Shabbat Shalom all,
Romiyim/Romans 6:22 “But now, having been set free from sin, and having become servants of Elohim, you have your fruit resulting in set-apartness, and the end, everlasting life.”
The fruit of our lives, as set-apart servants of the Most High, must result in set-apartness, and this is an ongoing day to day process, which at the end will result in the promised everlasting life with our Master and Elohim!
The Greek word translated as ‘fruit’ is καρπός karpos – Strong’s G2590 which means, ‘fruit, benefit, gain, harvest, produce’ and typically refers to fruit that has been plucked, rendering the figurative meaning of the labours, works or acts of those who have fitted themselves with every good work unto everlasting life. What we can therefore clearly understand and establish is that our works of righteousness are vital in being evident in our lives, as we continue to produce much fruit of a people who are living pure and undefiled set-apart lives. In a message tonight called, “BRINGING FRUIT TO PERFECTION”, I would like us to be soberly reminded of our need to make sure that we are being steadfast in bearing fruit that results in set-apartness – set-apartness without compromise, slackness or failure to submit to the clear instructions of our great and Mighty Master and Elohim, יהושע Messiah!
The Hebrew equivalent for this Greek word for fruit is פְּרִי peri – Strong’s H6529 which means, ‘fruit, produce’ and comes from the word פָּרָה parah – Strong’s H6509 which means, ‘to bear fruit, be fruitful, flourish’. This word certainly speaks of the physical fruit of trees and shrubs that bear fruit in which there is a seed according to its kind, i.e., fruit with kernels, hence the fruit produces more fruit. This word also is used figuratively of children, as being the fruit of the womb; yet what we also find as a repeated theme throughout Scripture, is that this term for fruit many times refers to the meaning of, “the result of an action”; or better understood as, “works”. Our lives, as set-apart children of Elohim, ought to be bearing the fruit of repentance – which is a clear resulting action of turning away from all falsehood and wickedness, and turning to righteousness:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 3:8 “Bear, therefore, fruits worthy of repentance”
Understanding that fruits are the result of an action, we must also take heed that we do not bear bad fruit, which may be brought forth as a result of wrong actions, such as disobedience or compromise or lawlessness and unrighteousness! When we walk according to the Spirit we will bear the fruit of the Spirit and not be given over to the desires of the flesh and have the fruit of fleshly living present! Fruit does not just pop into one’s life, it is a result of an action, and we are to be bearing good fruit, hence the clear understanding that we are to be ‘doing’ the good works of obedience that have been prepared beforehand for us to do – and that is to walk in the clear commands of Elohim, guarding to do all He has commanded us!
We are known, or rather shall be known by our fruit:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 7:16-23 “By their fruits you shall know them. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 “So every good tree yields good fruit, but a rotten tree yields wicked fruit. 18 “A good tree is unable to yield wicked fruit, and a rotten tree to yield good fruit. 19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 “So then, by their fruits you shall know them – 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Master, Master,’ shall enter into the reign of the heavens, but he who is doing the desire of My Father in the heavens. 22 “Many shall say to Me in that day, ‘Master, Master, have we not prophesied in Your Name, and cast out demons in Your Name, and done many mighty works in Your Name?’ 23 “And then I shall declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who work lawlessness!’”
Many mighty works that many will claim as good works will be simply revealed as wicked works or rather wicked fruits, for wicked fruit is brought forth from the resulting actions of lawlessness, whereas the good fruit of righteousness is brought forth from the resulting action of complete obedience and set-apartness of walking in and staying in the commands of Elohim!
As the value of a tree is estimated by its products, so righteousness that is displayed in acts/works is a decisive standard for the just judgment of Elohim:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 3:10 “And the axe is already laid to the root of the trees. Every tree, then, which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
The one who is unfruitful has been clearly warned of being rejected, and if this warning is not taken heed of, the clear sentence of being cut off is clear:
Luqas/Luke 13:6-9 “And He spoke this parable, “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 “And he said to the gardener, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down, why does it even make the ground useless?’ 8 “And he answering, said to him, ‘Master, leave it this year too, until I dig around it and throw manure. 9 ‘And if indeed it bears fruit, good. But if not so, you shall cut it down.’”
