Perhaps you have seen it before, the bemoaning excuses and shrugging shoulders of a leadership trying to convince, for the hundredth time, that God is alive and at work in their congregation. As they explain why the church isn’t growing and why the baptismal hasn’t had water in years, they grasp at straws. They point to the latest entry of the endless rotation of those who go in and out of the church and claim that God is working. They count as fruit the multitude of purposeless events that were attended by many to no end. Then come the excuses, the theology we have constructed to defend God’s inactivity.“It does not matter as long as we preach the truth…” “People hate us because we are faithful…” “Christians today are so man-centered…”
While there is a shred of truth to all of these doctrinal statements, biblically, they are never used to excuse the fruitlessness of a church in a community. The church has limped on these crutches for too long and failed to realize three very important truths:
There is Extensive Harvest OpportunityJohn 4:35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.
Perhaps it is our own prejudice which hinders us from seeing the Harvest which God has provided. Perhaps we have grown to be ashamed of the Gospel and don’t believe that it can change the lives of the people around us. Perhaps we have overestimated the kingdom of darkness and grown hopeless that people may be freed from its grasp. To all those who fall into these lies, Jesus tells you to look up and see the crowds of people who are ripe for Gospel harvest. This is the season that God has given for us to do His work in the city of Ventura.
God Expects MultiplicationJohn 15 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Your obedience has come short if you are not in the business of multiplying the gospel in others. Instead Christ commands for you to abide in obedience to His word and have His word abide in you. This is the recipe for a rewarding harvest.
God is Glorified When We Bear the Fruit of MultiplicationJohn 15 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
Martin Luther once said that the gospel is like a caged lion, let it out and it will fend for itself. Indeed, the gospel is the power of God for salvation. When it is at work in the words, works, and lives of God’s people, it will accomplish its purposes and God will be vindicated. God is the one who causes fruit, but many churches and pastors are obstructing the work He desires to do by their failure to abide in Him and to ask for a harvest of fruitfulness which proves that we are His own. So, abide in Him and ask Him to do a work that is beyond all that we can ask or think.
To the praise of His glory