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Bearing More Fruit

Scripture: Luke 8:9-15; Text: Luke 8:15

This PARABLE is recorded in three of the four gospels. It is found in Matthew chapter 13 and Mark chapter 4 as well as the passage here in Luke. How important is the parable? Well it is important enough that God not only inspired three writers to include it in the scriptures, but Jesus told the parable and then took time to explain its meaning to His disciples.

It is not really all that complicated. Anyone who has ever planted a garden has a general idea of what this parable is saying. You plant the seed, but only part of it comes up and only part of what comes up bears fruit and only part of that which bears is truly productive. I have had that experience in every garden I have planted. I plant the seed, some of which never comes up. I do not know why, it is just that way. Of those plants that do come up, some die and never reach maturity. Of those that reach maturity, some bear plentifully and some do not.

Some of the seeds Jesus spoke of never came up, birds ate them. Some did come up but soon died because the dirt was too shallow. Some that reached maturity never produced because the weeds took their moisture and nutrients. But those that came up did bear fruit. We need to understand this truth so that we do not become discouraged when we share God's word with others. We need to understand up front that many will pay no attention when we share with them the wonderful word of God. However, we can take courage and draw strength from the fact that Jesus said some did take it and use it and they brought forth fruit.

It is interesting to note and I think it should be pointed out at this point, that the fruit varied with the individuals. Have you ever realized that fact? In the Gospel of Matthew, we are told that some produced fruit, "some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty." Matthew 13:23. In the Gospel of Mark we are told "some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred." Mark 4:20 Here in the Gospel of Luke we are told that it "bare fruit an hundredfold." Verse 8. For some reason, Luke mentions only those who bore the most fruit. Yet we are faced with the fact that not all did so according to Matthew and Mark.

We need to wonder why. Why do some plants bear more fruit than others? More importantly, why does some of God's children bear more fruit than others? That is really what the lesson is all about. You can clearly see the truth of this parable in the lives of God's children today. All of God's children are washed in the same shed blood of Jesus Christ. God chose all the elect before the world and sent His Son to die for our sins. Ephesians 1:4 & 7. The same Holy Spirit has quickened us into spiritual life through the new birth. Ephesians 2:1. God gave the same inspired word of God to all of us. 2 Timothy 3:16. All this is the same for all who are saved, so why do some bear more fruit than others?

It seems evident to me that the difference does not lie in differences that God may have made. The fact is He made no difference, we are all saved by His amazing grace. The difference then lies within the child of God. Evidentally some are more loving, more grateful, more faithful. Remember that Luke told of two creditors being forgiven their debts, one a large debt and the other a small one. He asked which would love the benefactor the most? Listen to the answer given in Luke 7:43. Jesus taught us to love God with all our hearts. Matthew 22:37. It is evident that some love God more than others. Perhaps this is a factor in the equation that determines who bears the most fruit. There are apparently other factors too. Such as (1). upbringing, (2). education, and (3). personal ability. Then there are the factors of health, hardships, and indifference or commitment. Regardless of what factors are involved, God has shown no favoritism, made no discrepancies in distribution of grace. He is no respector of persons. Acts 10:34.

I have no doubt that the variances lie within the individual. For example, we see some people who have great and strong faith. Remember the soldier who told Jesus that he was not worthy for Him to enter his home, but just speak the word and his servant would be healed. Jesus said he possessed GREAT faith. Luke 7:9. On the other side of the issue, there was a time when the disciples of our Lord were caught in a storm. Jesus said they had only a LITTLE faith. Matthew 8:26. The often forgotten truth is that when the Holy Spirit works His perfect work within us, He imparts faith as His fruit. Galatians 5:22. But in that gracious work, the same MEASURE of faith is given to each of us. Romans 12:3. So why the difference? The answer is that some use their faith and like a muscle it grows stronger and bigger. Others hoard theirs as a savings account and it withers away and weakens.

Therefore that difference between 30, 60, and 100 fold fruit must result from differences within us. I believe that the answer is right in front of our eyes. If we carefully study this passage, it should become increasingly clear. But before we get down to the nitty-gritty, we need to understand two things. First, that we all have the same seed. The word of God is the seed that has been sown in all our hearts. Verse 11. Second, that the fruits under consideration are good works. Colossians 1:10. In other words, "good WORDS" are planted and "good WORKS" are produced. Now let us study how the different amounts of fruitfulness result.

Here in the words of Luke, three factors are mentioned in verse 15: (1). an honest and good heart. (2). having heard the word. (3). keep it. Then after those three things are mentioned, he says that fruit is borne with patience.

FIRST, we notice they had an honest and good heart. Honesty is not very prevalent in our society today. People take advantage of others, lie, and cheat on their taxes. Even the saved are not always as honest as they should be. Sometimes people stretch the truth and tell little white lies, right. That does not make it right, does it? The Bible says we are to be honest. We must be honest with: (1). God, (2) other people and (3) with ourselves.

