Lasting Fruit

Description

In this message, we learn that our fruit is meant to live on in the lives of others.

This is a good week. It’s been a good week around here. We had Epic week this week. We had more than 2,000 of our next generation — were a part of Epic week this week. They had fun, they learned about God, they heard his voice, it was amazing and there was more than a thousand serve team members that it took to pull that whole thing together. And our serve team members are amazingly talented like everything for Epic was made by our serve team members. All of the characters and all of the songs and all the bible stories and the organization and the activity — everything was created from scratch by the people sitting in this church. So can we just celebrate them for a moment? Because man, if you’ve heard the kid’s worships CD, it’s phenomenal. If you’ve seen the characters, they’re incredible. If you were around here, it’s amazing. We haves some amazingly talented people. And you’re amazingly talented. And there’s something about taking your gifts and passions and talents and choosing to step beyond yourself, unite them to what God is doing on this earth and you get this exponential return, like 2,000 next generation kids having amazing experience with God because people took what God has put in them and united it together for a common vision.

That’s the beauty of part of being of a local church that’s moving and going somewhere, is you get to be a part of something bigger than yourself. And what I love about our church is that we’re willing to prune a whole lot of things in order to get great fruit in the lived of our next generation. We intentionally don’t do a lot of things because we want to make sure we get great fruit in the lives of our kids and our students. And you hear me say it regularly, we believe it’s through the lives of our kids that we get into the hearts of the parents in this city. It’s in reaching them — and that’s how Greg and Veronica got saved is that their kids came to Epic and we got into their heart and here they are now going to be a missionary and we believe the next generation is our future and that we are commissioned to help them grow fruit. And so, if you got a bible, turn with me again to John 15.

Third week in a row we’ve been in John 15 and we’ve been in this series called, “Less is more.” And we’ve just been talking about living a fruitful life. And let me just remind you where we’ve been. The first week we said that Jesus tells us if we will make him our one thing, he promises we will bear fruit in everything or in many things. In other words, he says, “If you’ll choose less, you will always have more.” And then last week, we talked about pruning and we said that God is a good gardener and he’s more committed to our fruitfulness than even we are and so he prunes us and he cuts off the dead things or the leafy things and even the good things to make room for the best things because he wants us to bear much fruit. And we need to embrace that change and allow him to prune our lives. And I want to keep going today with John 15:15, here’s what Jesus says, he says, “I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I’ve called you friends. For everything I’ve learned from my father, I have made known to you, you did not choose me but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last.”

“Then the father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command, love each other.” Okay. There’s a lot we could talk about in this few verses but I want to zone in on this one little thing that Jesus says, he says, “You didn’t choose me, I chose you.” You didn’t choose Jesus, Jesus chose you. You didn’t just happen to find him one day, Jesus found you, he chose you and for a very specific purpose. What’s the purpose? He says, “I chose you to bear fruit and fruit that will last.” In other words, Jesus says, “I chose you and commissioned you for a very specific purpose, to grow fruit that will last, not to spend your life chasing what will fade, spoil or perish.” I mean, if we’re honest with each other, and really that’s what this series has been a lot of, just being honest with yourself and looking at your own life.

If we’re honest with each other, we spend most of our lives focused on the here and the now instead of the eternal and the significant. We are consumed with the here and the now, that which is right in front of us as opposed to the eternal and the significant. That’s why we spend our lives chasing things that will fade and spoil and perish as opposed to bearing fruit that will last. And that’s why we’re chronically unsatisfied. In Ecclesiastes 3, he says he has put eternity in the hearts of every man. He’s put eternity in your heart, which means you’re not created for the here and the now, you’re created for the eternal and the significant. And as long as you spend your life focused on the here and the now, the things that will fade and spoil and perish, you will chronically be unsatisfied. But when you understand you are created for the eternal and the significant to bear fruit that will last, everything starts to change.

And so, what I want to talk about today is how do you then bear this fruit that will last, how do you live for the eternal and the significant, something bigger than you? A couple of thoughts for you, are you with me on that?

