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Good fruit
August 9, 2010
by Rev. Martin Schoenfeld, St. James Lutheran Church, Howard Lake

I know that many of you enjoy gardening. Others of you find it interesting to drive through the country and see all the fields of corn and beans and hay.

Those who garden and those on the farm work hard caring for their plants. First, the soil is prepared. Then, the seeds are planted, fertilized, cultivated, and cared for. Much labor and anticipation goes into producing a crop of food.

Those who work so hard in these ways do so looking forward to the harvest time, when the fruit of their labors will be enjoyed. There will be corn to harvest, carrots to eat, and what is more enjoyable than a fresh tomato out of your own garden?

In a similar way, God has cared for us and now looks for some of the fruit of His labors. In Isaiah, chapter five, the Song of the Vineyard is recorded. It speaks about how God had so perfectly cared for His vineyard, His people. “He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress, as well. Then He looked for a crop of good grapes but it yielded only bad fruit.”

Those of you who remove stones from the field and have an endless list of things to do on the farm know the great amount of labor this takes. Now, imagine if after all that hard work, you received only a bad harvest. That is how it was for the Lord.

God has cared for us so perfectly, yet we yielded a crop of bad fruit. We have sinned against the Lord God. We have not always done those things we should have. We have not always served God the way He desires of us. We have not always loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have sinned and produced bad fruit.

In spite of all this, God has still cared for us and called us to be His own. Even when we sinned, even when we turned away from the Lord God, He did not leave us. Rather, He sent His one and only Son Jesus Christ into this world.

Jesus bore the fruit which we were unable to do. He lived a perfect life in this world. He suffered upon the cross for our sins and guilt. He gave up His life so that we may live.

On the third day, Jesus rose from the dead as a firstfruits of what was yet to come (Corinthians 15:23). He was the first and now, we, too, will follow. When we trust in Jesus for our life and salvation, He will forgive our sin and promises us that we, too, will rise from the dead and enter heavenly glory.

In this life, God desires that we would bear good fruit. We do so not to earn our salvation; Jesus has already taken care of that. Instead, we bear good fruit in order to glorify and praise the Lord God Almighty for what He has done for us.

However, we are not able to bear good fruit on our own. We must remain connected to the Lord Jesus.

Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

Therefore, hear His Word in worship. Receive His body and blood for the forgiveness of your sins. Study the Bible daily and speak with Him in prayer regularly. When you are connected to Christ Jesus in these ways, then you will be able to bear much fruit.

He has planted you, cultivated you, cared for you, and loved you. Now, go and bear good fruit by serving God and others, thus glorifying your Lord and Savior.