The Call to Fruitfulness

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Good Morning! Well it’s good to be back with you after our week of travels… to Chicago… We got to attend the EFCA One conference
Which was by the way was the best attended conference so far.... with over 1500 in attendance…
We got to see some of our missionaries Sharleen Ortland, Mark Halstrom…go to visit with some of our local pastors and make new friends.
What is great about attending One Conference is that it is reminder that we are part of something bigger than the local church…and added support and resources…
The Free Church is a disciple making movement... Who believe that it’s the Churches mission to multiply Disciples…and we can all collaborate together in order to do this more effectively...
Pam and I attended Discipleship learning Track for a few days… Then on the last day.... I got to do a guided/learning tour of the Compass Churches and its three satellite campuses .…Spent time with their leadership team...It was great learning experience...
We have come back pumped up with…lots to think about and unpack in the coming months.
Well this morning..
I’m exited about this new Series entitled, 9 flavors 1 fruit…Sound like some sort of Smoothie right!
But what we are talking bout is the Fruit of the SpiritGalatians 5:22-23
The subject of Fruitfulness was a major focus in the teaching of Jesus. Jesus uses the word Fruit about 40 times in His teachings… He made it clear that our spiritual identity is determined not so much by our words but rather through our actions… Faith and Fruit should never part company…they always go together..
Jesus taught that Fruitfulness is the Proof of Faith…
Jesus said in John 15:8
John 15:8 ESV
8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
Jesus also said..
Matthew 7:20 ESV
20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
Fruit is really one of the only Signs that we have that someone is in a vital ....LIFE giving relationship with Jesus CHRIST … You might have great Speaker, visionary, prophets, even miracle workers…but without the Fruit of the Spirit its all nothing… there is no proof of genuine faith..
Fruit is the evidence that true transformation has taken place in a believers life...
Fruit is one of the ways we will can distinguish between true and false teachers..
Fruitfulness always brings Glory to God.
When we heading out for our trip to Chicago we stopped at the fruit stand just outside of Gridley...
The owner of this stand was on his gameHe was slicing and dicing and giving out samples… He was cutting up pears, peaches, watermelon and handing out walnuts… Who doesn’t love free samples…
This is a great time of the year to be buying fruit...…fruit just bursting with juice and flavor…
We enjoyed the fruit so much that on the way back we made another stop and picked up more fruit.
There is something attractional about Good Fruit...
-- it doesn’t take much motivation for return visits…
On the other hand we have all gone to the grocery store and brought fruit home and have been disappointed ---What it promised was underwhelming… because it was tasteless and lacking in flavor…
Now, from the outside the fruit from the Fruit Stand and the fruit from the Grocery Store both looked exactly the same…But the difference was the Flavor
Here is the thing is that everyone bears fruit…THEY are either fruit of the flesh or fruit of the Spirit…
Jesus tells us we will know the difference through inspecting the Fruit...…
Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 5:13 that they are the the salt of the earth..
The message bible paraphrases it like this..
Matthew 5:13 The Message
13 Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
The ESV says, “You are the salt of the earth
The message says,.“Let me tell you why you are here!
How many of us have wrestled with the question of our purpose in the is life? Why am I here?What is the point? That is the big question of the meaning or life…
Well Jesus answer to that question!!
“You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth.”
The reason you are here is that you are seasoning — you are the spice — Seasoning is all about the flavor…
Seasoning is not the main attraction on the dish…but it makes what on your plate more appealing…
This has a wide range of application..
What is my purpose in my marriage?
My purpose is to be the seasoning that brings out God flavors in the Relationship…
What is my purpose as a Parent? Seasoning that brings about God’s flavor into our Home..
My purpose in the work place…is that I brings out God’s flavors to those whom my life intersects.
Not only Does Salt brings out God’s Flavor --- It also changes the conditions of the Soil.
The purpose of salt in ancient agriculture was to make barren soil easier to TIL ..and also facilitated the absorption of vital nutrients to enhance its fertilizing capacity…
Salt prepares the ground to receive the seed
.In the parable of the Sower (matt 13) .... Jesus spoke about different soil. There was The pathway — hard ground --- The stoney Ground… the thorny ground --- and the good Ground.. Different soils had different response to the Word of God… seed could only take root in the good ground…
When Jesus calls us the Salt of the Earth… It is reminder that we are sometimes called to the hard Soil… because salts going to breakdown the properties in the soil..
There are places in our world that are dead, barren, or rotting because Christians are not there. God called us to Fruitfulness so that we have great impact… Our concern should not be where we are called but our Saltiness… if we loose our flavor
What good are we if we loose our saltiness…we go from being God’s saving agents… materials that are only good to be used for footpaths..
T/S What are the Markers of a Fruitful life?

