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Grace Bible Church
The Tree of Life
A Weekly Review
Week endi
ng 04/10/11
God's intention that you just flow through life and produce fruit.

Have you ever wondered why God doesn’t just zap us up out of this chaotic world once we have made a decision to believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ? What is the reason for leaving us behind here on planet earth?

What is the Christian life all about once we become Christians? What comes after salvation?

You may answer the question by saying: Well God needs us on the earth to tell others about Him! But, if that were the case why did our Lord say to some of the Pharisees “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!” (LUK 19:39-40)

So, what is the reason for leaving us behind?

JOH 15:16, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and {that} your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you.”

The apostle Paul said in ROM 7:4, Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God.

In the parable of the sower the Lord speaks about four categories of those who hear the Word. The second and the third category were those ones that became unfruitful, while in the last one, in the commendable category, those “who hears the Word and understands it who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

What God intended for Christians was not just to believe but also to change. If we remain the same kind of tree as we were before and produce the same kind of fruit we were providing before, something is wrong. Our fruitfulness does matter to God.

It is not God’s intention that you just flow through life. God created you a unique creature, He gifted YOU, and He did that uniquely, and then He also commissioned and empowered you to do one thing: to go forth and bring fruit.

God has gifted each and every child of His, from the youngest to the oldest, from the poorest to the richest. He has gifted them uniquely and desires for them to bear much fruit. JOH 15:8, “By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and {so} prove to be My disciples.”

Notice JOH 15:1-2, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every {branch} that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit.”

The point is that God the Father rejoices when His children produce fruit. This is why He takes special care to prune, to cleanse, those that bring fruit so that they bring more! The Father does not want to just have vine branches. He wants them to become fruitful branches, branches that give fruit to their full potential. And He does so because it is to their own benefit that they do.

“In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (ACT 20:35)

Today many believers are sitting idle on the sidelines, waiting for somebody else to run the show for them. Professionals, they are not. Take Peter and the others - most of them fishermen of the first century were not professionals in this sense. They didn’t graduate from any seminary, nor did they need to. The only degree they had was the one in fishing.

There are others again that though they have believed, you can really see no fruit or change in their life. We must be very careful here, because we don’t want to become legalistic or works oriented and misinterpret passages like JAM 2:14, What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save or deliver him?

Or in JAM 2:18-20, But someone may well say, “You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?

Are you willing to be shown proof, that faith apart from good works is inactive and ineffective and worthless?

JAM 2:21-23, Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness," and he was called the friend of God.

Abraham's faith was cooperating with his works, and his faith was completed and reached its supreme expression when he implemented it by [good] works. Abraham believed in, trusted in, and relied on, God, and this faith was accredited to him or imputed to him as righteousness.

Jam 24-26, You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works, when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

Christian life without change, or the Christian life without fruit, is an oxymoron. An oxymoron is a figure of speech in which two words with opposite meanings are used together intentionally for effect; Therefore, it is a contradiction in terms.

For example, let me give you a sentence or two which will give you a clear illustration of an oxymoron:

It’s an “open secret” that the “larger half” in the marriage is “clearly confused”.

The point is that the serious believer does not compromise or settle for less. The believer who has experienced genuine brokenness from responding to the Potter's wheel of progress, wants to get closer and closer to God the Father and His Son. They want to manifest a love and passion that protects them from REV 3:15-16, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.”

As the Potter over the clay, the believer who has this sought of passion for God is one who has passion and love for the Lord Jesus Christ and fulfills 1CO 16:22 and never falls into REV 3:15-16.

1CO 16:22, If anyone does not love the Lord, let him be accursed. Maranatha.

The word for love is the pres-act-ind of phileo which means a personal, more passionate love that is pleasurable and precious experientially as well as emotionally. It has the connotation of a love that is more emotionally dependent and therefore, in the invisible realm, it connotes an emphasis on the personal.

So, the question emerges: What is fruit? Putting it simply, fruit is a changed life, a Christ centered life, a life where we have died to ourselves so that Christ will live through us, (GAL 2:19-20). Godly fruit is a life that seeks to satisfy God rather than self or people. A life whose central theme, focus and priority is the plan of  God.

Let’s see what the Scripture says:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (EPH 2:10)

God has already prepared the good works in which we should walk; He has already gifted each one us uniquely, like a tree planted and destined to make fruit. All that we have to do is to walk in what God has already prepared. Doing this is destined to please the Father and bring forth fruit. Whether our works are fruitful or not depends upon whether our outward man has been broken by the Lord so that the inward man can pass through that brokenness and come forth.

