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posted over 4 years ago, updated 10 days later
What is growing in the Christian life all about? It begins with having a personal relationship with God, through accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It also involves learning about Jesus' character and modeling our life after Him. Growing in character is referred to in the bible as bearing fruit. In John’s gospel, Jesus said: John 15:16 "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” Also Paul said in Romans 7:4 : “Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another– to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.” In the parable of the sower Jesus speaks about four categories of those that hear the Word. In the second and the third category were those ones that became unfruitful, while in the last one, in the commendable one, is the one “who hears the Word and understand it who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty." (Matthew 13:23). What God therefore intended for Christians was not just to believe but not change. To just be the same kind of tree or to give the same kind of fruit they were giving before. Our fruitfulness does matter to God. Let me repeat this: it is not God’s intention that you just flow through life. God created you a unique creature, He gifted YOU, yes you, uniquely, and he commissioned you to do one thing: to go forth and bring fruit. We will soon see how this is done, but keep this in mind. God has gifted each and every child of Him, from the youngest to the oldest, from the poorest to the richest, from the illiterate to the most educated, He has gifted them uniquely and desires from them to bear much fruit. Here is what the Lord said, again in John 15:
John 15:8 “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit;” and John 15:1-2 "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.….every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” The Father rejoices when His children produce fruit. See that He takes special care to prune, to cleanse, those that bring fruit so that they bring more! The Father does not want to just have vine branches … He wants to have fruitful branches, no, ABOUNDANTLY fruitful branches, branches that give fruit to their full potential. Today many Christians are sitting idle in the sidelines, waiting for somebody else to “run the show” for them. A “professional”, as they are not… “professionals”. But Peter and the others - most of them fishermen - of the first century were not “professionals” in this sense. They didn’t graduate from any seminary nor did they need to! The only degree they had was the one in fishing! There are others again that though they have believed, you can really see no change in their life. But Christian life without change, Christian life without fruit is an oxymoron. And I don’t mean with this that passionate Christians with zeal for God and His Word do not make mistakes. They do! But passionate Christians deny the call of the masses, that says “follow the flow… it is enough to go on Sundays to church building, sit in a pew, sing songs and hear sermons, then go back home and forget about it till next Sunday”. Passionate Christians do not compromise. They do not settle for less. They look to God and they want to grow in Him. They want to get closer and closer to Him and His Son. They want to manifest Christ as much as possible in their lives. Passionate Christians have passion for fruit and vision for Christ. And the news is that God wants you to be one of them. To be A PASSIONATE CHRISTIAN, or to say it differently, a Christian with passion for God. A warm one, not a lukewarm one (Revelation 3:15). To be a fruitful branch, blossoming and giving fruit in its full potential. This is what the Christian life is all about. Fruit: What is it? Putting it simply I would say that fruit is a changed life, a Christ centred life, a life where we have died to ourselves so that Christ will live through us (Galatians 2:19-20). A life that seeks to satisfy God rather than self or people. A life whose central theme, focus and priority is God. Let’s see what the Scripture says: Galatians 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self–control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” By spirit here is meant the new man, Christ in us. Living according to the new man we produce the above given fruit, the character the new man, Christ, has. And in Ephesians 2:10 we read:
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” God has already prepared the good works in which we should walk; He has already gifted each one us uniquely, like a tree planted and destined to make fruit. All that we have to do is to walk in what God has already prepared. Doing this is destined to please the Father and bring forth fruit. Also I Peter 4:711 tells us: I Peter 4: 7-11 “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins." Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” There are various things that this passage instructs to “be”. Be watchful in prayers. Have fervent love for one another. Be hospitable without grumbling. See also that it says that each one of us has received a gift from God. God has gifted uniquely each and every one of His children. As each of the body parts are unique and placed there with a function, so also each one of us: we have been placed by God in the body of Christ, the church, and we have been gifted uniquely to function there (I Corinthians 12:1227). And what Peter tells us here is simply one thing: FUNCTION! God has not gifted certain individuals only; He has not gifted just your pastor or priest. This passage does not refer to a specific group of people within the Christian community. In contrast it refers to all Christians, including you! See also that it says “minister it to one another”. This gift was not given to lay dormant! It was given for ministering to one another. I minister to you, you minister to me. Today we are using the word “minister”, to describe somebody with a rather clerical role. So the pastor or priest in the local community of believers is called “minister”. Is he the only one that is supposed to minister, while all others that are not pastors or priests or generally in a clerical role are supposed only to be ministered, yet never to minister? This is the idea that implicitly or explicitly seems to be resident in many minds. Well, the news is that this is not an idea that originated in God nor is it an idea supported by the Scriptures! The idea the Scriptures promote is the following: each one of us has uniquely been gifted by God and has uniquely be placed in the body of Christ. There is no such thing as clergy and laity in the Scripture. As the Scripture tells us, all of us are priests to God. See how wonderfully Peter puts it: I Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you
may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” and I Peter 2:5 “you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Each one of us is expected to function in his gift, ministering to one another. What I Peter 4:7-11 tells us is get busy with what God has gifted you with. Focus on your gift and exercise it. It is not a matter of whether you have a “ministry” or not, because you do have one! This is a fact! And what Peter says is, get busy with it, get busy ministering according to your gift. Again however though the above are fruits and it may appear that by getting busy doing or walking we will produce fruit, this is not the whole picture. Getting-busy-doing our gifting presupposes a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. As Philippians 1:9-11 tells us: Philippians 1:9-11 “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. ” The fruits of righteousness “are by Jesus Christ” not by our power. In addition their result is the glory and praise of God. As Jesus explains in John 15, He is the vine and we are the branches: John 15:4-5, 8 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing…."By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” Bringing forth fruit, presupposes that we are abiding in the Vine. And we are not the Vine. Christ is! We are the branches. It is impossible for a branch to bring forth fruit, unless it abides in the vine. So also with us. It is our union with Christ, that can make us, the branches, to bring forth fruit. The branches are in this case nothing else than a way for the vine to bring fruit. As we are abiding in Christ, He will be manifested through us; the Vine will live through us and will produce fruit. Ministering and pursuing the good works that God prepared for us presupposes therefore a passionate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, whom we want to please. The focus is not so much on the works themselves but in Christ, and through our union with Christ, as we are abiding in Christ, “by Jesus Christ” as Philippians said, the fruit is coming forth. Moving a little further on this, Christ spoke of false prophets and He said that we will know them by their fruit.
Matthew 7:15-20 “"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? "Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. "Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” The Word speaks of false prophets (Matthew 7:15), false Christs (Matthew 24:24), false apostles (2 Corinthians 11:13), false brethren (Galatians 2:4, 2 Corinthians 11:20), false teachers (2 Peter 2:1), deceitful workers (2 Corinthians 11:13). There is something to know people such as these ones and this is fruit! And good fruit can only come “by Jesus Christ”. Any other tree, though it may speak about God or even Christ, can only produce false fruit. I would like therefore to encourage you my dear brother and sister to pursue God with all your heart; to passionately pursue to grow in your relationship with our living Lord and then get busy doing whatever He has prepared for you. The fruit of the spirit, is called like this because the tree is the Spirit, the new nature, Christ in us. Abide in Christ for He who abides in Christ and Christ in him can only bring forth one thing: much fruit! Rerence: The Journal of Bible Accuracy
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