“Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance”
“And think not to say within yourselves, ‘We have Abraham to our father’: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire”
Somebody said to the fruitful trees, “You do not make a noise in your own appreciation. You don’t praise yourself, strong winds pass over you but you do not swing your branches that people should look toward you; they should be attracted toward you.”
The fruitful trees responded, “Our fruit is our advertisement and our promotion.’’
It is very essential for a believer to tell others about God through his fruit and witness. As believers, do we tell others about God through our witness and fruitful life?
|“Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.”
”Declare ye in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem; and say, Blow ye the trumpet in the land: cry, gather together, and say, ‘Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the defenced cities’.”
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good; that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;”
“To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;”
“Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:”
“That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.”
The Old and New Testament present verses where a believer is personified as a green tree, and he has been advised that he should produce fruit in his life.
What is the meaning of: “Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance” (Matthew 3:8)? It means that we should walk worthy of our repentance; we must live in keeping with our repentance.
We became a new creation by confessing our sins, asking forgiveness, repenting of our sins and believing in the atoning death of our Lord Jesus Christ and his resurrection. For this experience of salvation we only need faith and the grace of God. For securing salvation, God dois not put any terms and conditions on us.
In our materialistic world, we see it very vividly in advertising. Whether it is a mobile company, the promotion of a bank, or any saving scheme, all the benefits are shown to potential customers. They are motivated by these offers, but in the end there is a very small sign… (*) …it is very important. In this sign board or in the forms presented to customers in very small writing, it is written. “Terms and conditions are applicable.” From this point everything becomes suspicious. In fact, secretly, the company is taking the main benefit.
But when God loved the world and performed great tasks to secure man’s salvation, He did not put any terms or conditions on His salvation. All the benefits go to the individual; from darkness he comes into the light and from death he enters into life. For this salvation, he does not need to pay any price, atonement, or sacrifice.
Christian poet, Gulzar Naz, writes in a song;
Here man only needs faith,
You are ready to tell everything,
Christ has risen today to make us alive,
To deliver the world from the bondage of death.
Dear friends, our God puts no conditions upon us when He offers us salvation. When He gives us salvation He demands from a believer only that he should produce fruits in his life according to his repentance. “Our fruit is our advertisement or our promotion.’’
“Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:” (Matthew 3:8). And we may show the attributes of our glorious God through our lives.
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”
1 Peter 2:9
Through this fruit, automatically from our life, people will know about our Lord Jesus Christ. The same fruit will spread our witness in an effective way in this world and it will result in telling other people about salvation. That is why it is very pivotal that a believer must produce fruit according to his salvation.
In the New Testament this fruit is more vividly explained. This fruit is not only our tithe, offerings, thanks-giving, going to church every Sunday, preaching the word of God, taking part in the Lord’s Table, singing and praising with a great joy and zeal, to become the part of a Bible study group or to join the youth meetings. These are activities. We must participate regularly in these activities to become a good disciple. In fact, true spiritual fruit is that which is not only visible in the boundaries of the church or among the believers, but in every aspect of life and conduct. Our fruit should be seen in all matters of life and before every human being. We read about this fruit of the Spirit in Galatians.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law”
Now you compare these qualities in the Old Testament with the life of Joseph, his father Jacob says,
“Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:”
We can see these qualities very clearly in the life of Lord Jesus Christ that is why Paul wrote,
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”
The presence of such qualities in a believer makes him spiritually fruitful. Otherwise such person lives with misunderstanding that he is a believer in Christ. God is not interested in such ‘nominal’ Christians.
Let us examine our lives in this beginning of the year:
Am I a believer?
If I am a believer, then is my life really fruitful?
Is my life beneficial to others?
Is the name of God glorified through my life?
Is the mind of Christ reflected through my life?
Is the above-mentioned fruit of the Spirit produced in my life?
Is my life telling others about the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ?
If, as a believer in Christ, the answers to these questions sound negative then it is a serious moment for you to think about it! It is a very dangerous and alarming situation.
The Lord God spoke to the nation of Israel through the prophet Jeremiah,
“Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?”
Dear friend, may God not use such words about us! This is why we must be careful and on alert.
In the Gospel of Luke, the Lord Jesus gave the parable of a fruitless tree:
“He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down”
In this parable we clearly see that the owner of the vineyard is God Himself. The vineyard is this world. The fig tree is the nation of Israel. The three years show the three years’ ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. But the Lord Jesus Christ is pleading before God for this tree to be given one more chance, one more opportunity.
Please remember, that this New Year is an opportunity from our loving and merciful heavenly Father. Let us make our spiritual life fruitful, otherwise we will lose.
In this parable the Lord Jesus Christ is anxious about us:
“As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him”
We see the Lord Jesus Christ pleading on our behalf:
“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them”
In this He offers us one more opportunity. He guides in, through His Holy Spirit, so that our life may be fruitful.
There are no golden opportunities in life, but life itself is a golden opportunity from God.
Take best out of it!
May the Lord bless us and make our lives fruitful.
May He be praised for evermore. (Amen)
Pastor Robinson Samuel Gill.
(Emmanuel Church Rawalpindi, Pakistan)