Monday, November 21, 2011

Bearing the Fruit of Grace through God’s Word

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)

Excerpt from “Walking with God and One Another in God’s Word” – 2011-11-20
In Mark 4:20 Jesus said those “who hear the word and accept it” will “bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold." Jesus is telling us here that when we have God’s Word in our hearts we will bear fruit. Our Lord supports this in the Gospel of John: "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” (John 15:5). The fruit-bearing Jesus is speaking of here is the fruit-bearing that first takes root in the heart of the follower of Jesus - who has Jesus “abiding” (present, living in, remaining) in their heart. The Bible tells us that the fruit that we bear with Jesus living in our hearts is the fruit of the Spirit— "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23). Only when the “abiding” Word (Jesus) takes root in our hearts can we bear any of the spiritual fruits. In John 17:17 Jesus prayed: "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth." To word “sanctify” means to “to make holy.” The Word of God is the means the Holy Spirit uses to “sanctify” us, to make us more holy. Our holiness, our Christ-likeness, is what makes us more fruitful to God and to others. But if the “word” of God does not abide in us and take root in our hearts, we cannot bear fruit for God. Our walk with God will neither be consistent nor fruitful if we do not consistently spend time “abiding” in God’s Word.

In Acts 20:32 the apostle Paul said this to the elders of the church in Ephesus: “Now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” The apostle is telling us here that the Word of God is the means by which is the power of the grace of God comes into our lives. The gospel of John tells us the same when it says: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. . . . and from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” When the Word becomes flesh in us we receive grace upon grace. And so reading, studying, hearing, meditating and memorizing and preaching and teaching and discussing the Bible is not a boring, passive activity - but rather a joy-filled, passionate, life-saving, life-building, life-sanctifying activity of God’s grace!