel good for a season. It makes them feel good right now. The real lasting relationship with God is a lifelong process. As parents, we cannot live our lives for our children. All we can do is follow God’s teachings in that we teach them the way they should go. After that, it’s between them and God.

          “Well, I would go to church, but it’s my day off,” says the tired Christian. The argumentative person plays both sides of the record here. “Well, Christians are supposed to keep the Sabbath holy.” If a Christian answers ANYTHING, the argumentative person replies, “Some people have to work on the Sabbath.” When confronted with this, I respond like so: “The Pharisees attempted to trap Jesus because He healed on the Sabbath and He and disciples picked grain I think once. Jesus stated to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath." For those who must work on the Sabbath, this is my, Tinin’s thought, take a moment, some time to worship and exalt the Lord during the course of your day at work. I say all this to tie it to the third type of person.

14The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.

        The people who hear the Good News, the Gospel and know Him are the third type. They sadly are similar to the second type. It sounds like these people know Who Christ is and why they need Jesus, but they use the clichéd “life gets in the way,” line to justify why they aren’t growing in faith. Paul addressed the church at Corinth in regards to their spiritual maturity in I Corinthians 3:2-3: I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly.

          Say whatever you will to justify your own thoughts and actions concerning your time with Jesus. Regardless of what you say if you fall into the third category, you are not growing because you are a spiritual baby unable to give the Lord a real, true commitment because you are trying to live your life for you rather than for Jesus. The new creation in Christ is the home for the Great Comforter, the Holy Spirit. You will, in all aspects of your life, live for Christ denying yourself. The thorns Jesus spoke of can be anything. We worry about money, paying the bills, what’s for supper, etc. I understand. Those thoughts are legit when you have to take care of a family. Yet, we good people, Christian and nonbeliever alike are swallowed up by our worries despite the fact Christ, the Lord said not to worry about a thing.

Luke 12:22-26 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

 I’m talking to myself first folks. I worry constantly. By doing that, I am rebelling against what Christ says. I do not trust Him fully when worry consumes me. Ouch, right. Are you thinking, “Amen” or as my preacher chides, “Oh me”? Peter wrote: Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” Most armchair theologians will say, “Oh one cannot do just that. One cannot just pray away all your worries.” That’s not what Peter wrote through God’s inspiration. The key words are due time. God contrary to our desire works on His time.  Allow me to re-echo what Jesus says: “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.”

          Finally, we come to the final type, the producer, the good dirt. Christians who fall into this final type are the dirt bags so to speak.  

But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

          The Bible teaches the heart is deceitful. However, it stops being deceitful when we become new creations in Christ. When our commitment to Him is real, we truly hear the Word of the Lord rather than just casually listening. Retaining the Word is not simply reciting John 3:16 faster than the other members of your Sunday school class. Retaining is not just picking a few verses from Proverbs because they fit your lifestyle. It is great to have scripture memorized at the drop of a dime, but if you have memorized merely words in a sentence, what have done? Nothing. What do you know? Nothing. You have played church so to speak.

Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

            If we persevere through any given situation we make it through, we survive. Webster’s Dictionary defines it as so: to persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragement. Jesus says by preserving we will produce a crop. The seed remember is God’s Word, His message, we do not save anyone’s soul. God does. We Christians are the clichéd hands and feet. If we grow in Christ, our faith and intimate knowledge of Him will never cease. Each day we will learn something new. The core of Christianity is Jesus saves. If we Christians were really on fire for His kingdom everyone we meet would label us Jesus freaks because we have the answer to all the challenges of life; JESUS CHRIST. We produce a crop when our lives reflect His love, His Grace. We produce a crop when we tell the lost how He will save them! We produce a crop when He says us, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”