If we are honest with GOD, we will confess our sins to Him. He knows what they are and even knows about some that we do not even realize are sins. Just because "everybody" is doing it, does not make it right with God. David confessed his sins to God and acknowledged that he had wronged God by the things he did. Psalms 51:3-4. We need to stop hiding behind the ungodly legislative acts of vile men and women, stop using public opinion as an excuse and begin to confess that we have broken the righteous laws of God as set forth in the pages of the Holy Bible. Then we will have an honest heart towards God.

If we are honest with OTHER PEOPLE, we must confess our wrongdoing and try to set things right with them. The Bible reminds us that we can deceive others and they in turn may deceive us. This deception of others must be put to an end if we are to have an honest heart before them. The Prodigal Son confessed his sins before God and his father. Luke 15:18. He wanted to make things right in their relationship. Such genuine efforts will show an honest heart to others.

If we are honest with OURSELVES, we will face our shortcomings and deal with them. Many people destroy relationship after relationship and never face up to the fact they may be doing something wrong. It is always someone elses fault, not theirs. They point the finger of blame always away from themselves and never at themselves. It is time we all took a good, long, and honest look at ourselves, not through the distortion mirror of self interests, but in the mirror of God's Word. James 1:23-24. Such honesty of the heart can be very rewarding.

Therefore, the more HONEST and GOOD our heart, the more fruitful our lives will be. Because there are some whose heart is more honest and good, their fruit is more plentiful. God changes the heart (Ezekiel 36:26), we need to change what is in the heart.

SECOND, we notice that they also heard the word. Clearly the more we recieve the word, the more fruitful our lives will become. Just as the rains are needed to make our gardens fruitful, so the word of God acts as rain to make our lives fruitful for His glory. Long ago Moses made this comparison in Deuteronomy 32:2. Much later Isaiah also spoke of God's word as rain. Isaiah 55:10. We need to attend church and hear the Bible preached, but we also need to read and study it privately and individually. Paul encouraged Timothy to do so in 2 Timothy 2:15.

How can you be fruitful with a little sermonette shower once or twice a month or worse still, at Easter and Christmas. Yet there are many today, who profess to be saved, but seldom attend church and hear the word preached. Even though many do attend and hear the word, they do not give their lives the daily shower that would so refresh their souls and make them most fruitful. Can you see that the more of the Word we receive, the more fruitful our lives can be in the things of God. Let us then grow in grace and knowledge. 2 Peter 3:18. How can we possibly obey God if we do not know what he commands? Fruitfulness is contingent upon receiving the word of God.

THIRD, we notice that they obeyed or kept it. That means they not only became knowledgable of the teachings of the word of God, but they lived by it and obeyed the teachings of God. This is so very important. Like medicine that is not taken, seed that is not planted or food that is not eaten, knowledge of the Bible is of little good if it is not put to use. God spoke to His people to give the Law, then told them to follow it. Deuteronomy 5:32. In the New Testament, Peter reminded us of the responsibility of obedience to God. Acts 5:29. Later James put the message in a capsule saying we are to be "doers of the word." James 1:22. Only when we put the teachings of the Bible into practice, will we become fruitful in the kingdom of God. Therefore, the more we obey God and His word, the more fruitful we are.

Since there are three components to this fruitfulness we can see why Jesus would mention three groups, those bearing 30, 60 and 100 fold. Obviously, if we do only one of the three, we have 30 percent (approximately). If we observe two, then 60 percent and if all are observed, then 100 percent. But still another way of looking at it is this, the more we do each one or all three, the more fruitful we are. We cannot blame God if we are unfruitful, He gave His Son Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, His grace and faith to enable us to serve Him. He left nothing undone, the failure to be fruitful is our own. It is time to face this simple fact and begin to accept our responsibility, becoming more and more fruitful.

In conclusion, He mentions PATIENCE because it is always involved in fruitfulness. You cannot plant seed today and harvest fruit tomorrow. It takes months for it to germinate, sprout, grow up and then bloom and finally produce fruit. That is true in the natural realm and it is true also in the spiritual realm. For that reason the Bible mentions patience and fruitfulness here and in James 5:7-8. You see, the word of God is planted in a human heart. If the person is saved and the Holy Spirit indwells, He will give some understanding. Such an initial work creates a "babe in Christ," and the "milk of the word" is needed for spiritual growth. 1 Peter 2:2. As the years pass and the person continues to study and hear the word of God preached, they usually "mature." Hebrews 5:13- 14. So keep on planting the word of God and water it often with prayer. Be patient and keep watering it with prayer. Pray until somethng happens (PUSH) even if it takes years for the person to mature and become fruitful to the glory of God.

Jesus GAVE this parable and He FORGAVE our sins. He took them to the cross and died for them. He is certainly worthy of our obedience and praise. Will you live your life in His will as taught in this parable? Will you do those things which give Him praise and glory? Only those who do so to the best of their ablility will bear fruit 100 fold. May the Holy Spirit challenge us daily to "bear more fruit" and be fruitful unto God. Romans 7:4

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This page last updated on June 7, 2014