John T. Willis

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Bearing Fruit in Old Age

Paul addressed the community of faith in Colosse, saying:

  "In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel that has come to you. Just as it is BEARING FRUIT AND GROWING in the whole world, so it has been BEARING FRUIT among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehend the grace of God. This you learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, and he has made known to us your love in the Spirit. For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you BEAR FRUIT in every good work and as you GROW in the knowledge of God." (Colossians 1:3-10). In the introductory paragraph, Paul clearly places emphasis on the importance of BEARING FRUIT and GROWING in every good work.

1. Bearing fruit has to do with spiritual growth in one's heart. Paul says in Galatians 5:22-23: "The FRUIT of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." The author of Hebrews says in Hebrews 12:11: "Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful FRUIT of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."

2. Bearing fruit has to do with natural expressions of "the FRUIT of the Spirit" in daily living. The picture of Jesus as the True Vine emphasizes this point in John 15:1-17.  Key verses are: "I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them BEAR MUCH FRUIT, because apart from me you can do nothing. . . . My Father is glorified by this, that you BEAR MUCH FRUIT and become my disciples. . . . You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and BEAR FRUIT, FRUIT that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another." Jesus taught the same message in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:15-20.

3. God's true people NEVER ARRIVE BECAUSE God, the great farmer, causes us to keep GROWING throughout life. If I am the same person today I was ten years ago, I have stagnated. GROWTH demands CHANGE by definition. The Psalmist says in Psalm 92:12-15:
            "The righteous flourish like the palm tree,
                 and GROW like a cedar in Lebanon.
              They are planted in the house of the Lord;
                 they FLOURISH in the courts of our God.
               IN OLD AGE they STILL PRODUCE FRUIT;
                 they are always green and full of sap,
               showing that the Lord is upright;
                 he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him."

Share YOUR thoughts and reversals and excitements and feelings and concepts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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