Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Second Day of Christmas: The Christmas Tree {prt. 2}

So, yesterday I posted about how a Christmas tree represents the body of Christ, and I also mentioned the consequences of not bearing fruit, or being an empty branch. {Hosea 10:1; John 15:2} As we are branches of Christ {John 15:5}, we can represent Him by bearing fruit. But there's alot more to it than that.

Bearing fruit requires some prerequisites: we must be filled with the Holy Spirit and abide in Christ. Galatians 5:21 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit..." (we will come back to this verse) It is the Spirit that fills us that allows us to bear fruit, or else we are empty, as Israel was in Hosea 10. Also, we must abide in Christ. John 15:4 says, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; mo more can ye, except ye abide in me." We cannot do anything without Christ, but Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Christ which strenghtheneth me." That includes bearing fruit!

What fruit does a branch filled with the Spirit and abiding in Christ bear? Well, Galatians 5:21-22 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance; against such there is no law." The fruit we bear is a major part of this study, for it helps us examine ourselves to see what we really are bearing. Galatians 5:19-20 says, "Now the the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Maybe you are not a murderer; maybe you have not committed adultery; maybe you have. But you've probably stirred up strife, or had bitterness in your heart. Things like this do not give us rewards in eternity, and they are the fruits of the flesh... rotten and slimy and definitely not beautiful! What is beautiful is the fruit of the Spirit! Let us desire to bear such fruit, and let our hearts, those ornaments on the Christmas tree, be radiant in Christ!

A branch that produces good fruit must be purged. We have talked about the Spirit and Son, but here's the part where the Father comes in. John 15:1 says, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman." The Father is the One who purges the fruitful branches. John 15:2-3 says, "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it , that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you." We are purged through God's Word, the Bible. The Bible is like a cleanser, to get all the yucky stuff out and the good stuff in!

There is even more action to be taken! A few verses after teaching on bearing fruit, Christ discusses love. Verses 9-10 tell us to continue in Christ's love. Wow! what a challenge! He also says in verse 11, "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." Then He again commands us to love one another. He really makes His point in this chapter, and I do not have the time to discuss all of it, so please read it through, letting it sink in. :-)

So remind yourself to be radiant every time you see those beautiful ornaments hanging on your Christmas tree, and remember the little simile mentioned in prt. 1. Your heart is the ornament hanging on the branch, which represents you as a branch of Christ.

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