When we remain steadfast in walking in complete obedience to the Torah/instructions/commands of our Master and Elohim, we are guaranteed that we shall bear fruit that lasts!
In speaking of the man who delights in, and meditates day and night on, the Torah of Elohim, and who does not sit with scoffers, stand with sinners, nor walk in the counsel of the wrong, Dawiḏ tells us in:
Tehillim/Psalm 1:3 “For he shall be as a tree Planted by the rivers of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and whose leaf does not wither, and whatever he does prospers.”
The resulting action of daily meditating on the Torah, and delighting in it while staying clear of falsehood and twisted lawlessness, will be the good fruit of righteousness that is needed at any given moment! Yirmeyahu tells us the same thing:
Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in יהוה, and whose trust is יהוה. 8 “For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and does not see when heat comes. And his leaf shall be green, and in the year of drought he is not anxious, nor does he cease from yielding fruit.”
To trust יהוה entails a complete submission and surrender to His instructions for set-apart living as given through His Word, and the resulting action of an active trust that obeys what is commanded will be a continual fruit bearing witness of set-apartness unto Elohim. The Torah is supposed to be written upon our hearts, and our actions will produce the clear facts of whether it is or not, and while many may claim the pathetic saying of, “יהוה knows my heart”, as an excuse to not walk in His commands, guess what the following 2 verses in Yirmeyahu says:
Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is crooked above all, and desperately sick – who shall know it? 10 “I, יהוה, search the heart, I try the kidneys, and give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
The sobering reality is that יהוה does know our hearts, yet most do not, and He gives according to the fruit (that is the resulting action) of our deeds – be it deeds of obedience or of lawlessness or disobedience!
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 11:30 “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who is winning lives is wise.”
As we bear the enduring fruit of righteousness, as the resulting action of our wholehearted obedience to out Master and Elohim, we become a source of life to many who may eat of our fruit and come to the knowledge of Elohim. In other words we ought to be bearing fruit that others may taste and see how good יהוה is! Let me ask you at this point, do those who you interact with on a daily basis know that you love and serve the Living Elohim and Creator of all? Can they see the fruit of unwavering righteousness in your life that will cause them to desire to taste the goodness of set-apart living or not? Now while many may not desire to taste the fruit that you so display as a resulting action of obedience, we recognise that we shall be the fragrance of life to life for some, but to others we will be the fragrance of death to death. Knowing this must not cause us to shrink back in any circumstance or situation or company, but rather continue to have the resulting action of obedience and bear fruits of set-apartness for all to see, as we shine the light of the Truth in every way!
We also know that trees in Scripture are often a metaphor for men, and therefore as fruit bearing trees we ought to ensure that the soils of our hearts are continually kept free from that which can damage the roots of our lives in Messiah!
Hoshěa/Hosea 10:12 “Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap according to kindness, break up your tillable ground, it is time to seek יהוה, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.”
The Hebrew word translated as ‘sow’ is the primitive root verb זָרַע zara – Strong’s H2232 meaning, ‘to sow or scatter seed’, and clearly implies a much need action of ‘doing righteousness’, which is ‘to guard all the command of Elohim’ (Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 6:25). The Hebrew word translated as ‘break up’ is the verb נִיר niyr – Strong’s H5214 which means, ‘till the soil, break up the soil, freshly plough or till’, and the word translated as ‘tillable ground’ is the noun נִיר niyr – Strong’s H5215 which means, ‘tillable, untilled, fallow ground’. This root word is closely identical to נֵר ner – Strong’s H5216 meaning, ‘lamp, candle, light’, with the idea of the gleam of a fresh furrow; and so we see how vital it is to shine the light of the Truth through a proper tilling of the soil of our hearts that result in bearing the fruits of righetsouness!
