Sunday, August 5, 2018
How to Become Productive Christians
In the parable of the sower, the hard-path and rocky-ground people reject God's Word. The thorny-ground people aren't as easy to categorize. They might be unsaved or they might be shallow believers who waste their lives and lose all eternal rewards as described below:
1 Corinthians 3:9-15: By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
This is an interesting passage. Scripture explains that genuine Christians don't continue in sin (1 John 3:6-7), and anyone who loves Jesus obeys His commands (1 John 2:3; John 14:23). However, there must be some Christians who live according to God's commands yet fail to be productive. They're saved, but they have no eternal rewards. See A Trophy for Everyone.
Maturing Christ-followers are the “good soil” that produces many times what is planted as described below:
Luke 8:8: Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.
Luke 8:15: The seeds on the good soil are those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, cling to it, and by persevering produce a crop.
Matthew 13:23 adds another element to this passage:
"But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."
Note that even among the "good-soil" Christians, there are variations in their productivity.
These choices will help us be productive for our Lord:
1. Cultivate an accurate understanding of God’s Word.
As Matthew 13:23 says, good-soil Christians genuinely understand Scripture. That's one reason they're more productive and effective.
2 Timothy 2:15: Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.
Only by learning Scripture can we avoid Half-truths Many Christians Believe.
2. Obey what we learn.
James 1:22: Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
Self-deception is a serious problem. Scripture identifies 3 Paths to Self-Deception. See also God's Commands Aren't Optional.
3. Seek godly fellowship.
Hebrews 10:25: And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
1 Thessalonians 5:11: Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
We can go to church every Sunday and still not have godly fellowship. Fellowship involves relationships with accountability, honesty, and common goals in Christ. Fellowship is not simply sitting in a pew and listening to a sermon.
4. Take our Christian growth seriously.
Philippians 2:12-13: Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
We cannot mature without taking our faith seriously.
This 1-minute devotion explains more details: Diligent, Deliberate, Disciplined.
Read more about these different groups in the Parable of the Sower Series:
Hard-Path People – The Seed is Not the Problem
Rocky-Ground People – Rocky-Ground Faith
Thorny-Ground People – Are You Choking on the Thorns?
copyright 2018, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com