Imperative Life

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Harvest Time

I remember as a child having my very first garden.

I knew I had to start by preparing the soil but tilling the ground seemed an impossible task. I was only seven years old. Thankfully, I was not alone or left with just some instructions. A close friend of the family, Mr. Langhorn, guided me through the steps of gardening. Which began with tilling the ground and removing the weeds. I learned that the soil had to be properly prepared to receive the seed so that it might have the best chance of producing fruit. As I began that day, I quickly realized I needed more help and thankfully my family joined in. We worked all day to ready the soil for the seed and at the end of the day it was finally time to plant. I was carefully instructed on how to plant each seed with attention given to its proper depth and spacing. I was so thankful that my friend took the time to mentor me by not only telling me what to do but also showing me and allowed me to work under his watchful care. At the end of the day I was very tired but extremely satisfied with all the work that had been accomplished.

The next day I could hardly wait to get out to my new garden.

I totally expected to see mature, ready to pick produce but much to my disappointment there was no change. I learned that I had to be patient and wait for my plants to grow. Every day I would quickly run to the window to check on my patch of dirt hoping to see some sprouts. Little did I know they were growing under the soil all this time.
I will never forget that day I peeked out the window and saw my garden filled with little sprouts. I was so encouraged by this. But then I also noticed that along with vegetable sprouts, weeds had also begun to sneak in. As my plants grew, so did the weeds. In an effort to keep the weeds out, I came up with my own technique to rid my garden of those pesky, unwanted invaders. I would pull up the entire plant from the ground, remove all the weeds and then place the plant back in its spot. My mom saw me doing this and explained to me that this was not a good practice. She told me that I could kill the plant by doing this. From that day forward, I only pulled up the weeds. I was also given careful instructions on how to water my plants. I learned how important water was because too much or too little water could also kill the plants. With all this help and attention to my garden, my plants actually began to grow.
I checked my garden every day, hoping to see my first signs of fruit. My plants grew tall and strong and even bloomed but one day it finally happened. I say some fruit. I was so excited I ran back in the house expecting everyone to come help pick my newly found fruit. Once again I was told I must be patient and wait until the fruit grows and ripens before I could pick it.
As I waited, I learned there were many enemies of the garden. I noticed little bugs, birds, and other animals had also taken notice of the new fruit. I also noticed new weeds were popping up every day. I was taught how to maintain and protect my fruit as it grew. Then the day finally came. It was “Harvest Time”. I was thrilled to finally be able to pick and eat my very first fruit. Even as a young child, I was able to reap the harvest of my labor and since that time am still thanking God for His rich blessing.

When was the last time you planted a garden?

I am not talking about an earthly garden but a heavenly one. Where are you tilling the ground? Who is helping you with your spiritual garden? Are you including your church family in your labors? Are you planting seed? You can never expect to reap a harvest if you are not laboring in the field.

Jesus said in Matthew 9:37-38 “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”

Do you have a plan for your garden? How are you caring for the new sprouts that are springing up? Are you patiently waiting for fruit? Are you reaping a harvest? I know the work is hard and we seem to have so little time but Jesus is looking for workers. Will you volunteer or will you mentor another? Listen to the words of Jesus our Lord

“Do you not say, there are yet four months, and [then] comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.” (John 4:35)

A Disciple of Christ is Fruitful

A Disciple of Christ is Fruitful

My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

John 15:8 NASB

John 15:8 – Life’s greatest purpose, life’s greatest product, life’s greatest proof

What is Fruit?

The Bible describes a Disciple bearing fruit in 5 ways

Fruit of the Holy Spirit (ACTIONS) a change in reaction

Gala 5:22 NASB “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Fruit of our lips (SPEECH) a change in our words

Hebr 13:15 NASB “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”

Fruit of Light (APPEARANCE) a change in our looks – more like Jesus

Ephe 5:9 NASB “for the fruit of the light [consists] in all goodness and righteousness and truth, trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.”

Fruit of Righteousness (LIVES) a change in our life

Phil 1:11 NASB “having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which [comes] through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”

How? Hebr 12:11 NASB “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”

Fruit of Converts (WITNESS) a change in our outreach

Roma 1:13 NASB “And I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented thus far) in order that I might obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles.”

Jesus spoke of this as well

John 15: 16 NASB “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you.”

Jesus makes is very clear that you have been chosen, appointed, to go and bear fruit.

Are you bearing fruit?

Are the ones you are discipling bearing fruit?

Are you Reproducing?

Parable of a Sower

Jesus tells the parable of a sower in Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23; Mark 4:3-8, 14-20; Luke 8:5-15. A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. This story would’ve been common knowledge for the people of that day, and something they could easily relate to. Jesus used the sowing of seed to speak of the spreading of the gospel. He speaks of the different types of ground that the seed encounters. The seed is the gospel, the very word of God. The ground represents the heart of man. He goes on to explain four different heart conditions of man.

First is the shut heart that is far from God, and the enemy can easily remove the seed before it has any effect.

The second is the shallow heart. When trial and tribulation come, the word quickly falls away.

The third is the worldly heart. When the temptation and entanglements of this world come, the word is ignored or forgotten.

The fourth is the good heart. This soil describes the heart prepared and open. This is the only soil that produces fruit.

Much like John 15 Jesus reveals the importance of bearing fruit. God expects His follows to bear much fruit for His glory. This creates a reproducible model and fulfills the Great Commission until Jesus comes. Which heart do you have? “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you.” John 15: 16 76 As we have seen throughout the G3 model, we can only become a disciple if we daily “give up” through surrendering, sacrificing and listening. Then we will strive to “give in” through abiding, obeying and lighting, which enables us to “give out” through loving, serving and sharing. This will bring us to a place where God can use us to produce fruit. We must always remember that no matter how great your discipling process may be, only God can produce eternal fruit through us. To God by the glory!

Reproduces

Followers of Jesus are reproducing

Jesus sums up the whole picture for us in one verse. “By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciple” (John 15:8 NASB)

Making Disciples

“If you were an outstandingly gifted evangelist with an international reputation, and if, under God, you could win 1,000 persons for Christ every night of every year, how long would it take you to win the whole world for Christ? Answer, ignoring the population explosion, over 10,000 years. But if you are a true disciple for Christ, and if you are able under God to win just one person to Christ each year; and if you could then train that person to win one other person for Christ each year, how long would it take to win the whole world for Christ? Answer, just 32 years!”

– David Watson

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