Bearing fruit is the underlying purpose behind the gift of God’s Son. Christ suffered, died, and rose again so that we would die to the law and “belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God” (Romans 7:4).
A new believer in Christ will always exhibit a change in behavior as proof that the fruit-bearing process has begun. Paul told the Colossians, “All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth” (Colossians 1:6).
A growing number of churches, afraid of “scaring” people away, have become more intent on being seeker-sensitive than on trusting God to transform lives, as he has been doing for over two thousand years. We need not worry about the power of the gospel, for it still is the power of God for salvation. We just need to be bold enough to communicate it in simplicity and love.
Jesus said, “By their fruit you will recognize them … every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit” (Matthew 7:16-17). Although Jesus offered this teaching in the context of a warning about false prophets, its application is universal. The only indisputable proof that God’s grace is at work in us is the spiritual fruit we produce. This is neither legalism nor mysticism, but a fact of life in the kingdom of God.
Remember, Israel was rejected by its own Messiah because it did not bear fruit: “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit” (Matthew 21:43).
The Holy Spirit was sent to tenderly draw people to Christ. As you respond to his voice and humble yourself in the presence of God, ask him for a personal revival that will bear fruit to the praise of the glory of his grace.
Jim Cymbala began the Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson.
There is much talk of revival these days, with varying opinions of what it should look like. The first evidence of true revival is a great desire to hear and obey the Word of God. In Nehemiah’s day, the people expressed to Ezra, a priest and scribe, their desire to have the book of the law of Moses read to them. “And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people … and when he opened it, all the people stood up” (Nehemiah 8:5).
The cry of their hearts was, “Bring us the true Word of the Lord!” Ezra stood on a raised, wooden pulpit and read God’s Word for six hours while the multitude stood at attention and listened. Today many Christians get bored in church and want to hear short sermons. On the other hand, there are those who are famished for the Word and long to hear sermons inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Another evidence of revival is true repentance. The people in Nehemiah’s day first rejoiced and praised the Lord at the reading of the Word. Then they bowed low and worshiped: “And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. Then all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen!’ while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground” (8:6). The people, trembling at God’s Word, took it to heart and repented.
When revival comes, there is an incredible spirit of joy and celebration. “And all the people went their way to eat and drink … and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them” (8:12). Wherever the love of God’s Word has been restored and repentance has resulted, there will always come forth a wave of true joy and celebration.
The final evidence of revival is absolute separation from the world. “And those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners” (9:2). Wherever there is biblical restoration, there will be an ever-growing awareness of the Lord’s call to separate from all that is worldly and sensuous.
God is raising up a remnant made up of those who want revival that conforms believers to the image of Jesus Christ. What an exciting time to be alive in the Body of Christ!
Are you tired of living in need when everything you will ever require has been provided? Perhaps your focus is wrong. You tend to dwell on your weaknesses, temptations and past failures — and when you look inside your own heart, what you see discourages you.
God’s love insists that we stop focusing on our failures and sins and, instead, focus on the riches offered to us in Christ. You are to be looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith (see Hebrews 12:2). When Satan comes and points out weakness in your heart, you have every right to answer, “My God already knows it all and he still loves me! He has given me everything I need to get victory and keep it. As far as he is concerned, it is finished!”
God is urging you, “Come boldly to the throne of grace, that [you] may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Remind God that it was his idea for you to come to him. Take God at his Word and say in faith, “Lord Jesus, flood me with your peace because you have said it is mine. I claim rest for my soul.”
You can’t work this up in you. You can’t sing or praise it down on you. No, it comes from being rooted and grounded in a revelation of God’s love for you. This does not come in a feeling but rather in the Word that he himself has spoken: “In my house is bread and enough to spare” (Luke 15:17).
If you ask the Holy Spirit right now to help you seize this truth — to get rooted and grounded in it — the coming days will be the greatest you have ever had. You can go to your loving Father and claim all that is yours!
“[The plain of] Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the Valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down, for My people who have sought Me” (Isaiah 65:10).
God promises that if his children will seek him continually with all their heart, they will always have plenty of spiritual food. Yet those who do not seek God will be empty, famished, dry — wandering about, looking for a shepherd, hungry and never satisfied. The Word says, “You shall be hungry … thirsty … ashamed” (verse 13). But it also says, “Behold, My servants shall eat … drink … rejoice …sing for joy” (verses 13-14).
Those who are shut in with God — pouring out their hearts to him and seeking him in everything — will have power, authority, spiritual strength, food for soul and mind. They will be led by God into a place of spiritual rest and fullness.
Psalm 91 is the favorite Scripture passage of many believers. Such great promises are found here! The entire psalm is a revelation of the delivering, keeping power that comes from living in an attitude of seeking God. The person who lives in this habitation of prayer will have power over all demonic snares, all fear, all sickness and plague — power to prevail and bring forth results in prayer. But there is a condition for this, and it is found in the first verse:
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1)
“Dwell” means to live in his presence. You may wonder, “Does this mean I have to pray all the time?” In a manner of speaking, yes. Paul said, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). That means to let your mind be stayed on God in your every waking hour.
Beloved, all throughout the day, in everything, call upon God in your spirit and you will know his power and order in your every step!
Love, fear, obedience — when it comes to walking with God, they are inseparable because you cannot practice one without the other two.
You cannot love God without having the fear of God in you; you cannot love him without obeying his Word. Some teach that only the fear of God provokes believers to flee sin, while others teach that the only proper motivation against sin is love. Loving him means obeying his every command, but what produces a consistent, lasting obedience? Godly, loving obedience springs from one source: the fear of the living God. Obedience birthed by a true and pious fear of God is love perfected.
If you truly have the fear of God in you, then you will obey his every word. You obtain the fear of God just as Israel did: you learn it! The Lord is ready to teach his fear to all who desire it: “Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord” (Psalm 34:11). Our loving Father teaches us the fear of him through his Word.
Jesus promised incredible blessings to all who obey him. “And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21). This is one of the most powerful promises in the Word of God! The Father has a special love in his heart for those who walk in obedience to his Son.
Begin to walk fully in obedience to all you know of his commands and you will be perfected in your love for Jesus!