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CHRISTIAN LIFE - REPENT AND BEAR FRUIT Matthew 21:43; Luke 6:43-45; Luke 12:49

REPENT AND BEAR FRUIT - Luke 6:43-45

 

IN MATTHEW 21:43, JESUS SAYS TO THE CHIEF PRIESTS AND ELDERS, WHO QUESTIONED HIS AUTHORITY,

I TELL YOU, THEN, THAT THE KINGDOM OF GOD WILL BE TAKEN FROM YOU AND GIVEN TO A PEOPLE WHO WILL PRODUCE ITS FRUIT.

JESUS, OF COURSE, WAS REFERRING TO HIS DISCIPLES, THEN AND NOW. AND THAT INCLUDES US! THAT INCLUDES YOU AND ME!

IN LUKE 12:49, JESUS COMPARED THE MISSION OF HIS FOLLOWERS WHO WOULD PRODUCE THE KINGDOM'S FRUITS TO A GREAT FIRE. 

I HAVE COME TO BRING FIRE TO THE EARTH, AND HOW I WISH IT WERE BLAZING ALREADY!

 

HOW JESUS WISHES IT WERE BLAZING RIGHT NOW‑‑IN US!

 

ARE WE BURNING WITH ZEAL TO BEAR RICH FRUIT FOR THE KINGDOM,  OR

ARE WE IN A SPIRITUAL DEEP FREEZE?

 

ARE WE GOD'S CHOSEN PEOPLE    OR

ARE WE GOD'S FROZEN PEOPLE?

 

JESUS USED DIFFERENT WAYS OF COMMUNICATING THE GOOD NEWS OF GOD'S LOVE TO HIS DISCIPLES.

HE INSTRUCTED THEM THROUGH PRAYER, MIRACLES, THE SCRIPTURES, ORDINARY CONVERSATION, AND PARABLES.

 

ONE PARABLE WAS ABOUT A MAN WHO HAD A FIG TREE IN HIS VINEYARD. WHEN HE CAME LOOKING FOR FRUIT ON IT, HE FOUND NONE, SO HE ORDERED THAT THE TREE BE CUT DOWN. BUT HE AGREED TO GIVE IT ANOTHER SEASON, THINKING THAT WITH PROPER CARE AND NOURISHMENT, IT MIGHT GROW RICH FRUIT. IT'S NOT PRODUCING FRUIT NOW, BUT IT MAY YET CHANGE.

 

LIKE THE BARREN FIG TREE,

IF WE'RE GOING TO PRODUCE RICH FRUIT FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD, WE MUST UNDERGO CHANGE.

IF WE ARE DOING VIRTUALLY NOTHING FOR THE CAUSE OF CHRIST, WE MUST BEGIN DOING SOMETHING.

IF WE ARE ALREADY DOING SOMETHING TO ADVANCE THE CAUSE OF CHRIST, WE MUST DO MORE.

 

UNLESS YOU REPENT, YOU WILL PERISH,  SAYS THE LORD.

REPENT, CHANGE YOUR WAYS, OR YOU WILL BE UNABLE TO EXPERIENCE THE HAPPINESS YOU SEEK.

REPENT, CHANGE YOUR WAYS, OR YOU WILL BE UNABLE TO REALIZE YOUR FULL POTENTIAL.

REPENT, CHANGE YOUR WAYS, OR YOU WILL BE UNABLE TO GROW INTO THE KIND OF PERSON GOD WANTS YQU TO BECOME.

REPENT, CHANGE YOUR WAYS, OR YOU WILL BE UNABLE TO EXPERIENCE THE PRESENCE OF THE LIVING GOD WITHIN YOUR SOUL.

REPENT, CHANGE YOUR WAYS, OR YOU WILL BE UNABLE TO EXPERIENCE THE JOY OF BEING A CHILD OF GOD.

REPENT! CHANGE! CHANGE YOUR WAY OF THINKING ABOUT YOUR OWN LIFE AND THE LIVES OF OTHERS.

REPENT, AND MAKE ROOM FOR THE CHRIST SPIRIT TO PENETRATE YOUR BEING AT ITS DEEPEST LEVEL.

