Saturday, May 8, 2010

Good Fruit by Bob Mumford

Other [seed] fell on the good soil and yielded a crop,
 some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.[1]

In spite of adversity and inherent dangers, some seed does manage to grow and conquer in this present life—some thirty, some sixty and some hundredfold. Thirty-fold is considered fruitful and sixty-fold very fruitful. It is seed bearing after its kind. This kind of fruitfulness is what it means by the verse “you will know them by their fruits.”[2]  Hundredfold fruit can be seen in the fruit of the Spirit, which is love: joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.[3] Peter told us that if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.[4]

Reaping good fruit requires time, cultivation, and weeding. God puts various people in our life to help cultivate the seed. Paul said, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.”[5][6] We must let the Seed grow on its own accord; we cannot demand or expect fruit before its season.

God designed repentance to make room for Agape to grow.[7] It is repentance that allows us to move toward being perfect (telios), meaning complete and fruitful in the manner in which the Creator intended. Fruit is Agape and Agape is behavioral. Good fruit fulfills the whole law and does no injury to another. If our behavior doesn’t change, Agape is not being cultivated making it impossible to manifest good fruit. To be good farmers, we must “be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]. And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us.”[8] 

Note the three uses of Agape in these verses: well-beloved, walk in love, and Christ loved us. Jesus described the good fruit of Agape as feeding the hungry; giving water to the thirsty; welcoming, lodging, and entertaining the stranger; clothing the naked; giving help and ministering care to the sick; and visiting the prisoner—and doing so as if we were doing it to Him.[9] It is evident that walking in Agape has to do with behavior not doctrine; it changes the way we conduct our life, the way we speak to our wife and children; it changes us on the inside.

As sons and daughters of the Kingdom, Father seeks to replicate His Own Love in His Own people. The evidence of Christ-like behavior becomes the measurement or standard that we are of Christ and not engaged in some cultic or religious activity. “You will fully know them by their fruits.”[10] It is clear in the New Testament that the ultimate way in which a person or doctrine is to be measured is by the amount of fruit produced. 

Thoughts & Questions

v How would you describe hundredfold fruit?
v Explain why fruit is Agape and Agape is behavioral.
v What is our job as sons and daughters of the Kingdom?

[1] Matthew 13:8
[2] Matthew 7:16
[3] Galatians 5:22-23
[4] 2 Peter 1:8
[5] 1 Corinthians 3:6
[6] Mark 11:13
[7] Matthew 3:8
[8] Ephesians 5:1-2
[9] Matthew 25:34-40
[10] Matthew7:20

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