Faithlife
Faithlife

07-04-01.01

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07-03-25.02              vv                           zz              07-04-01.02

07-03-25.01                                                      07-04-01.01

Title:           “Fruit that endures…”

FCF:            hungering for purpose—desiring significance

D-Theme:   fruit that endures

M-Thrust:   bear fruit with patience

App:           Since the Christian life is about producing fruit that endures we must bear fruit with patience!

Comment:  sermon seemed to go much better @ Haviland than @ Melrose Church. Helen Mumma came up to me afterward and said that it was a good sermon. And we did receive a new member @ Melrose Church today [Betty Tanner]

Subject:     Fruitful Soil – Palm Sunday

Date:          EA4A1B71FD2647B4B8A757E39D612195

Text:           Luke 8:4-15

Focus:        Luke 8:8, 15         Call to Worship: John 15:12-17

4And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: 5“A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. 7And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. 8But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” 9Then His disciples asked Him, saying, “What does this parable mean?” 10And He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘Seeing they may not see, And hearing they may not understand.’ 11“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 14Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.

• Introduction

•   If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did the most for this present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is because Christians have largely ceased to think of the next world that they have become so ineffective in this one …C.S. Lewis

•   What is the hunger of your heart…?

•   As a human being created in the image of God…

•   What thing is the yearning and desire of your life…?

•   I wonder what thing first popped into your head…

•   Isn’t it true that part of the human condition is a…

•   …hungering for purpose—desiring significance…?

•   That in the quietness of our thoughts…

•   Our most secret and deepest prayers…

•   …is a longing for our lives to mean something…

•   …for our lives to make a difference…

•   We all live with that notion but many never come to realize…

•   That as things are—maybe our lives don’t count for much…

•   We’re living just taking up space…

•   Buckwheat Donahue—a resident of Skagway, Alaska—is planning a journey from Key West, Florida, to Nome, Alaska. Starting in October, 2005, Donahue will walk 5000 miles and paddle 2,000 miles across North America. His intention is to raise funds for building a medical clinic in Skagway.

•   Donahue suffered congestive heart failure in 2003, and if he had been in Skagway [@ the time] the absence of a medical clinic would have rendered his survival questionable.

•   He is influenced by Jack London’s words: “The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”

•   “That’s what I want to do,” Donahue muses. “I want to use my time.” Choked with emotion, he adds, “And I want to share it with other people.” [1]

•   In 1867, Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel invented a new high explosive, which he named “dynamite.” He was convinced that his invention would make war too horrible to ever happen again. However, he quickly discovered there was no shortage of buyers for his new explosive. He made a huge fortune from its sales, yet was horrified with the suffering and misery it caused in wars and conflicts. But what was he to do?

•   Towards the end of the 19th, century he awoke one morning to read his own obituary in the local paper: “Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, who died yesterday, devised a way for more people to be killed in a war than ever before. He died a very rich man.”

•   Actually, it was Alfred’s older brother who had died. A newspaper reporter had confused the epitaph. But the account had a profound effect on Alfred. He decided he wanted to be known for something other than developing a means to kill people efficiently, and for amassing a fortune in the process.

•   Go to slide of Nobel Peace Prize Medallion

•   As a result, he initiated the Nobel Prize—an award for scientists and writers who foster peace. Nobel said, “Every man ought to have the chance to correct his epitaph in midstream and write a new one.” [2]

•   Now most of us won’t get our names in the paper…

•   Or have the local TV station out to interview us…

•   But we can be one satisfied in our hunger for purpose…!

•   We can be one fulfilled in our desire for significance…!

•   We can be one who has made a difference…

•   …in the life of another human being…

•   Have you ever heard of the man walking on the beach…?

•   It was the morning after a powerful storm…

•   And the beach was littered with starfish washed up by it…

•   Off in the distance the man saw another man…

•   …picking up starfish—throwing them back in the ocean…

•   …as he approached the man he said to him…

•   “Hey, what are you doing?”

•   “How can you possibly expect to make a difference…!”