First thing is this, you got to move from personal success to generational significance. You got to move your life and your mindset from personal success to generational significance. Again, if we’re honest with each other, most of our lives is about personal success. My needs, my wants, my desires, my success, me, myself and I, it’s all about me. We make most of our decisions based on, how will this impact me as opposed to how will this bless others? But when Jesus sits here in John 15 and talks all about fruit, what you have to understand about fruit, fruit from its very nature has nothing to do with personal success, it has everything to do with generational significance. Contained within a fruit is seeds that get passed onto the next generation. I mean, the fruit of the spirit, we’ve talked about this a lot, Galatians 5, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.

That’s not personal success, that’s passing things on with generational significance. I mean, if you’re just think about King Solomon for a moment and King Solomon in the bible, he is probably, if not the most successful, he was one of the most personally successful people to ever live on the face of this earth. And when you look at Solomon’s life, at this end of this life, Ecclesiastes 2, here’s what he says about his life, one of the most personally successful people ever to live, he says, “I undertook great projects. I’ve built houses for myself and planted vineyards, I made gardens and parks and planted all kind of fruit trees in them, I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees, I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house, I also owned more herds and flocks then anyone in Jerusalem before me. I amassed silver and gold for myself and the treasure of kings and provinces.”

“I acquired men and women singers and a harem as well, the delights of the heart of man. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this, my wisdom stayed with me. I denied myself nothing my eyes desired. I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work. This was the reward from all of my labor. Yet, when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless. A chasing after the wind. Nothing was gained under the sun.” In other words, here’s Solomon, the most successful man to ever walk on the face of this earth and at the end of his life he writes to us and he says, “I had it all and it meant nothing.” Everything you wake up, every single morning and go and try to pursue for personal success, he just said it in that passage, he had it, money, relationships, success, prestige, influence.

He had everything we spend our lives chasing for personal success. And you know what he’s really telling us there, he’s saying, I was overwhelmingly busy and chronically unsatisfied. I had the ultimate success and it was actually the ultimately disappointment because it didn’t delivery on any of the promises it made me.” Now, compare Solomon, the most successful man that probably had ever walked the face of the earth to John, one of Jesus’s 12 disciples. At the end of John’s life, he’s an old man, he is exiled to Isle of Patmos, he literally has nothing and in 3 John 4, John says, “I have no greater joy than to see my children walking in the truth.” End of his life, he’s got nothing. No one would define him as successful and he says, “I have no greater joy than to see my children,” and not his biological children, the next generation living and caring the fruit of his life and passing it onto others.

In other words, he says, “Generational significance is the ultimate joy there is,” and it’s a joy very few us ever actually get to know. I mean, Solomon spent his life doing all of this stuff, building a leafy life, John built a fruitful life. Solomon chose more so he ended up with less. John chose less, Jesus, and he ended up with more. Solomon spent his life becoming personally successful. John spent his life growing fruit that others would feast on. You see our problem is as we tend to think momentarily but God thinks generationally. So at Genesis 1:28, first thing God says to man, “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it.” Be fruitful and multiple, it’s a declaration to be generationally significant. I mean, you realize you cannot multiply if you first don’t have any fruit because contained within the fruit is the seed that you need for the multiplication. So if you don’t grow any fruit, you’re unable to multiply, you’re unable to pass the life that’s within you onto others. God doesn’t commission humanity to be successful and horde all of this stuff.

He commissions humanity to be generationally significant, fruitful and multiply. I mean, if you just think of a tree for a moment, we spent a lot of time talking about trees because that’s John 15 what Jesus is talking about, a tree starts and it starts growing and it spends the first bit of its life totally focused on personal success. That’s all it’s focused on. It wants its roots to go deeper, it wants its trunk to get bigger, it wants its branches to go further and wider and stronger and grow all these leaves. But at some point, a tree flips. And no longer is it interested in personal success, now it’s only concerned about generational significance. And instead of growing leaves, it now spends the rest of its life producing fruit so the life in that tree can be passed on to others. It’s no longer about getting bigger, it’s now becoming about significance and passing life on through its fruit.

