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Posts tagged ‘fruitful’

A GRAIN OF WHEAT DIES AND PRODUCES A RICH HARVEST

A GRAIN OF WHEAT DIES AND PRODUCES A RICH HARVEST

Jesus leaves us with a very profound message on just how one grain of wheat can produce a bountiful harvest.  Listen to what He says, 24I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains [just one grain; it never becomes more but lives] by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest.” (John 12:24 AMP) 

This picture that Jesus paints for us illustrates not only Jesus artistic abilities, but He illustrates it in such a manner that it leaves no doubt as to the meaning of His words and the impact that they could have on the whole human race if only we would take the time to conceptualize them.

Now meditate on this for a moment, when a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, it actually dies before becoming a mature blade producing many new kernels.  In the same way, Jesus, by his death, produced more fruit than could have been gained had he become the king of Israel on an earthly throne.  Indeed, by being lifted up on the cross, Jesus would draw all people to himself.  In this picture of the dying grain, Jesus spoke directly about his own life.  He does not necessarily require us to literally give up our lives in sacrificial death as the only way to be fruitful.  God does call some believers to die for him.  However, he calls many more to stay alive for fruitful service.

Now let us turn to (Romans 12:1-2) and see what is meant by His call for many more to stay alive for fruitful service.   1I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.

    2Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].

Jesus makes a direct appeal to us, He even begs us in view of God’s mercies for us to give up the old way of life, and delicate our entire body as a living sacrifice, well pleasing to God, which is only our reasonable service.  He furthers employs us to be transformed, that is, changed by the renewing of our minds.  Spiritual transformation starts in the mind and heart.  A mind dedicated to the world and its concerns will produce a life tossed back and forth by the currents of culture.  But a mind dedicated to God’s truth will produce a life that can stand the test of time.  We can resist the temptations of our culture by meditating on God’s truth and letting the Holy Spirit guide and shape our thoughts and behaviors.

Now let me tell you this one truth, if anyone wishes to become a true follower of Jesus, you must get your priorities in order and this verse makes it perfectly clear why this must be.  Listen up,  25Anyone who loves his life loses it, but anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. [Whoever has no love for, no concern for, no regard for his life here on earth, but despises it, preserves his life forever and ever.]

If you choose to love your life more than your Master’s, you will lose the very life that you seek to maintain.  True disciples must be willing to suffer and experience rejection, even unto death if need be.  To serve and follow Jesus means making radical lifestyle changes.  To follow Jesus means going the way he went, not the way of earthly power and honor, but the way of humility and death.  Everything Jesus did was for God’s glory.  When we choose to follow him, we must live for God’s glory alone.  This does not mean we have no fun, no joy, no security.  Rather, it simply means we live to honor God and then the Father will honor us.

We must live to honor God, but in order to do so the old must die off in order for new fruit to reproduce it’s self.  You see, when a seed dies, it produces fruit.  Life comes by death.  This principle is true not only in nature, but it is also true spiritually.  Jesus was speaking first, and foremost of Himself.  He is the grain of wheat.  His death would produce much fruit and would result in many living for God.  When you live for God, you honor God.

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HOW TO BE A SUCCESSFUL GARDNER (LESSON 2)

THE VINE AND BRANCHES THAT PRODUCE MUCH FRUIT GLORIFIES GOD

We live and work in a hostile world.  Everything seems to be against us, and the plans God has set down for all His children.  However, we must not fear because our God is the same today and will be the same tomorrow.  What He has for you is for you and no one can ever take that away.  Although, he clearly tells us that we must abide in Him and He will abide in us.  We must be obedient to the word and stand firm on it, know matter how difficult the situation in the world become.  God is the gardener, the cultivator of the vine and the branches.  In order for the branches to produce much fruit, the branches must remain connected to the vine.  In other words, you must always abide in the vine.

The fruitful branches are true believers.  They abide in the vine.  To abide means to stay where you are as a Christian, Christ has placed you in that position.  In your daily walk, you must stay in an intimate fellowship with the Lord.  A branch abides in a vine by drawing all its life and nourishment from the vine.  So we abide in Christ by spending time in prayer, reading and obeying His Word, fellowshipping with His people, and being continually conscious of our union with Him.  As we thus maintain constant contact with Him, we are conscious of His abiding in us and supplying us with spiritual strength and resources.  The branch can only bear fruit as it abides in the vine.  The only way believers can bear the fruit of a Christ-like character is by living in touch with Christ moment by moment.

Each branch that continues to remain in the vine will produce much fruit.  This fruit could be new converts, or the fruit of the Spirit.  The fruit of the Spirit displayed in our lives should attract people to Jesus and thereby make them new members of God’s vine and branches.

