For God's Good Fruits
Reading: Matthew 3: 1-12
Additional readings: Romans 15:4-13, Acts 19:1-7
Hymns: 333, 339, 391, (341, 440)
Words in blank: kingdom, heaven, produce, good, fruit, Holy Spirit, fire
In December we celebrate the fact that Jesus became a human child.
Jesus left heaven to be born as a human child for us.
Many prophets in the Old Testament prophesied about this.
So when Jesus was born, they were rejoicing in heaven.
When Jesus was born, Jesus had to follow a human growing process.
Jesus was gaining wisdom.
He learned to be his new self.
He also learned of God, as the Son of Human.
Jesus learned the wisdom that leads to God.
He learned to pray like anybody else.
He learned to follow the character of God.
He learned to trust God without worrying about what to eat or what to wear.
He learned that he is the Son of God and the Son of Human.
Then he learned how God wanted him to live his life.
When Jesus understood who he is, Jesus understood that God chose him and gave power.
So he learned to use his power and wisdom in God’s way.
Then he learned to wait until God started to use him.
Then when God asked him, Jesus started his ministry.
Jesus healed people; walked on water; calmed the storm.
Jesus preached in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus lived, inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus chose the will of God.
Jesus knew things without asking a question.
Jesus raised the death.
Jesus predicted his future.
His students could feel that Jesus was speaking God’s truth.
When they heard Jesus, they sensed the Holy Spirit working in their hearts.
They felt peaceful, and joyful.
That is, the Holy Spirit kept encouraging them to come and listen to Jesus again.
But when the time came, he talked about the fact that he needed to die on the cross.
Then God would bring him back to life.
Jesus the Son of God understood that this was his spiritual process for our salvation.
But his students didn’t even want to imagine what Jesus was saying.
So they could not even asked:
“Why does God want you to die and rise again?”
They didn’t want to believe this.
They didn’t want to understand this.
His family, or his friends couldn’t understand him.
His words sounded strange.
The wisdom of this world and the wisdom of God are very different.
So people of heaven and people of earth tend to think differently and dance in a different tune.
There was another thing that we might not understand.
God chose John the Baptist to introduce Jesus to the world.
But strangely the Holy Spirit sent John to the desert.
(3) There John ate wild locusts and wild honey for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Then he found a dead camel.
So with its hair, he made his clothing.
With its skin, he made his belt.
As he was living like this, he didn’t need to use any supermarkets.
He could live in the wilderness all alone.
There the Holy Spirit spoke to him and educated him.
The Holy Spirit prepared him to prepare the way of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit guided him to learn of God’s wisdom.
Then the Holy Spirit asked him to get people ready for Jesus and introduce Jesus to them.
So he preached the truth:
“Repent, because the days of the Christ is near.
Turn away from your sinful ways.
Then live a good life of giving and sharing.”
John was also saying that if they were ready like this, they might be ready to meet their Messiah.
Then strangely, many people came to listen to John, even though he appeared to be a strange man.
Many sinners came and wanted to turn away from their sins.
So they came to him and confessed their wrongdoings.
Then, John baptized them and encouraged them to start a new life of giving and sharing.
Then some religious scholars and religious teachers came for baptism.
Then John challenged them saying:
“Don't think that this baptism is going to give you a ticket to heaven.
You need to stop living like sons and cousins of Satan.
You need to be a good tree.
You need to produce good fruits.
You need to live a good life of loving and sharing.
You need to learn God’s truth and live accordingly.
You need to be the true workers of God.
Otherwise, the Christ will come and cut you down, because the Christ will keep only what is true.
The Christ will come and cut down every tree that does not bear good fruits.
The Christ will only keep the good trees that produce good fruits.”
To these religious leaders, John was saying that they could not brag about their seminary degree, their knowledge of the Bible or their Bible teaching skills.
They could not brag about their membership of a church.
They could not brag about how long they attended the church.
They could not brag about how much they were respected and given power at local synagogue or church.
They could not brag about their religious family heritage.
They could not brag about their ordination as pastor, elder, or deacon.
They could not brag about the fact that they were presidents of seminary.
They could only boast about what they produced through God.
They could only brag about what God produce through them.
Did God produce anything good through their life?
How did God love others through them?
These fruits will tell whether God uses them, loves them, and will help them to be part of the movement of the Messiah.
Jesus recognized that God asked John to baptize and preach like this: Mark 11:27-33
Then he left his carpentry job and decided to live for God believing that God would provide and help him to do God’s ministry.
Then Jesus learned how to serve God as the Holy Spirit helped Jesus to live for God.
Jesus followed God as God showed him what to do.
Then Jesus also talked about producing good fruits: (Matthew 7:15-20)
Jesus preached something like this, like John:
"Be careful of false preachers or teachers.
They may come to you in a nice smile with various gifts.
They may impress you with their charisma.
They may have a miraculous power.
They may be able to manipulate your emotions.
But, if you follow them, you will have troubles.
They will misuse you and misguide you.
“I am going to cut down those trees that do not bear good fruit.
I will throw them into the fire.
I only keep those trees that produce good fruits.
“Then you may ask how could you know that they were false preachers, false teachers, false pastors, or false elders?
Bad tree bears bad fruit.
Good tree bears good fruit.
