WRITTEN BY MELISSA H. STRAUTMAN, LMT
Redemption Always Bears Fruit – From Lesson #9 of The Book of Ruth
As we close out the Book of Ruth series, we see Boaz and Ruth marry. This is a beautiful example of God’s redemption in the life of His children. Ruth started out as part of a people totally separated from God, but He selected her to be a part of His chosen family (the Israelites). Many blessings flowed through other members of God’s family (Naomi & Boaz) for Ruth’s provision and protection after the loss of her husband and potential children. God is showing us how His miraculous redemption works for His children, in His family, then and now. But that’s not the end of the story.
There is great fruit expected from this redemption. The fruit of this redemptive story is a child born to Ruth and Boaz and a grandchild for Naomi. The fruit of Christ’s redeeming work of the cross was bringing many sons to salvation in accord with the Father’s will. It is expected that redeemed people will produce fruit of some glorifying sort. A redeemed person with no fruit is no redeemed person. The fruit is validation, proof positive of one’s salvation. Matthew 13:23 illustrates this truth perfectly.
As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.
The yield produced in every Christian’s life isn’t necessarily going to be the same but there must be fruit “indeed”.
Matthew 7 tells us that every healthy tree bears fruit. If the fruit is rotten, then we’ve been deceived into believing that the person confessing Christ is a believer. A bad tree [deceiver] can’t/won’t bear good fruit. We are suppose to examine the fruit in our own lives and that of our brothers and sisters in Christ. God has said that He will take the kingdom away from those [Israel] not producing fruit; making clear they do not belong.
“Clean up in the fruit aisle”!
I do not believe that anyone reading this can argue with Christ’s airtight argument that every believer must bear fruit, but I know some will say, “I know this is true, but I have no idea if I bear fruit acceptable to God”. Let your sincere desire for acceptable fruit serve you well by asking…
- “Holy Father, how do you want my beliefs and actions to change?”
- “How can I accomplish that change?”
- “Lord, show me the first step in making that change.”
It’s Okay to Squeeze the Fruit
Paul tells us to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith. You don’t need a small group leader or a puffed-up accountability-partner to tell you how you’re doing. Shame on this practice of the modern church that reeks of idolatry. Do the work yourself as God has instructed, guided by faith alone, as revealed in scripture alone, all to the glory of God alone.
2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?
Is Christ’s claim that you bear fruit and Paul’s direction to examine yourself a challenge too great for you? I say it’s not! Fall on your face in your weakness and beg your living God to work the works He has promised in your life. His incredible Holy Spirit exists within you to assist you. Ask Him to crush you so that nothing is left but His will, bursting forth in total joy from the you that is made new. Hang on to nothing that is not glorious in Christ and Christ-glorifying.
It’s All About That Fruit
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.”
Luke 13 shows Jesus cursing a fig tree that bears no fruit. In John 15 Jesus tells His disciples, “I appointed you to go bear fruit on the day I bought you (my crucifixion). I expect that fruit to abide and be genuine. You didn’t choose me, I chose you; so, you don’t get to make up the rules.” Whew, can I get an ‘Amen’?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
No Tree, No Fruit, No Problem… Or Is There?
If all this fruit bearing is supposed to bring glory to God, what can you say is the evident fruit of redemption in your life? What marks you out as having been bought by Christ at so high a price? Is it outward? Is it measurable? Is it evident? Witnesses [other true Christians] are expecting real fruit to affirm that God’s plan is evidently working; unless of course, you are hold-up in a no-fruit-required-pseudo-church that propagates the come-as-you-are and stay-as-you-are spirituality.
If you don’t leave your pastor’s message each week feeling overwhelmed by God’s grace and completely wrecked from not measuring up to the gift of Christ’s sacrifice (with a resulting desire to change that), then please understand that you are wasting precious time on this earth not working for the Glory of Almighty God. Repent and get back to the vineyard. So many need your witness!
Next week we are going to look at how we can know that we are actually growing into mature Christians, leaving behind spiritual infancy. It’s going to get real uncomfortable. Are you in?
Can’t wait to learn more? Okay, then you can listen to Pastor Steve Wilson’s next lesson from October 15, 2017 – “Baby Steps”
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The Book Of Ruth Series – A summation and commentary on the teachings of Pastor Steve Wilson
Part 1 – Resisting Bitternes – Companion blog to 5/21/17: “Repent or Run?”
Part 2 – Informing Your Grief – Companion blog to 5/28/17: “Grief”
Part 3 – 6 Depression Defeating Steps For Christians – Companion blog to 6/4/17: “Depression”
Part 4 – God’s Grace – Understanding The Flow – Companion blog to 8/13/17: “Grace”
Part 5 – God’s Orders Falling Out Through Secondary Causes – Companion blog to 8/20/17: “Looking For Love In All the Wrong Places”
Part 6 – Buying Back Lost Opportunities – Companion blog to 8/27/17: “Why We’re All Single”
Part 7 – Repelling Chaos With Little Things That Matter – Companion blog to 9/3/17: “More Than You Need”
Part 8 – The 5-Step Process to Logically Determine the Will of God For Your Life – Companion blog to 9/10/17: “The Logic of Faith“