What is the Fruit of Salvation? (part two)

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What is The Fruit of Salvation?

Have you ever heard the phrase, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? The saying is very true because a diet consisting of fruits and vegetables is vital for us to have a healthy life.

Fruits benefit our health by giving us carbohydrates, fiber, and micro-nutrients which aid our body to function correctly. We receive a lot of energy from fruits because they contain natural sugars, which convert to energy.

Apples are packed with fiber which helps to control insulin levels. An apple cleanses and detoxifies the body. It reduces cholesterol levels, and it has only 50-80 calories with no fat or sodium, and it is full of vitamins C and A.

The most eaten fruit in the world is mango. It is considered a wonder fruit because of the number of nutrients, minerals, antioxidants, vitamins, and enzymes. It is also one of the richest sources of Vitamins A, C and E, and minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, and phosphorus.

God designed our bodies so that we need fruit to live. Thus, it is not surprising to find that fruit is one of the more important topics of the Bible. In His wisdom, God links together fruit and salvation. When we think or talk about salvation, we need to include fruit.

Fruit is as important to our salvation as it is to the health of our bodies. What Jesus says at the beginning of John 15 (v. 1-17) proves this to be true. God purposes in us that we bear fruit. He prunes and cultivates us, so we produce the maximum amount of fruit. All who abide in Jesus will bear fruit. Our fruit is proof that we are disciples of Jesus and in union with Him. And, bearing fruit brings us fulness of joy.

If we have no fruit, our body dies. If we have no spiritual fruit, our spirit is dead.

Main Idea

The main idea of the message today is that we need to seek to bear good fruit from the Spirit and not from the flesh.

We will not fully cover the main idea, but we will continue next week. What we will cover today are these three points that support the main idea.

  • Fruit in the Garden
  • Fruit from the Heart
  • Fruit War

Fruit from the Garden

Throughout history, God uses real-life illustrations to teach us. Exodus and the Passover are pictures of God’s deliverance pointing to the perfect Lamb of God whose blood is on the doorposts of our heart. The Tabernacle (and Temple) with the Ark and mercy seat are pictures of God Almighty’s throne room. The Levitical priests and sacrifices point to Jesus the High Priest and His sacrifice for sin on the cross.

Have we thought of the Garden of Eden as a picture that points to something more amazing?

How often do we think about what it would be like to live in the Garden of Eden? It is a place of perfection. We imagine walking in the garden with God, enjoying His presence. We imagine being in the unspoiled beauty of creation. We long for the Garden and living in harmony with God.

We take our thoughts of the Garden from the first two chapters of Genesis. We read about life before sin. It is life as God intends. Everything is very good.

Talking about the fruit of salvation is incomplete unless we address the importance of fruit in the Garden of Eden. The first three chapters of Genesis are foundational to the Bible. As we read these passages, pay attention to the prominent emphasis of fruit.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to everything that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1:26-31)

The command to be fruitful and multiply is specifically about procreation and not a command about growing a lot of fruit in the garden. We know this because of the phrase’s use contextually in other passages in Genesis (8:17; 9:1; 26:22; 35:11). However, don’t dismiss the command to be fruitful and multiply just yet. We will see in an upcoming message that it pertains to the fruit of the Gospel. We can liken this command, be fruitful and multiply, to Jesus’ command to go and make disciples of the nations.

Chapter one of Genesis ends with the completion of all God had made. Chapter two of Genesis, “zooms in” and fills in more details about day six and the creation of man. Again, let’s notice the emphasis upon fruit.

This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven. Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground. Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:4-9)

Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:15-17)

In the creation’s details, we see that nothing had yet sprouted because there was no man to cultivate the ground. There is a need for someone to cultivate fruit. God creates man and a garden toward the east, in Eden. God places Adam in the garden to cultivate and keep it. His job is to oversee the growing of fruit which is the food for man, beasts, and birds. Fruit is essential for life.

After placing Adam as a gardener, God gives a command about the fruit. Eat the fruit of any tree, but do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Notice the absence of other details. Genesis calls our attention to focus on the fruit in the Garden. In its simplest form, we have a Creator who makes a garden, gardener, and plants to grow fruit for food.

The Creator tells Adam to cultivate fruit in the Garden. Eat all the fruit you would like, except the forbidden fruit. If you eat the forbidden fruit, you will die.

Take a moment to ponder the importance of fruit in the creation account of Scripture. God emphasizes an important truth. Fruit is our food to stay alive. Adam is to cultivate the fruit. In the garden, there is the fruit that leads to life, and there is the fruit that leads to death.

There is an implied emphasis on faith. Does Adam believe God’s Word? Does Adam have faith and trust that what God says is true about the forbidden fruit? Does Adam believe that he will die if he eats the forbidden fruit? Will Adam obey God? Does Adam have faith in God?

