Sunday Schooled #2: Receive your Free Gift with Purchase (and By Purchase I Mean Belief)

9 Jun

Gift from God

I recently watched a short video clip of Lee Strobel talking about a bible verse that’s on his mind. Now, this is not just any old verse. This is the verse. The one he says was the last verse he read as an atheist. This one must be a biggie!

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…

John 1:12

So this is apparently the answer to the question “What does it mean to become a Christian?”. So glad I found your video, Lee. I have been asking myself that same question a lot lately. According to Strobel, this verse had the equation for becoming a Christian and really knowing God the whole time. Jackpot! So here’s the equation:

(Believe x Jesus is our savior) + (Receive x free gift of Grace, forgiveness, & eternal life) = Child of God

I’m not the best at math and this equation ain’t making it any easier. The believe in Jesus part I understand.  It’s the receiving part that I struggle with. What does that even mean? Am I going to wake up one day with a nicely wrapped box of Grace on my nightstand? Is there an address I should be sending a Thank You card to? I just don’t get it. I’m not sure if it’s just that I don’t understand the lingo but I’m at a loss.

Parable of the Sower

 

Lucky for me, the topic at church on Sunday was Becoming Receptive. Score! So the pastor started discussing the Parable of the Sower:

Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Matthew 13

At first I was confused. What did this have to do with Becoming Receptive? But I kept listening, hoping the lightbulb would go on for me. And then he got to the second part of Matthew 13:

10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”

11 He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand…

16 But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; 17 for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

Matthew 13:10

I see. To receive, you have to care enough to listen to the story, to believe the story and then, care enough to be open to hear and see the true meaning. To receive means to have a soft, open heart. That I can do.

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