Focus    on Purpose
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
© Focus On Purpose July 2017

What is the Fruit?

 “A the seed whose fruit is righteousness is

sown in peace by those who make peace..”

(James 3:18)

 

What is the Fruit that Brings Glory to God?

In John 15:4 Jesus tells us that unless we abide in Him, we cannot bear fruit. In verse 8, He tells us that it is by bearing much fruit that the Father is glorified. He also says that our fruit will prove that we are His disciples. In John 15:9 Jesus says we are to abide in His love. This would include us loving God, not so? We cannot abide in Jesus' love without loving God, because Jesus is God. So, if we love God, then we would want to glorify Him not so? What does it mean to glorify Him? It means to make bright and shining, to speak well of, bring praise, to make known the beauty and wonder of our God. Now Jesus says that it is by bearing much fruit that the Father is glorified. If it is our fruit that glorifies God, what is that fruit? What does Jesus mean by fruit? Is this fruit the same as the - 'Fruit of the Spirit'? Or is He talking about converts? As one looks at the performance of the church over the years, I would say that may 'methods' of making converts was anything but glorifying to the Father! Intimidation, manipulation, threats of hell, filling people with guilt, shame, and condemnation, does not glorify God. These are all weapons of the enemy. These weapons produce the fruit of fear and death. Love and fear are incompatible. Love cannot be forced. So what is the fruit that glorifies God? Thayer's Greek Lexicon give a fuller description for fruit than the Strong's Concordance. Though this word speaks of literal fruit from a fruit tree, the concept of which is extended to include one's children.  There is also a wider metaphoric meaning to this word, which speaks of “that which originates or comes from something; an effect, result” work, act, deed - in other words, the fruit of your work, or the fruit of actions, or deeds. But your deeds themselves, can also be the fruit of your heart. It is into this that Jesus speaks when He tells no that ”by their fruit you will know them.” It also speaks of your words, being the fruit of your lips. Praising God, is an acceptable fruit from your lips, when it flows from the fruit of a heart of praise “to gather fruit (i. e. a reaped harvest) into life eternal (as into a granary), is used in figurative discourse of those who by their labours have fitted souls to obtain eternal life, John 4:36.” (Thayer's Greek Lexicon) A characteristic of fruit is that it carries a seed, and that seed reproduces that from which it was formed : oranges contain seeds that produce orange trees, lemons contain seeds that produce lemon trees. The seed results from the process of fertilization; a male cell joining with a female egg-cell. The fertilization process determines the end result produced by the seed. In this way hybrid plants are created, thus producing different flower colours, as an example. Being spirit in a physical body, we produce seed that produces a physical body (as in children), but we also produce spiritual seed which gives rise to life or death, depending on who fertilized the egg... God fertilized Mary's physical egg-cell, producing Jesus. Meditate on this. The ‘egg-cell’ of our fruit is formed in our heart, and it is fertilized either by the Author of Life, or by the author of death. The choice is ours. When Jesus warns of false teachers, He tells us that we will know them by their fruit. Though their words and deeds appear fine, what is the fruit of their lives? Does their fruit inspire love for God and love for your neighbour? Or does it inspire an unhealthy fear of God, fear of man, self promotion, self-sufficiency, control, manipulation, etc. When we abide in Jesus, we will walk in the Spirit. You cannot abide in Jesus and walk in the flesh, and you are either walking in the Spirit or you are walking in the flesh. If you are walking in the flesh, you are abiding in the world. If you abide in Jesus, you will walk by His Spirit, which is the Holy Spirit. If you walk by the Holy Spirit, you will produce