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Here’s one of the devotionals…
An Emphasis on Bearing Fruit
Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.
John the Baptist wasn’t seemingly so much occupied with numbers. I don’t think he kept a tally as to how many had responded to his alter call and had been baptized. While there’s necessarily nothing wrong with keeping track of those numbers through response cards and how many people were baptized in a year, there’s a far greater issue that’s often lost in the numbers—those who “bear fruit in keeping with repentance.”
It’s certainly easy to estimate how many people responded to an alter call in a mass evangelistic meeting; it’s quite another thing to have lifelong disciples of God’s word, bearing fruit in keeping with their supposed repentance. Obviously, if you present a Jesus who wants to give you your best life now, who wouldn’t respond to such an alter call?
Jesus spoke about the ones who hear God’s word and have a rocky ground: “This is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away” (Matt. 13:20-21).
Then there are those who receive God’s word among thorns: “This is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful” (Matt. 13:22).
John the Baptist urged his hearers to “bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” He didn’t just offer an insurance policy by walking down an aisle. His main concern wasn’t about numbers but fruit that testified of a genuine turning to God.
Peter urged his readers with a similar mindset: “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities [in verses 5-7] you will never fall” (2 Peter 1:10). Often, those who claim to be spirit-filled are more so concerned with a life full of the things of God than God Himself and a life that’s pleasing to Him.
In the great commission, Jesus commanded His disciples to, “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20). He also said: “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples” (John 8:31).
God’s word is first, foremost, and final. It’s everlastingly relevant. True discipleship is grounded in His word, as Paul also wrote: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom” (Col. 3:16).
A dear friend of mine recently said: there are many who perk up when people talk about an extra-biblical revelation or prophesy they’ve had or heard, while having no such excitement about God’s word from Genesis through Revelation. That is a major red flag.
Without a doubt, adhering to the whole counsel of God is an evidence of being in tune with the Holy Spirit because He will always emphasize His inspired word. In that sense also, we can say: “As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away” (1 Cor. 13:8). God’s word, though, will stand forever, and we’re called to ground God’s people in His written word.
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What Does It mean to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit?