UPDATE (1/14/14): An edited version of this material will appear in the upcoming book, Grow Down, through Group Publishing.
(…continued from yesterday…)
4. ROOTED FAITHFULNESS PRODUCES AN OVERFLOWING LIFE.
The Great, encouraging News, however, is that we don’t have to be fruitless. We don’t have to be stuck in our fruitlessness. A person who is rooted in faithfulness in God will produce an overflowing life. Rooted faithfulness produces an overflowing life. (Notice I didn’t say a comfortable life, or a no-problemed life; I said an overflowing life.) Those who dig themselves down deep into the Lord and establish themselves in him will stand tall in his strength and will flourish and be fruitful in the freedom and the fullness of God.
That’s why Colossians 2:6-7 says what it does. “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to live in obedience to him. Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him, you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done.” We start with our lives based on CHRIST. We GROW DOWN into him, and we DRAW UP nourishment from him. We root our lives completely in Christ and tap into all he has at his infinite disposal and draw up that fullness from him until we can’t contain what begins to happen in our lives and we overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done. We GO OUT from ourselves and proclaim the goodness of God. We can’t help but to talk about what we have seen and heard. Everything that we are drawing up is too much for us to contain! The fruitful life just happens then. It isn’t nearly as concerned with the exterior appearance as it is with the filling and overflowing that comes from a life lived in him. It’s can be a little out of control; it leaves fruit all over the place.
But that’s good! It is about Jesus producing good works within you. It is about Jesus shaping you from the inside out. It is about accepting Jesus as your Lord and living like it. It is about living in him and for him and through him. It is about obeying him. It is about letting Jesus fill you up and plan your life and make you wise. It is about doing what he wants you to do and going where he wants you to go. It is about admitting that you need Jesus desperately and that he has saved you. And as you add a another ring of life every year and as your bark ages and you show the wrinkles and scars of life, it is about letting Jesus grow you to be more and more strong and vigorous in the truth that you’ve been taught. And it is about recognizing that you are not worthy enough nor are you able enough to contain the fullness of God within yourself. It is about daily digging deep into him and drawing up from him more than you need so that you stand tall in his truth and go out into the world around you spilling him on everybody and everything you contact. Rooted Faith places priority in a nourishing relationship with Jesus that just naturally ends up leading to a fruitful life.
Don’t get caught fruitless! Paul says to another vibrant group of new followers of Christ, in the city of Philippi, in Philippians 1:9-11- “I pray that your love for each other will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in your knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until Christ returns. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation – those good things that are produced in your life by Jesus Christ – for this will bring much glory and praise to God.”
Romans 11:17 says that “if the roots of the tree are holy, the branches will be too.” Galatians 5:22 says that when God’s Spirit directs our lives, he will produce an abundance of fruit- the product of our rooted-ness in God. The fruit of God’s Spirit are life-and-world-changing seeds like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal 5:22-23) – all those things that our world needs but seems to have a shortage of is produced within you when you live with a rooted faith. The Bible goes on to say that “those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit” (Gal 6:8). And it also says, “What counts is whether we really have been changed into new and different people” (Gal 6:15). Colossians chapter 3 says that we should be clothed with all those things that God produces from within us; mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, and especially love and peace in your heart, and always be thankful. Brentview, are you changed? Are you different? Are you fruitful? Grow Down. Draw up. Go out. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done. And he has done a lot! In this generation, let there be fruit. Amen.
BENEDICTION – Ephesians 3:17 says, “May your roots grow down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love… Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”
Full audio version of this sermon. Download June 21 09 Ken Castor