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Foundations for Fruit Bearing

Mike Connell

Page 6 of 10
But in order to fulfil the great commission, be fruitful and work with people, we have to manage our emotions; we have to also develop the ability to stay on task, don't quit, don't complain, don't feel sorry for yourself, don't whine, and don't run things down. In other words, it's saying: keep a joyful attitude in tough times, because they won't last; but if you've got a great attitude, God will come into that, and it'll work out somehow for you good at the end of it. Well, how many people just quit before they produce fruit? Ah, just kind of quit, gave up on that, gave up on this, gave up on that, gave up on that, and actually where they were bearing fruit, they actually stop bearing fruit any more.

I think God always leads you from one fruit bearing thing to another; and sometimes people quit, because they're just weary and tired. The Bible says in Galatians 6: don't be weary in well doing. So it tells us that, because you get tired doing good. You get tired working with people, you get tired discipling people. You get tired trying to help them sort out their problems. You get tired with the silly stuff they get caught up in, you get tired with the smallness. All of these things are very tiring, so you've got to develop a good attitude inside, that you persevere; because this is about the kingdom, it's about the business of Almighty God, and this is important business, the business of working with people.

It's very easy to withdraw from that, and engage in something that you feel good with; but the work of the Gospel is a work discipling people, and all are called to do it in some way or another, and you want to try and find ways that you can get engaged and get involved in that, but everyone is called. That is the mandate given to the church. Everything serves that mandate. Everything we do is to serve this purpose of discipling people to be followers of Christ; and if you've ever worked with a new Christian, you'll realise how much energy and effort is needed, how much persistence is needed. I think of the teams that are out on the street, the teams that go to the prisons, the teams who work with - people who work in the small groups. This is a work that requires perseverance; and here's the great thing: if you commit to the work, you develop the perseverance. [Laughs] There's no way you'll develop perseverance without giving yourself to something; and this is God, be positive!

Okay, then the next thing is this: add to your perseverance godliness. Oh! After all this, you've got to add something else! That word godliness means literally respect, or reverence to God, so what it's saying then is, develop constantly respect for God. I could spend a lot of time talking about respect for God, but here's the thing; familiarity breeds disrespect in every area of life, and disrespect separates you from what you're disrespecting. Disrespect money, and you'll be in debt. It'll flee from you. Disrespect a relationship, and it will break down. Disrespect God, and you'll find yourself religious, and not full of the Holy Ghost. He will not be disrespected. You've got to understand that. It's not that we can't disrespect God. It's just He won't be defiled by that. He'll just draw back from you, and this is the dilemma.

I want to be quite practical about this. I want you to think about the Sunday meeting we're in now. Is this a Sunday Church Meeting, or is this a meeting with God? You've got to decide that. If it's a meeting with God, respect Him, and turn up on time. Respect the people who are here to start on time, and be there on time. Respect by participating, and being involved and engaging; rather than chattering and making everyone's job really hard. This is respect. That's what it looks like, and it's not only respect for God. It's impossible to respect Him, without giving respect to His people. Jesus, when Paul was persecuting the church, Jesus said: why do you persecute me? Jesus says: you did this to the least of my brethren, you did it to me. Now that - you can't get clearer than that, so one thing is to respect God, and to show reverence to Him, and to show honour to Him in our heart attitude, and the way we treat Him.