Practicing Growing Fruit
This teaching revisits the series Growing Fruit in which you will discover the practices that will help you become fruitful in the Kingdom
Practicing Growing Fruit
Jesus said if you are my disciple you will produce fruit. Of course, we’re not talking about apples, oranges, and bananas—The fruit Jesus was speaking of is the internal fruit of the Spirit, the external fruit of good works, the fruit that occurs in someone’s salvation when you proclaim the gospel, and the fruit of reproducing the truths Jesus has revealed to you in others.
Hear Jesus’ teaching:
John 15:1-2 & 6(NIV)
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit…” “If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”
Growing fruit is expected, an abundant harvest out every believer’s life. If you are fruitless there is something terribly wrong in your relationship to God, and you may have all the right beliefs, all the correct theology, you may have the scripture memorized, but if there is no fruit, there’s a problem. There’s a problem with your love life.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NLT)
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
Love in action is the fertilizer, weed killer, and care that produce fruit. Love is what needs to be practiced for you to grow fruit.
Love is obedience to God’s commands, treating others with respect and meeting their need as the opportunity arises, staying in step with the Holy Spirit, yourself partnering with Him is your sanctification, and finally, love is being a good steward of all that God has entrusted you.
You are empowered to love this way when you trust the gospel, that God in Jesus, made atonement for your sin, reconciling the estrangement in your relationship with God that sin had caused, in faith you acknowledged your predicament of separation and isolation, you believed that Jesus is the answer for you to make things right in your life, you committed to being a follower of Jesus, to continue His Kingdom work in this world, you asked God to accept your faith. In that instant an incredible supernatural change took place. God forgave you of your sins, the things are done that have deterred, damaged and destroyed right relationships, God declared you to be righteous, God adopted you into His family, and God sealed you with the Holy Spirit which begins the process of sanctification that transforms you into exactly what He declared you to be. It is that transforming empowerment of the Holy Spirit that fills your heart with holy love. If there is no fruit in your life, the fruit we will examine momentarily, you need to test yourself to see if you are actually in Christ.
2 Corinthians 13:5 (MSG)
Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don't drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it.
The presence of fruit growing, dynamic, fresh is firsthand evidence that your faith is solid and your relationship with God is right on the mark. Let’s do the test. Got fruit?
Internal fruit is grown when you keep in step with the Spirit of God who indwells you (Galatians 5:25). To keep in step you practice the 7 habits of a disciple, bible reading, prayer, fellowship, service, worship, obedience, and contemplation, for through these activities the Holy Spirit leads. As you stay in step, incorporating the revealed truth you have gained through personal encounter and instruction with God, the fruit of the Spirit grows inside you.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
This internal fruit can be considered the virtues, the inner characteristics of Jesus Himself. The internal fruit describes the type of person Jesus is. It is in His Image God declared you to be when He justified you, the Holy Spirit will transform you into what God declared you to be as you keep in step with the Spirit.
Practicing growing internal fruit is all about keeping in step with the Spirit.
As internal fruit grows within you will find the desire to reach out and take care of others. This results in growing external fruit.
Galatians 5:13-14 (NIV)
“…serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Serve, it is through service you produce external fruit. Service involves using what God has given you to be a blessing to others. God may have given you a supernatural gift to encourage His people (1 Corinthians 12:7). God placed a desire in your heart that led you to acquire the talents and skills that you are to use to bless others. God has brought you through difficult times, comforting you along the way, providing for you through a hard time, with these experiences you are able to bless others going through similar things (1 Corinthians 1:4). Service is good works, the things that you step out of self and do for others because love compels you to do so. Those good works produce external fruit.
Galatians 6:9-10 (MSG)
So let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time, we will harvest a good crop if we don't give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, [we should do good to everyone (NLT)] let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.
Practicing growing external fruit is all about the good works you do for others. You grow this by loving on others, encouraging others, lending that helping hand, whatever your gifts and talents are you use them for the benefit of others; external fruit will grow.
There is proclamation fruit which you are expected to grow. Some think this is a task for a select few, but Jesus told everyone who follows him to be His witnesses.