The clear instruction and call to repentance is very loud here, as we see the next verse tells us the state that Yisra’ĕl were in:
Hoshěa/Hosea 10:13 “You have ploughed wrongness, you have reaped unrighteousness, you have eaten the fruit of lying, because you trusted in your own way, in your many mighty men.”
The Hebrew word translated as ‘ploughed’ is חָרַשׁ ḥarash – Strong’s H2790 meaning, ‘to cut in, engrave, plow, devise, scheme, plot’, and also has the meaning, ‘to be silent, dumb, speechless, deaf, say nothing’. In other words the rebuke here is clear – doing things your own way and scheming, according to false and vain traditions of man, while turning a deaf ear to the hearing of the Torah, will have the result of the wicked fruit of unrighteousness, all because of the eating of lies and useless dogmas and traditions of man, instead of eating the daily manna and lawful bread of the Torah and Word of Elohim!
The fruit of our lives is a clear indication of the resulting actions of obedience or disobedience, and we must do our utmost to be bearing the fruit of repentance that results in set-apartness. The verses that caused me to prepare this message and the need to look at the state of our hearts and the fruit of our lives, comes from the parable of the sower and the seed in:
Luqas/Luke 8:14-15 “And that which fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with worries, and riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to perfection. 15 “And that on the good soil are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, retain it, and bear fruit with endurance.”
This is a parable that we have heard many times, I am sure, and while we have learnt in the past how this teaches us a clear lesson on the varying states or condition of the heart, I have chosen to primarily look at the last two. And while I was reading this, the words of ‘bring no fruit to perfection’ struck me greatly, and caused me to pause and think for a moment what this is showing us. In light of the times we are living in, we are certainly seeing many who are finding it hard to remain steadfast in complete set-apartness, and as a result of the worries, riches and pleasure of life, they are not keeping the soil of their hearts in a state that can bring forth fruit to perfection, and as a result they are being found to be without oil in their lamps and are not shining the light of the Truth. What is interesting to take note of here, as I mentioned how the word for ‘break up’ and ‘tillable ground’ are related to the word for ‘lamp, light’, is that the very next verse here in Luqas/Luke 8, after giving this parable of the soils, speaks of having lamps that are not covered or hidden, but are rather put up on the lampstand so that those coming in can see the light!! The call for endurance and keeping our lamps filled, lit and visible to all is paralleled with having the soil of our hearts kept in good condition, as we hear, guard and do the Word of Elohim with joy, with the resulting action of the fruit of endurance being evidenced!
The Greek word translated as ‘perfection’ is τελεσφορέω telesphoreō – Strong’s G5052 which means, ‘to bring fruit to perfection, to bear perfect offspring, bring fruit to maturity’ and is from the two words: 1) – τέλος telos – Strong’s G5056 which means, ‘an end, toll, continually, finished, fulfilment, goal, outcome’ and 2) – φορέω phoreō – Strong’s G5409 which means, ‘to bear constantly, to wear’, which comes from the root φέρω pherō – Strong’s G5342 which means, ‘bear, carry, bring forth, uphold’. This word is used in the LXX (Septuagint) for ‘lifted up’ in:
Shemoth/Exodus 35:21 “And everyone whose heart lifted him up and everyone whose spirit moved him came, and they brought the contribution to יהוה for the work of the Tent of Meeting, and for all its service, and for the set-apart garments.”
This gives a very powerful understanding of hearts that are lifted up in service to the Master, for we are to bear the fruit of righteousness as we stay in Him, lest we are cut off for the lack of the fruit of righteousness:
Yoḥanan/John 15:2 “Every branch in Me that bears no fruit He takes away. And every branch that bears fruit He prunes, so that it bears more fruit.”
