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Growing Deep | EVERGREEN

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Introduction

WELCOME LIVE STREAM
Kicking off a new series, “Evergreen”
Over the next three weeks we want to talk about:
Growing Deep
Standing Tall
Spreading Wide
Our prayer during this series is that you would be encouraged and inspired as you discover the truth about who you are in Christ and the life you are called to live.
Series idea: “Keeping your grass greener than the other side.”
Jim’s Lawn
Mows grass three times a week. Rich, deep green color. Grandkids that help — “FLAG! Too many men on the field.” How am I supposed to compete with that?
My grass? Beautiful shades of light green, yellow, and brown. Dirt. Some spots are just dirt. A couple of years I ago I signed up for TruGreen to try to keep up with Jim’s lawn.
We’ve all heard that the saying that the grass is always greener on the other side. In my case, this is literally true. Most of us have probably utilized this phrase.
What are we implying? That they always catch the breaks? That we’ll never be as lucky as they are?
Many of us are plagued with frustration. Life rarely turns out the way we dreamed up as children. We feel that we should be so much further along. That life isn’t fair. The stresses and worries of this life have caused you to wilt and dry out.
Many of us are plagued with frustration. Life rarely turns out the way we dreamed up as children. We feel that we should be so much further along. That life isn’t fair. The stresses and worries of this life have caused you to wilt and dry out.
Others here would agree that while life certainly isn’t turning out the way they may have envisioned, they recognize God’s faithfulness and provision. These are the evergreens. Those who have learned to grow deep, stand tall, and spread wide.
Others here would agree that while life certainly isn’t turning out the way they may have envisioned, they recognize God’s faithfulness and provision. Along with the Apostle Paul, they would say, “I’ve learned to be content in all things.” These are the evergreens. Those who have learned to grow deep, stand tall, and spread wide.
Isaiah 55:13 NET
Evergreens will grow in place of thorn bushes, firs will grow in place of nettles; they will be a monument to the Lord, a permanent reminder that will remain.

Evergreens

The prophet Isaiah has been laying out God’s plan to restore humanity. He prophesies about the coming Messiah who was to be pierced for our rebellion and crushed for our sins, yet will be lifted high and greatly exalted. He then moves on to the future glory of Israel brought about by this Messiah. And then he extends an invitation, an invitation that extends all the way to you and I, to come to the Lord—to trust in His salvation.
He opens chapter 55 this way:
Isaiah 55:1–3 NLT
“Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink— even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk— it’s all free! Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food. “Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David.
isa 55:1-
Isaiah 55:6–7 NLT
Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.
isa 55:6-
Isaiah then concludes the chapter with this proclamation:
Isaiah 55:12–13 NET
Indeed you will go out with joy; you will be led along in peace; the mountains and hills will give a joyful shout before you, and all the trees in the field will clap their hands. Evergreens will grow in place of thorn bushes, firs will grow in place of nettles; they will be a monument to the Lord, a permanent reminder that will remain.
What a promise! God is promising to restore the dry areas of your life. Where life has brought you thorns, God is promising to grow up Evergreens in their place. How will this happen? Isaiah records:
Isaiah 55:10–11 NLT
“The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
isa 55:
It is the Word of God that produces fruit in our lives. That allows us to prosper and and grow deep so that our lives our rooted in truth.

Parable of the Sower

Mark, a friend of the Apostle Peter, sets out to record the Good News about Jesus. Scholars believe Mark sat down with Peter to obtain an eye witness account of Jesus’ life and ministry. In the fourth chapter of Mark’s Gospel, he records a parable, or short-story, that Jesus shared to large crowd that had gathered to hear Him teach.
Mark 4:3–9 NLT
“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Then he said, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
Mark 4:3-9
Anyone with hears to ears to hear should listen and understand. The Lord, through the prophet Isaiah, encouraged humanity to, “Come to me with your ears wide open.”
The disciples, hoping to gain a better understanding of the point Jesus is trying to make, pull him aside later that night to ask for some clarification.
We appreciate the agricultural lesson, but don’t you think we should be talking about world dominance? We’re trying to start a movement right? Save the world, take back Israel, maybe help a few widows and orphans?
How are we going to keep attracting crowds if all you do is teach farming principals?
Wouldn’t this material be better suited for a Future Farmers of Israel conference? We can book a conference room Jerusalem Inn. Sell tickets. It’ll be great. But here?
Jesus’ reply communicates how important understanding this parable is:
Mark 4:13–20 NLT
Then Jesus said to them, “If you can’t understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables? The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others. The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 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. The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
Mark 4:13 NLT
Then Jesus said to them, “If you can’t understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables?
mark 4:13-
My prayer this morning is that you will have ears that hear so that you may understand the Good News of the Gospel. That you would come with your ears wide open that you might receive new life.
Mark 4:14–20 NLT
The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others. The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 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. The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
Mk 4:14-

Four Responses

Jesus’ parable illustrates four different responses to the Word of God.
1. People who hear the message, but Satan comes at once and takes it away.
Matthew, in his Gospel, clarifies this and tells us that these individuals failed to understand the message.
1 Corinthians 1:18 NLT
The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.
2 Corinthians 4:4 NLT
Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.
2. There are those who hear the message, receive it with joy, but fail to grow deep roots.
Jesus states that as soon as problems and persecution arise, these individuals quickly fall away.
A faulty and incomplete understanding of the Gospel is not enough to sustain you through the trials of life.
We all know people who have gone to church and got all fired up about a message they heard, yet the change is short-lived.
It seems like as soon as someone makes a decision to follow Jesus, they encounter a problem.
Busy schedules, loaded inboxes, etc. are quick to suffocate our faith.
This is where we’re going to camp out today.
3. Others quickly respond to the Gospel but it is quickly crowded out by the worries of life.
We’ll talk about this next week and learn the key to remaining evergreen as we juggle life’s worries and responsibilities.
4. Finally, there are those who hear the message, receive, and produce a harvest.
In week three we’re going to talk about Spreading Wide and bring hope and encouragement to our everyday people.

