It shall not be anxious and full of care in the year of drought nor shall it cease bearing fruit"
I want us today to look at the trees in our world from the humble fig to the mighty redwoods. They are mentioned so many times in the Bible and we take them so much for granted don't we?
They bring beauty into our lives and unless you are one of those odd people who go around their local parks hugging the trees we on the whole accept them as a fact of life.
But Jeremiah who is sometimes not the most cheerful of prophets likens the man who trusts in God as a tree planted by the waters.
A tree has many different parts to it as we do and I `would like today to explore this most apt of metaphors.
John 15 starting from v1
Jesus likens Himself as the true vine and ourselves as the branches with His father as the gardener who waters ,feeds and dresses or prunes the vine to make it fruitful.
He instructs us to Abide in him and thereby allowing Him to abide in us so that we can bear fruit .
A slightly different metaphor but I'm sure you can see the relevance.
A tree has to have roots buried deep in good soil for it to flourish.
We are no different.
And that need doesn't change whatever root stock we are formed from.
Some of us were born into good Christian root stock, some of us were born into very different root stock which has resulted in damaged or weak saplings.
Some of us don't even know what kind of root stock we come from. But I've got some news for you today my dear woodlings
GOD DOESN'T CARE
He can take the most damaged , broken twisted little sapling and grow it by His grace and care into the finest ,straightest tree in the forest.
But He has to be allowed access to the root.
As Christians our root should be firmly entrenched in The Lord so that we can absorb the nourishment and nutrients which only comes by the Word of God , opened to us by The Holy Spirit
As some of you may know I have very little knowledge of my own rootstock having been adopted at an early age after some history of abuse.
I really wouldn't recognize my mother if she walked next to me in the street
But I do know that the Jesus , described in revelation ch 22 v 16 as the root and offspring of David, the Bright Morning Star, is my Jesus and my root.
I would like to be a little presumptuous today and ask you where are your roots today?
Are you rooted in Jesus or are you getting substandard nutrition from the world , tv, Internet, alcohol, addictions to various life styles? ,
If you are please don't put up with the substandard any longer but accept the help of the Master gardener today and start growing and producing fruit!
This Jesus , Son of God ,Bright morning star, who was born to Mary a young virgin, lived for 30 yrs as the son of a humble carpenter , was baptized by John the Baptist, who healed the sick. Fed the hungry, gave hope to the rejected and disowned, was nailed to a tree to put right the balance between good and evil, he hung on that tree so that we would never be condemned of our sin by almighty God. He died that we might live forever. With Him. Because when He rose from the dead 3 days later it meant that we couldn't be held by death either.
So when we commit our lives to Christ, we are as Jeremiah described at the beginning ‘like a tree planted by the water and we shall not see or fear when the heat comes"
Now--.We all have times when the heat seems to be turned up on our lives, when times are tough and panicking seems easier than abiding. When worry is the option of choice ,but if our roots are in the Lord then all our panicking and worry won't make a halfpence of difference to the deliverance that God has planned for us in the situation. For surely as Paul says, nothing can separate us from the love that is in, or abiding, in Christ Jesus.
Not death, not bereavement, not life, not financial disaster, not war or peace or sickness or famine or anything life throws at us can ever make Him give us up. Truly, as the old song says" Just like a tree a standing by the
waterside we shall not be moved!"
Another thing about trees is they mostly bear fruit. Even the mighty oak produces acorns if it is well nourished. It can't help it .It isn't a conscious choice it just does.
And so do we.
Whether we believe it or not.
Matt 12 v 33 (amp ver) says "Either make the tree sound (healthy and good) and its fruit sound or make the tree rotten and its fruit rotten for the tree is known by (recognized and judged by) its fruits.
This is a good basis to assess a person or situation. What fruit is it bearing?
Is the fruit of my behaviour for instance good and pleasing to God or does it sadden and disappoint Him?
Paul, in his letter to the Galations describes what fruit we can hope for when we have the Holy Spirit as the sap running through our lives as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness.
That is fruit we can expect when we know Jesus.
So we should ask "Am I going to reap reward or judgment from the fruit of my life?"
And the answer is----
Do you know Jesus? If you do then you do not have to fear judgment and any bad fruit in the past is already dealt with and in the compost bin being made into fertilizer to help you bear good fruit in the future. Praise God!
Thank you Jesus!
