Fruitful and Blessed; Barren and Cursed (Hebrews Sermon 22 of 74)
March 20, 2011 | Andrew Davis
Abiding in Christ, Good Works, Love of God
The Wonder of the Rain
I just wanted to keep on worshiping. It's just been incredibly sweet to me this morning. Just the visions of God, hearing the children singing all the hymns, these are some of my favorite songs. Eric, I don't know if you did it for me, personally, I hope not, because I think that it was a rich time of fellowship for all of us and what a sweet time of worship.
Now, our joy is to turn to the word of God. Our God does unsearchable wonders, Amen. Beyond all possible human comprehension. Now according to Job 5, one of those wonders is the miracle of rain. It says in Job 5: 9-10, that God "performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. He bestows rain on the Earth, and sends water upon the countryside." Some time ago, I was reading a devotional written by John Piper about this passage, incredible meditation. Just want to quote some of what he said. He said this:
"Is rain a great and unsearchable wonder wrought by God? Picture yourself as a farmer in the Near East, far from any lake or stream. A few wells keep the family and animals supplied with water. But if the crops are to grow and the family is to be fed from month to month, water has to come on the fields from another source. From where?
Well, the sky. The sky? Water will come out of the clear blue sky? Well, not exactly. Water will have to be carried in the sky from the Mediterranean Sea, over several hundred miles and then be poured out from the sky onto the fields. Carried? How much does it weigh? Well, if one inch of rain falls on one square mile of farmland during the night, that would be 27,878,400 cubic feet of water, which is 206,300,160 gallons, which is 1,650,501,280 pounds of water.
That's heavy. So how does it get up in the sky and stay up there if it's so heavy? Well, it gets up there by evaporation. Really? That's a nice word. What's it mean? It means that the water sort of stops being water for a while so it can go up and not down. I see. Then how does it get down? Well, condensation happens. What's that? The water starts becoming water again by gathering around little dust particles between .00001 and .0001 centimeters wide. That's small.
What about the salt? Salt? Yes, the Mediterranean Sea is salt water. That would kill the crops. What about the salt? Well, the salt has to be taken out. Oh. So the sky picks up a billion pounds of water from the sea and takes out the salt and then carries it for three hundred miles and then dumps it on the farm?
Well it doesn't dump it. If it dumped a billion pounds of water on the farm, the wheat would be crushed. So the sky dribbles the billion pounds water down in little drops. And they have to be big enough to fall for one mile or so without evaporating, and small enough to keep from crushing the wheat stalks.
How do all these microscopic specks of water that weigh a billion pounds get heavy enough to fall (if that's the way to ask the question)? Well, it's called coalescence. What's that? It means the specks of water start bumping into each other and join up and get bigger. And when they are big enough, they fall. Just like that? Well, not exactly, because they would just bounce off each other instead of joining up, if there were no electric field present. What? Never mind. Take my word for it.
I think, instead, I will just take Job's word for it. I still don't see why drops ever get to the ground, because if they start falling as soon as they are heavier than air, they would be too small not to evaporate on the way down, but if they wait to come down, what holds them up till they are big enough not to evaporate? Yes, I am sure there is a name for that too. But I am satisfied now that, by any name, this is a great and unsearchable thing that God has done. I think I should be thankful - lots more thankful than I am."
Friends, God is the only one who can send rain. And it is to His glory, the Scripture says, to open His hands and satisfy the desire of every living thing. And one of the ways He does that is with rain.
Now, in Hebrews 6, the author speaks of the blessings of land receiving the consistent rain from heaven, and that produces a harvest for the farmer. Look at Verse 7, "Land that drinks in the rain, often falling on it, and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But on the other hand, he also speaks of land that drinks in the same rain from God, but produces nothing but thorns and thistles." Verse 8, "But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed, in the end, it will be burned." I think in this passage, the Word of God is likened to rain. It's likened to rain. And these two outcomes are meant to give us a sense of two different responses to the Word, to the gospel of Jesus Christ and to the ongoing ministry of the Word of God. Some people hear the Word and believe it and by perseverance, produce a harvest for the glory of God. Other people hear the Word, do not believe it and do not persevere and do not produce a harvest to the glory of God. These two different outcomes are the focus of this sermon.
