Foundations for Growth: God Desires Fruit

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When dealing with uncommitted Believers who are focused on consumerism (going to a Church that meets my needs or makes me feel good) it’s always tempting to point out their selfish and sinful attitude right away. But often our emotions or personal opinion can overshadow the truth of Scripture we are trying to share so instead of resulting in repentance the Christian becomes more committed to a lifestyle of apathetic spirituality. There is a time and place for direct confrontation, but initially a better idea would be to share Biblical doctrine that the Holy Spirit can use to convict their hearts.

One of the most powerfully motivating truths is God’s desire that Believers bear fruit following Salvation. This refers to glorifying God through our actions and obedience in submission (showing commitment). That can be found in many passages but the best known is John Chapter fifteen. Jesus in this chapter tells His disciples that God the Father desires to receive much fruit from them (John 15:8). He proves this point by teaching those who don’t bear fruit face a judgment and separation from God’s presence or power (15:2) also those that do bear fruit endure testing that helps them bring forth more fruit (15:2).

Christ himself emphasizes growth by encouraging His disciples to not only abide in love (15:9), but His word or teaching (15:7), and commands (15:10). The fact that Jesus places such a priority on obedience also proves that God desires fruit from believers.

But the fact that God desires fruit or commitment from us is only half of the story. This fruit is very different from the actions that had been done in the past to glorify the Lord. Jewish law was built upon the foundation of man trying to honor God in his own strength, but the fruit in John 15 can only come through a close relationship with Jesus.

Christ makes this very clear by stating apart from him we cannot produce fruit that glorifies God (John 15:4), and only through a relationship with him can we bring forth much fruit (15:5). He continues by teaching those who don’t have that close relationship will be cast away (15:6), while those abiding in Him will only ask for things that honor God (15:7). We are also challenged to abide in Christ’s love (15:9-13) which I believe refers to a selfless love that can only come through a close relationship with Him.

The point is God does require commitment, or fruit from us. But not the kind that comes from our working hard or trying to please HIm. It’s the result of a close relationship with Jesus Christ and a humble spirit which submits to the Will of God. Obviously this does not lean towards legalism and the idea of making ourselves Holy.

Religious consumerism and apathy has taken hold of many Believers because Pastors (myself included) have not always done a proper job of proclaiming that God does indeed hold them accountable for growth. And those who do many times don’t share it in a correct form (focusing on a relationship with Christ instead of works). Making this truth a foundational part of our message will go a long ways towards helping others along the path from Consumerism to Commitment.

Because of Who He is,

John Wilburn

www.australianmissionary.com

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