1. Fruitfulness begins With Good Character.

One the famous sermons that Jesus preached is the sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5 --- There is another account of that sermon found in Luke 6 — Which is called the Sermon on the plains… they are very similar sermons and have few difference…
Luke tells us that a crowd had gathered around Jesus — Jesus had been in prayer and comes down stood with his disciples and spoke to the multitude on a level place.-
People travelled from Judea and Jerusalem… then there were Gentiles that came from the far north of the Mediterranean sea…many of them just seeking a miracle...
When you consider this audience? What Subject would Jesus choose to preach on?
Jesus Preaches on the Character of a Disciple....
Jesus taught the beatitudes.. these are eight qualities that marked the follows of Jesus..Jesus teaches on how to deal with Conflict - loving your enemies and praying for those who abuse you. He talks about Judging others… and forgiveness… before taking the speck out of your brothers eye first remove the plank out of your own eye.
Then Jesus deals with Character of his disciples
Sometimes the teaching of Jesus is so simple that we miss how profound his words are. Jesus turns to the fruit tree --- to give us a lesson on character
This illustration is so simple: You don’t get oranges from apple trees. Fruit always bears according to its kind. You don’t go to a fig tree and expect grapes…
So why would we expect anything different of human character?
We hear something like this and it makes total logical sense...--- but in practice it becomes a little more muddled… let me explain..
If you were to ask people today if they believed that people were basically good or basically evil? Well majority of us would answer that basically people are good…even though people sin and that there is wickedness and evil in our world.. nobody is perfect.... but basically at the core of man there is goodness…
The Philosopher Socrates taught this same sort of thing - that the idea of evil was simply a matter of ignorance and with greater knowledge would come goodness and the end of Evil… sin is a mater of making mistakes that we don’t know better.
Jesus taught the exact opposite...
A healthy tree can not produce bad fruit, and likewise, a unhealthy tree can’t produce good fruit.
RC Sproul talks about this phenomenon called Statistical morality… that often determines what is right and wrong in society… Sproul tells us..
In our culture we often define good and evil by statistical analysis of behavioral pattern of people… We are easily swayed by the majority… If 100 people say something is good and 5 people disagree we will go with the majority....
Statistical morality says that..
If hundred people are practicing a certain thing — then the statistical evidence persuades us that this is normal, it is human, if it is human, it is good..
So good is determined by what we considered Normal..
Jesus taught quite the opposite when it comes to truth… You got to back to the source of truth — go back to the tree… If the tree is bad the fruit is going to be rotten…
Jesus taught the our Character Matters..
Jesus was concerned about the moral influence that would be exercised by those who chose to follow him. He knew that their real authority and magnetism would depend on the kind of people they were.
The message and life of a good person will eventually come to the surface, and the same is true of bad things emerging from an evil person. You can fool people for a while but not over the long haul, and you can never hide what you are from God.
Jesus proclaimed a profound truth:
The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth what is evil.’
The contents of a persons heart /character is revealed through our speech..
Often, we will find out what we are made of by what comes out of our mouths in both good and bad circumstances
A little boy went over to a pastor's house, where the pastor was doing some carpentry in his garage. The boy simply stood there and watched him for quite a long time.
The preacher wondered why this boy was watching him and was finally so curious that he stopped and said, "Son, are you trying to pick up some pointers on how to build something?"
The little boy replied, "No. I am just waiting to hear what a preacher says when he hits his thumb with a hammer.
If you want to learn something about someones character start listening to their words … Because the heart is like a well of treasure.... There is stuff inside of us… good and bad…
Here is the thing
-Whether one likes it or not, what one produces is finally a product of what one is.
The good man brings good treasure
The evil man brings out evil treasure...
The key is to have the storehouse of your heart filled the Fruits of God Spirt.... The way that build treasure is through stock pilling...
You already have the Spirit of God abiding in your heart.... Allow Him to fill your heart with His love…joy peace patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self Control.
T/S What are the Markers of a Fruitful life?
1. Fruitfulness begins With Good Character