The Context of Hebrews 6
Now, what is the context of Hebrews 6, 7, and 8? Well, the author to Hebrews is writing I believe to a Jewish people, who had heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. And they had made some kind of outward profession of faith in Christ, perhaps through public, water baptism had testified to it, and they had joined a church, they've been active in a church, etcetera. But now I believe under immense pressure from their Jewish family members and friends and neighbors and political leaders and others, they are considering turning away from Jesus Christ, away from the New Covenant away from the Gospel and going back to Old Covenant Judaism. Now, the author has responded in these first five chapters by showing the superiority of Christ to the Old Covenant in every way, to Old Testament prophets, to the angels who brought the Old Covenant and gave it to Moses. To Moses himself who was the mediator of the Old Covenant, but called just a servant in God's house, while Jesus is the Son over God's house. Superior to Joshua, who brought them into the Promised Land, superior to Aaron, the first high priest. Jesus is infinitely superior to all of them.
And to turn back away from Jesus Christ, to all of that is impossible, will not be blessed by God. So the author is giving consistent warnings to these Jewish professors of faith in Christ, that they must persevere in the Gospel, they must keep on with Jesus, they must not drift away, they must not turn away. And here in Hebrews 6, they must not fall away from Jesus. They must not be like their ancestors, who when brought right to the brink of the Promised Land, through unbelief in the promise of God, turned back and in their hearts, went back to Egypt. They must not be like that. Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heats. They must fight the hardening effects of sin in their hearts and they must keep on running this race with endurance, and they should horizontally be caring for their brothers and sisters in Christ, that they run the race with endurance, that we wouldn't let anyone drop out of this race.
And he gets to the pinnacle of that warning here in Chapter 6, when in Verses 4 through 6, he speaks the words you just heard. "It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who shared in the Holy Spirit, have tasted the goodness of the Word of God, the powers of the coming age, if they fall away to be brought back again to repentance, because of their own loss, they're crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace." It's a severe warning against apostasy. And he goes right from that into these two different outcomes in concerning the rain. "Land that drinks in the rain, often falling on it and produces a crop blessed, but land that produces thorns and thistles is cursed." So we have these two different outcomes. That's the context of these two verses that we're looking on today.
And as we go on in Chapter 6, from this point, the author gives us a sweet pastoral encouragement, "Even though we speak like this dear friends, we have confidence of better things, in your case, things that accompany salvation. God is not unjust. He'll not forget your work, and the love you have shown Him as you help His people, and as you continue to help them. But we want you to show the same diligence to the very end." We don't want you to become lazy, to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
So that's the context of what we're looking. Now, let's look at these two different outcomes. We have fruitful land that's blessed by God in verse 7, and we have fruitless land that's cursed by God in Verse 8.
I. Fruitful Land is Blessed by God (vs. 7)
So look at Verse 7, "Land that drinks in the rain, often falling on it, that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed, receives the blessing of God." So first, we have the issue of the land. The author I believe is using a verbal image, perhaps a metaphor, or a parable or something, an extended parable in the agricultural realm. Clearly he is talking about people and their relationship with God, he's not talking about farming here, but he's talking about people. And it's not just any people, but the people of God, the people that God had called out to be His own treasured possession. Consistently in Scripture, the land as a parable referred to the Jews, the nation of Israel, clearest parallel here in the Old Testament is Isaiah Chapter 5. Isaiah's beautiful parable of the vineyard that he gives us there in which the Jews are likened to a vineyard, which the Lord planted and which He richly provided for, but in the end produced only bad grapes. And He was bitterly disappointed with the harvest.
