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Friday, December 12, 2008

Bearing Fruit

What does it mean to "bear fruit" according to God's word? In the scriptures, Jesus talks about people bearing fruit. Jesus here is using a metaphor, comparing people to fruit - bearing trees. In the same way that you can tell the nature and quality of a tree by it's fruit, you can tell the nature and quality of a person by their actions. Many of us know or have had conversations with someone who claims to be a child of God, but there is no evidence of fruit in that person's life. An "apple" tree that produces cherries in not an apple tree... it's a cherry tree. In the same way, a "good" person that is know for their bad actions must not really be good.
"Galatians 5:22" is a reminder that God's Word tells us that if I am a true child of God that I must bear the characteristic of "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness"... "Proverbs 20:11" tells us "Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right". People actions show what they are.
In "Matthew 7:16-21" we see that every tree bears fruit. This is a parable Jesus used to show the people a heavenly truth "an earthly story with a heavenly meaning". We see two trees, a good tree and a bad tree. A good tree, like the fig tree that Jesus mentions, will bear good fruit - figs. But a thorn bush will only produce bad fruit - prickly thorns. You won't find thorns on the fig tree, and you won't find figs on the thorn bush. One can recognize a true believer, not just by what he says, but by what he does.

"Luke 13:6-9" tells us that trees that bear bad fruit are cut down. This parable symboblizes Israel's last oppotunity to repent before experiencing God's judgment. In this parable, a fig tree that does not bear fruit may be cut down if it doesn't produce fruit within the next year. Jesus is warning the people in this parable. Jesus expect "fruit" from His people. The bad fruit that is talked about in "Matthew 7:16-21" is the same as bearing no fruit here. After all, thorns are hardly worth calling "fruit" at all, are they? Jesus expect us to live a certain way. He expects us to see certain things in our lives. If we really belong to Him, we will show these things -we will be trees with good fruit.

Earlier I stated that in "Galatians 5:22-23" that if I am a true child of God I must bear the characteristic of "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness". Most of us would say that we would what these things in our lives. Love, joy, and peace - everyone whats those. And most of us what to be good and kind, but are these things we can get on our own? Only the Holy Spirit can produce in Christians the positive attributes of godly character, all of which are evident in Jesus in the gospels.
One of the areas of bearing fruit is in having joy in serving "Philippians 2:1-18". Paul uses a conditional sentence (if) to provoke the Philippians so that they will reflect on whether these qualities are evident in their lives.
We can only find the joy of serving if we are in Christ. Our attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ. In Mark 10:45 we see that Christ did not come to be served, but to serve, and gave his life a ransom for many.
Let us continue to pray that the Holy Spirit would produce the fruits needed in us to bring glory to our God.

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