What we can see from the seed, which is the Word of Elohim, that falls among thorns, is the danger of fruit not bearing to perfection, and herein lies the encouraging call to endure to the end. The Word τέλος telos is used in:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 10:22 “And you shall be hated by all for My Name’s sake. But he who shall have endured to the end shall be saved.”
Ḥazon/Revelation 2:26 “And he who overcomes, and guards My works until the end, to him I shall give authority over the nations”
Enduring to the end, is equivalent to guarding the Master’s works until the end… and this is the state of hearts that are continually tilled and sown with righteousness.
Bringing fruit to perfection can only happen when we do not allow the worries, riches and pleasure of life to get in the way of our set-apartness in the Master. The worries, riches and pleasures of life can cause many to shrink back, as the truth is choked out; and this can only happen when the soil of our heats are not continually tilled and kept free from these wicked thorns and weeds of doubt.
The Greek word translated as ‘choked’ is συμπνίγω sumpnigō – Strong’s G4846 which means, ‘to choke, pressed against, strangle completely – that is literally to drown and figuratively to crowd’. Have you ever felt like you are drowning in a sea of doubt and fear, or being crowded out by external pressures that are pressing hard against you? Well this is what worries, riches and pleasure of life will do to you if you are not careful in keeping the soil of your heart free from such thorns, and are not meditating day and night on the Truth, and not shining the light with confidence!
The Greek word translated as ‘worries’ is μέριμνα merimna – Strong’s G3308 which means, ‘cares, worries, anxieties’, which we looked at last week in the message called, ‘LEARN TO BE CONTENT!’, and can render for us the meaning of being pulled in different directions. How often do you find yourself in a place where you do not know which way to go, and it feels like you are being pulled all over the place? That is what will choke out and drown out the life of the Word, due to untilled hearts! The Greek word translated as ‘riches’ is πλοῦτος ploutos – Strong’s G4149 which means, ‘to flow or abound in wealth and riches’, and comes from the root word πλέω pleō – Strong’s G4126 which means, ‘to sail, sailing, passenger’! I find this an interesting picture here, for if your dreams and hopes are set on ‘sailing off into the sunset’ with all your worries taken care of, think again. This mind-set of being so wealthy that you can live the dream life and have no cares or worries is a lie and a fantasy that is not a Scriptural concept for the true set-apart believer, and having this mind-set can be very dangerous in choking out the very Truth that ought to sustain you. The world today is riddled with the luring attraction of finding wealth and happiness; and movies and media play a big role in shaping many minds into thinking what their dream fantasy must look like – this is dangerous and choking, to say the least. With this word also meaning ‘passenger’ we need to take heed that we are not ‘passengers’ here but rather ‘sojourners’. The difference between a passenger and a sojourner is that the passenger thinks that they are the ones to be served and simply seeking to be on a cruise of success, whereas a sojourner realises that he is a foreigner and stranger, and his need to guard the commands of the reign to which he belongs is vital, as his need to serve as an ambassador of that coming kingdom will cost him everything!
The Greek word translated as ‘pleasures’ is ἡδονή hēdonē – Strong’s G2237comes from the word ἥδομαι hēdomai which means, ‘to enjoy oneself, indulge in pleasures’. It is from this word that we get the English word ‘hedonism’ which, according to Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, is understood as meaning, ‘the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the sole or chief good in life’.
These three things are a real and present danger that is lurking around each and every one of us, each and every day, just waiting for the opportune time to choke out the Word from our lives. This will happen when compromise sets in, even in the slightest way! The way to avoid these dangers and be able to bear the fruit of endurance is to remain in the Master:
Yoḥanan/John 15:6 “If anyone does not stay in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up. And they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”
The Greek word translated as ‘stay’ is μένω menō – Strong’s G3306 and means, ‘to stay, abide, remain, stand, kept continually, endure’, and can also be understood as having the meaning, ‘remain as one, not to become another or different’. In other words, when we ‘stay’ in The Master we do not change our commitment to bearing fruit of set-apartness, and we do not shrink back from standing firm in the Truth, but rather remain firm in our fervent stand of faith!