The Jews then I think are directly in view here. They may be divided into two categories, fruitful and unfruitful. Fruitful are those who, by believing and obeying the gospel of Jesus Christ, have brought forth the fruits of repentance and faith and daily obedience to Him. So they were continually blessed by the ongoing a effusion of the Holy Spirit of God. They continually brought forth fruit, in keeping with repentance, day after day, bringing forth good works that glorified God, in the name of Jesus Christ. But then there are unfruitful Jews as well, of two sorts, again. Those that were completely hardened against Jesus and who immediately and vigorously rejected the Gospel outright. Obstinate unbelievers never trusted in Jesus. And those who are hypocritical apostates, who initially embraced the Gospel of Christ, made this outward profession, but who eventually rejected Jesus and fell away back into their old lives.
However, though I think the home base of this kind of language of the Jews in Israel and all that, frankly, in the end, it extends to every person on the face of the earth. Under the sound of the Gospel whether Jew or Gentile, it's all the same thing. Gentiles themselves will eventually fit into one of those two categories, as they hear the gospel. They will either believe the Gospel and by perseverance, through the power of the Holy Spirit bring forth a harvest of righteousness to the glory of God, or they will reject the gospel, straight out or hypocritically run with it for a while, appear like a Christian for a while but fall away. Those are the outcomes and that's what we're dealing with in these two verses here. What does he mean when he talks about the rain? Rain often falling. Well, the heavenly blessings of God enabled the land to produce its fruit. Now, I was amazed as I read over all the facts and figures there about rain. Look I'm an engineer. It's what I love. If you don't like all those numbers, that's fine, find a poetic way to talk about how beautiful the rain is. But I just think it's astounding what God does, simply with droplets of water that fall on the soil. How much more complex the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit!
How much more complicated! These are not drops of water that falling on your ears, these are complicated thoughts, they're precepts and commands and promises and warnings that are flowing in pulpits around the world even now. How beautiful is that! So what is this rain that's often falling? Well the rain is consistently presented as evidence of God's special powers over the earth. Something God does, something only God can do, evidence also of God's special love and care for the world and all its people, even the wicked as well as the righteous. Rain is that image. Job 36:27-31 says, "He [God] draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain down into the streams. The clouds poured down their moisture and abundant showers, fall on mankind. Who can understand how He spreads out the clouds? How He thunders from His pavilion? See how He scatters His lightning about Him, bathing the depths of the sea. This is the way He governs the nations and provides food in abundance." Job 36. Matthew 5:45, Jesus said, in the Sermon on the Mount, "He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the righteous, and sends rain on the just in the unjust." Deuteronomy 28:12, it says there, "The Lord will open the heavens, the store house of His bounty to send rain on your land and season, and to bless all the works of your hands." Zechariah 10:1, "Ask the Lord, for rain in the spring time, it is the Lord who makes the storm clouds, He gives showers of rain to men, and plants of the field to everyone."
Jeremiah makes it plain that only God can do this. That only God has the power to send rain, the idols cannot do this. Jeremiah 14:22, "Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the sky themselves send down showers? No, it is You O Lord, our God, therefore, our hope is in You, for You are the one Who does all this." Apart from God's direct action, therefore, on the land, it will produce nothing. The rain must fall. Now, the Greek word for rain here refers to a gentle wedding shower, perfect for growing. It does not refer to a driving rainstorm which would flatten the harvest. Now the words often falling referred to a people consistently under the ongoing blessings of God, as God nourishes the people and sustains them for fruitfulness, the ongoing blessing. So land that drinks in the rain, often falling on it. It's an ongoing ministry here.
The Promised Land was singled out for mention on this one issue. It regularly drank in the rain from heaven. Deuteronomy 11:10-12, it says, "The land you are entering to take over is not like the land of Egypt from which you have come, where you planted your seeds and irrigated it by foot, as in a vegetable garden. But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks in the rain from heaven. It is a land the Lord your God cares for, continually the eyes of the Lord your God are on it from the beginning of the year to the end."
