Summary: When you see a Christian you expect them to be bearing fruit don’t you? You expect each believer to be winning souls for Christ and training others to serve Him right? Not so sure about that one, huh? The apostle Paul, as he is writing to the Roman Chr
A Fruitful Spirit
“Where’s the beef?” Those of you old enough, do you remember that Wendy’s commercial with the little old lady asking “Where’s the beef?” barely tall enough to see over the counter? That commercial is a commentary on expectations. You go to a fast-food restaurant and they serve you hamburger buns, you automatically assume and expect there will be meat somewhere between those two pieces of bread. After all, if you ordered a hamburger and it was served without meat you would go back to the counter and complain. A hamburger with meat is a given, isn’t it?
Now let’s take that analogy into the spiritual realm. When you see a Christian you expect them to be bearing fruit don’t you? You expect each believer to be winning souls for Christ and training others to serve Him right? Not so sure about that one, huh?
The apostle Paul, as he is writing to the Roman Christians expects to bear fruit among the Romans when he eventually gets there. This morning we will look at another mark of true spiritual service – bearing fruit.
I. This Concept was Important to Paul
A. “not have you ignorant” – used to convey something important
1. Romans 11:25 – mystery of God’s calling Gentiles to salvation
2. 1 Cor. 12:1 – Spiritual gifts
3. 1 Thess. 4:13 – the Second Coming
B. His intent was not just a social visit, but for a fruitful purpose.
II. Paul’s ministry was an unending quest for Spiritual fruit (Jn. 15:16)
A. In regard to the spiritual life the Bible uses the term fruit in three ways:
1. A metaphor for the attitudes that characterize the Spirit-led believer. This nine-fold "fruit of the Spirit," Paul tells us, "is love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Gal. 5:22-23)
2. Spiritual fruit that refers to action. (Rom. 6:22), that is, holy living. The active fruit of a Christian’s lips is praise (Heb. 13:15), and the active fruit of his hands is giving (Phil. 4:16-17;
3. Spiritual fruit that involves addition, the increase of converts to Christ and the increase of their spiritual growth in Him. Paul spoke of Epaenetus as being "the first convert [lit., firstfruit] to Christ from Asia" (Rom. 16:5).
Among the Romans, the fruit Paul longed for was of the third kind, addition. It included both new converts and maturing converts. They were spiritual fruit in the broadest sense of being the product of the gospel’s power in men’s lives, both to save and to sanctify. The apostle wanted to be used to help the Roman church grow through new converts and grow in sanctification, which includes growth in service to Christ. When, some years later, he wrote to the Philippian church from Rome, he was able to give greetings even from believers within "Caesar’s household" (Phil. 4:22), believers he may have been instrumental in bringing to Christ.
A Christian who serves from the heart and whose spiritual service is genuine strives only to be used of the Lord to bear fruit for Him. The Christian who settles for less is one who serves only externally.
But what does fruit-bearing mean to the Christian?
III. How to become a fruit-bearing Christian
A. There are four stages of fruit bearing
1. No fruit – (Jn. 15:2)
2. Fruit – (Jn. 15:2)
3. More fruit (Jn. 15:2)
4. Much fruit (Jn. 15:5, 8)
B. What does it mean to say a Christian is to bear fruit?
1. To bear converts – (Rom. 1:13)
2. To bear righteousness – (Rom. 6:21-23)
3. To bear Christian character or the fruit of the Spirit – (Gal. 5:22-23)
C. What are the conditions for bearing fruit?
1. Cleansing (Jn. 15:3)
2. Abiding in Christ (Jn. 15:5)
3. Obedience (Jn. 15:10)
D. What does “abiding in Christ” mean?
1. A person walks in open confession before God. He walks through life opening up his life to God; he confesses all known sin. He does not walk in sin, and he does not allow any sin to go unconfessed (1 John 1:6-10).
2. A person walks and fellowships with Christ. He lives and moves and has his being with Christ. He communes and lives in a consciousness of God’s presence, and from God’s presence he learns of God, and he draws the strength and authority to live victoriously day by day (1 John 2:6; 1 John 2:27; cp. Psalm 16:11; Proverbs 3:5-6).
3. A person continues in the church; he has not gone out from the church (1 John 2:19).
4. A person possesses confidence, an unashamedness in life that prepares him for eternity (1 John 2:28).
5. A person does not walk in continuous sin (1 John 3:6). He experiences constant victory over sin.
6. A person actively surrenders himself to obey God’s commandments (1 John 3:24).