Grow Fruit Part 3 Proclamation Fruit
Grow Fruit Part 3: Proclamation Fruit
Grow deep in your relationship with God, Grow up in your faith, grow fruit for the Kingdom. An assurance that you are growing deep and growing up as a follower of Jesus is that you are producing fruit.
John 15:5 (NLT) & John 15:5 (MSG)
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.” “When you're joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant.”
If there is no fruit, you may be a Christian in belief only, not in action. What is in the head is not moving out of the heart; which implies that you may not be a Christian at all.
In our first exploration of growing fruit, we concentrated on the Fruit of the Spirit. The internal virtues that grow within us, changes who we are, transforming every believer to be more like Jesus. “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22) are the inner fruit that changes us from the inside out.
In part two we considered the gifts of the Spirit, these are empowerments given to us supernaturally and the talents and abilities, knowledge, wisdom and experience you have gained through natural means; both to be used to bless others. When we use these gifts to bless others we are producing fruit. We called this external fruit.
Today we will discover that we are to produce fruit by proclaiming the Gospel to those who have not yet embraced God’s love for them. To proclaim is to speak of something that you consider important. As we grow deeper in our knowing of God, as we grow up maturing in our faith, we grow internal fruit, external fruit and we grow proclamation fruit by voicing to others the good news of the gospel (Acts 5:43).
Jesus told us his disciples this story:
Matthew 13:3-9 (NIV)
A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still, other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop--a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear."
As disciples, we are to sow the seed of the good news of the Kingdom of God. The results of your effort depend on the person who hears what you have to say. Fruit happens when your message embeds itself into the soul of a person and they become a brother or sister in Christ.
Proclaiming, speaking, telling other people the good news of the Kingdom is not just for those assigned tasks of pastors, evangelists, teachers, missionary, rather this responsibility is given to everyone who is a follower of Jesus. If you are a Christ-follower, a disciple of Jesus, you are expected to proclaim to others the good news of the gospel, for when someone responds, the result is fruit.
The seed you are to sow needs to look good. The good looking seed comes from the person who is “all in” with God. They are not perfect but one thing they do: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, [they] press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called [them] heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:13-14 (NIV). The seed looks good when you are producing inner fruit, that fruit of the Spirit. The seed looks good when there is no judgment, no arm twisting pressure, and no arguments. The seed looks good when it is sown from a heart of concern and care for the eternal well-being of another human being. The internal fruit is who you are, the person you are becoming, Christ-likeness makes the seed beautiful
The seed you are to sow looks good by your use of the external gifts of the Spirit. Those outward behaviors, that set you apart as a lover of people, your respect of them and doing your best to help them, make the seed attractive. The external fruit are the things you do that bring a blessing to others, this makes the seed eye-catching, people take notice. It is through your Spirit motivated good works that people are prepared to receive the message you have to share.
The seed is the gospel. The Gospel is easily proclaimed in one verse:
John 3:16 (NLT)
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
Added to your task of growing inner fruit and the external fruit you need to develop a voice to tell others the gospel. People must see the gospel and hear the gospel before they can respond to the gospel. Paul the Apostle asks each of us these questions: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?” (Romans 10:13-14 (NIV). The seed not only must look good, but it must also have your voice.
The Gospel is easily proclaimed in one verse:
1 John 4:10 (MSG)
This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they've done to our relationship with God.
You might say but I have no voice. I am shy, I’m introverted, I am not a player I am an observer. I was taught that polite conversation excludes the topics of politics and religion. I am afraid to speak because I might be ridiculed, ostracized, persecuted. It could cause problems at work, with friends and neighbors. I don’t know what to say. I’m afraid I’ll sound stupid. I might not be able to answer the questions they have. Besides all the people I know are already Christians. These are the kinds of excuses the immature in Christ have for avoiding speaking the gospel.
Motivating the thousands of excuses for being silent is the fear of ridicule and rejection and simply disobedience. When we follow the dictates of egoism we are not living the life of a disciple and we are forfeiting the blessings the being a fruit producer brings.
The Gospel is easily proclaimed in one verse:
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
To produce the fruit we are to proclaim the gospel. We are empowered to speak because the Holy Spirit indwells you giving you the strength to walk in faith to overcome the fear of ridicule and rejection. The response to the message is up to each individual. We are not responsible for saving people. Our responsibility is informing people about the grace God has set before them. When they respond to the Gospel, you have had a part in producing fruit in the Kingdom.
Jesus expects all his followers to be part of this fruit growing effort:
Mark 16:15 ESV
“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
It doesn’t get more black and white than that—Jesus gives us a duty to fulfill, to continue His ministry here upon the earth. What is your response to His charge? The disciple who does not obey, the one who is not troubled or concerned about their disobedience is in danger of being disqualified from the prize which God has called them heavenward in Christ Jesus (1 Cor 9:27; Phil 3:14).
The Apostle Paul echoes the words of Jesus and gives us another verse that proclaims the gospel.
2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (NIV)
We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
There is a clarion call. Each and every follower of Jesus is His representative to the world in which you live, in the places you shop, in the venues you are entertained, and in the occupations you have. In another parable about the Father’s desire that everyone establishes a right relationship with Him, Jesus puts these words in the mouth of the host of the party:
Luke 14:22-23 (NLT)
‘There is still room for more.’ So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come so that the house will be full.
Urge anyone you find. The anyones you find are the ones to whom you are to proclaim the gospel, and by doing so you produce an abundance of fruit. These anyones are the people you come in contact with. Friends, family, strangers, all are anyones. You may be the only person who they will be able to hear the gospel from (Acts 8:4). You are to be the one who produces fruit because you sowed the seed of the gospel and it took root in anyones life.
Its takes a voice, your voice, for anyone to hear the gospel.
Romans 1:16 ESV
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.
Silence is complicity with shame. In our culture today being a follower of Jesus is not popular, it is under attack. Here in these United States, whose motto is “In God We Trust,” the only God, the God of Abraham, the trendsetters have set upon the course of persecuting Christians. The culture was cowed believers into silence, into disobedience: church mouse timidity. Disciple of Jesus your voice is already empowered, use it.
2 Tim 1:7-9 (NIV)
God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me [Paul] his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life--
The seed of the gospel is beautiful when it is sown from the life of the one growing internal and external fruit. You have already been empowered by the Holy Spirit to sow seed, to produce fruit (Acts 1:8) when you first believed. This is what is expected, that you produce much fruit. So find your voice, the one that sows seeds of salvation. Overcome your hesitation, your reluctance to speak the gospel in love by trusting that if you do what God commands, God will set others free. What an incredible reward it is to know because you spoke, anyone came to faith in Christ. Because of you, anyone will know life eternal.
Internal fruit, external fruit, proclamation fruit, those who follow Jesus, those who enjoy an intimate and organic relationship, those who abide in Christ, produce these kinds of fruit, and they produce this fruit in abundance, abundance means more than enough. Got Fruit?