Isn't that a picture of the Church? God richly blessing, just raining blessings on the people of God, pouring out the blessings continually on His people. God doesn't bless His people, with just one taste of heavenly rain, one light drizzle, and that's it. Rather God of pours out His love on His people. Even if they're not responding with the fruitfulness they should demonstrate for His many blessings. He still blesses them. God knows better than we do. How consistently the land must be watered in order to be fruitful. And He is lavishly gracious in providing for the land, what it needs to be fruitful. So also, God knows what his people need, by way of the Holy Spirit and the Word to be spiritually fruitful. And so I believe that that's exactly what the rain symbolizes here, it is the Holy Spirit and the Word, I'm not going to choose one over the other, because earlier in Hebrews 3, it's says, "as the Holy Spirit says," and then he quotes Psalm 95. So the two of them go together, the Holy Spirit's ministry of the Word, that's the rain, and so the Word is like rain. It says in Deuteronomy 32:2 "Let My teaching fall like rain and My words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants." Doctrine equals rain and Deuteronomy 32:2.
Teaching. Doctrine. The Word of God is like rain. Or again, more famously, perhaps, Isaiah 55:10-11 "As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth, making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater. So is my Word which comes out of My mouth. It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." And so the rain is the Word. I think the gospel of Jesus Christ, specifically is like rain coming down, bringing life, Amen.
But I also want to say that the Holy Spirit is like rain, the showers of blessings come through the Spirit. Isaiah 44:3-4 says this, "For I'll pour water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground, I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring and My blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a matter like poplar trees by flowing streams." And so the rain often falling refers to the ongoing ministry of the Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Now in this context, the Hebrew church had been richly blessed by both the Holy Spirit and the ongoing ministry of the Apostolic Word. They had been saturated with both infusions, the infusions of the word infusions of the spirit. Hebrews 2:3&4, "This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard Him. [The apostles] God also testified to it by signs, wonders, and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will." So the word of the Gospel plus the open clear ministry, the apostolic ministry of the Spirit of God, they had received it.
And this land beautifully drank in the rain, drank in the rain often falling. It pictures a thirsty land, yearning for God to bless it, yearning for the heavenly rain. It represents eager, thirsty hearts that had absorbed the ministry of the Word of God in the Spirit. The spiritual rain had soaked into good soil, it penetrated their hearts and it moved them to bring forth the harvest of righteousness to God.
What is the Crop?
And what is the crop? Well, the Greek word is botanen from which we get botany, it's where it comes from, the idea of herbs or any green growing thing. It's a general term for the plants of the fields, seed-bearing plants and all that. Genesis 1:11-12, "Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation, seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various Kind's, and it was so. The land produced vegetation, plants bearing seed according to their kinds, and trees bearing fruit was seed in it according to their kinds and God saw that it was good."
Now, this crop in Hebrews 6:7 is said to be "useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated." So the hard-working farmer expects to eat of the harvest. He desires to feed his family with the fruits of his labor. He has no use for thorns and thistles, they're worthless to Him. He desires useful plants. And when the harvest comes, then the farmer smiles and he's deeply satisfied with his labors and he blesses the land in his heart and he says, "Surely, this is a delightful piece of land, what rich soil! Thank you, God, for letting me live here." He's looking for a harvest. And it comes. The word useful means suitable or profitable, or giving benefit to the farmer. And thus I think the meaning is these crops represent good works, that flow from the life of the Christian as a result of the Word of God, the harvest of righteousness, the fruit of lips that confess God's name, worship and praise, the harvest of actions that build the kingdom of Jesus Christ, evangelism, discipleship, prayer, spiritual gift ministry, generosity to the poor and needy. Just a harvest of fruitfulness because of the ministry of the Word in the Spirit.
