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Quarterly Business Meeting – 2020 Q3 – Follow Up
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Malachi 3:10–12 (CSB)
10 Bring the full tenth into the storehouse so that there may be food in my house. Test me in this way,” says the LORD of Armies. “See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure. 11 I will rebuke the devourer, for you, so that it will not ruin the produce of your land and your vine in your field will not fail to produce fruit,” says the LORD of Armies. 12 “Then all the nations will consider you fortunate, for you will be a delightful land,” says the LORD of Armies.
Matthew 5:43 (CSB)
LOVE YOUR ENEMIES
43 “You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.
Memory Section – Matthew 5:43-48 (CSB)
Matthew 5:43–48 (CSB)
LOVE YOUR ENEMIES
43 “You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor, and hate your enemy. 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. For he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what are you doing out of the ordinary?, Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
What Kind of Fruit Are You Producing?
28 God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it…
– Genesis 1:28a (CSB)
As we look at today’s Scripture, I thought it would be good to remind ourselves of creation. All of creation had the command to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth.
On the physical level we understand this, but what about the spiritual? We have been made new creatures in Christ, born of the Spirit.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!
– 2 Corinthians 5:17 (CSB)
With the understanding that we are to produce after our own kind, is it any wonder that Jesus commanded us to make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:19-20). This topic came up as we were studying Thursday night at Bible Study (by the way – all of you are invited). 😊
Actually, we were looking at the opposite, not producing after our kind. We find it in Chapter 11 of Mark, when Jesus finds a fruitless fig tree.
12 The next day when they went out from Bethany, he was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree with leaves, he went to find out if there was anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for it was not the season for figs. 14 He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And his disciples heard it.
– Mark 11:12–14 (CSB)
This section of Scripture gives us the big picture of what happens when you are fruitless. The fig tree was cursed because it was not producing.
We must remember that God is both good and severe. Paul stresses this to the Romans.
22 Therefore, consider God’s kindness and severity: severity toward those who have fallen but God’s kindness toward you—if you remain in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.
– Romans 11:22 (CSB).
God is love, but he is also just and pure. He demonstrates care and forgiveness, but also holds people responsible and accountable. He punishes unfruitfulness, that others would produce fruit.
Jesus had a need.
In this first verse we see that Jesus had a need. He was hungry.
He most likely had been up early praying, seeking direction from the Father. Jesus was entering into the last week of His life ending in crucifixion.
He went out to see what He could find. And low and behold there was a fig tree in the distance.
He would have liked some figs to satisfy His hunger, but with the absence of fruit, He was unsatisfied. This failure of the fig tree to produce fruit may have reminded Him what He had seen last night in the temple.
Israel is symbolized as the fig tree. Just like this physical tree was not producing fruit, He saw no fruit in the temple.
He was unsatisfied. Jesus wants to see fruit in the lives of men. For this was His purpose.
10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”
– Luke 19:10 (CSB)
10… I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.
– John 10:10 (CSB)
Jesus saw the potential.
13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree with leaves, he went to find out if there was anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for it was not the season for figs.
– Mark 11:13 (CSB)
The tree looked healthy and full and yet there were no figs. Fig trees put forth their bud before the leaves so there should have been green figs forming.
We are to bear fruit for God.
4 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you also were put to death in relation to the law through the body of Christ so that you may belong to another. You belong to him who was raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God.
– Romans 7:4 (CSB)
We can bear much fruit when we abide in Him.
5 I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.
– John 15:5 (CSB)
Bearing fruit proves we are His disciples.
8 My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples.
– John 15:8 (CSB)
Jesus examines the fruit.
Each tree is known by its fruit.
44 For each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs aren’t gathered from thornbushes, or grapes picked from a bramble bush.
– Luke 6:44 (CSB)
The appearance of the fig tree drew Jesus’ attention. The appearance of the tree was a profession of fruit, but it was barren and destitute.
When we profess Christ, we get Jesus attention.
Profession draws inspection.
14 For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil.
– Ecclesiastes 12:14 (CSB)
13 each one’s work will become obvious. For the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire; the fire will test the quality of each one’s work.
– 1 Corinthians 3:13 (CSB)
12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
– Romans 14:12 (CSB)
Jesus condemns profession without fruit.
14 He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And his disciples heard it.
– Mark 11:14 (CSB)
The purpose is to produce fruit. The fig tree was not producing and so it was condemned.
It failed at three points. People fail at these same points.
1. Empty Profession
The tree had an empty profession. So do people.
When our lives do not match our profession, it is empty. Where is the love, joy, and peace?
2. Unfulfilled purpose.
The tree had an unfulfilled purpose. So do people.
When we profess Christ but continue our own worldly pursuits we are unfulfilled. Are we forgetting God’s purpose for our lives?
Where are we spending our time? Is it spent on God’s will and purpose or our own desires and ambitions?
3. Deceiving instead of serving.
The tree was deceiving instead of serving. So do people.
When we profess to serve, but our commitment is to self, family, business, society… you fill in the blank. Our service to God is only in addition to everything else. Is Jesus truly Lord of our life?
What kind of fruit are you producing?
Paul asks the Roman’s to compare the fruit produced in relation to sin. Sin produces fruit that you are ashamed of. Freedom from sin produces fruit resulting in sanctification.
One results in death. The other results in eternal life.
21 So what fruit was produced then from the things you are now ashamed of? The outcome of those things is death. 22 But now, since you have been set free from sin and have become enslaved to God, you have your fruit, which results in sanctification—and the outcome is eternal life!
– Romans 6:21–22 (CSB)
The next steps for each of us is to inspect our lives. What do you find?
Are there things that you are ashamed of? Is there fruit that you are producing that looks nothing like Jesus? Then repentance and confession will bring the wholeness you need.
Where is your time being spent? Is the time you spend with Jesus only in addition to everything else in your life?
Are you seeing His fruit produced from you? If not, then learning to abide more in Christ is needed.
In the end each of us is responsible for the actions of inspection, repentance, and abiding. These things will allow the life of Christ to fill us, flow from us, and produce His fruit in our life (Gal 5:22-25).