This is the basic problem. The Lord wants to break our outward man in order that the inward man may have a way out. When the inward man is released, both unbelievers and Christians will be blessed.

The Lord Jesus tells us in JOH 12:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

Life is in the grain of wheat, but there is a shell, a very hard shell on the outside. As long as that shell is not split open, the wheat cannot grow.

What is this death? It is the cracking open of the shell through the working together of temperature, humidity, etc., in the soil. Once the shell is split open, the wheat begins to grow.

So the question here is not whether there is life within, but whether the outside shell is cracked open enough. The Scripture continues by saying, JOH 12:25, “He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal.”

The Lord shows us here that the outer shell is our own life, (our soul life) while the life within is the eternal life which He has given to us. To allow the inner life to come forth, it is imperative that the outward life be lost. Should the outward remain unbroken, the inward would never be able to come forth.

Therefore, let’s look at that group of people who have the Lord’s life. Among those who possess the life of the Lord can be found two distinct conditions:

  1. Those in whom life is confined, restricted, imprisoned and unable to come forth.
    2. Those in whom the Lord has manufacture a way and life is thus released from them.

The question is not how to obtain life, but rather how to allow this life to come forth. When we say, we need the Lord to break us, this is not merely a way of speaking, nor is it only a doctrine. It is a vital principle that we be broken by the Lord. It is not that the life of the Lord cannot cover the earth, but rather that His life is imprisoned by us. It is not that the Lord cannot bless the Church, but that the Lord’s life is so confined within the church, that there is no flowing forth. If the outward man remains unbroken, we can never be a blessing to His Church, and we cannot expect the Word to be blessed by God through us.

In MAR 14:1-10, After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people. And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. And Jesus said, “Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.” And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them.

The Bible tells of the pure spikenard or perfume used as being very precious; to show that it is truly spiritual. But if the alabaster box is not broken, the pure spikenard will not flow forth.

Strange to say, many are still treasuring the alabaster box, thinking that its value exceeds that of the ointment. Many think that their outward man is more precious than their inward man. This becomes the problem in the Church. One will treasure his cleverness, thinking he is quite important; another will treasure his own emotions, esteeming himself as an important person. Others highly regard themselves, feeling they are better than others, their eloquence surpasses that of others, their actions and exactness of judgment are superior, and so forth.

However, we are not antique collectors; we are not vase admirers; we are those who desire to smell only the fragrance of the ointment. Without the breaking of the outward, the inward will not come forth. And so, individually we have no life or fragrant aroma flowing out of us, and as a result, the Church does not have it as well. By church, I mean the one you are a part of.

Why then should we hold the life that we possess as being so precious, if our outward life contains, instead of releases, the fragrance? The Holy Spirit in union with the Potter’s wheel has not ceased working. One event after another, one thing after another, comes to us. Each working of the Holy Spirit in conjunction with the Potter’s wheel has but one purpose: To break our outward man so that our inward man may come through.

Yet here is our difficulty: We complain and fuss over petty things, we murmur at small losses. We mock at verses like PHI 2:14, Keep on doing all things without complaining, grumbling or arguing; Instead, we say I’m not keeping one bit of this quiet, I’m laying it all out on the table; my complaining to heaven is bitter, but honest. Then as JOB 7:11 says, Therefore, I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.

Look at NUM 11:1, Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the Lord; and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.

When the people complained it displeased the Lord. You wouldn’t want to do that, would you? These types of individuals are usually failures.

JUD 1:16, These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.

The Lord is preparing a way to use us, yet we are too busy fighting against Him...even to the extent of quarreling with God and becoming negative in our attitude.

How about this attitude instead? I am Thankful...I am thankful for the husband who complains; when his dinner is not on time because he is home with me. For the teenagers who complain about doing dishes because that means they are at home and not on the streets. For the taxes that I pay, because it means that I am employed. For the mess to clean after a party, because it means that I have been surrounded by friends. For the clothes that fit a little too snug, because it means I have enough to eat. For my shadow that watches me work, because it means I am out in the sunshine. For a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing, because it means I have a home.

For all the complaining I hear about the government, because it means that we have freedom of speech. For the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot, because it means I am capable of walking and that I have been blessed with transportation.

For my huge heating bill, because it means I am warm. For the lady behind me in church that sings off key, because it means that I can hear. For the pile of laundry and ironing, because it means I have clothes to wear. For weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day, because it means I have been capable of working hard. For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours, because it means that I am alive. And finally for a pastor who reads corny things like this to me because it means I have someone thinking of me.

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