That’s why whenever you look at a three, no one ever looks at a tree and says, “Wow, that three has so many branches. It’s so leafy and amazing.” We look at a tree and we say, “Wow, that tree is so fruitful.” We’re amazed by its significance not its success. And yet, when we talk about humanity, you realize man is the only creation that is more focused on personal success than generational significance. In Genesis 1 and 2, God commissions everything, plants, animals, birds, fish and man — commissions everything, be fruitful and multiply, and we’re the only creation that has rejected that command, everything else lives for generational significance as opposed to personal success. We’re the only creation that celebrates the gift within us more than the reproduction of the gift into others. Does that make sense to you? And so what you have to understand is that maturity is all about focusing on multiplication not addition. Life is not about how much you can acquire, it’s about how much you can give away.

So at 2nd Timothy 2:2, Paul says, “Hey, Timothy. The things you’ve heard me say in the front of all these witnesses and trust the reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” He says, “Timothy, take all of this fruit that I’ve spent my life growing and you absorb it and get it into you and pass it onto others who will also pass it onto other people,” four generations, generational significance. Now, compare that to Luke 9:25 when Jesus says, “Hey, what good is it for a man to gain the whole world and yet lose or forfeit his soul.” In other words, Jesus says, “Who cares how successful you are if you have no fruit that lasts.” Personal success is about acquiring stuff, generational significance is about seeing your fruit live on in others and that’s why guys like Moses and Peter and Paul, the guys we read about and they’re inspired by today, you realize they had less than every person sitting in this room. They had less than you do and yet they had more.

And we’re still eating of their fruit today. Success fades, fruit lasts. Are you with me on that?

And the paradox is this, fruit is always superior to talent. And so the most successful you will ever be in this world is by choosing to live a fruitful life of generational significance because your fruit will cover a multitude of failures. People won’t see the brokenness or the misses in your life, they’ll be amazed by the fruit because so very few people actually spend their lives growing it. And so, the question I want to ask you at this point is, is at the end of your life, do you want people to say, “Man, that person was successful,” or do you want them to say, “Man, they were so fruitful and their fruit lives on in me today”? It’s your question to answer, okay? You got to move from personal success to generational significance. Now, can we all go ahead and breathe together, ready?

And let it all out. Okay. Feel better? Sometimes when you talk about eternity and some of those big things, it can become overwhelming and I realize I’m tapping on some blocks there. What I’m trying to help you do is grow a life, a fruit that will last and it’s a mindset that you have to change, personal success to generational significance, okay? Are you still with me on point one?

Okay. It’s going to get easier, a little bit. Second thing is this — maybe not. Maybe I’m just pulling you along. Second thing is this, grow fruit for the next generation. If you’re going to bear fruit that lasts, you have to grow fruit for the next generation because you realize your fruit doesn’t actually belong to you. Say, “Well, then why do I spend my life growing it?” So that you can pass it on to others. Think of a tree for a moment. We said a tree starts, it’s all about personal success, it grows, but at some point in time it flips to generational significance. And a tree, when it starts growing fruit, it’s not growing that fruit for itself.

It doesn’t need that fruit. It already had just the single seed in the ground that it started from, it doesn’t need that fruit. In fact, to grow the fruit, we’ll keep it from being even more personally successful because it takes nutrients, it takes energy, it takes effort to grow this fruit and if it didn’t fruit, it could get bigger, stronger, wider, broader, taller. But what it starts to realize is it’s not about me anymore and it spends its life growing fruit not for itself but for the next generation. And so, it puts all its energy into growing this fruit. And the animals of the forest see it, it’s beautiful and attractive, because that’s what fruit is, they are drawn to it, the come to the three, they eat of the fruit, it’s sweet, it taste good, it’s nourishing. And contained within that fruit is seed and as the animals eat it, the seed gets inside of them and as they go throughout their life in the forest and do their business, the next round of trees grow up.

The whole point of fruit is to pass on the life of the tree to the next generation.

The whole point of fruit is to pass on the life of God to the next generation.

We said in the first week that fruit is anything that glorifies God, brings you joy and nourishes others. It’s not for you, it’s for them. I mean, what you have to understand is every generation starts with the harvest of the generation before them. Every generation, you, you started with the harvest of those who have come before you. Like it or not, for the good or for the bad, you started with the harvest of those that came before you. Here’s how God would say it, Deuteronomy 5, “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commands.” In other words, each generation spends its life doing its own thing, choosing its way and at the end, it leaves a harvest for the generation that comes after them.

