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Isaiah 5:1-7
[God] waited for a harvest of sweet grapes, but the grapes that grew were bitter (Isaiah 5:2).

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Read Matthew 21:33-44. How can you apply verse Matthew 21:43 to your life, local church, and nation?

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How do we “remain in” Jesus? How will you strive to live a more fruitful life in Him this week?

My neighbor planted some apple tree seedlings. Several years later, the mature trees bore fruit. But there was a problem. The first bushel of apples my neighbor picked contained some unwanted guests . . . uh, pests. Worms were found, leading his wife to conclude that a few bad apples do indeed spoil the whole bunch! Since that fateful day, the only things that have munched on my neighbor’s apples are wild deer (and worms).

God recognizes good fruit from bad fruit. The prophet Isaiah portrays God as a Master Gardener who “plowed the land, cleared its stones, and planted it with the best vines” (Isaiah 5:2). He had even protected His garden and built a winepress nearby. But, sadly, the grapes didn’t turn out to be sweet, but bitter. Rotten fruit alert!

This fruit metaphor revealed God’s desire for His people to follow Him in love and obedience. But they didn’t. God asked, “What more could I have done for My vineyard?” (Isaiah 5:4). He had blessed His people, but the fruit they offered was worm-laden. Instead of justice, He found oppression. Violence, instead of righteousness (Isaiah 5:7). Due to their production of the wrong kind of fruit, God’s people were reprimanded and disciplined (Isaiah 5:5-6).

Jesus described a vineyard in laying out His expectation for our lives, stating, “I am the true grapevine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of Mine that doesn’t bear fruit” (John 15:1-2). So how do we bear fruit? “Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit,” He says (John 15:5). If we don’t obey and follow Him, we’ll be “thrown away like a useless branch . . . gathered into a pile to be burned” (John 15:6).

God expects good fruit from us. What are we producing?

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Genesis 43:1-34

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6 Responses to “expecting fruit”

  1. tori says:

    Thanks Tom,
    This timely word encourages me that I don’t have to try or strive to produce fruit. All I have to do is to continue to obey and trust in God, which will make for a comfortable and fragrant home for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in me. It is through that, with no effort on my part, that I will bear fruit. God is truly amazing, and I pray that he gives me, daily, the diligence to surrender my live, thoughts, tongue, actions, and my heart to him, so that a lost world can reap of the fruits he so graciously allows me to bear.

  2. winn collier says:

    Another call to abide. Thank you, Tom.

  3. tom felten says:

    So grateful for the Holy Spirit providing the power for us to do just that, Winn!

  4. daisymarygoldr says:

    Good post and comments, Tom Felten and Co.! Your neighbor’s apple tree story, reminds me of this verse: “You don’t get wormy apples off a healthy tree, nor good apples off a diseased tree. The health of the apple tells the health of the tree.”(Luke 6:43-44 The Message)

    To “remain in” Jesus refers to a living relationship with Him. Relationship is not simply to call Him Lord but to do what He says. So when we He says love your enemies, we love those who hate us. He says, joy is not about defeating demons in your life but in the fact that your names are written in heaven, we rejoice. And when He says, the peace He gives is not absence of tribulations; it is peace with God, we have peace even in the midst of trials.

    In producing much love, joy, peace… we prove to be His true disciples displaying the character of Christ. Fruit means character, and is the outworking of His word. Christ spoke of false followers and said that we will know them by their fruit. “Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.” (Matthew 7: 17-20 The Message)

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