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 10:38-39 “But the righteous shall live by belief, but if anyone draws back, my being has no pleasure in him.” 39 But we are not of those who draw back to destruction, but of belief to the preservation of life.”
יהוה takes no pleasure in those who get slack in their obedience and get choked by thorns that should never have entered into the heart in the first place! The Greek word translated as ‘draws back’ is ὑποστολή hupostolē – Strong’s G5289 meaning, ‘a letting down, shrinking back’, and by implication renders the understanding of ‘apostasy, falling away’. The Greek word translated as ‘preservation’ is περιποίησις peripoiēsis – Strong’s G4047 which means, ‘purchased possession, preservation, acquisition, peculiar, property’. We, as a set-apart people unto Elohim, have been sealed with Set-apart Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession! We have been purchased, and are to hold fast to the sure promise and hope we have in our Master, as we do not draw back or fall away, but press on and stand firm!
Luqas/Luke 9:62 “But יהושע said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the reign of Elohim.”
A plough is used to till the ground, and as we consider the words from Hoshěa/Hosea 10:12 that it is time to break up the tillable ground, we need to recognise that we who have begun to till the soil of our hearts and have the good seed being deposited therein, cannot turn back from being steadfast in our duty to keep the soil of our hearts free from thorns; for if we do, and the Word gets choked out and causes us to fall away, we shall not be fit for the reign of Elohim!!! The term ‘looking back’ is from the Greek words: 1) – βλέπω blepō – Strong’s G991 which means, ‘to look at, beware, careful, consider’ and 2) – ὀπίσω opisō – Strong’s G3694 which means, ‘back, behind, after, things that are behind’
We are to look at, and be careful of that which is ahead of us, as we look unto the Master whom we follow, but we are not to look back and consider the things that are behind us, and by that I mean we are not to look at past failings and hurts and fears, and allow them to stop our journey of endurance, but rather we press on in the Master, with the content and constant hand on the plough, ensuring that the soil of our hearts is kept good and free from thorns that can choke out the life of the Word!
Our fruit must be brought to perfection, through faithful endurance under all trials and pressures:
Ya’aqob/James 1:4 “And let endurance have a perfect work, so that you be perfect and complete, lacking in naught.”
As we consider the parable of the sower and the seed, may we recognise the clear and present danger of the wicked thorns of worries, riches and pleasures of life that will seek an opportunity to set in and choke out the Truth. So many believers begin well and begin to bear fruit, yet the thorns of life come along and choke out the very life that can cause the fruit to be borne to perfection. And so while we, like many trees that may look like they have begun to bear fruit, must not stop tilling the soil of our heart and find that the fruit dies due to compromise, fears and worries of the pleasures and luring lusts of the flesh, but rather be on guard in breaking up the ground each and every day, meditating of the Torah day and night, so that we bear much fruit in and out of season, always ready to give a bold answer for the hope we have, bearing the fruit of that hope as a result of the action of complete obedience.
Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 3:15-16 “But set apart יהוה Elohim in your hearts, and always be ready to give an answer to everyone asking you a reason concerning the expectation that is in you, with meekness and fear, 16 having a good conscience, so that when they speak against you as doers of evil, those who falsely accuse your good behaviour in Messiah, shall be ashamed.”
The danger of the soil that has thorns represents those who hear the Word, and do not guard to do what it says, due to the inability to weed out the luring pleasures of the flesh that seeks to consume us. My urgent call, in this season of renewal, as we have entered into a new year, and are approaching the Pěsaḥ meal and Matzot Feast, is to till the soil of your heart and not allow the hearing of the Truth to be drowned out by the luring pleasures and worries of the flesh, but rather: hear, guard (by tilling) and do the commands of Elohim, and bear the fruit of endurance, as we eagerly await His soon return. He who has ears let him hear what the Spirit says!!!
יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show you favour; יהוה lift up His face to you and give you Shalom!