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Shepherds Hill Homestead » Messages » It’s all about the Fruit

It’s all about the Fruit

          Winter time has me thinking about the farm. I spend the cold, wet days looking at seed catalogs and planning improvements for the garden. In my lifetime there is one thing that I have always wanted and that is an orchard. When I was young my father had a farm with a large variety of fruit trees. We had peach, apple, plum and pear trees. There was a large pecan grove there too and always something fresh to eat. On my small farm here I planted fruit trees six to seven years ago and they have all just now begun to bear fruit. There is a lot of maintenance with fruit trees. Instead of just sticking them in the ground and waiting on the harvest you must tend to them almost daily. Of course, the Spirit quickened me to the entire process and how we can learn from it. Turn with me to the Book of Galatians this week and let’s examine the fruit of the Spirit.

          Turn to Galatians chapter five. Paul has written here to show us that we all produce something, no matter who we are. I love gardening. I really do! I love to think about the miracle each year and see the ground turned beneath my feet. I like to do research on what varieties of plants we’ll use. I like smelling the fresh turned sod and feeling it with bare feet. But the real reason that I like it is because God is in it. I used to work under a man who said that the two most honorable professions were preaching the Gospel and tilling the soil. When we turn the dirt over and plant a seed we believe that God will give life to it and eventually a harvest. As children we learned about the miracle with a single seed growing on a windowsill. My teacher had each of us plant a bean seed near the outside edge of a glass jar of dirt and watch as it sprouted. I remember being amazed even though my family had a farm and I had seen plants come up.

As we grow older we aren’t impressed with such simple things since we have such high technology in our world. Some of you might not know it but I work in a very high tech job. Most of the people we know that are back to basics people have some kind of high technology area of expertise. I was surprised to see so many doctors, chemists, technicians and computer programmers that farmed at home.

It was as if we all realized that the real satisfaction was not in technology. We are all sort of stuck in jobs that, while they pay well, don’t give us the feeling that we are producing something worthwhile. I really believe it’s all about the fruit! Just think about what kind of fruit you bear as you do each of your daily activities. Each process in your life is progressing towards some kind of expected end.  Let’s look at verse one.

Paul is talking about Grace in his letter to the church in Galatia. It’s an interesting thing when we see the dos and don’ts listed in a letter where Grace is taught. Sometimes Grace is preached as if God forgives us no matter what we do, whether the sin was willful or not. In other words, many people look at the definition of Grace (unmerited favor) and think it’s a license to sin. The Grace that Paul preaches here is truly beyond what we deserve. None of us deserve a relationship with God the Father. To be able to walk into the throne room of God and talk with Him is beyond belief. No one deserves Salvation.

Paul points out that we can be enslaved with the thought that we can become good enough to be righteous. Think about that for just a moment. Let’s suppose that you have a person that you can compare your life to and they don’t fare too well by your standards. That would tend to make you feel pretty good about yourself. Before long you could probably find many who couldn’t compare to your righteous living. I suppose all you would need to do would be to watch the news. There you would see the worst crimes against humanity and you could feel more secure about your morality. As you did, you would be getting bigger and bigger in your pride and more and more in the bondage of self-righteousness.

Paul explains that if we follow one point of the law and not the rest we are breaking the entire law. Maybe we get the feeling that God grades on a curve! Perhaps we see someone else’s shortcomings and fail to see our own (we each have them). Here’s where the fruit comes in. Every thing we do produces fruit. The fruit is the real test of our living. Just look at every piece of land as a potential farm. Drive around until you find a large tract of land and see what it’s producing. Is it barren dirt or grass? Are there weeds or flowers? Can you drive around in your area and see an orchard? Around here we often see people working  garden spots; large areas of dirt where vegetables can grow. This being a rural area, I can only guess that soon we’ll see corn, beans, tomatoes, etc. growing in those spots. I am also assuming that they will weed out the undesirable plants.

Let me ask you something. If I have one acre of weeds and ten stalks of corn and my neighbor has one acre of corn and a few weeds which person is going to produce good crop? Of course it’s the neighbor, right? Paul says in verse sixteen that we should walk in the Spirit and we would not produce the lust of the flesh. The next verse says that the Spirit and the flesh are at war with each other. Think of corn and crabgrass. A beautiful row of corn can be overcome with crabgrass. Here in the south we have a ferocious weed known as Kudzu. It is a vine with very large leaves that will take over an area in a single year. They say that the only way to get it out of your life is to move. It grows several inches a day!

Getting back to the scripture, verse eighteen says that if we are lead by the Spirit that we are not under the law. That’s where I want to be. If I am under the law then I must obey every command or else I break them all. Verse nineteen says that the works of the flesh are plain to see (manifest).  It is the obvious fruits of your life that he is referring to.  They are obvious when your neighbor drives by. He can see what kind of crop you are producing. They can see fruit forming on the apple trees or tomatoes ripening on the vine from the road. Well friend, Paul lists the fruit of adultery, idolatry, hatred, strife, drunkenness, etc – as “fruits” of the flesh in verses nineteen through twenty one. He ends the list with the statement that you won’t inherit the Kingdom of God if this is the kind of crop you are growing.

