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Andy and Melissa Beshore

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Bearing fruit - Dicussion in Matthew

This blog was originally posted May 20th on our other website http://thebeshorefamily.blogspot.com .

Hi everyone. Andy Here. I was reading earlier in the book of Matthew. It appears as though any spiritual truth we garner from the Scriptures is nothing that we can say we achieve ourselves. In Matthew 13, the disciples ask Christ why He speaks in parables (v. 10). In verse eleven, Jesus replies that it “has been given” to them “to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.” In addition, if you look at Matthew 11:25-30, Jesus thanks “the Father” for “hiding” truth from those who had rejected Him and revealing truth to those who follow the truth (“the babes”). This is why the Pharisees always were in the wrong in their interpretation of the Law and how to live life. The truth had been hidden from them.

Further on in chapter 16, from verses 13 to 17, Jesus is talking to His disciples and asks the disciples to say who He is. Peter says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Now, notice Jesus’ reply to Peter. “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” So, who revealed to Simon/Peter who Christ was? Jesus clearly says it is the Father. Why Peter and not the Pharisees? What makes him so special? It seems that Peter’s heart was more willing and open, that his attitude was more receptive to what God through Christ was trying to tell him. Now, the state of Peter’s heart was made entirely possible through a sovereign regenerating work by God, however, the point remains that in order to accurately understand what God is telling us, God has to give us the understanding. Understanding is not something you and I get ourselves.

Have you ever been to church and could not remember anything about what was preached? Sadly, I can say that has happened to me on multiple occasions. This is why I try to take notes on what I hear whenever I can. It is nice when a pastor provides some sort of outline for his congregation. The pastor of First Baptist Church of Muscle Shoals, Jeff Noblit, has something on their website called “Take it Home” where he gives you a study guide that is a supplement to his Sunday message that you can take home and discuss with your family. This encourages families to spend time during the week together getting as much out of God’s Word as they can to further His kingdom. Isn’t that the point of family? To further the Kingdom? I wish more pastors would do that. Back to the point.

Why do we not remember things we hear? I believe the answer is given to us by Jesus in Matthew 13, beginning with verse 1. This is the Parable of the Sower. I am so thankful to Jesus that He gave us the interpretation of this poignant piece of Scripture that he did not leave it up to us mere mortals to figure it out. In verse four, Jesus tells us that some seeds fell by the wayside. In his interpretation, in verse nineteen, Jesus explains that the wayside hearer who hears but does not understand (or forgets), the wicked one (Satan) comes and snatches it from us. I think that a great way to keep that from happening is to take notes during service and study those notes throughout the week. It is a tremendous help when pastors life Jeff Noblit (I call him “door knob”) provide something like that.

In verse five, other seed falls on stony places where roots cannot go deep in the soil, then spring up quickly, and wither in the sun. If we are not truly children of God, the Word will appear to live through us for a time, but when persecuted or tempted, we will fall away. The fruits we bear will not provide sufficient proof that we are children of God (Matthew 7:15-20). If we are true children of God, we will bear fruits, albeit at differing levels, but there will be a consistent growth in the quantity and quality of fruit in the life of the true Christian. Has our Christian walk slowed to a crawl? Have we grown at least at some level consistently since conversion?

Back in Matthew 13, now in verse 7, Jesus tells us that some receive seeds among thorns that choke the seeds. Further on in 13:22, Jesus explains that those of us who receive among the thorns hear the Word, but “the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful.” Do we want bigger and better stuff? Or are we content with what we have? Do we want to make a ton of money and have lots of stuff, or do we want what God wants, whether it is for us to have a ton of money and possessions or not? If it is the latter, these motivating forces, which take a lot of time to pursue, rob us of the time we should be spending learning God’s Word. Do we read the Word daily without fail? Can we remember the last time we skipped a day in the Bible? Was there conviction about that? I get out of bed at night if I even think I may have forgotten to read the Word that day.

Finally, verse 8 “others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” In verse 23, Jesus explains that if you receive on good ground you are one “who hears the Word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces fruit (some more than others). However, there will be consistent fruit bearing. Are their fruits coming forth in our lives that reflect a heart change that God has orchestrated? Are we trusting that we are a “good people” by the world’s standards? Are we trusting in a decision we made that we or some evangelist or pastor orchestrated? We should think about these things and make sure. We might not have tomorrow. Not that I have all the answers. Not even close, but I do pray for God to give me wisdom. I think that is the best thing we could ever ask for. If someone reads this and instinctually gets defensive or disagrees, please calm down, slow down, and quietly pray to God to show you wisdom. If your heart is right with Him, He will. Thank you for reading this.

Andy

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