If they are bad trees, they could not help you produce good fruits.
Only God’s people help you live according to God’s will.
“So also look at your life and see when you produce God’s fruits.
What kind of thoughts you have at that time?
What kind of habits you have at that time?
Then stay with it.
“Look for those who produce good fruits.
Who produces good fruits?
When did they produce good fruits?
Look what kind of personality or character they have.
Their appearance may not be very impressive.
They may not have a charisma.
They may be humble and soft spoken.
But if their fruits are from God, they are of God.
“They produce good fruits because they learn to pray.
They produce good fruits because they learn to have good habits.
They produce good fruits because they understand God and the Bible.
Because their mind is pure, they can live honestly and peacefully.
Because they understand what is true, they can guide you to live well.
So study with them.
Because in order to produce good fruits, you may need to understand God they serve.”
When John the Baptist introduced the Christ, he also said this:
“I baptize you with water.
But the Christ is more powerful than I.
So, when he comes, he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
Now let’s think about the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire.
First, what is this baptism of fire?
It means that we may undergo some purifying process.
It is like this.
(3) You know, we use fire to purify gold.
(3) When they are refined, they became 99.9% gold, right?
They become beautiful.
Likewise, through the baptism of fire, we may become God’s person.
The Holy Spirit may purify us so that we may have God’s inner beauty.
Then God can use us to do the will of God.
Meaning, going through those fires, we may become like God.
Under the baptism of fire, we may become humble.
We may become more loving, more joyful, and peaceful.
We may have more patience.
We may be more kind.
We may become faithful, and gentle. (Galatians 5:22)
We may have more healthy thought patterns.
We may be healed.
We may be trained.
We may learn to choose God’s thoughts instead of our own thoughts when our thoughts and God’s thoughts conflict with each other.
Then we may bear good fruits.
God may guide people through us in the name of Jesus the Messiah.
God may use us to introduce the character of Jesus to the world.
Secondly, we may also experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus wanted to baptize his students with the Holy Spirit.
But before baptizing them with the Holy Spirit, Jesus taught them.
Through his words, he purified his students so that they might be ready to receive the Holy Spirit.
Slowly his students were getting ready to receive the Holy Spirit.
Then right before ascending to heaven, Jesus was like:
“Since you were with me long enough.
Now wait for the Holy Spirit to come.
In few days, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5)
Then about 10 days later, they were baptized by the Holy Spirit.
They were able to speaking various languages to explain the life of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit worked miracles through them.
The Holy Spirit helped them to heal people.
The Holy Spirit gave them wise words to say.
They became bold, knowing that they would rise again.
They boldly preached to the religious leaders.
The Holy Spirit used them to guide people to Jesus.
When they were baptized by the Holy Spirit, they became one with the Holy Spirit.
Then the Holy Spirit was able to lead them.
The Holy Spirit guided them understand Jesus.
They had wisdom to deal with various situations.
They knew about their future events.
They knew what was going to happen.
They realized many things as the Holy Spirit informed them.
They could live a good life in the name of Jesus.
They were able to discern well.
They could teach people how to live well.
They were also able to interpret various languages. (1 Corinthians 12:8-13)
The Holy Spirit guided them to think better, understand better, plan better, remember better, study better.
But it didn’t mean that they didn’t have any spiritual questions anymore.
They didn’t know everything.
But they could serve God and introduce Jesus to others with the Holy Spirit.
So when the Holy Spirit is working in you, you notice that you are changing.
When we allow the Holy Spirit to change us, the Holy Spirit changes us.
But if the Holy Spirit does not change you, you may be not yet God's.
You may come to church for all your life.
But if the Holy Spirit does change you, you are not yet God's.
When you experience the Holy Spirit, you know that you are God's.
When the Holy Spirit convinces us that we are God’s, we have joy and peace and so on.
When we undergo this baptism of the Holy Spirit, we experience the unconditional love of God, because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of love.
When we experience the unconditional love of God, when God’s love overwhelms us, then we also love others like God.
More importantly, we may love God.
Only when we love Jesus who is God, we produce good fruits.
When we undergo this baptism of fire, we are convinced that God chose us.
We realize that God chooses us and trains us because God loves us.
Still today, Jesus wants us to produce good fruits through the Holy Spirit.
So Jesus is helping us to receive the Holy Spirit.
Because then, God can produce good fruits in us and through us.
Then one day, we will be grateful looking at those fruits.
Because those fruits will tell us that God has been using us.
Those fruits tell us that God is using us to help people experience God.
Those fruits tell that the Holy Spirit is working in us.
So we celebrate that fact that we learn of God enough to be used by God.
Our fruits confirm that we go to heaven.
Our fruits informs us that we go where God is.
Then one day Jesus will send his angels to harvest those fruits.
Those who produce good fruits will be gathered before Jesus.
They will shout for joy as Jesus will say:
“You have proved your love for me by producing fruits that will stay with me.
So you will be in charge of nations and reign with me.”
I pray that we may have good fruits in Christ Jesus.
May we pray to see God’s fruits.
May we be empowered by the Holy Spirit to produce God’s fruits.
May we learn enough to produce God’s fruits in God’s way.
Jesus, thank you for producing wonderful fruits throughout us.
May you use us continually so that we may have your fruits in our life.
We pray this in your name.