I love going to the grocery store and picking up some fresh fruit. There's really nothing like an apple in the morning before prayer. I mean - I could just eat a box of Smarties in the morning, but in about 30 - 60 minutes my stomach would ask me, "What have you done to me this morning?" Later on my intestines would repeat that question. But my goodness, after a nice apple.. what do they say? "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." We all know that any healthy apple tree will produce apples. And not just any apples - eatable, tasty, good apples!
Why is it a small wonder to many believers that God says, "If you are a devoted follower of me, you will bear fruit."
In fact, Jesus said in John chapter 15 that the way we glorify God is by bearing much fruit.
During my devotions (time reading God's word and seeking his voice) this morning, Matthew 3:1-12 is proving to me that God desires 'fruit' from our lives if we have confessed our sin and put our faith and trust in him. The other option is receiving the wages of your sin which is clearly 'the wrath of God' (see Matthew 3:7).
It is clear - fruit OR no fruit. Below is my reasoning -
Let's look at a few verse from Matthew chapter 3 -
v. 1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, v. 2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"
v. 6 and were baptised (all the people coming to him) by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. v. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? v. 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, v. 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. v. 10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."
Clearly, evidence of repentance (being baptized and confessing sin) is a lifestyle change (fruit - producing stuff from your life that will bless and help people). -that connection with God that comes THROUGH repentance (changing your heart's focus) produces fruit!
My main point is this - repentance and seeing and living in the kingdom (or in obedience to the King - JESUS) - produces the FRUIT of a changed life. A different life than you used to life: new desires, love for God, a hunger for justice and a passion for purity and the things God loves, etc. This is an ongoing, daily process of salvation evidenced by a consistent growing of 'fruitfulness' in our lives. This is what it means to follow Jesus Christ - the king of the kingdom of God! That his goodness and love and power would continue to be made manifest in and through our lives. This is the fruit of a changed (or repented) life.
SIDENOTE 1: I'm weary of speaking with deceived 'believers in Jesus' thinking they don't have to actually repent and produce the fruits of repentance (which I will speak of more in depth in the days to come) - thinking 'it's all good'. If there is no evidence of change in your life, you'd better figure out why! Otherwise you may be deceived into thinking that you are actually a 'believer in Jesus' - which you may well intellectually consent to his divinity and his Lordship, but if you are living a lie and sin is still your master - the wrath of God abides on you still. The word 'believe' in the Bible means to 'experience'. It's an experiential belief. Experiencing Jesus is what produces that change! God loves you and wants to you to know him! And experience him daily!
SIDENOTE 2: I don't bring this blog to condemn. I don't have the power to condemn. If a person is condemned they cannot be condemned from words or articles. I do believe as a Christian (and especially a leader) I am called to tell them the good news of the kingdom of God - which is that they can receive forgiveness and a changed life. I desire to be a preacher and communicator of freedom - which is why Jesus died. Freedom is not to do as one desires - freedom is to be free from the darkness and carnality of sin, free to live in the grace and love and joy of the Holy Spirit.