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Home Sermons How to return to renewed fruitfulness - Text

How to return to renewed fruitfulness - Text

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How to return to renewed fruitfulness 

study boys

Paul Thompson 

Hebrews 13:7-8  NKJV

Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Introduction

The problem we face and pastor referred to it this morning in his prayer. “Some of us have lost our way, we have drifted from the gospel. The reality is that for some of us after 40 years of churching we have drifted from the gospel and so lost our zeal or first love for Christ. There is standing still in the Christian life. God expects us to keep growing, keep changing and being fruitful as Christians and this applies to our churching together to.

Our text ives a power motivation to change and in our text the great apostle gives his readers there final exhortations, or directions. But they apply to us as we ask of God's word the question;

How do we to return to renewed fruitfulness?

And our text answers by telling us to imitate your leaders in ways, recall and follow.   

Firstly we must 

1. Recall  

He begins by saying remember, there's is a living embodiment of the great shepherd Jesus Christ  living and shepherding you in your very midst. If you would find your way again and come back to centre - recall their story - their narrative will give a context to which you exist and where your where birth as Christians and therefore a Church. How did this happen?

He tells us, “Who have spoken the Word of God to you.” This why you exist, it’s not because your good or your deserve it or because your clever. No says the apostle. Remember the “Word of God,” the Gospel, the mighty message of God's creation, our fall in Adam and our redemption and restoration through the Lord Jesus Christ. 

So the first way back from our lostness and maybe coldness is to recall, to bring back to the front of your mind two great stories that are supernatural and miraculous. First the story of how your where birthed as a Church and what it took and why did this happen -it happen because of “The Word of God spoken to you.” The gospel of God, The Kingdom of God - That as we heard this morning we are in a cosmic struggle but the victory is won by Christ on Calvary and God’s promises have and will come true.

 But don't just recall consider, give consideration - judge, weight up ponder - the outcome of their faith. 

The next key to renewal and fruitfulness is exam the fruit - be fruit inspectors.

And we do this all the time, when we buy fruit we inspect it,  And so God says to us look around, look into each others faces, your are the fruit brother or sister of a ministry that is authentic and real. Now we boast in the Lord but it can’t be denied God’s word the gospel has born fruit in conversions and sanctified lives. 

Why has this fruitfulness happened?

Because of faith. 

Phillip Jensen has said a correct definition of faith starts not Hebrews 11:1 but at 

Hebrews 10 : 38 - 39

Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”  But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

In order to understand this verse it is helpful to go back to  Habakkuk 2:2-4  

I will stand my watch
And set myself on the rampart,
And watch to see what He will say to me,
And what I will answer when I am corrected.

 

 Then the Lord answered me and said:

“Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets

That he may run who reads it.

For the vision is yet for an appointed time;

But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.

Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry.

“Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.

 

Notice the importance of watching and listening in verse 2. 

What is the vision  he refers to in verse 3?  It’s the vision and prophecy of the coming of Jesus Christ, the  Messiah according to John Gill. 

But brethren what the Lord saying to us? Is he saying we need correction? To be humbled because of who we think we are and what we have achieved as a Christians or as a Church. Satan is so subtle as we were reminded this morning in decieving us so we loss reality and persective. 

We need to be humbled and repent of pride to find our way back to renewal and fruitfulnesss. 

Now if we are to imitate the faith of our leaders - what is the faith they modeled to us? It’s in our text in Habakkuk 2:2-4 . Watching and listen and what is the renewed fruitfulness?

It's the grace of justification by faith - Someone has said, for non Christians today this doctrine makes no sense to them unless it is spoken to them in the context of idolatry.  This is the crowning sin of people today expressed in love of things, or power or sex or family instead of worshipping God.

We are model by our lifestyles  from passages like Proverbs 13 where we are told not to be like the world and idolaters. Most people when confronted by their idolatry admit they are undone. Then in their idolatry before the holy God who demands to be worshipped above anyone or anything they here in the gospel the good news that though God is holy and  just and  so must punish their rebellion Christ  has taken their punishment in His body on the tree. Then they here the command to exercise faith in Christ alone for salvation. And they discover the glorious liberty from idolatry and enslavement to other Gods and worship Him who made them new through Christ and His Spirit. 

So to return to fruitfulness we need to recall how our leaders did in both bringing the word of Christ  so we may copy them in our ministrys. But next our text tells us we need to 

2. Follow

We need to become followers  of our leaders to return to fruitfulness and renewal

We are to imitate - the Greek word is be actors/ players. The apsotle charges his hearers in different letters; 

1 Cor 4:16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me.

Phillipans 3:17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.

1 Thessalonians 1 : 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.

Be like a child who copies it’s parents, not their bad traits but their good ones. Therefore copy your leaders. But like them bring the word of God to others - the gospel to others, Be a servant to them, a missionary to them, your neighbours, family, workmates, friends, how? by faith - Believe that Word, live by it with all your strength and soul and might.

 And what will be the glorious result? The fruit of true saving faith which always bears fruit and what will happen to those who hear Christ through you? They also will want to imitate you. What a wonderful encouragement as we see a chain reaction of us making disciples who in turn make disciples. So here is both a great motivation and challenge to us who have drifted from the gospel to repent and return by recalling and following our faithful leaders. 

Only then will we to return to renewed fruitfulness. But notice the grand motivation for this. But finally look at verse 8 

“But Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today.”

Why does he say this: Because He is the one who is at the heart of the word their leaders spoke to them.  He is the unchanging message of salvation. The centre of the gospel.

Yes our leaders are not perfect, and we change,  but Jesus christ is unchanging.  

Christ followed and imitated His father - in living and speaking the gospel Christ w birth leaders who birthed Christians.  As your pastor was birth by others who bought the word of God to Him so may we bring His word to others  who inturn become disciples who make disciples.  The we will know renewed fruitfulness and so bring glory to God and the gospel. Amen  

Last Updated on Monday, 14 March 2016 19:24  

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