Hebrews 6:10, "God is not unjust. He will not forget your work, and the love you have shown Him as you help his people and as you continue to help them." So I think that's what the harvest is. And what is the blessing of God? Land that does all that drinks in the rain, produces a... It receives the blessing of God, it says. It receives the blessing of God. Well, I think we can take that in two senses: Blessing now and blessing eternally. There's a blessing now, here in this world, and there's a blessing forever more in heaven. God, well pleased now with the return on His investment, pours out even more investment on you. More resources go into your fruitful life. He will open up your hearts more and more to show you more and more of the Word of God. You'll understand more and more of the doctrine of scripture. Dark things will become light and clear to you, and your life will become more and more conformed to Christ. And God will bless you more and more with responsibilities in the church and in the world. And He will draw from your life more and more fruitfulness and more and more harvests will come. You're receiving the blessing of God right now and then blessings eternally in Heaven.
The blessings of a rich welcome from God into heaven, a rich welcome. And the blessing of praise from God, rewards from God, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with a few things, now I will to put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your Master." A rich blessing, that's the blessing that this kind of land that we're talking about in verse seven receives, forever from God. This dear friends, I think is the true Christian life, this and no other. This is it. Verse 7 is the true Christian life. The harvest is everything, a life of consistent blessings from God's Word and God's spirit, the noble and eager heart that takes in the gospel of Jesus Christ and brings forth a harvest 100, 60, or 30 times what was sown. Every true believer in Christ produces a harvest for God. This is the consistent teaching of scripture.
II. Barren Land is Cursed by God (vs. 8)
Sadly however, by contrast, we have verse 8, and that is a barren land that's cursed by God. Verse 8, "But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end, it will be burned." The total focus on this is the harvest. What was the harvest? The author here doesn't even speak of the rain falling often on this land, though I think it is implied that it does. Rather the focus is on what the outcome is. The harvest is nothing useful. The thorns and thistles of course, harkens back to the curse on the ground as a result of human sin, back in Genesis 3:17-18 God curses the land because of Adam's sin. Cursed is the ground because of you, it will produce thorns and thistles for you. So the assessment of the land is that it's worthless. The land is like the harvest both the outcome, the harvest is worthless and the land is worthless. They're both worthless.
Now the word worthless in Greek there means literally not approved or rejected. God has studied the heart and the works both, and He's rejected both. He's known the soil of their hearts was evil towards him and then He's also studied the outcome, the actual outcome of their lives. Their works were hypocritical and self-serving at best. That's when they look good on the outside, but at best, they were hypocritical and self-serving. If they gave to the poor and needy, or if they ministered spiritual gifts to the body of Christ, it was not out of love for God or His glory, to the glory of Christ. It wasn't out of a genuine love for the brothers and sisters in Christ, but rather for self-serving reasons, either as Judas who was the faithful keeper of the money bag, but it was a worthless good work because he was secretly helping himself to what was in it.
And so, could also be that their private works are shameful. The things that no one else could see, no one but Jesus knew what Judas was doing with the money bag, they thought he was being faithful. And so either the hypocritical apparently good works or the secret shameful works behind the scenes, where no one sees what these people do in secret in their own rooms, or at night, the works prove the nature of the heart, both the works and the heart are worthless in God's sight. And then look at the danger of the land, the land says that this worthless land is close to cursing or in danger of being cursed. The curse is God's pronouncement upon them, and it carries, just like the blessing did in verse 7, both a present and a future sense. At present the curse is obvious at one level and it's bareness, utter fruitlessness. They're frustrated and fruitless in their lives, they bear nothing of value for God.
Jesus, on His way to the temple, Matthew 21, was hungry in the morning and he saw a fig tree covered with green leaves, and He went up and he found no fruit on it at all. And He said to it, "May you never bear fruit again," and immediately the tree withered. That's the curse now. That's the present curse. Also now, God may increasingly withhold the blessings of rain from heaven, increasingly withhold it. In Deuteronomy 1:17 it says, "Then the Lord's anger will burn against you, and He will shut the heaven so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce and you will soon perish from the good land the Lord is giving you." So He shuts off the heaven and there's no rain. Isaiah 5:6, "I will make it a waste land neither pruned nor cultivated and briars and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on it."
