Fruitfulness, beloved, is a byproduct of being in the presence of your blessed Lord and obeying Him, step by step.
And hello radio friends! How in the world are you? You doing all right? Well of course I wait for you to answer. I like to know how you are. I trust everything’s going all right at your house.
We want to go on in this discussion of the matter of fruitfulness. Paul, the apostle said to Titus, “Our crowd needs to remember to maintain good works for necessary uses and that they be not unfruitful”. So, you and I got thinking about fruit and we stop long enough to say that you still can be fruitful in old age. That’s good for lots of us, isn’t it? “They shall still bring forth fruit in old age. They shall be fat and flourishing”. I don’t know how well you like the word fat, but in the Scripture, skinniness and scrawniness is associated with unpleasant and unfruitful conditions in life, and if a person were, well-rounded let us say, that meant that they were living well and doing well. That was a general use of that figure of speech person. Of course, in our day when everybody’s trying to lose all the weight they can, I suppose that’s an unpopular concept isn’t it, but the idea flourishing, prospering, being fruitful, it’s right there for us, and these are people who are planted in the house of the Lord. That is to say, your faith is solid your, your fellowship with your Lord is constant, your dynamic connection with His Almighty power is unspoiled, unsullied by anything that would hinder it. “You’re going to be fruitful”, says Paul, and the psalmist says, “Right straight through the end of your life you can be fruitful”.
Now, I’m talking to someone I’m sure who’s been discouraged with the passing of the years. The kids don’t write or even phone anymore, and the world seems to be passing you by, and you sort of heave a sigh and say, “Well, I guess that’s how it is, put the old man out to pasture and forget him”. No, it doesn’t have to be that way. Spend some time speaking with your Lord and listening to Him as the faithful, indwelling Holy Spirit whispers to your heart some things that you could do to be fruitful, to be a blessing in other words. You know when I go off the air I say, “Walk with the King and be a blessing”? Well, fruitfulness actually is the process of blessing others, isn’t it and of demonstrating in your own life the qualities of God’s own nature, the fruit of the Spirit.
So, if I’m talking to somebody who’s discouraged because the years are going by and the world seems be passing you by, and even the members of your own family have forgotten you, they’re too busy, well you don’t have to either be hurt or bitter about it beloved. Did you hear me? You don’t have to be either hurt or bitter about it. You can go right straight on and bless people all around you and have the joy of the Lord in your heart and the shine of God on your life. Oh that’s great. Planted in the house of the Lord, that is to say, your relationship with Him is firm, your fellowship with Him is constant and your contact with His power is unhindered by anything that would get between Him and you. Fruitfulness, even in old age.
Well, there’s a lot of people talking, you have to give up, you have to slow down. I hear that once in a while. People say to me, “Cook, you ought to slow down”. Hey, I’m a fireman, not a brakeman. Let somebody else put on the brakes. I keep going for the Lord. I pray every day that God will make every year better than the ones before, long as I’m drawing breath, I just, I just want to serve Him and be fruitful. Don’t you? I know you do.
Now, we mentioned a moment ago, Galatians 5:22, “The fruit of the Spirit”, the result of the Holy Spirit of God working in your life is to produce these qualities which are a reduplication of the very nature of your Lord. “Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, in such” says Paul, “there’s no law”.
Fruitfulness involves the control of the Holy Spirit of God. Our Lord Jesus said that fruitfulness involves abiding in Him. Do you remember that passage in John 15? “Herein is my Father glorified that ye bear much fruit”. Now, what’s the process? “Every branch in me that beareth fruit, He prunes it”, John 15: 2, “that it may bring forth more fruit”. Abide in me and I in you, as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine, no more can ye except ye abide in me. He that abide in me and I in him, the same bring forth much fruit, for without me ye can do nothing”. So you have some fruit, more fruit, much fruit.
That’s the progress of thought there in John 15, the opening verses, and abiding produces not only fruitfulness, but also power in prayer. “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will and should be done unto you”. Once you establish through the guidance of the Holy Spirit of God that you’re praying on the revealed will of God, as we find it in God’s word, and as the Holy Spirit witnesses it to your heart, once you’ve established that you are indeed praying in the will of God, you can ask in Jesus’ name and know that you going to get your request.