REPENT, AND BEGIN TO GROW INTO YOUR FULL HUMANITY.

REPENT, CHANGE, AND FOLLOW ME INTO A WORLD WHERE HEARTS ARE IN TUNE WITH THE INFINITE HOLY SPIRIT.

REPENT, AND YOU WILL COME OUT OF THE DEEP FREEZE, SPEAKING ONLY WORDS OF LOVE.

REPENT! EMPTY YOURSELF OF ALL TRACES OF SELF‑CENTEREDNESS, EGOTISM AND PRIDE.

 

JESUS WAS

AN OUTCAST. THEREFORE WE SHOULD NOT BE SURPRISED TO DISCOVER HIS PRESENCE AMONG THOSE WE THINK OF AS OUTCASTS IN OUR TIME.

 

A SERVANT. THEREFORE, WE SHOULD NOT BE SURPRISED TO SEE SIGNS OF HIS PRESENCE IN THOSE WHO TRULY SERVE.

 

A MEMBER OF AN OPPRESSED MINORITY GROUP. THEREFORE, WE SHOULD NOT BE SURPRISED TO HEAR HIS VOICE EXPRESSING HIS CONCERNS.

 

IF WE ARE FOLLOWING JESUS' PATH, THE WORLD MAY SEEM STRANGE AT TIMES. BUT WE WILL BE CHRIST'S FRUIT‑BEARERS IN OUR SPIRITUALLY‑BARREN, SINFUL WORLD.

 

PRESIDENT CALVIN COOLIDGE WAS KNOWN FOR HIS BREVITY OF SPEECH. HE NEVER USED THREE WORDS WHEN ONE OR TWO WAS ENOUGH. ONE SUNDAY MORNING, HE WENT TO CHURCH WITHOUT HIS WIFE WHO WASN'T FEELING VERY WELL. WHEN HE RETURNED TO THE WHITE HOUSE, MRS. COOLIDGE ASKED, "WHAT WAS THE SERMON ABOUT?" "SIN," COOLIDGE SAID. "AND WHAT DID THE PREACHER HAVE TO SAY ABOUT SIN?" "HE WAS AGAINST IT,” HER HUSBAND REPLIED.

 

THE ESSENTIAL MEANING OF SIN IS TO BE ESTRANGED FROM GOD. WE ALL ARE SINNERS IN VARYING DEGRES, ESTRANGED FROM GOD. CONSEQUENTLY, JESUS CAME TO CALL US BACK INTO UNION WITH GOD.  THE GOSPEL WRITERS TELL US THAT JESUS WAS CRITICIZED BY THE HAUGHTY PHARISEES FOR MANY THINGS: HOW COULD ANY PERSON WHO CLAIMS TO SPEAK FOR GOD ASSOCIATE WITH SINNERS? IN JOHN'S GOSPEL, WE READ THAT WHILE JESUS WAS AT DINNER, A NUMBER OF TAX COLLECTORS AND SINNERS CAME TO SIT AT THE TABLE WITH HIM AND HIS DISCIPLES. SOME PHARISEES ASKED THE DISCIPLES, "WHY DOES YOUR MASTER EAT WITH TAX COLLECTORS AND SINNERS?"TODAY THEY MIGHT ASK, "WHY DOES YOUR MASTER EAT WITH GANGSTERS AND PROSTITUTES?

 

JESUS TELLS ABOUT A YOUNG MAN WHO TAKES ALL HE CAN GET OF HIS FATHER'S MONEY, RUNS AWAY FROM HOME, AND SQUANDERS IT ALL ON A LIFE OF SIN. WHEN ALL THE MONEY IS SPENT ON SINFUL WAYS, HE IS REDUCED, LITERALLY, TO LIVING LIKE A PIG IN A PIGPEN. FINALLY, HE COMES TO HIS SENSES, "I WILL LEAVE THIS PLACE AND GO TO MY FATHER AND SAY, 'FATHER, I HAVE SINNED AGAINST HEAVEN AND AGAINST YOU. I NO LONGER DESERVE TO BE CALLED YOUR SON.'” HE WENT BACK TO HIS FATHER, AND, WHILE HE WAS STILL A LONG WAY OFF, HIS FATHER SAW HIM AND RAN TO HIS SON, EMBRACED HIM, AND ARRAINGED FOR A BIG FEAST TO CELEBRATE HIS SON'S RETURN. "THIS SON OF MINE HAS COME BACK TO LIFE. HE WAS LOST AND IS FOUND.”