In other words, one curse here and now, is that God withholds the blessings of the Word and the Spirit from that individual. He withholds them. Well, how does that work? Well, they are in a good church. Apparently, that's where it started. They're hearing the fruitfulness of the Word of God, but they don't like it. Their hearts become disaffected concerning it. They pull away from that kind of ministry and they find a church that will tickle their ears, and they don't hear the blessings of the word of God faithfully expounded anymore. They want something different on a Sunday, and so they go to a different kind of church in a different kind of ministry, and they don't receive the rich blessing of the Spirit and the Word anymore, or they stop going all together. And they justify it because of mean things that certain people did or some other thing that happened. I've heard those excuses, but they just don't go to church, they forsake the assembling of themselves together and they just don't go anymore. They are under a curse. They're not receiving the rich blessings of heavenly ministry anymore.
But then there is a curse in the future as well, and that's a dreadful one, dear friends. In the end, it will be burned He says. Jesus speaks these words, "Depart from me, you who are cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." That's Judgment Day and a curse from God, of hell, of eternity and burning separated from God. Again and again, the language of burning is a picture of hell. In Revelation 20 it's pictured as a lake of fire, Judgment Day.
And so the consistent biblical lesson is this, you don't have to just find it in one place you can find it in probably 20, clear teachings on this. Again and again, genuine faith, saving faith, produces a harvest to the glory of God. And if there is no fruit there is no faith, if there's no faith, there's no life, you're dead in your transgressions and sins. Without the fruit you're not a Christian. By our fruit, our harvest God identifies us. John the Baptist said, "Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our Father.' I tell you out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown in the fire." Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, "By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?" Do you hear the same two things, thorns and thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree cannot bear bad fruit or bear's bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Thus by their fruit, you will recognize them.
This is a consistent teaching in the Bible. It's not just in one place. Jesus said in Matthew 12:33, "Make the tree good and its fruit will be good. Make a tree bad and it's fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit." Many parables have as their ultimate outcome a harvest for God, like the parable of the seed in the soils. The good soil produces the crop. The parable of the vineyard, the tenants are judged because they don't bring forth the harvest at harvest time, and so He says, "I tell you the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit," it's harvest.
There's the parable of barren fig tree. Jesus said a "man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard. He went to look for fruit on it, but he didn't find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now, I have been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and I haven't found any. Cut it down. Why should it waste, use up the soil?' 'Sir,' the man replied, 'Leave it alone for one more year. I'll dig around it. I'll fertilize it. And if it bears fruit next year then fine, but if not, then you can cut it down.'"
Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds, it's when the wheat and the weeds sprout up and they show their heads, that you can tell that one is the seeds of the devil, and the other, the seeds of righteousness. The harvest is everything. Jesus said, "I am the vine and you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he'll bear much fruit. Apart from Me, you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers. Such branches are picked up and thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, then ask whatever you wish and it will be given you. This is to My Father's glory that you bring forth much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples." By the way, I can't think of a passage more relevant to the one that I'm preaching on today. John 15, it says, "He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit." In other words, the hangers on, the ones that are in church, but there's no fruit, you see, what I'm saying, cuts them off, thrown in the ground, they wither that's the present cursing, and in the end they're collected and burned that's the final cursing. Same thing, same teaching that Jesus gives. Genuine life in Jesus produces fruit. Consistent teaching.
