Pastoral Exhortation - Series of 2010

Let’s Be A Fruit-Bearing People

Written by Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy Sunday, 28 March 2010

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My heart rejoices on this occasion of the 22nd Anniversary Thanksgiving Service, and hastens to join all of you, my dear brethren, to give thanks to God for His multitudes of blessings upon our beloved church. Just as much as I praise Him, I also plead earnestly to Him that we will be a people who will separate ourselves from all ungodliness and unwholesome teachings of our time, and serve Him faithfully and fervently in the coming years, if the Lord tarries.

It is not our great ideas or visionary thinking that would make our church flourish in the Lord’s glorious work. Remember the words of our Lord in John 15:5: “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” Nothing can be achieved for His glory on our own unless we abide in Him. Our minds must be filled with the knowledge of His Word, and then we shall know His will concerning us. Only then we can bear the fruits for His glory.

Every area of our church ministries must bear more fruit for Him. If that has to be true, every member of the church must bear fruit, even ‘much fruit’. That is my prayer for Gethsemane as we look forward to a new year.

Our thanksgiving for His goodness must lead to fruit-bearing. We know that He has never failed us, but lavishly blessed us with His gracious provisions. His mighty Spirit has been graciously equipping and strengthening us for the labour in His vineyard. His mercies have been new every morning, and we lacked nothing hitherto. Hence, we must happily yield ourselves even more to bear more fruit for Him.

Dear brother, why would any of us exist as a withered, fruitless church member? Such an existence is worthless, and only good for “the fire”. Jesus said, “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:6). I am sure that no true believer would wish to be in a fruitless condition, which would irk the Lord to wrath.

Ours must be a happy church of abundant service to the Lord. This should especially be so in the coming year. Our religion is to have a grand practical outcome.

I have been thinking of Christ as the vine, and all of us the branches in Him. The more I think of our church in this manner, the more my heart hopes for great things. What great vintage can Christ the vine produce! Beloved, we being branches in Him, let us expect to produce wonderful fruit in great abundance! This is not self-magnifying imagination, but the hope of a heart that humbly trust in His great Saviour. There can be nothing scanty or povertystricken in the fruitage of a vine, such as our blessed Lord. Fruit of the best quality, fruit in the utmost abundance, fruit unrivalled, must be borne by such a vine.

Jesus promised, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples” (John 15:7-8).

Beloved, our expectations are in the Lord. He has given great and precious promises. Our ambition and hope of doing something in the way of glorifying God has nothing to do with carnal or self pleasure.

Our desire is to bring forth the fruits of holiness, peace and love. We would adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. “By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned” (2 Corinthians 6:6) and “every good work” (Colossians 1:10) we would show forth the praises of our God.

Apart from the Lord Jesus we know we cannot be holy; but being joined to Him we can walk in the power of His Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (cf. Galatians 5:22-23), and all manner of holy service. None of these things is of ourselves, and yet by faith we say with Paul, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

We also aspire to bear much fruit in the conversion of others, even as Paul desired concerning the Romans, that he might have fruit among them (cf. Romans 1:13). Again, in this matter too we can do nothing on our own. But being united unto Christ we bring forth increase unto the Lord. Our Lord Jesus promised, “The works that I do shall [ye] do also, and greater works than these shall [ye] do, because I go unto the Father” (John 14:12).

May our beloved Church, Gethsemane, the Lord’s Vineyard, be adorned with plentiful clusters of spiritual fruit. May we bring great joy to our God, the husbandman, who planted us for His glory in His vineyard. When our God is pleased in us, our joy shall be complete.