Sunday, January 2, 2011

A call to bear fruit...

At the encouragement of a friend I am currently readying "The Gospel According to Jesus" by John MacArthur. Simply stated, in the few chapters I have read Mr. MacArthur's writings are enlightening me to think of some things in a different manner, so of course, the blog is the place to share...

When one makes the decision to become a Christian, (and I do believe there has to be a decisive moment) what are they really being called to do? ... To be a good person? That life will be easier because they are a Christian? That they have the assurance of eternity in Heaven?

Those may be a part of the bargain so to speak... but I believe it is much more than that.

“The gospel Jesus proclaimed was a call to discipleship,
a call to follow Him in submissive obedience,
not just a plea to make a decision or pray a prayer.”
(page 37)

For those who think being a Christian is easy, I challenge them to reevaluate that thought and their relationship...

Do you think that just because you ask Jesus to be your Savior that life automatically changes with the utterance of those words? No… that’s not the way it works… eternity changes, life does not. Things will still be hard, there will still be challenges, tragedies, and turmoil. The difference is who is in your corner, who is on your team… who you can turn to during those times. Non believers don’t have a higher power to turn to… Christians do. We may not always get the answers we are looking for… but we know the One in control, and if you have true faith, blind faith … that assurance and comfort of eternity is enough… even in the deepest darkest valley, the assurance that you will spend eternity with Christ has to make the bad days look better… otherwise, let’s be honest… what’s the point? True Christianity is not a call to comfort. A true Christian acts… they do something with the knowledge and Spirit they have behind them… whether that’s encouraging others or using your talents in a ministry of some sort… God does not call us to be idle. He called us to action.

So that brings me to the topic of fruit...

yes, Fruit.
What am I doing with my relationship with Christ? What are you doing? Who are you in these verses... the good fruit or the bad?
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:15-23)
I think it is important here to remind us all what we are here for... and it comes from my favorite verse in the bible... I don't believe any Christian can be self conscious after reading these words.
{For we are His workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.}
Ephesians 2:10
I know I have written about this before, but just as a reminder, the word "workmanship" is synonymous with the word Masterpiece... which is why I don't think any Christian can be self conscious, knowing the you are His masterpiece... wow.
Anyway, back to the point of the story here... God created us to do good works, to bear good fruit... and we can all do that in different ways, but the ultimate point is that we must do it!!! What good is faith without works!!?? So many times you hear that Salvation is through Grace and not works... which is so true... but once you have the Salvation... we must be compelled to act on it! If you accept Jesus as your Savior… he must also be your Lord. They are not mutually exclusive. You can’t have one without the other. That is not even a decision that you make because Jesus is Lord of ALL regardless of our thoughts, opinions, choices. He became Lord of ALL when HE CREATED EVERYTHING!!! So... simply put, He tells us to do it... so we should!!
To truly understand God's grace: "In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace." Colossians 1:6 (NIV)
To life a life worthy and pleasing: " that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God..." Colossians 1:10 (NIV)
This challenge to bear fruit... this calling... it's for all of us. I know that I am able to bear new fruit, and different kinds of fruit... I just pray that as the year goes on I won't be the only one to see it. I pray the He will see my faith through my obedience in trying to bear and produce good works to glorify my Lord and Savior... and Him alone.
Love Y'all,

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