Bible Studies & Devotionals
From Olive Branch Ministries
By Mark and Tinsley Baker
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Fruit that lasts
God's Word has a lot to say about fruit and bearing fruit. I would like to start out by talking about what fruit is. Fruit is what comes at harvest time. Fruit is the end result of our faith. Fruit is what the Father wants from us. What steps must we take to produce fruit in our lives? Do we produce it on our own? We should want to understand what fruit is and why it is so important to have it produced in our lives.
Jesus said in John's Gospel…John 15:3-8. "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples."
We see that it is the Father's will that we bear much fruit. Bearing fruit is what discipleship is all about. It is a result of abiding in God’s Word and having God's Word abide in us. Jesus calls this discipleship. He who does not bear fruit will be cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. That sounds very serious. God is glorified when we bear fruit so that is something I want to do. I want to glorify God. When harvest time comes I want there to be a harvest of fruit in my life. I want fruit that lasts.
So what must we do to be productive and fruitful, thus becoming a disciple of Christ? First of all we hear His Word. Secondly His Word must abide in us and we must abide in Him. No fruit will be produced if these things don’t happen.
Jesus talks about this in the 8th chapter of Luke. I would like to take a close look at the parable of the sower. Jesus is giving us instructions on how we can bear fruit. Since these are the Lord's instructions on fruit bearing, we should pay close attention. He is giving these instructions so that we will bear fruit. So let's take a look.
Luke 8:5-8. The sower went forth to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trodden under foot, and the birds of the heaven devoured it. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.'' When He had said these things He cried, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
When His disciples asked Him about it He said to them, … vs’s.10-18. To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that Seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.
And the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, (keep it) and bear fruit with patience. No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.''
First of all we see that the seed is the Word of God. The seed was created by God for the sole purpose that the end result will be a harvest. This is the purpose for the seed. The seed would be no good if it were not capable of germinating growing and bearing fruit would it? What would be the purpose of the seed if it could not reproduce after it’s own kind. Life always produces life.
Without the seed there could be no fruit. The seed sown into good soil represents firstly, those who bring a noble and good heart to the hearing of the Word, and secondly those who hold fast or keep the Word, the end result being a harvest. You don’t get the harvest without hearing the Word with a noble and good heart, and then holding fast to what you have heard. The New English Translation says it like this. Vs.15. but the seed in good soil represents those who bring a good and honest heart to the hearing of the Word, hold it fast, and by their perseverance yield a harvest.
I think that says it a little clearer. Jesus is saying in order to preserve the seed you have to hold it fast. Only the preserved seed will yield fruit, and seed that is not preserved will not yield. There is certainly nothing wrong with the seed. This seed we are talking about is the Word of God, yet the seed can’t produce on it’s own. Only when it is sown into fertile soil. Jesus is giving us instruction and insight on how to have fertile soil coupled with the seed to produce a harvest in our lives.
God's Word is good seed and will always produce when the soil is fertile, always. But God's Word must be sown into hearts that are capable of preserving that which it received.
In turn this enables the seed to germinate and grow, and to eventually bear fruit. There are types of soil that will not preserve the seed. Jesus talks about these.
Our hearts are the soil. Our hearts must be good and honest and capable of receiving. The problem is the dirt. What kind of dirt will allow the seed to be preserved so that we can get a harvest? In order for seed to grow in the natural there must be fertile soil, the right amount of moisture and then nutrients in the soil for the seed to germinate so that it will eventually grow.
Jesus talks about the dirt. He says what bad dirt is and what good dirt is. This is the thing that we have control over, and must work to cultivate. Jesus said some people have stony hearts, the seed lays on the stone and withers and dies. Is this the fault of the seed? No it’s not the seed’s fault. It’s not the seed that fails, the seed will never fail when planted in good dirt. The condition of the ground is what causes the seed to either wither and die, or produce fruit. Gardeners know this. You can’t sow your corn seeds out on the driveway and expect to go back out there in several months and pick a bushel of corn can you? Yet the same seed sown into fertile soil will produce. Whether the seed sown is for salvation, healing, deliverance, or whatever the issues of life, you must preserve the seed in order for it to grow. We the body of Christ must lay hold of this important truth. These are Jesus instructions for our faith to produce. We must preserve the seed at all cost!
This is what Solomon was saying in the book of proverbs.
Proverbs 4:20. My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings.
21. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart;
22. For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.
23. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.
Out of what springs the issues of life? Out of your heart, out of the soil the Word of God was sown into. This is what vs. 21 was saying, keep them in the midst of your heart.
Keep the seed. Preserve the seed at all cost!!!! Guard your heart, out of it flows the issues of life. This is where the fruit grows. This is where the issues of life come from.
I want to have lasting fruit in my life, lasting fruit is not fruit that will perish with this world but fruit that will go on for eternity. The fruit that perishes is the fruit of the flesh but the fruit that lasts is the fruit of love. Paul said to the Corinthians…
1 Corinthians 13:3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
What ever we do if it is not sown in love there will be no profit. Sow in love and reap.
Paul said to the Philippians… I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. The Philippians were disciples of Paul and he earnestly wanted for them to bear much fruit. We can see that it was Paul’s desire to see them grow, mature, and produce the fruit that God wanted them to produce, he said this because he had the same desires as his Heavenly Father. Our Father wants us all to bear lasting fruit. That is His desire, and should be ours as well.
My hearts desire is to sow life into others even as I have received, not only to sow into others but sow into others who will in turn sow into others themselves. As you have received, I encourage you to guard your heart, let the seed grow and flourish and produce fruit, and in your turn sow that seed into someone else's life.
This truly is the fruit that lasts.
You can start the process if you have never received Jesus as your Lord and Savior by taking that first step now.
If you want to know for sure that you are a child of God, then I would like to invite you to earnestly pray this prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "…and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37), So I know You won’t cast me out, but You take me in, And I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).
I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10).
I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "… with the heart one believes to righteousness…" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),
And I am saved! Thank You, Lord!
I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!
Glory to God!!!! Amen.