the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22): Love Joy Peace Patience Kindness Goodness Faithfulness Gentleness Self-control Some commentators believe that the fruit of the Spirit is love. They believe that the rest of the qualities, are simply the qualities of love. These are all qualities of God, for “God is Love”  (1 John 4:8) . So the more you abide in Jesus the more you will begin to reflect the character of God. Fruit of the Spirit or Converts? The gifts of the Holy Spirit all contain life, and this life burns within the one who has received that gift. The one with the gift of teaching, loves to learn and to impart to others what they learn. The love of learning and teaching is such that they find a difficult to understand why others don't spend as much time studying the Bible. The ones with the gift of helps, find practical things to do to serve others in a meaningful way. These people find it difficult to understand why the teachers spend so much time with their books instead of doing something practical to help. Those with the gift of evangelism are passionate about sharing the Good News of Jesus with everyone they meet. They in turn, cannot understand why everybody is not out there with them. Some of these people are very vocal, and in their passion, they can emphasize their role to the exclusion of all others, and in the process, bring much confusion, condemnation, and guilt - none of which originate from God's Spirit. We are not all the Body, we are all part of the Body; each of us has our own specific role in the Body and our own specific purpose in God's Kingdom. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus tells us to “make disciples”, He does not tell us to make converts. Though the final outcome may be similar, the process is vastly different. When we see our fruit as being converts, we look for numbers and easily fall into the trap of resorting to manipulation, intimidation, and domination, to push people to ‘make a decision for Christ.’ None of these tactics flow from the Holy Spirit, despite the fact that some people do genuinely surrender to Jesus under these conditions. Making Disciples When we step into the call of making disciples while abiding in Jesus, we step into the role for which we were originally created. God originally created man to be His representatives on earth. As His representatives, we are specifically equipped to perform our unique function according to His Kingdom purposes. But we can only perform this function properly when we abide in Jesus, because as we abide in Jesus, we will take on His nature of Love. There is no other way that we can reflect His love. Any attempt to reflect God's love, apart from the natural reflection that comes from abiding, will result in a distortion of God's love and it will not contain the seed of life. When we continually abide in Jesus, we will begin to reflect His nature in the same way Moses' face shone when He came down from the mountain. And just as the glory would fade from Moses' face while he remained in the camp, so will God's reflection fade from us, when we do not abide in Jesus. As we abide in Jesus, we take on more and more of the character of Jesus as cloth takes on the colour of the dye in which it is immersed. The fruit of the Spirit is the character of Jesus. This fruit then draws people to its sweet taste. God is Love and every person has been created by Love for Love, so love will always draw like a magnet. As people experience God's love, they open their heart to the Author of Love, and it is He who does the converting. It is in this environment that our testimony – our real-life experience of God's love and faithfulness - becomes relevant and natural, and not trite and forced. So the fruit that glorifies God, is the fruit of the Spirit, the character of God reflected through us, that others may see and experience Him. As they see and experience Him through us, they open their hearts to Him and He does the rest. Those that then come into the Kingdom are the fruit of the Cross, not our fruit... Herein lies our rest.
Viaduct Prev
Next
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
© Focus On Purpose July 2017