When a believer remains in Christ and Christ’s words remain in him, that person may go to God and ask anything in the name of Jesus and their prayers will be answered.  An essential part of being a disciple requires bearing fruit for the Lord.  And in order to pray for results, a person must remain in Christ.  For when we remain in him, our thoughts and desires conform to his, and we can pray in his name, knowing that our requests please God.  We can then be assured that whatever we ask will be done.

A vine that produces much fruit glorifies God, for daily he sends the sunshine and rain to make the crops grow, and he constantly nurtures each plant and prepares it to blossom.  What a moment of glory for the Lord of the harvest when the harvest is brought into the barns, mature and ready for use.  He made it all happen!  This farming analogy shows how God is glorified when we come into a right relationship with him and begin to “bear much fruit” in our lives.

Abiding is the secret of a successful prayer life.  The closer we get to the Lord, the more we will learn to think His thoughts after Him.  The more we get to know Him through His Word, the more we will understand His will.  The more our will agrees with His, the more we can be sure of having our prayers answered.  When God answer our prayers, we know that we are in the right standing with God.  We become like the tree that is planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither and whatever we do, we shall prosper.  (Psalm 1:3), because God is Glorified.

 

CREATING AN ATMOSPHERE OF GODLINESS IN CHURCH

There are churches all over the world where the Holy Spirit is not present.  He is not present because the people don’t fear God.  They may be socially active, economically viable, and organizationally functional; but where there is no fear, there is no godliness.  Where there is no godliness, there is no anointing.  There can be no comfort because God will never comfort you when you are outside His will.

People go to some churches week in and week out seeking to be comforted in their sin.  You can find a church that makes you comfortable with its ritual, its tradition, and its ministry emphasis.  But it is a tragedy if a church’s leaders do not strain to create an atmosphere of godliness and the body does not fear God as it works out its salvation.  The comfort one finds in that situation is one of the greatest deceptions of the devil.

Satan desires to make you comfortable in your sin.  If you are comfortable in your sin, you will not see the need to confess it.  If you do not confess your sin, you will not know the cleansing forgiveness of God.  Without His cleansing forgiveness, you cannot enter into His presence, because your sin separates you from Him (Isa. 59:2).  Then Satan has you right where he wants you–in sin and apart from God.  If you are in sin and comfortable in your church, please know that you are being deceived by the enemy.  God won’t help you walk in sin.  What He will do, however, is help you get up and walk away from that sin so that you might get back on the path of righteousness and walk in the fear of the Lord.  He says if you walk in fear of Him, you will know the comfort of His Spirit and a fruitful, spiritually productive relationship with Him.

Philippians 2:12 says, “Theerefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”  Paul said work out your own salvation in a holy reverence for God and a righteous “afraid-ness” of Him.  You don’t work for your salvation; you work out your salvation.  You don’t work to get saved.  Your salvation is fleshed out in a daily process of living in the power of the Spirit of God.

A remarkable thing happens when a church is foull of godly men and women who work out their salvation with a fear of God.  Acts 9:31 says, “Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified.”  Now watch this:  “And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were maltiplied” (emphasis mine).  The church grew numerically and spiritually, quantitatively and qualitatively.  Why?  They did so because they walked in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost.  Walking in the comfort of the Holy Ghost does not mean shouting, running down aisles, laughing uncontrollably, barking like a dog, or jumping across benches.  The comfort of the Holy Ghost is that ministry of the Spirit that stabilizes you.  It is the settling of your spirit by His Spirit.  It is when God strengthens you by coming alongside you in your particular set of circumstances.

The context of the Acts 9 text suggests that at the time this comfort settled on the aforementioned believers, the church was suffering intense persecution.  Christians were sought and killed for following a man named Jesus.  But in spite of their oppression, they were edified and growing individually and collectively.  They were growing because the Holy Spirit was comforting them, and there would have been no comfort without fear.

By the way, fellow pastor, how is your church growing?  If it is alive, it ought to be growing.  If it is not growing, maybe God is calling you to examine the spiritual atmosphere in your congregation.  Dear pastor, maybe God is telling you to examine your own lifestyle and your own heart.  Now, don’t take my position to the extreme.  I am by no means suggesting that the only gauge for vitality and growth in a church is the size of its roll.

The world will always “out crowd” the church.  Crowds have assembled for every reason, from viewing the tail of a comet to supporting a follower of Mohammed.  Don’t measure the godliness of a church by the size of the crowd.  The Bible says “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matt. 7:14).  Don’t count bodies.  Count lives.  See if the people followed Jesus into the assembly or if they followed some other leader.  See if there is a holy, reverential fear of God woven into the fabric of their behavior.  A growing church is filled with people who walk in the fear of the Lord.  Because they fer the Lord, they know the comfort of the Holy Ghost.  This is the path to godliness and growth in any church.  How is your church growing?

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