Friday, August 14, 2015

Fruit: What a Christian life is all about.- Anastasios Kioulachoglou

Fruit: What a Christian life is all about

What is the Christian life all about? It is all about knowing God and His Son Jesus Christ and bringing forth fruit. In John’s gospel, Jesus said:
John 15:16
"You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.”
Also Paul said in Romans 7:4 : 
“Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another– to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.”
In the parable of the sower Jesus speaks about four categories of those who hear the Word. In the second and the third category were those ones that became unfruitful, while in the last one, in the commendable one, is the one “who hears the Word and understand it who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty." (Matthew 13:23).
What God therefore intended for Christians was not just to believe but not change. To just be the same kind of tree or to give the same kind of fruit they were giving before. Our fruitfulness does matter to God. Let me repeat this: it is not God’s intention that you just flow through life. God created you a unique creature, He gifted YOU, yes you, uniquely, and he commissioned you to do one thing: to go forth and bring fruit. We will soon see how this is done, but keep this in mind. God has gifted each and every child of Him, from the youngest to the oldest, from the poorest to the richest, from the illiterate to the most educated, He has gifted them uniquely and desires from them to bear much fruit. Here is what the Lord said, again in John 15:
John 15:8 
By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit;
and John 15:1-2 
"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.….every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
The Father rejoices when His children produce fruit. See that He takes special care to prune, to cleanse, those who bring fruit so that they bring more! The Father does not want to just have vine branches … He wants to have fruitful branches, no, ABUNDANTLY fruitful branches, branches that give fruit to their full potential. Today many Christians are sitting idle in the sidelines, waiting for somebody else to “run the show” for them. A “professional”, as they are not… “professionals”. But Peter and the others - most of them fishermen - of the first century were not “professionals” in this sense. They didn’t graduate from any seminary nor did they need to! The only degree they had was the one in fishing! There are others again that though they have believed, you can really see no change in their life. But Christian life without change, Christian life without fruit is an oxymoron. And I don’t mean with this that passionate Christians with zeal for God and His Word do not make mistakes. They do! But passionate Christians deny the call of the masses, that says “follow the flow… it is enough to go on Sundays to church building, sit in a pew, sing songs and hear sermons, then go back home and forget about it till next Sunday”. Passionate Christians do not compromise. They do not settle for less. They look to God and they want to grow in Him. They want to get closer and closer to Him and His Son. They want to manifest Christ as much as possible in their lives. Passionate Christians have passion for fruit and vision for Christ. And the news is that God wants you to be one of them. To be A PASSIONATE CHRISTIAN, or to say it differently, a Christian with passion for God. A warm one, not a lukewarm one (Revelation 3:15). To be a fruitful branch, blossoming and giving fruit in its full potential. This is what the Christian life is all about.

Fruit: What is it?

Putting it simply I would say that fruit is a changed life, a Christ centred life, a life where we have died to ourselves so that Christ will live through us (Galatians 2:19-20). A life that seeks to satisfy God rather than self or people. A life whose central theme, focus and priority is God. Let’s see what the Scripture says:
Galatians 5:22-25 
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self–control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
By spirit here is meant the new man, Christ in us. Living according to the new man we produce the above given fruit, the character the new man, Christ, has. And in Ephesians 2:10 we read:
Ephesians 2:10 
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
God has already prepared the good works in which we should walk; He has already gifted each one us uniquely, like a tree planted and destined to make fruit. All that we have to do is to walk in what God has already prepared. Doing this is destined to please the Father and bring forth fruit. Also I Peter 4:7-11 tells us:
I Peter 4: 7-11 
“But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins." Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
There are various things that this passage instructs to “be”. Be watchful in prayers. Have fervent love for one another. Be hospitable without grumbling. See also that it says that each one of us has received a gift from God. God has gifted uniquely each and every one of His children. As each of the body parts are unique and placed there with a function, so also each one of us: we have been placed by God in the body of Christ, the church, and we have been gifted uniquely to function there (I Corinthians 12:12-27). And what Peter tells us here is simply one thing: FUNCTION! God has not gifted certain individuals only; He has not gifted just your pastor or priest. This passage does not refer to a specific group of people within the Christian community. In contrast it refers to all Christians, including you! See also that it says “minister it to one another”. This gift was not given to lay dormant! It was given for ministering to one another. I minister to you, you minister to me. Today we are using the word “minister”, to describe somebody with a rather clerical role. So the pastor or priest in the local community of believers is called “minister”. Is he the only one that is supposed to minister, while all others that are not pastors or priests or generally in a clerical role are supposed only to be ministered, yet never to minister? This is the idea that implicitly or explicitly seems to be resident in many minds. Well, the news is that this is not an idea that originated in God nor is it an idea supported by the Scriptures! The idea the Scriptures promote is the following: each one of us has uniquely been gifted by God and has uniquely be placed in the body of Christ. There is no such thing as clergy and laity in the Scripture. As the Scripture tells us, all of us are priests to God. See how wonderfully Peter puts it:
I Peter 2:9 
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people.

                 Anastasios Kioulachoglou

No comments:

Post a Comment