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Fruit of our Lips, Part 2; Evangelism, Part 4
Topic Started: Mar 7 2010, 06:31 PM (1,903 Views)
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Resident Rebbi

A few topics back (Evangelism, Part 3), I mentioned the relationship between the fruit of lips (better translated "calves of lips"). God brought me back to that word again today.

Bishop's sermon was about "Seed Warfare", and started in Genesis 3:15 with God's proclamation that the snake would bruise the heel of the woman's seed, but that the Seed would crush the head of the serpent. Seed Warfare is profound and prolific. Because of the CEC's stance against abortion (seed warfare, or warfare over the womb, as he called it today), we must guard ourselves and our children/seed even more. The evil one prowls about, seeking what seed he might devour. Watch and pray!

The gospel reading today was that great passage about the fig tree that wasn't bearing fruit, even after three years (Luke 13). Then at the offertory time, came the exhortation (offertory sentence):
"Hebrews 13:15-16"
Through Christ let us continually offer to God the sacrifice of
praise, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his Name.
But to do good and to distribute, forget not; for with such
sacrifices God is well pleased.

God began to speak to me about fruit in a way that I'd not heard from a pulpit anywhere. When I think of fruit, I think about a bowl or basket on the table, full of apples, oranges, pears, peaches, berries, and so much more of His bounty, set as a beautiful feast before me. It was as though God was asking, "But what is fruit really for?" Hmmm.

My mind began to pull things back from high school and college biology classes from so very long ago. Fruit is really all about reproduction, not provision for another species! "Think about the implications of that," I heard Him whisper. My mind raced. The real purpose of that apple was for the big apple tree to make little apple trees. The big walnut tree to make little walnut trees. The raspberry bush to make more raspberry bushes. Each fruit-bearer was taking God's command to Adam and Eve very seriously, to multiple and inhabit the earth. If we only ignore ivy, kudzu, bamboo, or peppermint, they will take over any space afforded them and with kudzu, maybe the world. :D

Squirrels, birds, bears, monkeys, and other creatures great and small consume the fruits that we might conclude that Father in His marvellous plan had provided for their sustenance as well as for reproduction of the fruit-bearer. After consuming them, the seeds migrate with the consumer to be deposited perhaps miles away from the original plant. Some seeds survive floating across oceans to plant themselves on distant shores. It's amazing when you think of it, another marvel of His design.

The fruit was not created or designed strictly for my pleasure or the nourishment of other consumers. It was designed to become a new creature. This has to do with any offspring including food animal young. Cows are not just beef, calves are not just veal; nor is the cow's sole purpose to provide cream for my coffee or milk for my cheese! God's first intention for calves was that they become mature cows and bulls and produce more calves.

Specifically with the fruit of plants, the fruits are also amazing designs, but they are truly designed to die in order to create life. The sugars in that apple were intended to fertilize the ground around the seeds in the core and to provide moisture and nutrition during the first months of the seedling's growth. Just as Jesus taught that the kernel of wheat had to die in order for the new stalk and head of grain to appear, so the apple or walnut has to lose its nature in order for a new tree to begin life.

If fruit is really about reproduction more than consumption by harvesters or predators, can we consider for a moment all the admonitions we've heard about bearing fruit? Even the verses about the fruit of the spirit take on a new meaning when we realize that fruit is there for multiple purposes, but primarily to provide nourishment for others or to establish new life. One goal of our Christian walk is to develop fruit, and especially the fruit of the Spirit. We were taught what those fruit were so that we could recognize them as we discovered them in ourselves and in others (so we could be good "fruit inspectors"). We were taught to expect God to develop them in us, but we were not taught much about the purpose of the fruit. Yes, the names of the fruit certainly give us the outworkings of the fruit, but what is the purpose?

We can describe apple, orange, lemon, almond, calf, lamb, or chick, but we are usually too blind to see God's other intended purpose for those fruit. Yes, they are created to sustain us and to bless us with amazing taste experiences, but the primary reason for their creation was that they might die to self, nourish the seeds within, and beget yet another generation of their kind. I don't give much thought to that and don't ever recall a conversation over the dining table about it.

What then is the purpose of fruit in our lives? Spiritual fruit and fruit of the Spirit are my two primary focal points here. For me, after my session with the Lord this afternoon, fruit in my life takes on a whole new meaning. Am I producing delectable aromas that would entice a world-weary soul to come find out what this aroma of life is? Am I producing visible fruits that are a delight to the eye, again drawing attention to what God has done? The apple tree is never complimented on what nice apples were produced, and yet a good tree will bring people back year after year and week after week while apples are in season. It just keeps producing apples so long as the tree is well tended and the ground is not worn out.

Let us tend our soil so that good fruit grows week after week, month after month, that others might smell and see and ultimately taste and realize that God is exactly Who He says He is, and that they might give their lives to Him. For us, that means preparing our soil and guarding our souls in order to produce fruit that points people to Him and does not glorify us. This is surely a death to self, self's agenda/ideas, and a commitment that He will increase.

Will that juicy apple be a symbol of evangelism for you, with your next bite?

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