I have had, just as you have, I’ve had many so called unanswered prayers, but there has never been a time as I recollect my life, there’s never been a time when I was certain after having searched the Scriptures and having had the truth of God’s written Word witnessed in my own heart by the Holy Spirit, so I knew that I was praying according to the Will of God, and that blessed witnesses, unmistakable, there’s no if clause in it, you know you’re in God’s Will, every time I’ve had that experience beloved, just as many of you, the prayer has been gloriously answered. See, God doesn’t play games. When you’re praying according to His will, and the Spirit of God is helping you, because Paul says, “Likewise, the Spirit helpeth our infirmities because we know not what we should pray for”, what that is, “we should pray for as we ought but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered”, and there is a wordless language of the soul even though it may come out just as a groan, so far as you and I are audibly concerned, the Holy Spirit of God is moving toward the throne of grace on your behalf, so that the Will of God will be done in your life.
Oh, thank God for His mercy and His love and His grace in dealing with us poor human beings. Can’t you say amen to that? Well, our Lord Jesus said, “You’ve not chosen me, but I’ve chosen you and ordained you that ye should go and bring forth fruit and that your fruit should remain, that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father my name, He may give it you”. Your fruit, the fruit of a grain of corn is a stalk of corn and the fruit of an acorn is an oak tree and the fruit of a Christian is another Christian. Our Lord Jesus Christ seeks to extend His presence into other lives as you and I witness for Him and share our faith with others and introduce other people to Him. Your fruit will remain, and then the other purpose, He said, “I’ve ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit”, that’s one. “that your fruit should remain”, that’s two, and three, “that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father my name, He may give it you. These things I command you”.
Well now, fruit bearing is not an option. Fruitfulness as a result of the Holy Spirit of God working in your life, the fruit of the Spirit is not an option. Paul says, “Be not drunk with wine wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit”, it’s a command, and the fruitfulness that Jesus spoke of when He said to the disciples, “Your fruit”, is not an option, it’s not something you can say, well I’ll do it when I get around to it. This is something our Lord Jesus said, “I command you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, that your fruit should remain”. It’s something that has a spiritual an eternal connotation to it, that it doesn’t just wear away and that you get your prayers answered. That’s what He said.
Fruitfulness. Do you know anything about that in your life? Oh you say, I’ve tried so often. Well, let me say something to you. Fruitfulness in each case is a byproduct of a relationship. It’s the fruit of the Spirit. It’s the fruit that comes through abiding in Christ, a result of abiding in Him and obeying Him. First He said, “Abide in me”, and then He said, “that you should go and bring forth fruit”. So there’s the waiting before God and then there is the going forth into the battlefield, so to speak, as His representative.
A good illustration of that is found in the Old Testament, in the story of the prophet. Let me turn back to it, turning the pages here of my big Bible. You can always hear me turning the pages, can’t you? The story of Elijah the prophet, The word of the Lord came to Elijah and gave him a command. Let me see if I can find that. First Kings 17 is the passage, “The word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite saying, ‘Get thee hence and turn thee eastward and hide thyself by the Brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. It shall be that thou shall drink the brook and have commanded the ravens to feed thee there’”. So, he went and did according to the work of the Lord, he went dwelt by the Brook Cherith. The ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening. He drank of the brook.
“Hide thyself”. Well, the brook dried up and the word of the Lord said, “Get to Zarephath down by Zidon, and dwell there. I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee”, a most unlikely situation because it was no welfare in those days, and if a person were widowed she had very little choice if she didn’t have grown children who would sustain her, she had very little choice if she wanted to stay moral, that was, but to starve to death. This was in the case of the lady that Elijah met and he went to Zarephath, and he found a woman gathering sticks, he said, “Give me a little water to drink”, as she was going to fetch it he said, “Bring a morsel of bread would you”, and she said, “I have a cake not, but a handful of meal and a barrel little oil and a cruise and I’m gathering two sticks for me and my son that I may go and dress it for my son that we may eat it and die and starve to death”. Well you know rest of the story. God took care, not only of the widow and her son but also His prophet.
Now, after the years had passed, the Word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year of this drought, and He said, “Go, show thyself unto Ahab and I will send rain on the earth”. So, first there was in 1 Kings 17, “Go hide yourself”, and 1 Kings 18, “Go show yourself”. You have to get into the presence of God and be quiet before Him before you can go out into the battlefield represent Him. You know that. Fruitfulness beloved, is a byproduct of being in the presence of your blessed Lord and then obeying Him, step by step.
Dear Father today, oh may we spend enough time in Thy presence to be fruitful as we obey Thee, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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