So what application can we take from this? First and foremost, come to Christ, come to Jesus. Believe in Him. God sent His son, who lived a sinless life, who did all these incredible miracles, but came primarily to die on the cross. Why? Because we are fruitless apart from Him. We are thorns and thistles apart from Jesus. We just bring forth fruit for death, the Scripture says. But the Gospel is here today, and all you have to do is believe in Jesus, if you simply trust in Jesus everything will change. He will take out your heart of stone, He will give you the heart of flesh. The Word of God will start enriching your life. You'll start to see fruitful harvest. You'll start to see good things happening in your life. You'll start to love righteousness and hate wickedness. Everything will change, you'll be a new creation. Oh, I plead with you come to Christ while there's time. Trust in Him. And by continually abiding in Jesus you will bring forth the harvest that the Lord wants from you. Every sermon you hear will soak into your thirsty heart, and it will produce fruit. Every seed of truth will be well-watered and fertilized and it will produce good fruit for the Glory of God, and you will have a sweet and rich sense of the blessing of God on your life. Come to Christ.
If you've already come to Christ, I urge you, first and foremost assess your harvest. Just look and see, is there a harvest of fruitfulness in your life? Is there a rich harvest of the Word of God in your life, do you see the fruit that God says He is looking for from you? Do you see the heart fruit, a hunger for the Word of God, an eager receptiveness as the Word is being proclaimed, as the Word is displayed in your life, an eagerness to hear good preaching and teaching, a hunger displayed in your daily quiet time? You just can't wait to read the Word, you're hungry for it.
A growing faith in God, a stronger and stronger sense of the invisible realities around you that God is alive, He's on His throne, that He is there to bless you, He is powerful and good. And a sense of active reliance on Jesus, venture on Him, venture holy, let no other trust intrude, a growing sense of confidence as you venture forth in Jesus, a deep love for God for Jesus, an affection for Him and attraction for Him. Do you want to see Jesus? Do you yearn to see Him in the face, to see Him on His throne, Do you yearn to sit at table with Him, are you hungering and thirsting for that? And do you have a deep love for the people of God as well? You yearn to be there with them too.
I just closed my eyes during our singing time, just confirmed again, I sing best corporately friends, I just do. When you guys come around me and sing, that's when I sound really good, especially the high notes you ladies. Thank you so much. I can't hit those, but we sing best corporately. Are you yearning to get there with that multitude greater than anyone could count, from every tribe, and language, people and nation, are you horizontally loving the people of God, yearning that they be successful too, fruitful? Do you have a mind set on God? Are you thinking about the things of God? Are your emotions wrapped up in the Kingdom of God? You're rejoicing at news of conversions. You're grieving over the sorrow and brokenness of this world, and especially over other people's sins or apostates, or things you see in their lives. Are your emotions. And then do you see the fruit of the Spirit in your life? Let's just say that, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control, do you see that heart fruit inside you? That's inside.
What about your lifestyle, what about your habits and patterns, what are you doing with your body? Assess yourself. Do you see a consistent pattern of obedience to the commands of God by the power of the Holy Spirit? You read things in scripture, do you do what it says? He wants you to be faithful in prayer, do you pray? He wants you to be generous with your tithes and offerings, are you giving money? He wants you to share the gospel. Are you opening your mouth and witnessing? He wants you to use your spiritual gifts. Do you have a spiritual gift ministry? He wants you to put sin to death by the power of the Spirit. Are you fighting pride and anger and lust, and laziness, and other grievous heart sins by the power of the Spirit? Are you putting them to death? He wants you to guard your mouth and not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful of building others up according to their needs.
Are you careful about your words? Are you grieved when you hurt somebody with your speech? Do you yearn to live your life openly for God by the power of the Holy Spirit? Are you seeing patterns of that? If so, rejoice, give glory to God, you have a good harvest in your life. The fruit is there. It's not perfect. I know that. None of the things I've listed do we do perfectly, but if there's fruit give glory to God. God has saved you from a fruitless, barren existence. He's working fruit in your life, praise God for it. And if you don't see that fruit like you'd like to, oh I yearn that you would repent while there's time. Come again to the cross, Say, "Maybe I've been deceived, but I want to see the fruit in my life. Please work it in me, Jesus, while there's still time." Close with me in prayer.