2. Fruitfulness depends on Vital Connection.

A study was done by Professor of Evolutionary psychology… Robin Dunbar… and he asked the question… How many of your online friends would help you if your were in trouble. He wondered whether the size of your media network had any correlation to having more friends in real life.. and what he discovered was the average amount of Facebook by people was around 150 and out of those 150 only about 28 on average were recognized as low level friends. But when participants were asked how many of those friends would help out in a time of need, emotional distress, or other crisis, the average answer was 4.
Around 14 would at least express sympathy.
Social media and Technology doesn’t connect us as much together as we might imagine.
God designed us for meaningful connections… When God created everything was good on each day of creation… But when he saw that man was alone --- He said that it was not good for man to be alone… As image bearers… of God who himself is a trinity we… are created from meaningful relationships.... It starts with our connection with Himself..
John 15:1–9 ESV
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
This section of scripture is the clearest description of what it means to be Follower of Jesus… Jesus gives us this Metaphor of grape vine..
The vine and branches represents a relationship unlike any other. In this image Jesus himself is the Stem or the True vine… Though the stem and the branch are two separate entities, they are joined together. The branch relies on the vine for food and life—connection and sustenance. And the vine nourishes the branch so that it can bear fruit.
In the analogy the Father is the vinedresser the Farmer or the Caretake of the vines. The father prunes the branches that don’t bare fruit…
The pruning is essential to health of the tree...
Henry Nouwen observed this about the pruning process.
Pruning means cutting, reshaping, and removing what diminishes vitality.
When we look at a pruned vineyard, we can hardly believe it will bear fruit. But when harvest time comes we realize that the pruning enabled the vine to concentrate its energy and produce more grapes than it could have had it remained unpruned..
When God cuts things out of our life --- need see it as possitive things… because it make room for God life to flow into other areas of our lives..
Vrs 4 We see the importance of being connected to the main stem…
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself,
The only way this vine is gong to succeed is being connect to Christ whose life giving sap needs to makes its way to the rest of the tree and the only way that can happen is through Abiding or remaining… or Faithfulness…
Fruit bearing never happens without connection… There are people today that has abandoned the church…they are opposed to organized Religion… But what they forget is that the church is that Connected things Grow…
We don’t grow in isolation… we grow in community… but we need to be connect to Christ himself.
When we are connected to Him his life flow is moving through our lives…We have what Luther coined the phrase vital life… When we connected to Him we naturally become fruit bearing… That is why its called the fruit of the spirit.
When we abide we bear much fruit… as you read through the text you find different levels of fruit.. there is some Fruit, there is more fruit and there is much Fruit..
But apart from Christ we can do Nothing… Just let that sink in for a second… Without Christs vital life through the work of the HS we can do Nothing…
We can have a wonderful facilities, We can have a clear vision and mission laid out plans for our Church… We can have talented teachers and worship leaders…We can have great programing...
Jesus says without Him you can do nothing!
What is he talking about? He is talking about our fruitfulness.... With out him it is impossible to bear fruit..
But when you abide in Him you will be walking according to his will and so when you pray your prayers will be answered… Whatever you pray for will be done for you…
Vrs 8 Fruit fulness is God’s Will for our lives..
8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
God wants to see increase in His field.… Along with spiritual growth, there should be a measure of numerical growth. Fruit has in it the seed for more fruit.
If the fruit of our ministry is genuine, it will eventually produce “more fruit … much fruit” to the glory of God (John 15:1–8).
because the God is Glorified when we bear fruit and by so doing prove to be his disciples..
Fruitfulness is organic.. we don’t have to go out and manufacture Fruit…There isn’t a factory or a church that is going to make you fruitbearing…
Fruit is bi-product of Abiding in His love. Christianity is essentially a response to the God of love.
vrs 8 Abiding is Responding to God’s love.. it is beliving in and being overwhelmed by the reality of Divine love… that sustains us… that generates our love for others… This kind of love enables us to fulfill the great commandment to love God and to love others...
T/S If we are going to be the Kind of People who make impact we have to understand how we achieve a life of Fruitfulness..
1. Fruitfulness Begins With Good Character
2. Fruitfulness Depends on Vital Connection.