But if you don't-------be careful my dears.
Jude 1 v12 uses this metaphor to describe wicked men , revellers , and scoffers as --.trees without fruit at the late autumn gathering time , twice dead, lifeless and plucked up by the roots.
Now I'm not standing here saying that partying or feasting or having an odd drink is a bad thing not at all, or that I would describe anyone here as anyone like that and after all , Jesus must have loved a wedding or a feast, His first miracle was to turn water into wine but Whilst we all may enjoy a good revel sometimes, I somehow think that the prophet is saying although not wrong in itself if your reason for being or root is the next party, the next toke, the next drink, the next lover, the next new car and you scoff at the things of God as being of no importance to your life and other people don't matter then I'm afraid that sad as it is to contemplate you are already as the prophet describes twice dead. A dead man walking because our God is a just and Mighty God and will not wait forever.
But when you come to Jesus everything changes in a second and you are saved .
Our Father is a stupendous gardener! But how is your root system?
Trees have another part to them and that is they have branches.
A branch of a tree cannot grow on its own separate from the tree as we as humans cannot grow independently from God.
We have to abide in Him and accept that there are in our lives things which need to be pruned away as withered parts of a branch on a tree are pruned for the sake of good health and growth.
Some parts of a tree can be infected with a fungus and have to be destroyed just as some things in our lives have to be destroyed .Addictions, unhealthy relationships, reliance on financial wealth , idols ,involvement in the occult, I'm sure you can think of a lot more dead twigs invading peoples lives ,stopping their growth and stifling their fruit growing capacity .
I'm really glad that God cares enough about me to prune off the fungally bits in my life which are affected by failure and sin, and I'm afraid that there is probably a lot more to go yet!
And you know sometimes a tree can look pretty healthy and still have a canker growing inside it and it can be the same with mankind.
The branches may be rotten and withering but if rotten and withered is all you've ever experienced then it can be hard to know the difference.
Just as a man born blind can be told about the blue of the sky and the yellow of a daffodil in spring he can only experience those colors if by miracle or operation he regains his sight .
We as Christians know the joy Jesus brings into our hearts and can tell others about that joy but they can only experience it for themselves by committing to Christ for themselves.
Then the difference is real.
Pruning can often be a painful process because sometimes we can be quite fond of the parasitical growths strangling our fruit bearing future.
Mistletoe can be very pretty growing on an apple tree in the winter months but left to itself it will kill the tree!
Some sins and weaknesses are like that too.
But remember--before we look at the other trees in the wood and start pointing out the fungus we must remember that it is Father God who does the pruning . Not us.
And sometimes new growth can look a bit curled up to start with.
Acorns do not become oak trees overnight .,
And vines do not often bear fruit in the first or even second seasons.
Just like the trees in the field which David somewhat strangely describe as clapping their hands we do not stop growing until the day we are uprooted in this world and are transplanted into richer soil than we could ever imagine
But back to the tree--
Branches also have leaves and these leaves give shade to the fruit and give the tree some shape. Leaves change colour at different times of the year can dry out and die and fall to the ground. Some leaves can be blown off in high winds or curl and fall in times of drought.
Some leaves are perpetually green
Others are most beautiful in the autumn when the richness and diversity of colour can be spectacular.
I would like to think our human relationships within our Christian family can be like leaves on our branches.
Some only stay for a growing season and then fall away.
Some are blown away by circumstances
Some die and fall to the ground where they turn into leaf mould to nourish the rest of our lives.
We can think of those in our fellowship who have gone to be with Jesus as like that.
With their memory being left as an illustration as to how to live and leave in Christ.
We have relationships which shade our fruit from the heat of disapproval and scorn or want.
I'll leave you with just two more thoughts if I may-..
Genesis tells how
Adam and Eve lost it all by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and blessing and calamity in defiance of God and reaped death for humankind.
But The Revelation of John, the last book of the Bible describes for us a new trees in a new city of God through which runs a river and on either side of this river is the tree of life with its 12 varieties of fruit yielding each month its fresh crop and the leaves of the tree are for healing and restoration of the nations.
I don't know about you brothers and sisters but I really want to see that tree don't you?
If anyone here this morning wants to talk about how to meet Jesus, or growing pains , or pruning methods please feel free to talk and I or anyone in the fellowship would, I know, be so glad to pray or meet with you today,
Thank you for reading and God bless you!!!
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