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11
The Fruit Of Faith
June 11, 2012
Why do so many North American Christians today struggle with their faith? Faith should be the normal way of everyday life for believers in Christ!  Paul stated it simply in Galatians 3:11 “The just shall live by faith”. Not complicated! How Jesus must have rejoiced every time He witnessed true faith in His word, no matter how feeble, to which He could readily respond, “Go your way, your faith has made you whole!” More than once did He profess, “Great is your faith!” However, there were numerous occasions when Jesus was righteously annoyed with unbelief even among His own disciples who should have gotten it, which taxed His longsuffering, remarking in patient frustration, “Why do you doubt, O you of little faith?” Surely, the general lack of faith in Jesus’ day led Him to ask a very disturbing question in Luke 18:8, “When the Son of man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Lord, search our hearts with that question.
 
How does faith come? “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”. The devil will always resist the potential for faith by opposing the work of God’s Word in your heart! I recently spoke to a church group and gave an invitation for prayer as the Holy Spirit directed me. After delivering the message, I strongly urged the hearers to come forward for ministry. Eventually 3 out of 25 responded. The entire group heard the very same word, and yet the majority chose to remain in their seats. Obviously there were most likely some who really felt no need for prayer regarding the appeal, but no doubt many should have responded in faith to the Word of God. What was the problem? Satan resisted the hearing of the Word!  The same thing that has afflicted the Church for centuries— Hebrews 4:2 describes the ongoing malady in the faith-less Body of Christ today. “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it”
 
Its amazing that both Jeremiah and David give an almost exact description of the man or woman of faith that is producing spiritual fruit. The process is identical and has great symbolic truth. Jeremiah writes, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8). I believe there is great symbolism in this passage. The “water” is the Word of God, the “leaf” is our faith, and the “fruit” is our spiritual harvest.
Now notice the almost identical depiction from David’s pen of the godly man or woman who trusts in the Lord. “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper” (Psalm 1:3) Again, God’s Word, faith and harvest.
Faith that produce the fruit!

In Mark 2, Jesus is preaching in a crowded house in Capernaum with an overflow of desperate, needy people both inside and out. Four men bring their paralyzed friend on a cot in hopes to get to the Healer for one touch of His hand. With no room whatsoever to manoeuvre, they resort to extreme measures— make an opening in the roof and let down their hurting friend, cot and all, dangling in front of Jesus’ face as the crowd stands in awe of the drastic sight.
Jesus was impressed with their action. In Mark 2:5, we read, “When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the paralyzed man, Son, your sins are forgiven you”.  How do you see faith? You can’t see faith, just like you can’t see the wind—you can only see the effects of wind—Jesus saw the effects of their faith! That’s why Hebrews 11:1 teaches “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” You can’t see the leaves of a tree producing oxygen, but you’re breathe it in every moment of every day! When you go to bed at night, do you never need to remind your lungs to breathe as you sleep—God created your lungs to work on their own, without any human effort. The working of our faith should be as natural as breathing without any exertion on our part—why? Because God has given to every man a measure of faith. It’s already there—it just needs to be exercised and expanded! The deeper you breathe, the greater your lung capacity for air. In other words, “build yourselves up in your most holy faith” (Jude 1:20)
 
Now here’s a needed warning to us people of faith—our faith is not the end result—fruitfulness is the desired outcome, produced by faith!  The whole process of faith and fruit starts with hearing the Word of God! If we are expecting a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s power in these last days with signs, miracles & wonders confirming the Word of God, it will first require an expanding of our faith for that to happen! Jesus told us what to look for signalling His second coming in Matthew 24:32. After the false prophets, after the wars, after the earthquakes, after the pestilences, after the famines and after the persecutions, He makes this profound statement;“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near”. A tree covered with leaves in preparation for fruit is a prophetic picture of the enormous wave of faith required to bring forth the outpouring of the Holy Ghost upon all flesh, bringing a sweeping revival of soul harvest produced by wide scale preaching and teaching of the Word of God mixed with living faith in those who hear it and receive it!
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