#382 - WHAT ARE YOU EATING? (29/6/21)
Too many of us are seeking to find joy and satisfaction by eating poisonous fruit and drinking from polluted streams. It’s so important that we are not led by our ‘flesh’ (appetites that are contrary to the Spirit) when considering how to use our mind in the time we have. We all have limited time and it’s important that we use it for what’s truly important. Jesus tells us,
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognise them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognise them.” (Matthew 7:15-20)
Oftentimes we can be like the child who has a tantrum because they want to eat sweets rather than a good dinner. God speaks through Isaiah,
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live…” (Isaiah 55:1-3)
Our flesh wants to rebel against God and gets petulant and feels that it’s going to miss out if we think about reducing or even stopping wasting time on social media, films, games…The truth is that we don’t have the luxury of being able to waste precious time! If we will give our time and mind to what’s truly important, we will be living a worthwhile life!
The ‘thorn bushes’ and ‘thistles’ are false prophets and teachers. This should be applied in a broad way. it’s important to avoid bad religion. However, it’s also important to avoid any input which promotes sin. Life is hard enough without filling our minds with images and attitudes which do not promote righteousness. None of us has the time to waste on what poisons us!
Tomorrow we’ll look in a bit more detail as to how we can recognise false prophets. Today, I simply want us to search our hearts. Do you truly believe that Jesus is the way that satisfies? Are we eating the good fruit can comes from prayer and worship out of His word? Do our calendars reflect what we say we believe? Let me urge you to put time with God in your weekly calendar as you would any important appointment. Let’s prayerfully seek to put our priorities in order and eat what is good.
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - GET NARROW
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Do you have a memorable experience of taking the wrong road or route?
Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group
On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount. Jesus uses four illustrations (we'll cover three this week) to challenge the crowd that He's teaching - and us- to a decision: will we obey Him or not?
1. ENTER THE NARROW WAY
Please read Matthew 7:13-14
JESUS IS THE ONLY SAVIOUR
The narrow way is about Jesus being the only ways to salvation. Peter said to the crowds,
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12
We cannot be saved from our good works. Paul taught,
‘All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.’ (Romans 3:23-24
2. DEFEND NARROWNESS
Please read Matthew 7:15-20
We have to 'watch out' and learn to recognise wolves and those that are simply unhelpful. The 'flock' (local church) is defended in two ways:
God gives elders and other leaders who are to help the church to remain narrow. In our information age, it's important to prioritise the teaching of your local church elders.
Please read Acts 20:28-31
We must learn to defend ourselves. Church leaders and movements can go bad. It's important to pray for our leaders and talk to them if we feel uncomfortable with their teaching or behaviour.
3. DO - DO NARROW THINGS
We must enter, defend and do what's narrow.
Please read Matthew 7:21-23
These false prophets want us to abandon the narrow gate and road in favour of the broad. The broad way is living outside of the Lordship of Christ. The narrow gate and road is about obeying Jesus as His disciple. Those who truly know Jesus, will seek to obey Him.
I think that it's important to add that there's lots of teachers and teaching which is enjoyable but is simply a waste of time or promotes a 'self-help' approach to gaining success. Of course, there are no non-Christians from whom we can learn. However, Jesus wants us to be His disciple and to give our minds, predominantly, to learning from Him.
1. Did God Speak to you, or what do you plan to do in response to Sunday's message?
2. What is the narrow way?
3. How does one enter the narrow way?
3. How does one recognise false teachers?
4. How do you, or could you, give priority to learning from Jesus?
5. Jesus says that only those who 'do the will of my Father' will enter the kingdom of heaven.' We are saved by faith and not by works, so what does Jesus mean by this comment?
Serving, Investing and inviting
1) Have you got any encouraging stories of serving, investing and inviting that you'd like to share?
2) Who has God put into your life that we could pray for together?
2) How are you planning to serve invest and invite?
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