•   “There’s just too many for you to throw them all back…”

•   The man throwing the starfish back looked @ him…

•   And as he threw one more in said…

•   Yes, but it makes a difference for this one…

•   Often in our hungering for purpose—desiring significance…

•   We come to the place of resignation and defeat…

•   Thinking that it is impossible to make a difference…

•   When the reality is we only have to make a difference…

•   One soul @ a time… one person @ a time…

•   In the text read to begin the service Jesus talked about fruit…

John 15:16

16You 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.

•   Speaking of producing fruit that endures…!

•   What is the fruit that endures…?

•   Certainly it is lives that are changed by our witness…

•   Lives that are changed by our testimony…

•   Lives that are changed by our outreach and ministry…

•   But it also has to be the fruit of our own changed life…

•   Coming to the end with the witness and testimony…

•   Still firmly planted and rooted in our hearts…

•   And still coming across our lips to the Glory of God…!

•   And so it is that in this version of the parable…

•   Jesus tells us that we must bear fruit with patience…!

•   Because Christianity is about producing fruit that endures…

•   Since the Christian life is about producing fruit that endures we must bear fruit with patience!

•   And we do that three ways…

•   Notice in verse fifteen that there are three verbs…

•  15But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.

•   Hear the Word, keep the Word, and bear the fruit of the Word…

•   So we begin with…

• Hearing the Word

•   If we are truly going to satisfy our hunger for purpose

•   And our desire for significance…

•   It must begin with hearing the Word of God…

•   Have you ever had a conversation with someone…

•   Where they appeared to be listening…

•   But then discovered they didn’t hear a word you said…?

•   This often happens when giving our children instructions…

•   Or when our wives try to have conversation…

•   With a sporting event on the TV…

•   It often also happens when we come to church…

•   We hear the preacher… we see his lips moving…

•   But we don’t really listen to what is being said…

•   It often also happens when we sit down to read the Bible…

•   We see the words… we know what they mean…

•   God endeavors to speak to us…

•   But we don’t really listen to what is being said…

•   The person with a noble and good heart is one who…

•   Has come to the place in their life where…

•   The need to hear God’s Word is paramount in their life…

•   They’ve had their time when they were hard soil…

•   Perhaps shallow and weed filled…

•   Where the soil of their heart failed the Word of God…

•   …to produce the fruit that God is seeking…

•   But now it is that they need to hear…

•   They need a life filled with purpose and significance…

•   Small wonder The Purpose Driven Life was a best-seller…!

•   So then, Jesus says that the key to a fruit-filled life…

•   …is hearing the Word of God… really hearing…

•   …taking the Word and putting it into practice in your life…

•   To hear in this context is to…

•   ἀκούωe; ἐπιδέχομαιb: to listen or pay attention with a resulting conformity to what is advised or commanded [3]

•   So the command given in James makes sense…

•   …that we are not to be hearers only but doers of the Word…[4]

•   If we are to bear fruit that endures after hearing the Word…

• We must Keep the Word

•   And this takes us back to the wayside soil…

•   The pathway where the birds of the air snatch the seed…

•   Before it has a chance to even get started…

•   It is to continue in the Word… holding fast to it…

•   And holding it fast to you… not letting go…

Philippians 2:14-16

14Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16holding fast the Word of Life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

•   How do you hold fast to the Word of Life…?

•   Confess that God’s Words are the source of your life…

•   It is the Word of Life…! Remembering the words of Peter…

John 6:67-68

67Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” 68But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

•   Trust that the Word of Life will speak to you…

•   That God’s Word will guide and direct you…

•   That his Word is living and powerful…

•   Know the Word of Life… reading, studying, and meditating…

•   …hiding God’s Word in your heart…

•   …feeding on his Word… remembering that…

Deuteronomy 8:3

3…man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.

•   True bread—true manna from heaven, which…

•   …we are called to feed upon for our health and growth…

•   Is God’s Word, the Word of God, the Word of Life…

•   As we continue hearing the Word, and keeping the Word…

•   Then we must be…

• Bearing the fruit of the Word

•   This is when our lives begin to find purpose / significance…

•   This is when the meaning of our lives begins to show…

•   God’s purpose for us individually…

•   Which answers the question “Why we are here…?”

