Scripture: St. John 15:1-8
John is telling us that our lives are much like that of a fruit tree.
The fruit tree has many branches that do not bear fruit, and the fruitless branches take nourishment from the tree, robbing the tree of a larger crop of fruit.
Our spiritual activities that do not bring new disciples for the kingdom of God ae much like the non-fruit-bearing branches of the tree. Yes, we are spiritually filled persons, children of God, but are we producing new life for the kingdom of God, or just holding onto the status quo?
There are many ways that the church becomes fruitless in bringing new life into the congregation. So much of our energy and resources are spent on maintaining ourselves; so little is spent on making new disciples.
Self-maintenance on our church budget, as an example, includes all our utilities, wages, supplies. All these items are needed; don’t misunderstand me. But some of these are for our comfort, while many have the idea that everything we spend is for outreach ministries and growth.
If we were focusing more on outreach, the church would be overflowing with humanity. Imagine and dream with me a moment or two. What would be the results of spending on outreach as much as we spend on ourselves?
There are quite a few ways in which we might become fruitless in making converts for the Lord, but here are two:
- We can refuse to list to the message and voice of the Lord as He calls us to be His disciples.
- We can listen to the Lord and then give Him only lip service.
While we can accept Him as our teacher and guide, we also need to move out of the church structure doing His business wherever we can and whenever we can in our lives. There is one thing we must remember, a principal of the New Testament: uselessness invites devastation.
As I look at the church in our nation today, I see that it is in a downward spiral. We have allowed society and the business world to take priority in our lives. Today the church has lost some of its priority. How about Sunday evenings and Wednesday Prayer meetings?
Activities start 7:30 - 8:00 am even on Sunday mornings, including sporting events and games. Work schedules have done a number on church attendance. For instance, some jobs now require 12-hour shifts with 4 days on and 3 off continually.
It has been stated that the Christian church will no longer be the largest church in the United States within 20-25 years. All these things I mentioned are harmful for church and personal spiritual growth.
Thus we must revamp ourselves and use what every time we have seeking to make new disciples. Time is short!
We need to be a living church or we will not be THE church of Jesus Christ.
Let the Lord guide us in new ways to spread His Gospel of Love and Life, and let the Lord guide us away from distractions. Amen!