It may be a harvest of curses, works of the flesh and leaves. Or it may be a harvest of blessing and the fruit of the kingdom. And so each person is responsible to steward what they have inherited and live to the fullness of the potential of their own life. You’re responsible to steward what you’ve inherited, the harvest you’ve received and then to live to the fullest potential of your own life. And some of you as I’m saying that you’re looking at me and you’re like, “John bro, you have no idea what I’ve inherited. It’s horrible, darkness and addiction and habitual sin and divorce and hatred and bitterness and unforgiveness, that’s what I have inherited.” And for some of you, you’re right, that’s what you’ve inherited and you’re responsible to steward it and you know how you steward it, you say, “Today, in the name of Jesus, I break off of those curses and no longer will this carry on in my lineage but in the name of Jesus, addiction stops with me, divorce stops with me, brokenness and disease and sickness and bitterness and rage and those habitual sin patterns, they stop with me and I’m going to let the new life of Jesus grow up and I’m going to pass on a new harvest to the generation that comes after me.

That’s how your steward it. You received it like it or not. You may not like what your parents or your forefathers or where you grew up or the church you were brought up in, what you received but you have it and you have to deal with it. And so in the name of Jesus, you can break that off and then for some of you sitting here, you’re like, “Man, I’ve received amazing things.” Well, you’re responsible to steward that. Listen to what God says to Jacob, Genesis 35, God says to Jacob, “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply.” It’s all over the bible. You cannot get away from being fruitful and multiplying. Here’s what he says, “Be fruitful and multiple. Listen, “A nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you and kings shall come from your body. The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac I give to you and to your descendants after you, I give this land.”

So God says, “Hey, Jacob. You have received an amazing inheritance from your father Isaac and your grandfather Abraham. You are now responsible to steward that thing. And if you steward it well and live to the fullness of your potential and you become fruitful and multiply and you pass it onto the next generation who passes it on to the next generation and it goes on and on from your life, from your fruit a nation, nations and kings will arise.” That’s how the kingdom of God works. Each generation takes a harvest, stewards it, passes it onto the next one and they get to start from where that generation left of, so it gets bigger and bigger, the kingdom builds on itself. What started with Abraham, a nobody, God saying, “Get up and go,” ultimately all the way down came with Jesus showing up saying, “The kingdom has come.” That’s how the harvest works, that’s how it gets passes on — it gets passed on. You are to honor those who have come before you but spend your life blessing those who come after you.

And you say, “What does that have to do with me?” Everything. If you will be fruitful and multiply, then from your life a nations, nations and kings and queens will arise, world changers will come from your fruit, maybe the cure for cancer will come from your fruit, the healing of nations will come from your fruit, kingdom leaders will come from your fruit. I want to prophesize over your life today, if you would be fruitful and multiply, a nation, nations and kings and queens, God promises will arise from your fruit.

That’s inspiring. I mean, there’s that old saying that says, “You can count how many seeds are in an apple but you can never count how many apples are in a seed.” How much fruit is going to come from the seed of your life? If you choose to be fruitful and multiple, God says, “A nation, nations and kings and queens will arise.” And guess what, that’s what’s happening in this church.

And he said, “Okay. Grow it for the next generation.” How do I actually do that? Well, some handles for you, simple, just model it. Okay. Just model. The life of the kingdom is more caught than it is taught.

And the next generation, they just need to see fruit in your life, it’s attractive, it’s beautiful, people are drawn to it. They just need to see it. They need to see love in the midst of brokenness. They need to see joy in the midst of life. They need to see peace in the midst of hard circumstances. I mean, the question I would ask you is if we just took your life and reproduce the fruit you currently have and every person sitting around you in this room right now, would we be a really fruitful church? You have to model it for them. And not only in the fruit of the spirit, you have to model it for them in mission. I mean, did you ever see people that are like older and they sit there and they complain about the next generation today?

