Summary: Having discovered what God has gifted us to do we need to learn how to be fruitful ministers.
MAXIMIZING YOUR MINISTRY
Part Four: How can I be fruitful ?
GOD DESIRES FRUITFULNESS !
God has created a world that relies upon the principle of fruitfulness, not just for it’s survival but for it’s progress. We are a result of human fruitfulness as is every living human being and we need fruit in the natural world to eat, drink and live.
Fruitfulness was God’s command to Adam - Genesis 1:28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
Fruitfulness was God’s promise to Noah - Genesis 8:22 "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease."
Fruitfulness is God’s desire for each disciple - John 15:8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
God desires for each of his children the very same things that we desire for our own offspring. He seeks maturity both in terms of our relationship with him and our relationships with each other. Part of that maturity is that we learn to find our place in the body of Christ just like we expect our children to find their place in society and earn a living contributing to the needs and make up of society.
Jesus used two very important illustrations to discuss this aspect of fruitfulness ……
THE SEED AND THE SOWER ….. Matthew 13:1-9 ; 18-23
The theme here is the harvest more than familiar to anyone who lives in the countryside or earns his living in the fields. There are fundamental truths that Jesus is teaching that relate not only to how we first respond to Christ for salvation but how we continue to grow and mature. Of coarse all of this does presuppose that we as disciples of Jesus want to grow and mature and be those who PRODUCE. Jesus teaches that the harvest comes as a result of two keys factors …..
Good Seed ….. At no point does Jesus question the quality of the seed. The sower scatters the seed confident that within that seed is the POTENTIAL of harvest.
Equally Jesus is confident in the seed that God has planted in you and I. None of us could question the massive potential in each of our lives. John 12:24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
The death that Jesus refers to is the death to self so that we are willing to produce that which God desires in us and from us. John 12:25 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
It is part of the process of growth that a seed die in the ground before it lives again and produces a crop. AN ILLUSTRATION OF THE RESURRECTION.
To be fruitful requires: Confidence in what God has deposited in you and willingness to die to self
Good Soil ….. Jesus clearly teaches that nutritious soil is vital to growth. You can have the most potent seed in the world but if the soil conditions are polluted you’ll never grow anything.
Matthew 13:8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop - a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
Yet we all know that good soil doesn’t just happen by chance. It requires a great degree of effort and thought. It needs to be ploughed to remove the hardness, weeded to remove the enemies of harvest and watered to enrich it’s potential. Fruitfulness in our lives can often be determined equally by the amount of attention we give to the condition of our lives. Spiritual lives that are unattended and left fallow will not produce fruit in the way a life that is cared for will.
Hosea 10:12 Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.
If you want a harvest to flow from your ministry you need to ensure that your life is fertile soil for the seeds that God has sown in you. You need to pay attention to how you live, what influences you, what you feed your mind on and what you fill your heart with.
THE VINE AND THE BRANCHES ….. John 15:1-8
The theme here is fruit. The illustration says it all … Christ is the vine, the branches are those who by virtue of salvation are joined to him. Again Jesus teaches that the fruit is produced as a result of two key factors …..