Do the Roots Run Deep?


Message Title: Do the Roots Run Deep?
Theme: Lent: A Season of Growing
Season: Lent
Main Text: Romans 10:8b-13
Scripture Reading: Luke 4:1-13
RCL Scripture: Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16; Romans 10:8b-13; Luke 4:1-13
Focus: Paul coaches the romans to root their faith in belief in Jesus.
Function:  To take time to remember WHY we believe in Jesus.
Other Notes:

SCRIPTURE READING: Luke 4:1-13 Jesus returned from the Jordan River full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. There he was tempted for forty days by the devil. He ate nothing during those days and afterward Jesus was starving. The devil said to him, “Since you are God’s Son, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus replied, “It’s written, People won’t live only by bread.”[a] Next the devil led him to a high place and showed him in a single instant all the kingdoms of the world. The devil said, “I will give you this whole domain and the glory of all these kingdoms. It’s been entrusted to me and I can give it to anyone I want. Therefore, if you will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It’s written, You will worship the Lord your God and serve only him.”[b] The devil brought him into Jerusalem and stood him at the highest point of the temple. He said to him, “Since you are God’s Son, throw yourself down from here; 10 for it’s written: He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you 11 and they will take you up in their hands so that you won’t hit your foot on a stone.[c]12 Jesus answered, “It’s been said, Don’t test the Lord your God.”[d] 13 After finishing every temptation, the devil departed from him until the next opportunity.

SERIES/SEASON INTRODUCTION: To those of you who missed the Ash Wednesday service welcome to Lent! This is a season of reflection, humility, and growth. Our scripture readings will be from the Gospels and the sermon text we will pair from one of Paul’s letters. As we set our spiritual intentions to focus back on Jesus, we will gather some lessons from Paul to help our roots grow deep.

INTRODUCTION: …. Speaking of roots…..

  1. Audience engagement: Do you have a favorite type of tree?
    1. I love magnolia trees
    2. Anyone know what the oldest living trees are in the world?
      1. Ok technically this is a trick question because there isn’t one answer. Many of the oldest trees have already been cut down or died (i.e. Prometheus a 4900+ yr old tree) and some they struggle to date.
        1. some are considered “clonal” (or a tree that has sprouted in multiple places but shares one set of roots. The oldest of those is dated about 14,000 yrs we’ve talked about that before)
    3. So, I’ll qualify with this—ONE of the oldest trees still living today are Olive Trees—there is one Greece dated to be between 2000- 5000 years old and still producing olives. Scientists aren’t exactly sure because they don’t want to risk harming the tree with further tests.
      1. Wrap your mind around that for a minute: Either the tree was JUST planted at the time of Jesus OR that tree was 2000 years old AT the time of Jesus… and it’s still making olives.
      2. Depending on the dating of this tree it would be the oldest, non-clonal, living tree.

TRANSITION:  There are olive trees in Israel in the 900-1000+ age near the Garden of Gethsemane. If only those trees could talk! This series is going to get us to our roots and dig down deep. Let’s build a strong foundation during the season of lent to help us flourish throughout the rest of the year.

SCRIPTURE PAIR: Our first scripture paring is Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness with Paul’s letter to the Romans. Let’s read Paul’s letter and connect it to our Gospel reading.

MAIN TEXT: Romans 10:8b-13 The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (that is, the message of faith that we preach). 9Because if you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord” and in your heart you have faith that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10Trusting with the heart leads to righteousness, and confessing with the mouth leads to salvation. 11The scripture says, All who have faith in him won’t be put to shame. 12There is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord is Lord of all, who gives richly to all who call on him. 13All who call on the Lord’s name will be saved.


  1. Paul’s letter:
    1. Context:
      1. Paul’s letter to the Romans (Date & Cultural context?)
    2. Confess with your mouth faith in your heart you will be saved
    3. All who have faith will be saved
    4. No distinction between Jew and Greek
  2. Gospel Passage: Jesus’ Temptation according to Luke
    1. If you compare this story in the other gospels, it will unfold in a slightly different order.
    2. Jesus goes into the desert not with his own “power” but with the Holy Spirit’s “power”
    3. The temptations the Devil offers are actual temptations to Jesus—he could skip the whole suffering thing and follow the Devil. (is “Devil” the same word as Job’s “accuser”?)
    4. “until an opportune time”
      1. Some say Jesus’s prayer in the Garden “take this cup from me” is that next temptation
      2. Others say that since Jesus wasn’t susceptible to temptation, Judas was tempted.


  1. Paul is teaching the Romans to believe in the man in the desert. The man who put the needs of all of creation before his own desires. THAT is a man we can get behind. THAT is a man we can follow. THAT is a God we can worship.
  2. Jesus makes things easy. Belief in Jesus is our salvation. Nothing about our story, identity, personality, or baggage can boost or subtract from our salvation. It’s all rooted in Christ, not in us.


  1. Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enabled Jesus to withstand the temptation he received.
    1. In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells the disciples that they will do even greater works than him through the power of the Holy Spirit. Believers can trust in the Holy Spirit to enable and equip us for whatever tasks God calls us to do.
    2. That get’s me excited.
  2. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: What are the stories that compel you to follow Jesus or know more about Jesus?
  3. It is important to take time to remember WHY we participate in the Christian Faith. It’s important to reflect on our spiritual roots. WHAT first drew you to Jesus?
    1. Our motivation drives us forward into a deeper relationship with God.

CONCLUSION: PRUNE THE ROOTS—I’ve learned that I kill house plants out of neglect. I forget to water them, or I water them too much OR I forget to replant them or fertilize their soil. I learned that my dying orchid might be able to be revived if I tend to the roots, prune as necessary, and repot the plant.

We can do the same with our faith.

Spiritual disciplines handouts in the foyer.

COMMUNION: One of the best ways to tend to our faith-roots is through the practice of communion. Communion can be that reminder of WHO we follow and WHY we worship.

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