Summary: where are we headed to do our own work or Gods work
Where are you going?
I remember when I was a kid. My mom would ask me where was I going. When I got older I was still asked where I was going. What the strange thing is I was asked at least 3 times this week by minister friends when I told them about how God is working here in Potterville they asked right you guessed it (where I was going with the church.) I told them it was not where I was going but what God wanted for His church. I think there are three things God wants His church to do.
1. He wants His church to manifest fruit.
John 15:16-17 states we are to bear fruit
John 15:16-17 (NIV)
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
He also shows us the importance of fruit bearing.
Luke 13:6-9 (NIV)
6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’
8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
He told us that any that does not bear good fruit will be cut down.
Matthew 7:19 (NIV)
19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
He even showed us the consequences of not bearing fruit.
Mark 11:12-21 (NIV)
12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.
15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”
18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.
19 When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.
20 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
See just looking good (having green leaves) does not get it for God you must bearing fruit.
Some times I come across ministers and or people who are looking for ways to justify the lack of visible fruit in there congregations. They sometimes become defensive when confronted with the idea that perhaps God wants them to move beyond safe, easy, and predicable patterns. They show little desire to look beyond themselves in order to make a difference in there neighborhoods, communities, or the world.
2. Fruit bearing is grounded in faithfulness and obedience.
We have over the years sent the wrong message to the world (church) Fruit bearing is revealed in attendance numbers. You know big and fast growing church's equal successful ministry. This attitude leads to false expectations and a overwhelming pressure of performance.
In the parable of the talents
Matthew 25:14-27 NIV
14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.