It doesn’t happen at Valley Creek but at other churches —

At other churches, there’s this sense of just complaining, “These kids these days, you know, they never, they always, what are they even saying, you know, they’re not like what we used to be,” you know what I’m talking about? Okay. Can I just say something? How can we expect the next generation to be passionate about mission when they watch us spend our lives pursuing personal comfort? How can we expect them to be passionate about the mission of God when all they’ve ever seen us model is pursuing personal comfort? You can’t expect that. And we do and then we shame them forward and say it’s this generation today. No, it’s not. They’re just dealing with the harvest that we’re passing onto them. I mean, if you were here last week, I talked about an announcement and adjustment, I said in August, we’re moving our Saturday service to Thursday, we’re adding the 12:30 service and we’re going to start two services in the venue during the 9:30 and 11:10.

A great example for how you model mission, is just choosing then to say, “You know what, I’m going to go, I’m going to go first.” You get your kids, you get your family, you say, “We’re making this move.” Why? Because this is what we do as part of the kingdom of God and I want you to eat this fruit. I want you to see it modeled in my life. And you might sit there and say, “Well, I don’t have any kids and I don’t even know anybody in the next generation.” It doesn’t matter. The next generation is watching you anyways.

You don’t have to know them. I talk to them, they’re smart.

Smarter than you think. I got a lot of jokes there but I’m going to leave them alone.

They pick up on it. And so they need to see the fruit in your life, you got to model it. The second thing is this, just invest in them. Pour everything you have into the future. That’s why we do things like Epic week and Hub camp, it takes so much energy and resources than ever, but it’s worth it.

I mean, you probably don’t realize this, every Wednesday night at Hub, our student ministry, there are like 800 students that show up to meet with Jesus.

Okay. 800, that’s bigger than 95% of churches in America total weekend attendance — is in our student ministry every single Wednesday night coming to eat of our fruit and become more like Jesus. 800. There’s more than a thousand kids every single weekend that are in children’s ministry while we’re in service.

Hundreds. You may not want to clap in a moment where I’m going.

Hundreds of young adults that gather together in groups in our monthly service that we’ve — I mean, it’s amazing what God is doing in this place. And so here’s what I want to say, we need a hundred of you in this room right now to tap into the game and say, “I’m going to invest my fruit into their life.”

I don’t want to clap anymore.

A hundred of you in this room. You need to tap in the game. You need to give your fruit to the next generation. You say, “Well, I don’t know how to talk to them or speak their language.” You don’t — they don’t want you to speak their language. Don’t even try it.

It’s the fastest way to lose influence with them. They want you to love them.

Listen to me, they want you to love them and give them fruit because they’re probably not getting it at home and they’re certainly not getting it at school. And it’s really hard to sit here and say, “I don’t have time for a couple of hours a week to invest in the next generation when you just watch a couple saying, “I’m willing to go to Germany.” Thanks, Greg. Great illustration, man.

Couldn’t have teethed it out any better. The only thing worse than not having a harvest is watching the harvest just spoil on the vine because no one was willing to work the field.

God’s given us a harvest. We will not let it spoil on the vine. Jesus says, “They harvest is plentiful, Matthew, and our workers are few.” Ask, so I’m asking him and I’m asking you, I need 100 of you to tap in, you say, “How do I tap in?” Go to iServe, we’ll get you all taken care of. You said, “I don’t have that much fruit.” If you have one piece of fruit in your life, that’s enough to offer some of these kids. They just need investment and love. And listen to me, you lose the right to complain about the world when you’re not willing to invest in its future.

We sit here and we complain about all the things that are happening in the world and the election and all of that stuff. We’re going to talk about the election in October. I got a great series for you. Come back in October, we’ll talk about it then. But you realize, you cannot complain about the condition of the world if you are not willing to help its future get better. So invest.

And then the third thing is this, is you got to sacrifice. You got to give up your conveniences, your preferences, your rights. I mean, you might say, “The music is a little loud,” maybe it is but that’s how the next generation likes it. You might say, “I don’t like video technology,” well they do. You might say, “The room smells like a thousand sweaty smelly kids in here today,” it probably does.

I think that’s awesome, that we had 2,000 students that wanted to be here all week meeting with Jesus. They can make it smell like whatever they want.

