05 - Roots and Fruits 2009
1 I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally. 2 I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself.
Notice that Paul had an agony. It was a burden for the Christian church, that they would knit together strongly by the ties of love.
“Knit” is from word meaning “to join together.”
Paul used this illustration of the church being like a human body a lot:“…from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”—Eph. 4:16
“…and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.”—Col. 2:19
According to Paul, The body of Christ is held together by:
LOVE: “…knit together by strong ties of love.”
EACH MEMBER CONTRIBUTING TO THE WHOLE: “…the effective working by which every part does its share.”
Paul never encourages pew warming, but every single person should be contributing to the whole with what God has gifted them to do!
Peter said the same thing:
“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”—1 Pet. 4:10
Jesus said, “Freely you have received, freely give.”—Matt. 10:8
Next, Paul tells us that Jesus is the sum total of all wisdom:
3 In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
“Hidden” is from word meaning “kept secret.”
In other words, we must seek Him in order to uncover the incredible treasures of wisdom that are found in Him.
You could bring together all the philosophers and thinkers of all the ages; place all their profound thoughts and ponderings together in one great container, and you would find that all of it combined cannot hold a flickering candle to the wisdom of Jesus Christ.
EINSTEIN searched for most of his life for an equation that would unify the different aspects of creation he saw around him, and with all his brilliance, died frustrated. He wrote, “I shall never ever solve it. I am uncertain as to whether I was ever on the right track.”
The Greek philosophers peered hard into the mysteries of life and meaning, yet admittedly died frustrated.
SOCRATES, the famous Greek philosopher of the 5th century B.C., used to say, "I only know one thing, and that is that I know nothing."
FRIEDRICH NIETZCHE, who famously announced the death of God, was and is a famous philosopher, very admired in university’s and among intellectual elites. But he lived most of his life angry, unhappy, and died quite insane.
The bottom line is that Jesus Christ, says Paul, is the final answer to the cry for wisdom, understanding and meaning.
Paul goes on to say:
4 I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments.
There are always those out there that want to deceive the well-meaning Christian with well-crafted arguments and lies about the Christian faith and the Person of Christ.
Paul says, “Don’t let anyone or anything remove you from Christ Jesus by false promises or well-aimed deception.
5 For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong.
Notice strong faith in Christ always translates into living like you should!
And this is what Paul is going to drive home in the next few passages:
6 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.
“Follow” Means “to live, deport oneself, follow (as a companion) -- be occupied with, walk (about) with. It means “As you walk about in life, whatever you do, wherever you go, let your life be one of following Him.”
More and more I don’t tell people that I’m a Christian, but rather that I am a fully committed follower of Jesus Christ. That’s Christianity in its simplest form!
We come to Christ not just for salvation, but to fully follow Him in this life, obeying His teachings as the highest form of philosophy, as our ultimate guide.
Next, Paul talks about roots and fruits:
7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
Paul used the same word in Eph. 3:17
“…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love…”
“Rooted” is from a word meaning “stable.”
Notice that “rooted” comes before the word “built.”
BIG IDEA: First comes the root, then comes the fruit. You can’t build on something that has no roots.
Rootless-ness is the reason so many people walk away from Christ Jesus. And He warned about rootless-ness in Matthew 13:20
20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.”
Rootless-ness and backsliding go hand in hand.
How do we get roots?
As we live by faith, remaining in fellowship, personal time in the Word, and in obedience to Jesus’ teachings, we become rooted in him.
Why are roots so important? Because:
Your roots determine your values and priorities, therefore to be "rooted in him" means that we allow Christ to determine our values and priorities, such as putting Him first in our life.
If you want to establish stability in your Christian life, you must learn to live "in" Christ, not just "for" Christ.
You become rooted in Christ by surrendering yourself in faith to Christ;
BIG IDEA: The more you surrender, the deeper the roots grow.
Paul then says that, as goes the roots, so goes the fruits:
As we live in Him and follow Him, we will be built up in him.
Being "built up in Christ" is an on-going process—one that takes time and patience.
1 Corinthians 3:9 says:
“For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.”
Philippians 1:6 agrees and says:
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
Being built up in him requires that we fully surrender ourselves to him and allow him to do his work in us.
AS we surrender, He will do His work in us. WE will grow spiritually over time with patience.
It’s sort of like Popeye. Popeye is an example of someone whose strength didn't come from himself, but something else—his spinach.
You and I don't have any strength in ourselves; our strength is in the quality of our walk with Him. Jesus is our spinach!
Our focus should not be on whether we will do good deeds or bad deeds throughout the day; our focus should be on placing our faith entirely in Jesus, and relying on him to give us the strength to do what we must do.
“Stablished in the faith…”
“Stablished” means to “stabilitate.” We are to be stabilized, steady, consistent, even predictable in the faith.
If someone were watching us they should be able to say, “I didn’t see a lot of ups and downs, ins and outs, or fluctuations in their walk. They were steady as she goes.”
AND we are to do all of these things in a spirit of THANKSGIVING. Overflowing with thankfulness.
THOUGHTS TO PONDER:
If it seems impossible for you to establish any kind of stability in your walk with Christ, it could be that you are placing your faith in the wrong person or thing.
Or that your priorities are off.
WE must do the same thing today that we did the day we were saved: put our faith entirely in Christ, not just living
For Him, but in Him.