Saturday, January 7, 2017

Unfruitfulness - Charles D Harris

Unfruitfulness

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.


Saturday, December 31, 2016

Having the Right Root to bear Fruit - David Mitts


"And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious." (Isaiah 11:10 NKJV)


We have been looking at being our BEST, experiencing breakthrough by being equipped spiritually.  We looked last week at the first condition of heart that Yeshua described that keeps the seed of the Word of God from bearing fruit in our lives, 30- 60- 100-fold.  We saw last week, that this heart attitude was established in the Garden of Eden in our hearts by the temptation of Satan to know good and evil and thus be “like God.” 

Listen to Having the Right Root to bear Fruit

This manifests in our need to be right and judge, the foundation for our opinions.  Our “opinion,” which is the definition for glory in the bible, doxa, forms the basis for traditions and these create alternate realities to the truth in our minds and hearts. In our carnal nature, which we inherit from the eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, we have such an addiction to our opinions, our judgments, that they expose us; and when confronted by the truth, we feel shame and want to cover up with more opinion defended by pride.  This entire drama is rooted in self-protection and is a stronghold that wars with us, keeping us from living our inheritance and destiny. Satan’s agenda is get us to stop trusting the love of God and trust in our own made-up reasoning; thus, keeping the seed of God’s Word inactive and merely something we know about in our minds, but do not allow to penetrate and transform our hearts.
Today I want to visit the second heart attitude that hinders our destiny, rootlessness. Let’s re-read Mark 4:14-17
The sower sows the word. 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. These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 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. (Mark 4:14-17 NKJV)
The second heart attitude is paralleled to stony ground.  This is a reference to a hardened heart.  This heart condition is one that keeps the seed from rooting.  Once we accept the reality of our opinions, the insecurity and need to cover up causes us to develop and shield from the world, and this hardens our heart.  A hardened heart, then, is a place where the Word cannot take root and thus can’t go deep enough to bear fruit. Let’s look specifically at what rooting means so we can have a vision for where we need to go.
The Hebrew word for root is shoresh.  It is first used in scripture in Deuteronomy 29
so that there may not be among you man or woman or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations, and that there may not be among you a root bearing bitterness or wormwood; (Deuteronomy 29:18 NKJV)
We see from this that, spiritually speaking, roots are defined by who or what we worship.  Satan attacks our destiny by trying to tempt us to worship the power of things we can have if we will rely on ourselves or become connected to power sources in this world.
Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, "All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me." Then Jesus *said to him, "Go, Satan! For it is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'" (Matthew 4:8-10 NASB)
Worshipping God develops roots and Fruit of the Spirit.  Worshipping other gods, like worry, anger, resentment, people, etc., develops roots and works of bitterness and other works of the flesh.
Works of the flesh are defined in Galatians 5:19-21:
Now the deeds of the flesh are clear: sexual immorality, impurity, indecency, idolatry, witchcraft, hostility, strife, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, dissension, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, just as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit God’s kingdom. (Galatians 5:19-21 TLV)
Notice the last words “inherit God’s kingdom.”  Flesh works or deeds come from worshipping something else other than God.  The initial impulse is to think we are as God knowing good and evil; but this takes root as an idolatry of some power source other than God.
Let’s look at Isaiah 40 beginning at verse 18 to see a picture of the contrast of our destiny with God and with our own self-effort.
To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with Him? As for the idol, a craftsman casts it, A goldsmith plates it with gold, And a silversmith fashions chains of silver. He who is too impoverished for such an offering Selects a tree that does not rot; He seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman To prepare an idol that will not totter.
We can put all the effort we want into our own plans, thinking they will not totter. Let’s continue:
Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. Scarcely have they been planted, Scarcely have they been sown, Scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, But He merely blows on them, and they wither, And the storm carries them away like stubble.
Any root in our lives that is not of Him is an authority that He will blow away.  We are the judges of the earth, thinking our ideas and opinions matter.  He reduces rulers to nothing.  This is the picture of the shallow roots that are built on our own wisdom.  This again is rooted in our vain attempts to be like God knowing good and evil, right and wrong.
 "To whom then will you liken Me That I would be his equal?" says the Holy One.
Here it is clearly stated. We are trying to be His equal.  We want to make the decisions and trust in our ability to know what’s right for us.
Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing. Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD, And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God"?
When we think our opinions are right, they are exposed through how we think towards others and what comes out of our mouths.  This tends to make us want to hide like Adam and Eve from God.  We think our ways have escaped His notice.
 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. (Isaiah 40:18-31 NASB)
This is the power of our destiny, to wait on the Lord.  This is where the true root lies.  He is our root!
Again Isaiah says, "THERE SHALL COME THE ROOT OF JESSE, AND HE WHO ARISES TO RULE OVER THE GENTILES, IN HIM SHALL THE GENTILES HOPE." (Romans 15:12 NASB)
If we are to have a root that will bear fruit, it will come from yielding our heart to Him!
OK, so let’s deal with 2 issues that bring forth evil roots:
1.     Bitterness
2.     Love of Money
Bitterness:
Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. (Hebrews 12:14-16 NASB)
Walking in bitterness, which is really just unforgiveness, over time, will keep the seed of the Word from bearing fruit to our destiny.
Love of Money:
For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. (1 Timothy 6:10-11 NASB)
The love of money is a preoccupation with power through financial strength.  It is a very subtle idol that is rooted in vengeance over those who have hurt us.  We want justice but we want it through being right with financial power. Instead, we should trust in God who wants to bless us from His provision with a heart that is rooted in Him.
Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed. (1 Timothy 6:17-19 NASB)

Activation:
As we face a New Year let’s write our goals for the New Year and commit them to the Lord trusting in Him to direct our paths.

Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light And your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land. (Psalms 37:3-9 NASB)