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Foundations for Fruit Bearing

Mike Connell

Page 8 of 10
Now listen: you aren't growing in brotherly kindness that way. It's when you see the person you've got the issue with and whatever, and you can go and demonstrate kindness to them anyway, you are growing in brotherly kindness. See, that's why I say: you can't work this out without people; and it's interesting. The first place He wants us to do it in is in the church, God's own family. Jesus said: by this they'll know you're my followers, you love one another. So start to re-think your attitude to the local family of God. Has it got shortcomings? Of course! Are there things not right and not perfect? Oh, there's heaps of them - more than you could count. But are there people there who are part of the family of God, that I'm called to love? Yes, there's at least 30 commandments I have, towards each one of you.

We've all got to think about this. If we're serious about walking with God, serious about eternal things, you've got to start to apply what God says: love one another, be kind to one another, caring for one another, building up one another, encouraging one another, ministering the gifts to one another. There's a whole number of things that are called to be part of our journey with God, so one of the first things to learn to do is, you might not be able to see God, but that brother next to you, you can see and He will flush up in you, where you really live with God. That brings you back nearer to the Lord, to help Him deal with the lack of love, lack of passion or negative things in the heart.

It's a great thing working with people. That's why one of the things I found early in life, if you want to really grow as a Christian, get engaged working with people. Here's the last one that it says: add to this - after adding all of those, add - and I've called it practical love. Practical love. Add to your life practical love. In case the others were too spiritual for you, add practical love. Practical love means: meeting needs, helping people out, showing kindness, doing things that'll help people, seeing people who have a need, and stepping up and being engaged and involved with them. Showing kindness of God in very simple ways. Never minimise the simple kind act. It is the way that you represent Christ to people.

Okay then. So now it tells us, why do all these things? Here it is, three negative reasons: Because if you don't have these in your life, you're blind. Hello! Can't see. Or like me, short-sighted; so the word blind means - and I love this - the original words are great. They're more graphic than the word blind. I think blind, you think of someone who can't see at all. Actually the word in the Bible means - it's the word tooposs, meaning smoky; or putting it this way, you're surrounded in a cloud of smoke. So it says: if you haven't got these things growing in your life, it's like you're living surrounded by a cloud of smoke; and you're coughing, and can't see where you're going.

The second thing He says: and you're short-sighted. You've got no vision for eternity. You're living just out of what's in front of you. God help me meet this need today. These are pretty serious things aren't they? And notice this. The third one that comes up in here: and you've got a memory loss. You've forgotten that you've been forgiven. So you've got memory loss, blind, and short-sighted. It's not too good is it aye? Covered in smoke, can't see very far; and actually you've forgotten. What have you forgotten? You've forgotten why you were saved. You've forgotten what it cost to save you?

You've forgotten Jesus gave His life! He didn't give his life for nothing! He gave it for a people who'd be passionate for Him. He gave it for His people that would represent him, that would be His hands and eyes and ears and mouth and voice, and bring Him to the world. That's what He did it for. That's what He did it for. Have you forgotten? It's why we have communion, to remember, remember! Remember - I was lost. I'm saved just by the grace of God; and I've got a purpose. First I'll be grateful to Him. Then it says: now if you do these things - so it's interesting, He's trying to get the message through. He says: there's three negatives - that should motivate you; but here's three that'll motivate you. He said: they ensure you won't be barren or unfruitful. Secondly, they'll make sure that you never stumble or fail, or fall or backslide; and third, an abundant entrance will be given into the kingdom of Heaven. Not everyone is promised an abundant entrance. That means if the Bible tells us, that I could do things that will bring me an abundant entrance into the coming kingdom; that means there must be an average and ordinary entrance as well; and there must be entrances which are full of glory and shouts of triumph; and entrances which are ooh, you're still smelling of smoke. You've just made it!