Growing Deep

Hilltop House
Jeremiah and Grandma Kathe both warned me not to clear out all the plants and trees on the side of the hill. “The roots are literally holding the house up and keeping it from falling down this hill.”
This morning, I want to help you grow roots that hold your house up. When problems and persecution come your way, you’ll no longer wither away but remain evergreen.
Isaiah taught us that it is the Word of God that produces fruit in our lives. So we will use that as our foundation as we discover what God says about you that makes you evergreen.
>>> Here are three truths to help you grow deep and become evergreen.

1. Forgiven

Isaiah pleaded with his fellow Israelites to:
Isaiah 55:6–7 NLT
Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.
isa 55:
In his sermon, Sinners Seeking Christ, Dwight Moody tells this story:
In his sermon, Sinners Seeking Christ, Dwight Moody tells this story:
Twelve Select Sermons Sinners Seeking Christ

It was quite refreshing, one night, to find in the inquiry-room a young man who thought he was not worth saving, he was so vile and wicked. There was hope for him because he was so desperately in earnest about his soul. He thought he was worthless. He had got a sight of himself in God’s looking-glass, and when a man does that he has a very poor opinion of himself. You can always tell when a man is a great way from God—he is always talking about himself, and how good he is. But the moment he sees God by the eye of faith he is down on his knees, and, like Job, he cries, “Behold, I am vile.” All his goodness flees away. What men want is to be in earnest about their salvation, and they will soon find Christ. You do not need to go up to the heights to bring Him down, or down to the depths to bring Him up, or to go off to some distant city to find Him. This day He is near to every one of us.

In Acts, the Apostle Paul declares that God has placed us in a specific place, at a specific time, for a specific purpose. What for?
Acts 17:27 NLT
“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us.
Those of you who are far from God have two options today.
You can feel your way towards God and be assured that when you do, you will find him.
Or
Or, you can feel your way into the world. Go your own way. Yet, my guess is that you’ve tried this before and it has left you empty. The world promises evergreen, but its a cheap counterfeit.
Fake Cmas Trees @ Home Depot
You look at the display and its beautiful. Beautiful lights, beautiful ornaments. Then you look at the picture on the box and the tree looks so full, so green.
Then you open it up at home… [PICTURE - Charlie Brown Cmas Tree]
📷
Paul would go on to tell the Romans:
Romans 10:9–10 NLT
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.
And to the church in Corinth, he wrote:
2 Corinthians 6:2 NLT
For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.
Those who are in Christ, who have confessed and believed, are forgiven. Understanding this foundational truth shoots a root deep into the soil of our lives.

2. Free

jn 8:31-
John 8:31–36 NLT
Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.
It is interesting to me that Jesus places two seemingly contradictory statements back to back.
In the first breath he states, “You are my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings.”
In the next breath he declares, “You will know the truth, and it will set you free.”
Isn’t freedom the ability to determine my own choices? Doesn’t freedom mean I get to do what I please? What makes me the happiest?
Jesus shoots holes in the arguments and says true freedom comes from knowing the truth. The truth about who He is, what He has done, and what He offers to each of — new life and new possibilities.
Jesus offers you freedom from your past, freedom from your guilt and shame, freedom from feeling that you’ll never being enough.
And it’s His freedom the propels you forward into your future. You are free to let go of the weights of bitterness and forgive. You are free to love with no strings attached. You are free to enjoy a life well lived.
He’s peeling off your thorns and making you evergreen. A beacon of life in the midst of death.

3. Forever

Isaiah concluded chapter 55 this way:
Isaiah 55:12–13 NET
Indeed you will go out with joy; you will be led along in peace; the mountains and hills will give a joyful shout before you, and all the trees in the field will clap their hands. Evergreens will grow in place of thorn bushes, firs will grow in place of nettles; they will be a monument to the Lord, a permanent reminder that will remain.
isa 55:
They will be an everlasting sign...
As evergreens remain green throughout the changing seasons, you were created to radiate life for eternity.
Your life is to be a monument, a permanent reminder of God’s goodness and faithfulness.
Jesus proclaimed:
John 5:24 NLT
“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.
The Good News of the Gospel, and the truth about you, is that you were made for eternity. Too often we become so fixated on our present circumstances that we forget that this world is not our home—we’re just pass through.
If you believed that, you’d find freedom. The things that continue to spike your anxiety and depression would soon fade away.
The car you drive, the house you live in, the balance of your 401k, or the lack of money in your bank account, all seem less significant in light of eternity. Do we truly want to expend so much time worrying about things that don’t last? That won’t matter next week, next month, next year — let alone eternity?
As we allow this things to command our attention and our focus, we can literally feel them sucking life out of us. They steal our joy, our peace, our contentment. Life begins to look dull and gray.
Work becomes collecting a paycheck.
Raising your children becomes an obligation.
Learning and growing becomes monotonous.
This is a far-cry from the life you were called to live!
2 Corinthians 4:18 NLT
So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
2 cor 4:18
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
Helen Lemmel in 1922 penned these words:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.
O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s light for a look at the Savior, And life more abundant and free!
O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s light for a look at the Savior, And life more abundant and free!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.
Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.
(sing)
Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.

Conclusion

Are you in search of a life more abundant and free? Will you turn your eyes upon Jesus? Will you come with your ears wide open?
Christ is offering you a life that is forgiven, free, and forever. A life that is evergreen. Yet, you’ve got to chose to grow deep and plant your life in the Word of God.
**Altar call & close
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