Monday, 7 May 2018

Go and bear fruit!

Isaiah 55: 1-11(page 615 in our pew Bibles) "For my thoughts are not your thoughts and your ways not my ways, declares the Lord". A crucified saviour springs to mind.
Acts 10: 44-end (page 919 in our pew Bibles) The Holy Spirit is poured out on all believers creating a level playing field.
John 15: 9-17 (page 902 in our pew Bibles) Jesus appointed us so that we would go and bear fruit!

What we learn from Isaiah here is that God’s ways and thoughts are very different and higher than ours, which is why God’s way of doing things confounds our human wisdom.
Also carrying on the theme that words carry great power and import, we read that God’s word will accomplish all that it sets out to do.
It was God’s word that created the universe, his word that is delivered to his people by his prophets, and his word made flesh – Jesus – who redeems the world.
When we read from the Bible we end by saying;  “This is the word of the Lord”, conferring divine authority to the words in the Bible.
Because they are often difficult to understand, or contentious, doesn’t lessen their validity or the certainty that they will, I quote;
“accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it”
So when the scriptures talk about the Holy Spirit being poured out on both Jews and gentiles, it will accomplish its goal of producing a church that is a level playing ground where “living in the Spirit” is not determined by race or class or gender (which are human ways or dividing people) it is determined solely on the  grounds of having a living faith.
A living faith that is water to the thirsty and food for the hungry. When they saw the Romans also displaying the gifts of the Spirit, Peter knew that they could not withhold baptism from them and commanded that they be baptized into Jesus Christ, the word made flesh.
Of course the gospel reading just carries on with the “I am the true vine” section we started with last week And is about mutual indwelling.
The sacrificial nature of the love that is being commanded is costly love indeed.
Even to the extent that you might lay down your life for your friends – and Jesus leading by example did exactly that.
And as if to rub it in, referring to my difference of opinion with my training vicar as I said last week, Jesus says;
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit will abide.”
Whilst perhaps not an exhaustive list Paul lists some fruits of the spirit in Galatians 5. And he says
The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Fruits which supplant a much longer list of the works of the flesh, such as enmity, strife, jealousy fits of anger rivalries, dissensions and divisions to name just a few.
A community where you see either the fruit of the spirit or the works of the flesh in the ascendency, you know which way the wind is blowing.