Why Fruit of the Holy Spirit is Meant to be Picked
God has given evidence of his presence through natural elements.
God presented himself to Moses in a burning bush. Tongues of fire revealed a promise kept by God on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit filled the gathered believers.
The blowing of a hard wind came from heaven when the Holy Spirit arrived on Pentecost. Another promise kept.
The waters of baptism bring life to those dead in sin by the power of his Word. Another promise given and kept.
The presence of God is unseen in the natural world. A dove does not flutter away with every baptism nor audible words from the heavens declare that God is well-pleased. A visible fire does not rest on the heads of elected souls who profess faith in the risen Christ or sing an ancient hymn of praise. We trust Jesus promises that his presence is in the sacraments and within us.
Without faith, it’s impossible to see, hear, feel, or taste the presence of God. Faith opens eyes clouded with sin to see God in everything.
God does provide physical evidence of his presence today for those who do not believe in him. God’s creation gives proof of a Creator. God’s presence in the lives of those set apart to believe in him gives proof of a Savior.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”Galatians 5:22-23a
Fruit of the Spirit is the product of faith. They are not necessarily meant for believers, but for unbelievers to see and know Christ.
The book of James spotlights actions as a justifiable by-product of faith, whereas Romans emphasizes justification and the actions of Christ on our behalf. Salvation is by faith alone, but faith is never alone.
Christ is the root. Justification by faith is the tree. Actions and attitudes are a visible outpouring of being connected to the Source – Jesus Christ.
Why does God inspire the apostle Paul to utilize fruit to teach us about the presence of Christ in believers?
Fruit is meant to be consumed, but not necessarily by us.
A life rooted in Christ is meant to be displayed like a light on a hill or salt to flavor our food.
A life in Christ bears fruit that can be admired and picked — consumed or spit out. That is God’s design for fruit trees and believers.
The risk is not that the fruit picked will cause harm or be misused, but that the fruit will be used at all. Branches that don’t bear fruit will die, be cut off, and thrown into the fire.
Christ allowed himself to be consumed by the world. He lived, died, and rose again on our behalf. He lives today and makes his presence known in in the hearts and minds of those who trust in him. A life in Christ is not meant to be a well-lighted display. Instead, a life in Christ is a selfless sacrifice because Christ dwells in us. The Jesus we read about in the gospels is the same Jesus who lives in believers. The sacrificial life of our Savior is lived out in a believer’s sacrificial life for our Savior.
Taking the church to the unchurched
The biggest misnomer among Christians today is that people are choosing to reject the promises of Christ. I don’t believe that is true.
Unbelievers are rejecting Christians and the culture of the church. Due to biblical ignorance, people have little knowledge of what Christ has done. They don’t know that they don’t know.
And whose fault is that?
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of who they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news?’ … Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”Romans 10:14-15,17
This is not just a call for public servants of the gospel to preach, but for all people who have been set apart to trust in Christ’s promises to proclaim good news.
The worldwide pandemic is causing people to stay at home rather than congregate together to worship. This is not a new trend. People have been staying away from church in droves even before the pandemic arrived on our shores.
We are entering an age where people are no longer accepting invitations to come to church to hear the Truth. This means that the church – its people – must bring the Truth to the people in their every-day lives.
People need to taste and see that the Lord is good, before hearing what he has already done for them and why it matters. The Lord uses believers to make his presence known through his Word. Believers in Christ are commissioned to be prepared to give reasons for the hope they have in Christ whenever their fruit is picked.
A justified faith is an active faith.
- They hungrily – even desperately — take full advantage of God’s means of grace through Word and Sacrament as the only source to sustain faith and trust in God’s promises.
- They strenuously and sacrificially exercise their faith so that they may finish the race and carry out God’s central purpose – to bring as many people as possible to heaven through the power of his Word.
- They unselfishly crucify their old-self each day and put on the new-self – Christ’s robe of righteousness. They see the world through the eyes of Christ when he says that the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few.
“Go home and tell others what God has done for you.”Luke 8:39
I confess that I am like the demon-possessed man who was healed by Jesus. He wanted to go back into the boat and be with Jesus. I would, too.
Instead, Jesus tells the man and us that he has another purpose and plan during our allotted time on earth. He desires for us to go home where God has planted us and bear fruit by telling others the good news of what Christ has done for us.
This will be the theme for Praise and Proclaim in 2021.
A four-part webinar course on evangelism will be offered this month. Click this link for more information.
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