What is the Fruit?

 “A the seed whose fruit is

righteousness is sown in peace by

those who make peace..”

(James 3:18)

 

What is the Fruit that Brings Glory to God?

In John 15:4 Jesus tells us that unless we abide in Him, we cannot bear fruit. In verse 8, He tells us that it is by bearing much fruit that the Father is glorified. He also says that our fruit will prove that we are His disciples. In John 15:9 Jesus says we are to abide in His love. This would include us loving God, not so? We cannot abide in Jesus' love without loving God, because Jesus is God. So, if we love God, then we would want to glorify Him not so? What does it mean to glorify Him? It means to make bright and shining, to speak well of, bring praise, to make known the beauty and wonder of our God. Now Jesus says that it is by bearing much fruit that the Father is glorified. If it is our fruit that glorifies God, what is that fruit? What does Jesus mean by fruit? Is this fruit the same as the - 'Fruit of the Spirit'? Or is He talking about converts? As one looks at the performance of the church over the years, I would say that may 'methods' of making converts was anything but glorifying to the Father! Intimidation, manipulation, threats of hell, filling people with guilt, shame, and condemnation, does not glorify God. These are all weapons of the enemy. These weapons produce the fruit of fear and death. Love and fear are incompatible. Love cannot be forced. So what is the fruit that glorifies God? Thayer's Greek Lexicon give a fuller description for fruit than the Strong's Concordance. Though this word speaks of literal fruit from a fruit tree, the concept of which is extended to include one's children.  There is also a wider metaphoric meaning to this word, which speaks of “that which originates or comes from something; an effect, result” work, act, deed - in other words, the fruit of your work, or the fruit of actions, or deeds. But your deeds themselves, can also be the fruit of your heart. It is into this that Jesus speaks when He tells no that ”by their fruit you will know them.” It also speaks of your words, being the fruit of your lips. Praising God, is an acceptable fruit from your lips, when it flows from the fruit of a heart of praise “to gather fruit (i. e. a reaped harvest) into life eternal (as into a granary), is used in figurative discourse of those who by their labours have fitted souls to obtain eternal life, John 4:36.” (Thayer's Greek Lexicon) A characteristic of fruit is that it carries a seed, and that seed reproduces that from which it was formed : oranges contain seeds that produce orange trees, lemons contain seeds that produce lemon trees. The seed results from the process of fertilization; a male cell joining with a female egg-cell. The fertilization process determines the end result produced by the seed. In this way hybrid plants are created, thus producing different flower colours, as an example. Being spirit in a physical body, we produce seed that produces a physical body (as in children), but we also produce spiritual seed which gives rise to life or death, depending on who fertilized the egg... God fertilized Mary's physical egg-cell, producing Jesus. Meditate on this. The ‘egg-cell’ of our fruit is formed in our heart, and it is fertilized either by the Author of Life, or by the author of death. The choice is ours. When Jesus warns of false teachers, He tells us that we will know them by their fruit. Though their words and deeds appear fine, what is the fruit of their lives? Does their fruit inspire love for God and love for your neighbour? Or does it inspire an unhealthy fear of God, fear of man, self promotion, self-sufficiency, control, manipulation, etc. When we abide in Jesus, we will walk in the Spirit. You cannot abide in Jesus and walk in the flesh, and you are either walking in the Spirit or you are walking in the flesh. If you are walking in the flesh, you are abiding in the world. If you abide in Jesus, you will walk by His Spirit, which is the Holy Spirit. If you walk by the Holy Spirit, you will produce the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22): Love Joy Peace Patience Kindness Goodness Faithfulness Gentleness Self-control Some commentators believe that the fruit of the Spirit is love. They believe that the rest of the qualities, are simply the qualities of love. These are all qualities of God, for “God is Love”  (1 John 4:8) . So the more you abide in Jesus the more you will begin to reflect the character of God. Fruit of the Spirit or Converts? The gifts of the Holy Spirit all contain life, and this life burns within the one who has received that gift. The one with the gift of teaching, loves to learn and to impart to others what they learn. The love of learning and teaching is such that they find a difficult to understand why others don't spend as much time studying the Bible. The ones with the gift of helps, find practical things to do to serve others in a meaningful way. These people find it difficult to understand why the teachers spend so much time with their books instead of doing something practical to help. Those with the gift of evangelism are passionate about sharing the Good News of Jesus with everyone they meet. They in turn, cannot understand why everybody is not out there with them. Some of these people are very vocal, and in their passion, they can emphasize their role to the exclusion of all others, and in the process, bring much confusion, condemnation, and guilt - none of which originate from God's Spirit. We are not all the Body, we are all part of the Body; each of us has our own specific role in the Body and our own specific purpose in God's Kingdom. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus tells us to “make disciples”, He does not tell us to make converts. Though the final outcome may be similar, the process is vastly different. When we see our fruit as being converts, we look for numbers and easily fall into the trap of resorting to manipulation, intimidation, and domination, to push people to ‘make a decision for Christ.’ None of these tactics flow from the Holy Spirit, despite the fact that some people do genuinely surrender to Jesus under these conditions. Making Disciples When we step into the call of making disciples while abiding in Jesus, we step into the role for which we were originally created. God originally created man to be His representatives on earth. As His representatives, we are specifically equipped to perform our unique function according to His Kingdom purposes. But we can only perform this function properly when we abide in Jesus, because as we abide in Jesus, we will take on His nature of Love. There is no other way that we can reflect His love. Any attempt to reflect God's love, apart from the natural reflection that comes from abiding, will result in a distortion of God's love and it will not contain the seed of life. When we continually abide in Jesus, we will begin to reflect His nature in the same way Moses' face shone when He came down from the mountain. And just as the glory would fade from Moses' face while he remained in the camp, so will God's reflection fade from us, when we do not abide in Jesus. As we abide in Jesus, we take on more and more of the character of Jesus as cloth takes on the colour of the dye in which it is immersed. The fruit of the Spirit is the character of Jesus. This fruit then draws people to its sweet taste. God is Love and every person has been created by Love for Love, so love will always draw like a magnet. As people experience God's love, they open their heart to the Author of Love, and it is He who does the converting. It is in this environment that our testimony – our real-life experience of God's love and faithfulness - becomes relevant and natural, and not trite and forced. So the fruit that glorifies God, is the fruit of the Spirit, the character of God reflected through us, that others may see and experience Him. As they see and experience Him through us, they open their hearts to Him and He does the rest. Those that then come into the Kingdom are the fruit of the Cross, not our fruit... Herein lies our rest.
Focus    on Purpose
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
Prev Next