We know the answer all too well. Adam does not believe God’s Word. Adam and Eve disobey God and die spiritually. Because of Adam’s disobedience, every descendant of Adam is born spiritually dead. Every gardener born of Adam is spiritually dead.

The big picture of Genesis is that we are created to cultivate and eat fruit.

Fruit From the Heart

As we contemplate bearing fruit, it is essential to understand the relationship of the heart to bearing fruit. In the spiritual realm, spiritual fruit comes from a spiritual heart.

When the Bible speaks of the heart, it rarely speaks of our body’s internal organ that pumps blood. Instead, it speaks of the heart as the seat of our emotions and our will. When the Bible talks of the heart, it refers to the inner man, mind, and will[1].

Everything we do comes from our hearts. The heart directs our will, our affections, and our desire for satisfaction. It is not the stomach that determines what food we will eat. Our mind doesn’t tell us what food to eat (otherwise, we would only eat what we know is healthy). Our heart directs our steps.

When God looks at us, He looks upon our hearts. God judges the motives of the heart. When God selects a king for Israel, He tells Samuel not to look at outward appearance. God sees people differently. Don’t judge a book by its cover, Samuel. The Lord does not see as we see; He looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).

We are to watch over our heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23).

The reason God looks at the heart is that faith takes place in the heart.

… if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. (Romans 10:8-10)

We may say we love Jesus, but our heart affections and passions might say otherwise. Our treasures reveal our heart.

If we understand the heart’s relationship to salvation, we can understand the heart’s connection to bearing fruit. Listen to what Jesus says about our hearts as it relates to bearing fruit.

For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. (Luke 6:43-45)

Again, listen to Jesus explain to His disciples the relationship of the heart to bearing fruit.

Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance. (Luke 8:11-15)

The fruit of our salvation comes from our hearts. David prays, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10).

The reason to understand the relationship between the heart and fruit is we need to examine the source of our fruit continually. It is possible to bear fruit that looks good from the outside, but it is from the flesh and not our born-again heart. We can have outward acts of religion done by tradition or as men-pleasers, but not from a heart of worship (Matthew 23:27; Luke 16:15; Isaiah 29:13).

God creates us to cultivate and partake of fruit. Therefore, our bearing fruit proves that we are disciples of Jesus.

We cannot bear just any fruit; it must be fruit that comes from a good heart.

Common questions

Last week, we read what Jesus tells His disciples. He said, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” (John 15:8)

Verses such as this create great anxiety for Christians.

  • What if I fail in producing fruit?
  • What if I often find my desire to bear fruit is from the flesh?
  • What if I struggle with producing fruit?
  • My heart affections are not always pure. Does my impure fruit mean that I not a disciple of Jesus?

Before we talk about bearing fruit, we need to know an essential truth about the struggle of being a Christian.

Fruit war

We are in a fruit war. Our flesh and our born-again Spirit are at war to seek and cultivate fruit.

Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:6)

While we are in this world, we live in a “tent” which is called our flesh. We have two natures. We have a flesh nature and a born-again spirit which is in union with Christ.

Our born-again self is in union with Jesus. Our born-again self has the righteousness of Christ. Our born-again self receives all the promises of God. Nothing can separate us from Christ. Nothing! We will stand before the throne of God blameless and above reproach.

We hold these truths to be true because we have the Spirit of God in our hearts. The Spirit is God’s pledge. It is the guarantee of our covenant of marriage to Jesus. God never breaks His covenants. The Spirit of God is our guarantee.

Already/Not Yet
We live in what theologians refer to as the already, but not yet, state. Consider how salvation impacts our relationship with sin. Jesus already paid the penalty of our sin. Jesus already overcame the power of sin in our lives. We will one day be free of the presence of sin, but we are not yet free of the presence of sin.

We are already free of the penalty of sin. We are already free of the power of sin. But, we are not yet free of the presence of sin.

God recognizes our struggle and gives us the answer in Scripture. The Bible is written to help us navigate this unique struggle that only Christians have. Listen to the Apostle Paul wrestle with this truth:

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. (Romans 7:24-25)

If we don’t understand that Scripture is presenting to us the battle of the fruit war, we will wrongly interpret the Scripture and become anxious and depressed. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. With that truth in mind, go fight. You can’t lose. (More on this next week.)

Bear Good Fruit

Next week, we will complete our study on the fruit of salvation. We will see how we may bear good fruit from the Spirit and not from the flesh.

We are given the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our salvation in Christ. With the Spirit, let’s seek to bear fruit and live as God’s redeemed, His sons and daughters, bearing fruit for our joy and His glory.

[1] ©1981 1998 New American Standard Updated Edition Exhaustive Concordance; The Lockman Foundation