Tuesday, February 14, 2023

            We can easily recognize apples, grapes, oranges and bananas.  You may have some or all of these fruits in your house.  The Bible often speaks of how we live in terms of fruit and fruitfulness.  Jesus said, “a good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit” (Matthew 7:18).  A follower of Christ is to bear good fruit.  Simple enough to say.  We cannot live any way we please and assume such behavior is okay with the Lord.  It is not. Indeed Romans 6:1-2 clearly states that we are not to go on sinning so that we may test the limits of grace.  “By no means,” Paul wrote, should we persist in willful sin.  Sure, no one is perfect.  Not even Christians.  But Scripture teaches there is a difference between individual sin or occasional sin and persistent, willful, unrepentant sinful living.  Frankly, if we love sin more than we love obedience to the Lord, then we have to ask if we have really come to the Lord in a saving relationship.  Jesus said we are recognized and known by the fruit we produce (Matthew 6:20).
            If we find ourselves having to be very delicate and deliberate in how we describe the way we live or we find that we resort to cliches and generalities, then we might have a fruit problem or an obedience problem.  If I examine my life and find things like pride, anger, selfishness, lust, hate, envy and maliciousness, then I am in a troubling place.  My fruit is bad.  And my fruit is bad because my tree is bad—I have not yielded myself to Christ and His grace and healing power.  Obedience is a big indicator of whether or not we know the Lord.  We cannot claim to know Him or trust him as Savior if we are content to live as we please and do as we wish.  If I am still sitting on the throne of my life, then clearly, I have not yielded to Jesus as Lord.  Take a look at your fruit.  How is your life different today than it was before you came to know Christ?  Do you have evidence of repentance?  What kind of fruit are you producing or yielding?
            Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).  Jesus laid down a marker—fruitfulness is determined by obedience.  Good fruit is produced in obedience to the will, Word and ways of the Father.  I cannot live as I wish or live recklessly and call it fruit.  Each day, we can ask and pray that God will give us the grace, patience and perseverance that we need to produce good fruit.  Resist sin!  Do not deceive yourself into thinking, “well, everyone sins, no big deal.”  Yes, sin is a big deal!  Disobedience is an act of defiance against God!  Persisting in and pursuing sin are wrong and demand confession and repentance.  If we minimize sin, we are likely to lose sight of it altogether and even rename it something less threatening or offensive.
            You would neither eat nor offer to someone else any spoiled fruit that you find in your home.  Spoiled fruit is neither good nor healthy.  Why would we want to offer a life of bad fruit to the Lord and expect Him to receive it?  Be known by others as a man or woman who produces good fruit and who has not been deceived or tricked by the enemy or the sounds of culture.  Good fruit can be produced in your thoughts, decisions, words, actions and motivations.  Make it your purpose to honor and to serve Christ in those categories.  Have a great Tuesday!  Enjoy and share our worship with others at youtube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.    

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