Bethel CRC Lacombe

February 4, 2024 Rooted and Grounded | Ephesians 3:14-19

February 06, 2024 Bethel CRC Season 1 Episode 5
Bethel CRC Lacombe
February 4, 2024 Rooted and Grounded | Ephesians 3:14-19
Show Notes Transcript

Today is Cadet Sunday. A time for us to celebrate our ministry to boys. Each Meeting their counsellors lead them to a deeper knowledge of Jesus and how to live it out. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians will direct our  reflection on the Cadet Theme “Rooted and Grounded,” Ephesians 3:14- 19. Good roots help us grow strong and healthy and we need to be rooted in good soil of the Bible. As followers of Jesus, we’re called to be rooted in the Bible, connected to the vine, and filled with the Holy Spirit 

Rooted and Grounded

Ephesians 3:14-19


Good morning cadets, it’s wonderful to have you leading our time of worship this morning as we celebrate God’s faithfulness to us through the cadet ministry. Thank you for sharing what being cadet is all about, especially reminding us that we are all called to live for Jesus. Paul, who wrote the letter where our verses come from, wants the same thing, telling the people that he’s praying that God the Father will make our hearts and souls strong through the Holy Spirit so that Jesus can live in our hearts. The Holy Spirit helps us to live as Jesus’ people, just like our codes does, reminding us that a cadet is reverent, obedient, compassionate, consecrated, trustworthy, pure, grateful, industrious, and cheerful! I loved studying the cadet code with you this fall so that we can live for Jesus together; becoming more like Jesus.

Paul wants us to be rooted and established, or grounded in love. Paul reminds me of growing up on my uncles’ farms, of my parent’s huge garden, and later working as a landscaper. I was taught when I was about your age, how important it was to make sure the soil was ready for planting by making sure the soil was chock full of healthy nutrients for the seeds that were going to be planted so they would have good food and would grow up strong and healthy and produce lots of food and grain. Because my uncles had farms, we used lots of manure, but even them there would be some types of fertilizers that would still be used to create rich soil where the roots would grow strong and healthy. Paul is praying that our hearts will be rooted and grounded in love so that we will grow strong in our faith and relationship with God. 

Good roots help us to grow good fruit. It’s the same with us, if our roots are strong, we will be healthier followers of Jesus; becoming more like Jesus. What are some of the things that we grow as Christians? Paul tells us that we need to grow the fruit of the Spirit in us, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Did you see that the first part of the fruit; it’s love. Jesus taught his disciples in Matthew 7 and 12 that good trees make good fruit; the good works and good deeds show that their hearts are good and they are producing good fruit. The good works and good deeds don’t save us from our sin, but they come from the work of the Holy Spirit in us, guiding us to be more like Jesus, showing that we are rooted in the love of God. When we look at Scripture, we find that the word that is translated "good" means that it is pleasing to God and honorable in his sight.

Love is the foundation of our relationship with God. Jesus talked a lot of love; one of the most important things he taught us about loves is that all the commandments boil down to two laws, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself.” It’s kind of powerful that Jesus tells us that the two most important tings we need to focus on is to love God and to love our neighbours. Jesus even calls us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. That’s a hard kind of love to do, this is why Paul tells us that we need to be rooted in love, in Jesus’ love because that’s the only way we can love other people the way Jesus wants us to. 

Because loving others can be really hard to do, Jesus told them a parable about how important it is to stay connected to him. In John 15, Jesus taught them, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” Jesus gives us life when we stay connected to him because his roots are love and he is the strong vine that gives us life.

I learned how important it is for branches to stay connected to the main vine when I was a landscaper. My boss sent me and Andy to go to a house whose gardens were pretty wild and overgrown. When we got there, Andy took a look at all the work that had to be done and told me to begin on a side of the house that had a beautiful ivy growing up and covering the side of the house. My job was to trim it back a bit and to mix some manure into the soil and to clean up a number of the plants that had gotten out of control. By the end of the day, I had trimmed back the ivy so it looked neat and tidy again, leaving us to concentrate on the rest of the yard and gardens the next day. 

As we drove up to the house the next morning, Andy mentions that the ivy on one half of the house looks kind of wilted so I should water the ivy and flowers and then join him on the back yard gardens. It’s like in Psalm 1 where it talks about, “a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.” Water is important, so I gave it a good watering and thought nothing of the ivy for the rest of the day. As we’re packing up our tools for the day, we took a look at the ivy and it looked terrible. Andy and I got down on our knees to try and find out what was wrong and it didn’t take long to discover that the main vine had been cut and now half the vines were dying because they had no connection to their roots. Oops, I knew who had done that cut!

We’re the same way with Jesus, if we allow things to cut us off of from our connection to Jesus, our hearts and souls start to die and we begin to wither away as people. When we start withering as people, it looks like not caring about other people as much, it looks like becoming more selfish, it looks like becoming more angry or bitter. To be healthy and strong as cadets, and as followers of Jesus, to do what is right and good, we need to stay connected to Jesus. 

If we’re supposed to be rooted in love, we need to learn what love is and where to find that love. The word that Paul uses for love here is the Greek word “agape.” Agape love is one of the attributes of God, meaning that it shows us what God is like, that love is a key part of who God is, what his nature is. Agape love is the perfect description of the relationship between God and us that is reflected in the Christian community, in our relationships with God, and with each other. Agape love is nurtured in us by the Holy Spirit, who is living inside us and the church, always reminding us of who Jesus is and pointing us back to him when we drift away. This is why love has been the essential characteristic of Christian discipleship and Christian ethics. 

We learn about God’s love for us by studying the Bible and the stories of God’s relationship with his people right from Adam and Eve, all the way to John’s revelation in the last book of the Bible. We quickly learn that even though we might turn away from following God and listen to other voices instead of God’s, he never gives up on us and he keeps coming after us. we see God’s love in Jesus as he leaves heaven to become a person just like us. he grows up and then spends three years teaching everyone about God our Father and how we should live with each other and God, he then goes to the cross where he takes our sin on himself and dies, but he doesn’t stay dead because God shows his love by raising Jesus from the grave. When Jesus returned to heaven, he gave us the Holy Spirit to live in our hearts and remind us of who Jesus is and to remind us that God is always close to us. 

Jesus teaches us what a life of love looks like, especially in places like the Sermon on the Mount or Plain in Matthew and Luke. This is why Jesus tells us that if we love him, we will keep his commandments, reminding us of his command to love God and our neighbour. We keep Jesus’ commandments because we trust in his love for us, that he wants us to be strong and faithful and become who God has created us to be; strong and filled with power. 

When we grow our roots deep into love, into Jesus’ love, we learn how to love other, even those who are really hard to love and we begin to understand just how much Jesus loves us; how wide and long and high and deep in the love of Jesus. I pray that you know this deep in your hearts today.