My wife's dad didn't want the holly bush by his carport anymore, but my wife did. Dad said if we would dig it up, it was ours to transplant at the little Ozark farmstead that my wife inherited from her grandparents. Sounded simple. It wasn't. It took shovels, a chain, a pickup truck, and some major engineering to get that stubborn bush out of the ground and into the truck. Well, we quickly transported "Holly" to the farm, immediately dug a new home in the ground for her, and got her replanted. Then my wife poured on the water and the nutrients. See, just removing that bush from where it was turned out to be only half the battle. We had to get it replanted quickly in new soil - or it would never make it!
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Removed and Replanted."
If you belong to Jesus Christ, then He's done a lot to remove you from that old sinful soil your life was planted in. And just like our efforts to pull up that holly bush, it wasn't easy for Jesus to get you from your sin-hole to the Savior. You were deeply rooted there, but Jesus gave His life on the cross to dig you out. Still, it could be that you're really struggling with the old you. Maybe you got removed but not firmly replanted.
Jesus told about a man who got cleaned up spiritually - and who ended up in terrible shape. Because getting rid of the old wasn't enough. Our word for today from the Word of God, Luke 11:24 says, "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first." Well, the old junk got cleaned out, but nothing got put in its place. And that left a dangerous vacuum. And the devil came rushing into it.
Like our removing that old holly bush from the soil it had been planted in, your Savior has pulled you out of the pit of the old ways of living. But if you're struggling, if you're sinking, it may be because you haven't been replanted deeply in new spiritual soil. You're out of the old soil - but you're not rooted in the new. And that puts you in a very vulnerable position.
When you come to Christ, you need to get immediately rooted in His Word, the Bible. Peter talks about getting removed from the old soil when he says, "Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind." Then he immediately talks about getting replanted in the new soil. "Like newborn babies," he says, "crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation (1 Peter 2:1-2). You can't just survive on spiritual highs and Christian events - the soil is too shallow to dig your roots into. There can be no spiritual stability and consistency until you anchor each new day with serious time in God's Word.
You've got to be an active part of His Church, too, surrounding yourself with His teaching. If you don't, you'll end up believing the lies again. You need to surround yourself with His people. If you don't, you'll end up with the people who used to drag you down. You have to get busy in the activities of Jesus, or you'll drift into things that will pull you away from Him. If you don't get rooted in music that draws you closer to Jesus, you'll be into music that causes you to drift from Him. If you don't make an effort to learn God's promises, you'll be an easy target for the devil's darts.
Yes, thanks to the blood sacrifice of Jesus for you, you've been removed from the deadly soil of sin. It took at lot - a lot - but Jesus did it all. Like a certain holly bush I know, experiencing the new life depends on you getting replanted right away in His new soil - where you can find all the nutrients you need to grow you into all He rescued you to be.