Acts 1:8 (NIV)
“…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
The ends of the earth just happen to be your neighborhood, the places you live, work, shop, vacation, exercise, the places you enjoy, the places you eat out at, the places you can be seen in. To be Jesus witness means to proclaim what you have experienced, what Jesus has done for you, how He has redeemed you from the dead-end roads of life and blessed you. What you have seen, what you have heard, what you have experienced is what Jesus requires you to tell others.
Silence doesn’t do this. Yes, you do proclaim as you cultivate external fruit by the things you do, but proclamation fruit is putting voice as to why you do what you do. Have you taken the time to develop a 1-minute witness?
The steps for creating a 1-minute witness are in your notes,
First: Get Permission to witness
Second: Explain what your life was like before becoming a believer
Third: Explain what the turning point in your life that convinced you to
Fourth: Share how having Jesus is your life has made a difference.
Fifth: Tell then what you think your life would be like if you had never met
It’s probably best to watch this being done. So there’s this guy who ordered a coffee, he the guy in the white shirt, he is going to proclaim the gospel in 1 minute to the guy in the plaid shirt. Watch and see these five steps in action.
To proclaim you have to have a voice. You are expected to be a witness to what Jesus has done in your life. Notice this is not a debate in which you are trying to convince someone, its simply sowing seed (Mark 4:3 and check out 13-20). If you want, give that person you have witnessed to your card, or give them mine, you’ll find plenty out in the foyer.
To practice producing proclamation fruit, develop your 1-minute witness and find ways to share it with the folks that inhabit everywhere in your world.
Internal Fruit, External fruit, proclamation fruit, alive, growing, renewing, harvesting, never-ending.
One last fruit we will consider and that is reproduction fruit. Reproduction fruit is grown as you pour yourself into someone else by showing them how to live the Christian life. When you demonstrate to another person what Jesus has revealed to you in how to live as a disciple, you are engaging in the reproduction process. Discipleship is an intimate and organic relationship in which both parties involved are encouraged and enlightened in being a Christian as one person demonstrates to another how to conduct their life in a manner worthy of Christ (Philippians 1:27).
2 Timothy 2:2 (NLT)
You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.
Now, not later, not tomorrow, not when you feel better qualified, Now. Now teach all that Jesus has commanded you (Matthew 28:19). When we do this teaching, we are seeking to reproduce in others what Jesus produced in us. We’re not talking preaching, or teaching, or facilitating a small group. We’re not talking some great discipleship curriculum, attending seminars, reading books. We’re simply saying that by allowing someone to get close enough to see how you live and to encourage them to follow Jesus you create an environment for reproduction. This is what is required. That whole process is called discipleship. You are expected to make disciples by showing others how to be Christ-like. The result is reproduction fruit.
To practice reproduction fruit ask God to bring someone into your life to whom you can show the ropes of living the Christian life too. Go make disciples. Such a task really is not an assignment, making disciples is intimate and organic, it’s natural and not forced. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring into your life someone you can demonstrate the very things Jesus has revealed to you.
Fruit is the result of love in action. Not merely hearing, or believing but doing.
James 1:22 (MSG)
Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear!
Internal fruit, external fruit, proclamation fruit, and reproduction fruit are the results of loving God, loving others, and loving yourself. Love makes everything easier. I know myself well enough to confess that I will do things for those I love much more quickly than those I do not. I want to grow so that God’s love fills my heart that there is no difference, that I love my wife, my family, my closest friend, my acquaintances, my brothers and sisters in Christ and that complete stranger with the love that God has loved me with. As this transformation takes place love makes growing fruit natural, normal and compels me to do it.
Here is how you practice growing fruit
a. internal fruit is all about keeping in step with the Spirit.
b. external fruit is all about the good works you do for others.
c. proclamation fruit, develop your 1-minute witness and find ways to share
it with the folks that inhabit everywhere in your world.
d. reproduction fruit, ask God to bring someone into your life to whom you
can show the ropes of living the Christian life.
“‘You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last …”
Go do it, go and produce fruit.