Monday, September 19, 2011

Be filled with the fruit of righteousness

Be filled with the fruit of righteousness
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11

What does it mean to be filled with the fruit of righteousness – it is to overflow with fruitfulness in the righteousness that we have obtained from Christ.
Every true believer will and must bear fruit in his Christian life. Why did God appoint you? Why have you been chosen of God if indeed you have been chosen? What made God elect you for salvation if you are in salvation? It is that you can bear much fruit! (John 15:16).
This is what our confession of faith states:
All saints that are united to Jesus Christ, their head, by His Spirit, and faith, although they are not made thereby one person with Him, have fellowship in His graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory;[ I John 1:3, 16; Phil. 3:10; Rom. 6:5-6] and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each other’s gifts and graces,[Eph. 4:15-16; I Cor. 12:7; 3:21-23] and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, in an orderly way, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man.[I Thess. 5:11, 14; Rom. 1:12; I John 3:17-18; Gal. 6:10]
Psalm 1: 1-6; John 15:1-8
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. John 15:1-8

Look trees do not bear fruit for themselves. They bear fruit for others to feed on it! You ought to bear fruit in your children; your relatives and friends etc. You don’t bear fruits for your own glory it is for God’s glory! You should bear
The discipleship is not a mechanical enterprise it is organic and flows from the
Do you wonder why you have had so many trials in your life? It is God’s providential mechanism so that you can bear fruit. Having communion with Jesus Christ and this you do by being very close to the Lord.  That you are not bearing fruit is clear evidence that you might not be in Christthe greatest sign that you are in Christ is that you bear fruit. Every true believer will bring fruit to the kingdom of God. What fruit are you bringing in the kingdom of God? Those who are Christ depend on Christ and are strongly in need of Christ.

Those who have no fruits to bear are as good as in the fire. If you had a shamba and you find out that the orange, mango and pawpaw trees you planted are all fruitless after 5 years – would you continue tending them. No! they must be fruitful and their fruits must be useful – you know that because of the poor politics of this country most of the coffee farmers cut them down.
You are not just required to bear fruit but to much fruit – the weakest Christian bears 30% and it is possible to bear 100%! A genuine Christian is far more fruitful than he recognizes. Look at your life, your family, your friends your colleagues and ask what difference have you made in their lives.
We must abide in Christ's word by a regard to it, and it in us as a light to our feet. We must abide in Christ's merit as our righteousness and plea. We must realize that it in us as our support and comfort to be fruitful. The knot of the branch abides in the vine, and the sap of the vine abides in the branch, and so there is a constant communication between them. You see you are not depending on yourself to bear fruit – you are only a branch attached to the very source of life and so bearing fruit is natural. If you abide in me and my words abide in you then you would be  fruitful. How can you be fruitful? – By feeding in Christ’s Words and being in close communion with Christ in prayer then you would be fruitful.
You have to fight to love and you have to fight to have joy and to love and to read your Bible. Self control comes only by the way of practicing and living it. Trials that come your way are to help you to develop and mature such fruits as love, joy, peace, faith, patience, self-control, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness etc. Gal 5:22-23
What are you doing for the Lord?

Therefore it says, "When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men." (In saying, "He ascended," what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Eph 4:8-16
Many will say that they attend church regularly, give a large portion of their income regularly, and that they pray and read their bible constantly. Do you think this is sufficient service to the Lord? In these activities you do, what spiritual gift are these? What ministry do you do and what sphere do you practice these gifts? What have you accomplished for the Lord in the past that you think you are unable to do now? Is it because of age? Or your new family or job-related commitments? Do you wish for the good old days? Anything that may hinder you from serving the Lord more than you did serve Him in the past should be treated like an idol, because they have claimed God’s place in your life.
What part of your Christian life are you most proud of? What is it that if the Lord came now you would want to tell Him about? Is it the way you have been evangelizing or the way you have been making disciples? Is it the way you have been faithful in your duties or the way you have delighted in the Lord?
How would you account for your time before the Lord? Would you, with a good conscience say, that you have looked carefully how you have been walking, not as unwise but as wise, and that you have been making the best use your time? Eph 5:15-16

Each one of us has a responsibility in the church as long as he has been saved by the Lord and placed in a local church. It is for us to ask ourselves, what is it that we are doing in service to the Master? We should not be content in being spectators in the church. Eric Wright a long serving missionary in Pakistan wrote a book that he called, ‘Church – No Spectator Sport’ and it is an appeal to return to the priesthood of all believers. He says that every member ministry is biblically normative because when the Lord was ascending, He never proposed that His church become a congregation of spectators, rather, when He ascended He gave gifts to men that all may participate in ministry (Eph. 4:8).
How would you discover your gifts?
1.       Taking an inventory of providential preparation
Natural abilities, our education and training, our ministry and work experiences, along with any skills we have acquired, will furnish us with a glimpse of the Spirit’s work in endowing us with gifts. Find out all the jobs, education, jobs, hobbies, interests or talents you that could in any way be used of God in the ministry. First think of yourself outside of your church – in your home, at work the way you spend your leisure time.
2.       Taking inventory of our sense of need
Christians are people who meet needs. Take a moment and consider what greatest concern that you have for the church that you are constantly praying or thinking about as not met as you may want. Then ponder some of the ways that you think you can help. You can as well ask, what is it that I may want improved (removed, added to or something different) in this church? What can I do to help in improving this need? What lacking in the life of my church? We are supposed to pursue this line of reasoning because there is a possibility of repressing some spiritual gifts to the detriment of the church. Unmet needs in the church cry out for ministry.
3.       Taking an inventory of effectiveness
Needs that are met show that there is a spiritually gifted person present. When there is ineffectiveness in the church in particular ministries it shows that there is someone who is not exercising his spiritual gift. People led by the Spirit exercise their gifts inevitably produce spiritual fruit. Think over your own life. In what areas can you recognize some degree of some spiritual effectiveness? Whom have you helped through witnessing, teaching, encouragement, mercy, giving, etc.? do others seek you to talk over your problems? Are there practical things you do like witnessing to your neighbors with other church members, taking food and the gospel to those in prison, counseling young people for marriage etc? Where are you most effective in serving Christ? Where do you see fruit from your labours?
4.      Taking an inventory of enjoyment and fulfillment
God did not create us for misery. When we glorify God we find a deep sense of fulfillment, joy and satisfaction. As much as Christian life calls for suffering and self-denial there is a lot of joy and fulfillment for those Christians who suffer for their faith. Paul was bitten up severally in his endevours to evangelize to the Gentile world and yet He was very happy in Christ. Our desires and aspirations are vital in finding out what one can do for the Lord. You can ask yourself,  if I could be assured of success , what I would most likely want to contribute to my church fellowship? What would you really love to do if you could? As a rule God , God prepares us to find satisfying niche of ministry where we can use our gifts. Are there moments when we find that our minds are a fountain of ideas and methods about how to engage in a certain project or service? Our potential gifts must yield a certain measure of enthusiasm. As much as every ministry must have its share of sacrifices those who find ministry in the areas of their giftedness find great satisfaction.
5.      Taking an inventory in other people’s counsel

6.      Taking adequate time to discover your gifts

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