 

IN ANOTHER PARABLE, A SHEPHERD HAS ONE HUNDRED SHEEP AND LOOSES ONE. HE LEAVES THE NINETY‑NINE AND GOES AFTER THE ONE WHO IS LOST.AND WHEN HE FINDS IT, HE LAYS IT ON HIS SHOULDER AND RETURNS HOME REJOICING. THEN HE CALLS HIS FRIENDS AND NEIGHBOS TOGETHER FOR A CELEBRATION. AFTER TELLING THE STORY, JESUS SAYS TO THE PHARISEES, THERE WILL BE MORE JOY IN HEAVEN OVER ONE SINNER WHO REPENTS THAN OVER NINETY‑NINE RIGHTEOUS PERSONS WHO HAVE NO NEED OF REPENTANCE.

 

 IN THESE PARABLES, JESUS WAS EMPHASIZING THAT HIS MISSION WAS TO SAVE SINNERS.

 

A BIOGRAPHY OF THEODORE ROOSEVELT TELLS OF A NIGHT TIME RITUAL ROOSEVELT OFTEN CARRIED OUT WITH HIS BEST FRIEND, WILLAM BEEBE, THE FAMOUS NATURALIST. THE TWO MEN WOULD GO OUT INTO THE NIGHT AND LOOK UP AT THE SKY, SEARCHING FOR A TINY PATCH OF LIGHT NEAR THE CONSTELLATION OF PEGASUS. WHEN THEIR EYES HAD FOCUSED ON THAT TINY PATCH OF LIGHT, ROOSEVELT WOULD SAY, IN PRAYERFUL TONES, "THAT IS THE SPIRAL GALAXY OF ANDROMEDA. IT'S AS LARGE AS OUR MILKY WAY. IT IS ONE OF ONE HUNDRED MILLION GALAXIES. IT CONSISTS OF ONE HUNDRED BILLION SUNS, EACH LARGER THAN OUR SUN." THEN ROOSEVELT WOULD TURN TO HIS FRIEND AND SAY, "NOW I THINK WE'RE SMALL ENOUGH. LET'S GO TO BED."

 

IF WE WANT TO EXPERIENCE WHOLENESS OF LIFE AND PEACE OF SOUL,

 - WE MUST GO TO BED EVERY NIGHT FEELING SMALL ENOUGH TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE SUPREMACY OF GOD.

 - WE MUST ACKNOWLEDGE OUR DEPENDENCE ON GOD FOR OUR LIFE'S FULFILLMENT. 

 - WE MUST REMEMBER AND TAKE TO HEART THE SWEET KNOWLEDGE THAT, SMALL AS WE ARE, IN GOD'S EYES WE ARE OF INFINITE VALUE.  EVEN BETTER,

 - BEFORE NODDING OFF WE MUST ASK GOD, “WHY DO YOU LOVE ME, A SINNER?" AND WE WILL HEAR HIS ANSWER, "BECAUSE YOU'RE MINE!"

 

THE INVITATION

You can't depend on your own goodness to get to Heaven. We've all sinned (Romans 3:23). Jesus paid the penalty for your sins with His death on the cross and His resurrection (John 3:16).

To be forgiven and be guaranteed a place in Heaven, you need to repent of sin, confess that you are a sinner, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart (Acts 2:21).

You can use the following prayer or your own words, but you must actually believe in your heart that your prayer is real:

      Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed.

      Please forgive all my wrongdoing and let me live in relationship with You from now on.

      I receive You as my Savior and recognize that the work You accomplished once and for all on the cross was done on my behalf.

      Thank You for saving me. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You.

                     In Your name I pray, Amen.