Verse twenty-two begins with the list of the “fruit of the Spirit”. You might notice that it’s a much shorter list than the fruit of the flesh. The bad list is even open-ended (“and such like”). These fruits of the Spirit are embroidered on tapestry in our home. They are on paintings and on scripture cards and in songs. They are a beautiful list of things that can only be done if a person has been born of the Spirit. They can be tried by a person who has not been born-again through Jesus Blood but they will never succeed in producing the Godly kind of them.

So just how do we produce these good fruit? How does a person walk in the Spirit? Let me give you some parallels. The first thing we need to grow a good crop is good ground. When Angie and I looked at real-estate we took a shovel with us. If we found a place where we were interested we turned the dirt over and looked at it. We needed good soil for our future garden. You need to turn over the dirt in your life. If it’s not good you can make it good. Our last farm had more clay than dirt. We fought for ten years to build up the soil with compost and biological matter and by the time we left there we had rich soil in the garden spot. You need to turn the soil of your life with prayer, fasting, Bible study and the disciplines of the Word of God.

The second thing you need to produce fruit is good seed. Jesus gave a parable about a sower. He explained that the seed was the Word of God. Did you get the simplicity of that? The seed is the Word of God. It’s free seed to all and yet many turn it down. Even here on the internet you can read the Bible in many languages. In the parable it was the four soils that made the difference.

The third thing we need to produce a good crop is water. Right now we are praying that we have the good spring rain to start our plants growing. We can sustain our plants with tap-water but it’s just not the same. The Bible talks about the “washing of water by the Word” (Eph 5:26). The water is the power of God to work through His Word. It is the Life that is in the Word. His Word is alive and can spring to life in us if we allow it to be planted (study).

The last thing we need to get a good crop is a separation of our good plants from bad plants and influences. These can be insects, weeds, diseases or animals and they will destroy all of our work if we don’t guard against them. In your life you can have a bad influence of people, habits, the pleasures of this life, failure to persevere until the harvest.

If you intentionally plant an orchard and then don’t take care of it you are pretty foolish, aren’t you? The last point I want to make today is about pruning. We don’t have a lot of pruning here since most of our plants are young. But we do have to prune. On apple was badly overgrown and the limbs were rubbing each other in the wind. I had Angie stand back and get a better view to see what we needed to cut out. She took a Master Gardener’s course a few years ago and is really good with plants. While we pruned this tree my thoughts went back to my childhood.

When I was 10 years old my parents bought the farm I mentioned earlier. The farm had been vacant for some years so the trees were in pretty bad shape. During the early part of the first year my grandfather told my father he would help him with the pruning. One early spring day he unfolded a chair and got out his knife and began to whittle while Dad climbed up in the trees with a saw. I remember Dad questioning certain limbs when Papaw told him what had to be cut. It didn’t make sense from Dad’s point of view but little by little the limbs were thinned out. When warm weather came the trees began to produce again. Oh, how I picture that scene as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit working in our lives! The Son was on the tree doing what had to be done. He did the will of the Father. He prayed that if it were possible to be done another way, the Father would. But there was only one way for the Son to follow.

My grandfather passed away many years ago. My Dad still helps me with my spiritual pruning. Another point of view is often good. I can trust Daddy because I know he loves me; just as the Heavenly Father loves us. He would never have us prune something out of our lives that was not for our eventual good.

Search out your crop today and see what kind of fruit you will bear. Plant the seed of God in your life. Let the water of the Word give it a drink. When the time is right, prune the limbs that are going the wrong way or you won’t have fruit. You will be surprised at the bountiful harvest God will reap from your life!

Prayer- Father, you see our garden from your throne just as others see it from their lives. What we grow is always on display. Help us to know when we are growing the wrong things. Make us aware of anything that needs to be pruned in our lives. Give us wisdom in our Spiritual gardens so that you will be pleased with our crop.

In Jesus’ Name I pray-Amen

paul

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Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Filed under: Messages

3 Responses to "It’s all about the Fruit"

  1. linda says:

    Oh thank-you,AS I plan my VEGGIE garden,my trees of fruit,I will plan my spiritual garden,not only with thanksgiving and praise,but fine tuning of His will for me to cultivated fruit.Blessings linda

  2. Virginia says:

    Oh this is great, I loved reading this. It is so very helpful and makes me think about what I need to do with my spiritual life and where I’m am and where I’m going. I need to till the soil a little better in my life and prune back some weeds. Thanks Paul!

  3. David Pierce says:

    Thank you Bro.Paul for a new thought approach to Gods wonderful word. Thank you for your faithfullness in weekly messages. David

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