Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sermon - Bearing Fruit For God - Kinds of Bibilical Fruit

The past couple of posts have been looking at fruit and fruitfulness.

Jesus comes looking for and expecting to find fruit and a lack of fruitfulness has consequences—that’s what we learned from Jesus’ cursing of the fig tree.

You can see in John 15 that God desires to see us produce abundant fruit that will last and how He prunes or lifts up branches to help them produce more fruit than they already are.

We are called to Bear Fruit For God

Romans 7:4 Therefore, my brothers, you also were put to death in relation to the law through the crucified body of the Messiah , so that you may belong to another—to Him who was raised from the dead —that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions operated through the law in every part of us and bore fruit for death.”

Just as there are two Kingdoms battling over the souls of every human being in this world, there are two kinds of fruit we can produce as humans—Fruit for God and Fruit for Death—the kind of death Adam & Eve experienced back in Genesis 3—so to this day, people all over the world, including us here in this church are repeating what they did and bearing fruit for death.

For those apart from Christ, that’s the only option.  But in Christ, we can actually bear fruit for God—for His Glory.

So what does fruit for God look like?  Are we talking Apples, Oranges and Pineapples?

The First Fruit
Those of you who plant gardens know that even if you plant a variety of plants on the same day, some will produce fruit and be ready for harvest before any others.  There’s one like that when it comes to Fruit for God—it bears fruit before anything else—the Fruit of Repentance

John the Baptist first mentioned this when He was speaking to the Pharisees, questioning their motives for coming to him.  He said in
Matthew 3:8—“Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance.”
10b Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit [fruit for God] will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

Without this first fruit, the only destination is being thrown into the fire.  Repentance must be harvested before anything else—that is talking about Salvation.  The second fruit then becomes possible.

We know from John 4 that God is seeking worshippers who will worship Him in Spirit & Truth.  God is actively looking for and desires worshipers.  True Worship is the second fruit.

Hebrews 13:15— “Therefore, through Him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips that confess His name.”
Because of all that Jesus did on our behalf, purchasing our freedom, we offer up praises to God.  Confessing His Name, speaking His name, singing His name, testifying to His Name—even when it’s not easy, even when it costs us. 

We Worship God for Who He is and what He has done Romans 12—offer yourselves as living sacrifices.  This is essential to a healthy harvest in the Kingdom of God.

The Third Fruit – Sanctification

Out of our repentance & worship comes a true life change—where we are made more and more like Him, conformed to the image of His Son.  To be made holy is to be Sanctified—which is the third fruit.
Romans 6:22—“But now, since you have been liberated from sin and have become enslaved to God, you have your fruit, which results in sanctification —and the end is eternal life!”

We have been set free—delivered from bondage to sin—and set free to be a voluntary slave of God—He makes us holy—the fruit is Sanctification—being more and more like Him—having that corrupted image restored and brought back to life.

You can infer what kind of people Adam and Eve were and who we are to be again in Galatians 5:22—“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control.”

I’d guess the first fruit of the Spirit they ignored was Self-Control.

To be Sanctified means to be Set Apart—God sets us apart for a Purpose—to Serve Him and participate in His mission.

The Fourth Fruit—Service & Mission

We have a purpose and something to do—that’s why He keeps us here.  As long as we are here, we have more to do, more opportunities to be watching out for in order to fulfill our mission.  Paul understood this—as long as He was alive, He was to live for Service & Mission.

Philippians 1:21-22—“For me, living is Christ and dying is gain. 22 Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose.”
Paul prays for his readers

Colossians 1:10—“so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.

God doesn’t just want us to be working and laboring—spinning our wheels until we die—He desires us to be fruitful in our Service and Mission.

And in order to be more and more fruitful, we must continually Grow as a Disciple—

The Fifth Fruit--Discipleship

James 3:17-18—“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace.”

Wisdom is more than just knowledge—it starts with the fear of the LORD and walking with Him.  It is what you know of God that translates into how you live and make decisions. 

This wisdom changes how you pray, what you pray for, how you prioritize your life, how you know your Bible.  You become someone who loves Peace—peace with God and with each other—loving God and loving your neighbor.

As you grow, you become full of good fruit.

And Discern Good from Evil

Discernment – by their fruit you will know them

Ephesians 5:8-11—“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light— 9 for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth— 10 discerning what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them.”

As you grow in wisdom with the Lord, discerning good and evil as a Disciple then you will begin to produce more and more of

The Sixth Fruit--Evangelism 

Making new disciples and participating in the harvest

John 4:35-37—“Don’t you say, ‘There are still four more months, then comes the harvest’? Listen to what I’m telling you: Open your eyes and look at the fields, for they are ready for harvest. 36 The reaper is already receiving pay and gathering fruit for eternal life, so the sower and reaper can rejoice together. 37 For in this case the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’”

We sow and reap as disciples—we are to bear good fruit—fruit like ourselves—Disciples make more disciples.   

The Great Commission is—Go and make disciples of all nations—it’s not just a conversation in sharing who Jesus is or asking a question—this fruit is a whole life of influence.—the Vineyard owner oversees it all.  If we would just open our eyes and look around—at our community, we would see there is a great harvest.

This is what it means to be producing Fruit For God.  And God desires us to be effective and fruitful in our lives.

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