Sunday, March 3, 2019

Bearing Fruit

One of my first videos posted on YouTube was “A Taste of the Toronto Blessing.” It received many hits as well as emails questioning or criticizing manifestations at the church formally known as Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship. In one email, someone noticed me quoting Matthew 7:20, “Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” He asked, “What is fruit?” 

That question can be answered by reading Galatians 5:22-23…

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

A true Christian should have those characteristics. For that to happen, one must abide in Jesus as He talked about in John 15…

4 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.
5 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. 
6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 
7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 
8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

Jesus also said in Matthew 7:16, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” While evangelizing I frequently meet professing Christians who don’t go to church. Bad fruit such as gossip and profanity sometimes manifests from these people after I tell them the importance of being connected with the Body of Christ. As Psalm 92:13 says,“Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.” The next verse goes on to say, “They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing,”

To continue bearing fruit for the kingdom of God, we must occasionally be pruned. One definition of prune is “removing superfluous or unwanted parts.” As we mature in the Lord, He will show us things we need to let go of. They may include hobbies, entertainment and other activities that waste too much time.

This weekend during an all-night prayer meeting, the Lord directed me to stop listening to old “American Top 40” programs. I used to do that while sorting emails and organizing files on my laptop. That time would be more productive if I listened to anointed sermons instead. God wants us “…being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:10)

Ministers should periodically examine the things they are doing for Him. Not everything they consider “the Lord’s work” is bearing good fruit. Sometimes I see open air preachers talk a lot about God’s judgment but little is mentioned about His love. I find this counterproductive especially when done near a Christian event. Why won’t they share the Good News with sinners instead of “preaching to the choir?”

One of the first commandments given to man is to “be fruitful and multiply.” (Genesis 1:22, 28) That commandment is repeated again three times after Noah’s flood. God desires godly offspring (Malachi 2:15) and often links fruitfulness to bearing children. That’s one reason why homosexuality is a sin. Two people of the same sex cannot conceive a baby by natural means.  

One of Leonard Ravenhill’s best known quotes was, “Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for?” Maybe you thought of things you’re doing the Lord isn’t pleased with. Rather than being rebellious or feeling condemned, repent and make a decision to prune those unfruitful things. At the end of your life, you will want to hear from Him, “‘Well done, good and faithful servant.”

“The wicked covet the catch of evil men, but the root of the righteous yields fruit.” 
- Proverbs 12:12

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