3 as His divine power has given to us all things that [pertain] to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption [that is] in the world through lust. 5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, [you] will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 2 Peter 1:3-8 NKJV
Today I want to visit the third heart attitude that hinders our destiny, unfruitfulness. Let’s re-read Mark 4:14-19:
14 "The sower sows the word. 15 "And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16 "These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 "and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word's sake, immediately they stumble. 18 "Now these are the ones sown among thorns; [they are] the ones who hear the word, 19 "and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. - Mar 4:14-19 NKJV
Listen to Unfruitfulness
Before we dive into what we believe unfruitfulness is, let’s take a look at the opposite of that, which is fruitfulness. The word fruitful in Hebrew is "parah" פָּרָה. The Hebrew letters are read from right to left.
פּ Pey - the mouth or source
רָ Resh - head or person
ה Hey - behold or reveal
So the picture this gives is the source of the person revealed! Or the mouth of the head reveals
Let’s look at Gen 1:28 where God speaks to Adam about fruitfulness:
28 God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth." - Gen 1:28 NASB
Further down He speaks to Noah after the flood…
1 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. - Gen 9:1 NASB
As He was establishing covenant with Abram…
5 "No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. 6 "I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you. - Gen 17:5-6 NASB
So it is pretty clear that our Father and Creator wants us to be fruitful…to bear fruit.
Let’s look a little deeper into fruit bearing from the Father. From a covenant relationship perspective, Adam and Noah were part of the blood covenant; however, Abraham was part of a deeper level covenant - the salt covenant. The salt covenant is a friendship covenant.
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. - Jas 2:23 KJV
So when God spoke to Abraham about being fruitful he said "I will make you fruitful.” Fruitfulness came about through faith and relationship.
17 (as it is written, "I have made you a father of many nations") in the presence of Him whom he believed--God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, "So shall your descendants be." 19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness." - Rom 4:17-22 NKJV
So, perhaps you are saying to yourself that Abraham was special…
23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, 24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification. - Rom 4:23-25 NKJV
Specifically speaking, Jesus informs us that it is all about the relationship with him and the Father that causes us to bear fruit.
1 "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every [branch] that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 "I am the vine, you [are b] the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. - John 15:1-5 NKJV
Now back to Mark 4 where it speaks of unfruitfulness. What would cause unfruitfulness? The scripture speaks of cares or worries, deceitfulness of riches and desires for other things. Also the environment in which the seed is sown is full of thorns.
In Genesis we can see the introduction to the environment of the thorns and why.
17 Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it': "Cursed [is] the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat [of] it All the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. - Gen 3:17-18 NKJV
Because of the desire for making one wise, it caused a waffling between two opinions…God's and Adam’s wife's. The unrenewed mind is engaged in deciding between right and wrong.
Cares or worries - Worry occupies your heart and mind when you disconnect from Him as the source and rely on yourself as the source. The source of the person is revealing worry about provision through questions.
24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. 25 "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 "Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? - Mat 6:24-26 NKJV
Deceitfulness of riches - The source of the person is revealing a false sense of righteousness and prestige. Knowing and doing all the right things, becoming successful, expecting God to give a high 5…. These were people who had great successes – perhaps even using principles of God's word – however, there is a tendency for the heart to trust in the riches.
20 And he answered and said to Him, "Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth." 21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me." 22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. 23 Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!" - Mar 10:20-23 NKJV
Desire for other things - "The devil made me do it…" The source of the person is revealing lack of contentment and blame.
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. - Jas 1:13-14 NKJV
1 Where do wars and fights [come] from among you? Do [they] not [come] from your [desires for] pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend [it] on your pleasures. - Jas 4:1-3 NKJV
Unfruitfulness comes from trusting in a source other than God. Christ took on a crown of thorns piercing his head.
11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is [rightly] judged by no one. 16 For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ. - 1Co 2:11-16 NKJV
We are called to bring forth fruit. We can see that what flowed out of the heart was not from God as source, but ourselves. That flows right out of our mouth and what we say.
45 "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. - Luk 6:45 NKJV
21 Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. - Pro 18:21 NKJV
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those [who are] Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. - Gal 5:22-24 NKJV
6 [Let] your speech always [be] with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. - Col 4:6 NKJV
50 "Salt [is] good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another." - Mar 9:50 NKJV
15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of [our] lips, giving thanks to His name. - Heb 13:15 NKJV
Activation - Bringing forth His Righteousness
1. Ask the Lord to reveal the unrighteousness that has you with the heart of unfruitfulness.
2. Ask the Lord to show you His thoughts and His righteousness in that area
3. Declare the word He brings to you
5 Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: "The person who does these things will live by them." 6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?' " (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 "or 'Who will descend into the deep?' " (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.