#939. Fullness and freedom by storing what is good (16/11/23)
This week, as we continue in our series in Luke, we are reflecting on Jesus’ teaching from Luke 6:43-45 where we learn that our lives are to bear good fruit. Today, we will focus on the promise of fullness and freedom for those who will store God’s Word.
‘“[for] No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognised by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”’ (Luke 6:43-45)
Lesson: The world, the flesh and the devil want us to store that which bears bad fruit; those who are led by the Spirit will store what is good and will know the truth that gives fullness and freedom.
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We live in a world that seems to be saturated with mental health maladies. So many struggle with their thoughts and are weighed down with negative thinking. I believe that much of this is caused by what we allow to take root in our minds and hearts. We allow demonic lies to reap the fruit of destructive thoughts and feelings; and through the advent of the internet, YouTube and various social media platforms, it’s never been easier to have access to people who are ‘influencers’ for evil!
Jesus speaks of the ‘fruit’ of the demonic in contrast with the ‘fruit’ of the Spirit:
‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’ (John 10:10)
In another place, Jesus promises freedom for those who know the truth:
‘“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”’ (John 8:32)
Those who ’store what is good’ - who store His truth - will ‘have life and have it to the full’ and ‘freedom’. The devil hates this and doesn’t want you to experience it!
The Holy Spirit wants us to bear more fruit for our joy and the glory of God and He does this by nourishing us with His Word - the Bible. How is your devotion to the Bible at the moment? What, when and where do you devote your mind to storing God’s truth? If you are a younger person, are you forming habits of Bible-intake that will sustain and protect you through life? Are we much more devoted to God’s Word than we are to things like: Social media, news, Netflix, YouTube… Entertainment is not always bad of course, but if we are not full of love for God and the hope that He gives, we are not storing truth as we should! The fruit of the Spirit - principally love for God and people - is directly linked to the application of the mind. Jonathan Edwards writes:
“Holy affections are not heat without light … The child of God is graciously affected, because he sees and understands something more of divine things than he did before … Knowledge is the key that first opens the hard heart, and enlarges the affections.” (Jonathan Edwards)
The world, the flesh and the devil want us to store that which bears bad fruit; those who are led by the Spirit will store what is good and will know the truth that gives fullness and freedom.
How is your relationship with God and people at present? Do we believe that truth will set us free? Do we truly believe that storing what is good by storing God’s truth leads to health in every part of life?
Let’s pray together:
“Lord Jesus, you have promised fullness of life and freedom to me as I store your word. I make a choice today to be like the person in Psalm 1 who doesn’t learn from the ungodly but delights in your Word and so is a very fruitful tree. Holy Spirit, help me to be devoted and fruitful as you want me to be. Amen.”
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you?
3. Worship together
Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.
4. Study and pray together
This week, as we continue in our series in Luke, we will be reflecting on Jesus’ teaching from Luke 6:43-45 where, in essence, Jesus is teaching that the loving life we’re called to (as we saw last week from 6:27-42) is made possible by the work of the Spirit in us - it’s the fruit of the Spirit.
Please read Luke 6:43-45
On Sunday we saw that ‘a true Christian bears fruity by nature and on purpose’; Why is it natural and inevitable that a ‘good tree’ - analogous of a Christian - bears good fruit?
What is the good fruit that the Spirit yields in our lives?
What are the destructive things that one can ‘store in the heart’ and what will the result be?
On Sunday we saw that ‘a true Christian bears fruit by nature and on purpose’; What are the ways that we can ‘store good things in our hearts’ so as to bear more fruit?
SIV - How will the good fruit in our lives help those who are outside of faith to come to Jesus?
SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ this week?
SIV - Let's now pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV.
Does anyone want prayer out of what we have reflected on together or for anything else?