It sounds like Jesus, doesn’t it?

He modeled, he invested and then he sacrificed. Because I’m just saying Jesus probably would have rather stayed in heaven than come to the brokenness of this world. So here’s what I would say, how different would your life be if you grew up with all of this? It’s a question I ask myself a lot. How different would I be today if I grew up with this?

If I would have grown up at Epic week, singing about the goodness of God instead of the anger of God? You may not be able to change your past but you can change someone else’s future. You have to grow fruit for the next generation. And I wonder if the next generation is not interested in the church at large today because we’ve offered them leaves instead of fruit. Maybe we’ve offered them the leaves of religion instead of the fruit of the kingdom. Maybe that’s why you haven’t been interested in church because you’re tired of the leaves of religion, what you’re desperate for is the fruit of the kingdom. And maybe the church at large today is so full of programs and all of these activities because maybe there isn’t really fruit, maybe we need to do all of this activity to cover up our barrenness. But Jesus doesn’t tell us to grow fruit — leaves that will fade, he tells us to grow fruit that will last. The next generation is coming because of your fruit, that’s what they’re feasting on and it’s never too late to keep growing it, okay? You’re with me on that.

I got a little excited. One more thing that I have to pull it altogether is this, is you got to spend your life scattering seed. Spend your life scattering seed. In Mark Chapter 4, here’s what Jesus says, Jesus says, “This is what the kingdom of God is like,” he’s telling us, “Here’s the kingdom of heaven, here’s the kingdom. Here’s how it works, a man scattered seed on the ground, night and day whether he sleeps or gets up, the seeds sprouts and grows though he does not know how. All by itself, the soil produces grain, first the stock, then the head, then the full kernel in the head, the fruit. As soon as the grain is right, he puts the sickle to it because the harvest is coming.” So Jesus says, “Hey, here’s how the kingdom of God works. This is like a man who went out and just started scattering seed and everywhere the man went in his life he scattered seed, at work, in his neighborhood, in his home, in his sport teams, in his activities, at school, everywhere he went he just scattered seed and whether he was asleep or awake, that seed began to grow and ultimately, it kind of grew up and became a harvest and became fruitful and it passed itself on and there was more seed and the kingdom of God continued to spread.”

So he says the kingdom of God is alive. He’s just a man who just went out and scattered seed everywhere he went. Well, if the kingdom of God is like a man who scattered seed and that’s how the kingdom grows then the question we have to ask is, where do you get the seed? If the whole point of how the kingdom grows is scattering seed then the question you have to ask is, where do you get seed? You get seed from

Say it again, you get seed from fruit, which means if you haven’t grown any fruit, you have no seed to scatter. If you haven’t spent your life resting and remaining in Jesus growing fruit, you have no seed to scatter. I am convinced the average person in church wants to scatter its seed but because they haven’t grown any fruit, they have nothing to offer the world.

They have nothing to give to the nations. Be fruitful and multiply. You cannot multiply if you have yet to grow fruit. If you haven’t grown any fruit, you have no seed to scatter. So if seeds come from fruit, then the question we have to ask is, where then do we get fruit? Well, if you back up just a few verses, it’s the parable of the soils, parable of the hearts. Jesus says four types of hearts, I don’t have time to get — weigh into it but he says that he speaks to us and put things in us and there’s four different types of hearts. One heart is the hard heart, we reject what Jesus offers. Then there’s the rocky heart, we receive it but the moment it costs something of us, it withers and dies. And then the last two, verse 18 Mark 4, “Still others like seeds sown among the thorns, hear the word, hear what God is saying. But the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word making it unfruitful.”

I think a majority of the hearts in the American church at that kind of soil, the divided heart. We’re here because we want to engage with Jesus but instead of making him our one thing we make him one of many things. The desire for other things come in and choke it out making it unfruitful, we choose more and so we end up with less. But verse 20, “Others like seeds sown on good soil hear the word, accept it and produce a crop 30, 60 or even 100 times what was sown.” In other words, Jesus says, “The heart that’s willing to fully receive from him will grow an amazing abundant harvest of fruit 30, 60, 100 times. They will then have fruit, contained within that fruit is seed, as they go out through their life they have things to offer other people, they scatter it on the ground, the kingdom of God takes root in their life, it grows and now you live a life of fruit that lasts instead of a life of things that fade, spoil and perish.

