The Return of The King – Ryan’s Sermon Blog (Part Three)

4 Oct


This blog post is a continuation of the previous two “The Return of The King” posts dated 03/10/12 and 26/09/12

Q: “What happens if we are faithful and there are no fruit visible?”

I take it that if we are faithful then there will be fruit (no matter how small).

Some issues: we land in some hot water if we focus too much on the fruit aspect.  While visible fruit can be a helpful way to gauge things at times, if we focus too much on the fruit then we can turn into a bunch of neurotic people who start doubting whether we’re even saved. And while the bible encourages introspection of sorts, it doesn’t encourage that kind of of crippling of ourselves.

The answer to all of this is not so much to fix our eyes on looking for fruit but rather to fix our eyes on looking to Jesus. That’s important.

If you (by God’s grace) get Him (who he is, what he’s done) then the fruit will flow and ’by their fruit you will [then] know them’. We focus on Jesus and pray to God that we’d come to have lives that match the faith he’s given us in His Son. Too much of a focus on the fruit takes our eyes (and so our faith and confidence) off of the place where they should be (Jesus!) and the very place from which the fruit flows. Keep going back to Jesus. The Christian life is simple in that way.

Realistically, sometimes fruit is just hard to see in ourselves. A couple of things help, one of which is hindsight. It’s harder to see changes in your life when you’re stuck in the moment, but often when we look back 5 years or whatever, we can see ways in which God has shaped us in response to Jesus. Give thanks to God for his work in you!

One last thing added on to that: because at times it can be hard to see fruit in ourselves, at times it can be helpful to encourage one another when we see fruit in one another and to give thanks to God for that. ‘Gee Suze, I’ve noticed that you’ve been pretty patient with X, praise God for that work in your life!’

 

Q: “Is a talent all our possessions? How about the gospel?”

Is a talent all of our possessions? In a nutshell, yes. It’s anything that we’ve been entrusted with by God, including our abilities and opportunities and possessions.

One of my points was that I take it that, as a materialistic society who make idols out of money and possession, often the place where faithfulness (or a lack of it) will come into play will be with our money and possessions. You can’t give away (or use properly) what you idolise.

The gospel most certainly forms part of what we have been entrusted with. This means it includes fighting for the faith (cf Jude) – so making sure the gospel stays as the gospel i.e. making sure that it’s not changed.

Paradoxically, as with most things that we’re entrusted with, often the way you show your faithfulness is in… giving it away.

What I mean is that we don’t hold on to the gospel as something simply for you and me, no, we give it away. Wanna be faithful with the gospel? Give it away! Tell family and friends about this Jesus who is Lord.

And actually as you’re faithful with the other things in your life, you’ll be telling people the gospel in that way as well. ‘Mate, why do you… [lend out your car, support mission work of your local church, not care so much about what you own or how much you earn?]?’ That provides a wonderful opportunity for you to tell those friends and family: ‘Well actually, what I believe is… and it shapes the way I live in this.’

Ryan van der Avoort

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