March 30, 2012

Luke 7:22 So [Jesus] replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.”

When John, with the natural anxiety that came from being in the prison where he was indeed later beheaded, sent disciples to Jesus to confirm that He was indeed the Messiah, as John himself had prophesied, Jesus’ response was to point out that He was indeed fulfilling Isaiah 61:1-2, just as He had read in the synagogue in Nazareth. As the old English proverb says, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” Jesus Himself said “By their fruit you will know them.” (Matthew 7:15-20) He was inviting a fruit inspection! Whether or not we work miracles in Jesus’ name, the fruit that is most telling is the fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) The people around us are watching all the time, whether we realize it or not. The more visibly Christian someone is, the more they will attract “fruit inspectors.” For someone who is genuinely committed to Christ, that is a joyful opportunity to witness. For someone who is playing the role of a Christian, that is scary indeed. The problem is, the devil tries to convince even committed Christians that they are really just hypocritical actors, pointing out every fault and quite a few things that aren’t even faults! None of us are perfect, but if our hearts are set on abiding in Christ, we will bear rich fruit that can withstand all the inspection in the world. (John 15:8)

As a pastor, I am one of the highest profile Christians in this city. That could make me nervous, but it should make me glad of the opportunity to be a witness. I am known by very many more people in this city than I could say that I know, as I am reminded fairly often! My reputation appears to be good, for which I am grateful, but I don’t want people just to think well of me, I want to draw them to Christ. I need constantly to be sensitive and obedient to the Holy Spirit for His appointments to express the Gospel more directly. I don’t know when people’s hearts are open, but He does, and I’ve got to be available to speak into those open hearts on His schedule and not mine. God is the Lord of the harvest, and I need to let Him show me when the fruit is ripe, to bring as many as possible into His kingdom.

Lord Jesus, thank You for the privilege of being Your witness. Thank You for how strongly people were impacted by the recent funeral, and that the widow and son want to have a memorial service in their town, rather than here at the church, to get through to even more people and have another shot at those who have already been impacted. Thank You for how clear it is that it is Your love that drew that family to salvation in the first place, and that Your love is drawing the extended family as well. I pray that You would indeed bring a rich harvest from all the seed You have allowed us to sow, for the salvation of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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