•   There is some question about what the fruit of the Word is…

•   Is this a parable about evangelism…?

•   That God is looking for the fruit of souls…?

•   Or is it a parable about the Fruit of the Spirit …

•   That God is seeking fruit on our branches…

•   Of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, etc…

•   And the answer to those questions is YES!

•   I mean if we are asking which it is we might well be asking…

•   “Lord, who is my neighbor…?”

•   Trying to find a way around obedience to God’s command…!

•   After all if you have the Fruit of the Spirit of love…

•   Isn’t that love going to express itself to your fellow man…?

•   By your witness of what God has done in your own life…?

•   If you have the Fruit of the Spirit of love…

•   Aren’t you going to hunger for the souls of the lost…

•   Longing for them to come to know what you have found…?

•   Aren’t you going to want to throw…

•   …as many starfish into the sea as you possibly can…?

•   You can’t save them all…

•   …but you can make a difference to a few…!

•   And what is the beginning place for that passion…?

•   The Fruit of the Spirit of love…!

•   When Jesus said…

John 15:16

16You 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.

•   He said it in the context of loving obedience…

•   That we are no longer servants but friends…

•   Brought into the knowledge of God’s Will for the world…

•   The command has been given—love one another…

•   Even to the laying down of your life for your friends…

•   If we want a life filled with purpose and significance…

•   Then we must bear fruit—and the fruit that will remain…

•   …is the Fruit of the Spirit of love…

•   Genuine compassion and concern for our fellow-man…

•   One thing is certain

•   God sows the seed of the Word intending for it to produce…

•   So hear the Word, keep the Word, and bear the fruit of the Word…

•   And do it…

• …with patience—patient endurance

•   Finding himself in an elevator with Lee Iacocca, an enthusiastic fan paid a compliment to the Chairman of Chrysler Corporation.

•   “Mr. Iacocca,” the man said, “I want to tell you how much I enjoy your television commercials advertising Chrysler.”

•   Iacocca replied, “Sir, I could care less of what you think of my commercials. What I want to know is what kind of car do you drive?” [5]

•   Like Iacocca…

•   God is not impressed with the plant that springs up fast…

•   Showing great promise and potential…

•   Nor is he with the one that grows tall and handsome…

•   Showing even fruit on the branches…

•   What God is impressed with is the one who produces…

•   Who’s there @ harvest time with the fruit of his Word…

•   God is impressed with the one who endures to the end…

•   Who hears his Word, keeps his Word, and bears fruit…

•   It is not about flash and show…

•   But patient endurance in a world where much can happen…

•   To prevent us from bearing fruit in our lives / ministry…

•   It is not about how many start but how many finish the race…

•   The question is… “Will you be there @ the end…?”

• Application

•   The bottom line to ministry is not are we responding with positive regard to how things are said. It is are we turning to the Christ who summons us. Are we merely enjoying the presentation or are we embracing the Person? [6]

• Conclusion

•   The ultimate fruit is the fruit of a relationship with Jesus…

•   For he said “apart from me you can do nothing…!”

•   To stop hungering for purpose—desiring significance…

•   To find fulfillment and meaning in our lives…

•   Is found only in the person of Jesus Christ…

•   That is the fruit that endures…!


----

[1]      Citation: Sherry Simpson, "Buckwheat's Long Road Home," Alaska Magazine (July 2005), pp. 36-39, 73; submitted by Ted De Hass, Bedford, Iowa

[2]      Citation: Doug Murren and Barb Sharin, Is It Real When It Doesn't Work? (Thomas Nelson, 1990); submitted by David Holdaway, Kincardinshire, Scotland

[3]      Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996, c1989). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament : Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (LN 36.14). New York: United Bible societies.

[4]      James 1:22

[5]      Citation: J. R. Love, Rushton, Louisiana

[6]      Citation: J. R. Love, Rushton, Louisiana

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