That’s why in John 15 he says, “If you remain in me and my words,” it always bothered me, I never understood it. It feels different in that passage. “My words,” he’s talking about the parable of the soils. “If my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, it will be given to you. This is to my father’s glory that you bear much fruit.” In other words, if you will receive from Jesus, you will grow fruit, you will then have seed to scatter and when you spend your life scattering that seed, lasting fruit will be a part of your life. Does that make sense to you? And for some of you sitting here and you’re saying, “That’s all great but you don’t understand, where just my life is. I’m broken, I’m here.” Okay. Let me just give you a little thing as I close. The quality of the relationships in your life are solely based on the quality of the fruit in your life. The quality of the relationships in your life, it’s solely based on the quality of the fruit that you have because when you get together with other people, you can’t give what you don’t have.

And so if you all have is bitterness, rage, anger, slander, brawling, all the things of the works of the flesh, that’s all you have to offer them. And then we wonder why there’s this constant collision because we don’t have any good fruit to offer or feed them. And I know what most of us think when there’s a relational challenge, it’s all them, isn’t it? It’s not me, it’s always them. And so what do we want to do, we want to make them grow fruit, you need to love me, you need to be patient. Why can’t you be joyful at home? We want to make them grow fruit. Okay. But listen, I’m not the vine, I can’t make anyone grow fruit. The best I can do is remain in the vine, him grow fruit in my life, that fruit will be beautiful and attractive to them, they will come, I will have something to offer them, they will feast on it, the seeds will get inside of them and the kingdom of God will start to grow night and day even if we’re asleep or awake.

You realize the reason you demand fruit from the relationships in your life is because we have no fruit of our own. Jesus never demanded fruit from anybody. These people, he could have demanded for — why didn’t he demand it? Because he grew enough for both him and them and he would take a piece, he would eat a bit, he would hand it to them, they would take a bite of it and he knew the seeds would get inside of them and as they went, the kingdom of God will begin to grow. Listen to me, the world, the world is starving for fruit in the midst of a leafy existence. Jesus has commissioned you to bear fruit that will last, not the here and the now but the eternal and the significant. And if you will spend your life bearing fruit, then you will be able to give to the world and all of its brokenness fruit that they may taste and see that our God is good.

So you close your eyes with me. I realize I was kind of pushing on some corners today. And what I’m trying to do is just help you reframe some perspectives, to reframe some perspectives about what life is really about. It’s time to move past momentary here and now thinking to eternal significant thinking because that’s what you are created for. It’s time to be a fruitful person that we may offer hope and healing to the brokenness of this world.

And it’s time to move from getting bigger and larger and broader, more successful to becoming more fruitful, which probably means, you’re going to have to prune some things in your life to say, “I now want some fruit to grow instead of just more branches.” And so, I don’t know. What does God want to say to you today? All I know is this, because he promises if we will choose less, him, we will always have more. He says, “You didn’t choose me but I chose you.” He chose you today and this is your chance to choose him back. He says, “Hey, I chose you.”

Maybe in your heart, could you say, “Jesus, I choose you back.” So Jesus, we want to be a fruitful people, a fruitful church, a fruitful life and not fruit that fades but fruit that lasts. And so would you give us the courage and the strength to change our perspective. Holy Spirit, will you transform us and renew our minds, would you help us not be ashamed or discouraged or embarrassed about where we’ve been but to make a new choice from today. You can grow a harvest. Fruit doesn’t grow overnight but it grows faster than you think. And somebody here who is sitting in this room you think, “I missed my chance to grow fruit,” where you are in life, no, you didn’t. No, you didn’t. It starts today. It doesn’t grow overnight but it’ll grow faster than you think and even if you can grow one apple with one seed, who knows how many pieces of fruit will come from that seed through eternity. Lord, we declare that a nation, nations and kings and queens will arise from the fruit of our life as we choose you.

We love you, Jesus. In your name we pray, Amen.

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