3. Fruitfulness is sustained in the Right Environment.

Fruitfulness happens in the Right Environment… In the home that I grew up in Africa we had this Avocado Tree that just always abundant with Fruit… they were bigger than baseballs…they actually so many that they were rolling down our driveway… Often when I go to the grocery store and buy these small avocado’s for a couple dollars --- We had a literal money tree… and we didn’t know it...
If we are going to be Fruit bearing Christians we have to be in the right environment… I believe that we see this in
Psalms 1:1-3
Psalm 1:1–3 ESV
1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
The psalmist wants us to consider what is influencing OUR LIVES… Who is influencing us? ... Where are we getting our information… ---what counsel is informing our lives…
Psalms tells us that Blessed man/women - The one who is favored by God Divine Grace… You could say that the Blessed man is the Fruitful man… it mans the person who is happy and fulfilled…it’s in the plural sense of the word means intense blessing --- The Blessed man avoids certain environments… He is not seeking the Counsel of the Wicked… He does not...
1. Walking in the Counsel of the wicked —
2. Standing in the way of sinners...
3. Sitting in the seat of scoffers..
Where do we go for wisdom today… Many of us go to google....There are environments online that are going to stifle your spiritual fruitfulness.. There are certain bloggers… podcasts that are shaping your thinking..... There are three degrees of departure from God… first level is accepting of advice… then being party of the ways… and then adopting fatal attitudes.. Scoffers were those who were the most distant from God…
So there are negative environments to be avoid but then there are other environments that we need to seek after…
But blessed man/women
Delights in the Word of God - The law of the Lord stand in direct opposition to the council of the wicked…
Where do we find words that bring life…
Our Delight needs to come from with the pages of Scripture.. When you delight in Gods word… It means that you find it to be immensely interesting and relevant… Brings Joy and satisfaction...
Abiding in Christ is tied to abiding in his Words… Being in a relationship with Jesus Christ is tied to his Word.. not two separate things…
You cannot have a relationship with Jesus outside of his word… two things are tied together… Remaining in Christ means that his words are living inside of us…
2. Meditates on God’s word day and night —
The word ‘meditate’ means ‘to murmur’ or ‘to mutter’. It means ‘speaking to one’s self in a low voice…
When we use the word meditation… it is easy to get confussed with middle eastern mediation... Where, you’re actually trying to empty the mind of thoughts, empty the mind of logic, and empty the mind of reason
Christian meditation is not emptying your mind.. But rather it is filling your mind upon God’s word…
Keller tells us that - , biblical and Christian meditation is almost the opposite. It says you must drill down and almost become furiously rational by looking at a passage of Scripture and looking at the text. The object of meditation is always the Scripture, not just meditating on your hand or meditating on the oneness of reality as in transcendental meditation.
Meditation is taking the Word and making it flesh, taking an abstract concept and making it real to your heart and your behavior
3. Get Planted by Steams of living water..
The person so preoccupied with God’s Word is like a tree that is green, fruitful, and rooted (Ps. 1:3). The tree never lacks for moisture because it is planted by an ever-flowing stream.
Every season, it bears fruit and continually provides nourishment and enjoyment. Every year, its roots reach deeper and deeper into the soil, and it becomes more permanent
When we do so we will be like Trees planted by streams of water that yields Fruit in it Season...
Conclusion --
This morning I want to ask you about what kind of Fruit are you producing? God desire for each of us to bear much fruit and that Fruit would remain… There are places in our lives where we need to bearing Fruit… Some of us are facing some tough situations.... the ground is hard… seems like there is no way seed is going to take root…We need to pray that God would make us the kind of Salt that will soften the soil...
Good news is that … FRUIT ISN’T MADE IN A FACTORY… The Fruit comes from the Holy Spirit… Some of us have the Word of God… we are in the Word… but we still not bear fruit… What we need to do is come to the River....
Psalm 46:4 ESV
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
When planted by the Waters of the Holy Spirit… We are always in sync with season… and bear fruit in the appropriate season of
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