I’ve got a new series that I’m going to preach on Sunday’s nights at the church I pastor, Faith United Church, Hempstead Texas. It is called, “The art of bearing fruit.” I’m going to put my notes right here on my blog. The inspiration for this sermon series comes from the book by W. Phillip Keller, “A gardener looks at the fruit of the Spirit.”
Unless noted, all the passages of Scripture come from, “God’s Word Translation.”
The garden of the Christian life.
God has a desire. He has a plan. His plan is for every believer to be fruit bearing Christians. Now the question must be asked, “Why isn’t it the goal of every believer to produce fruit, to grow in grace, to become more Christ-like?
Henry Drummond wrote many years ago, “Fruit and flowers do not just grow in the natural realm on their own, nor do the fruit of God’s Spirit flourish in our own lives by accident. Certain causes produce certain effects both in the natural and spiritual realms. It is as we begin to see that concept in Christian living that a whole new exciting life like Christ’s can open up to us.”
Here in the Song of Songs, we are given a glimpse in poetic language of God’s view of His garden – His church.
Verse 12 – My bride, my sister is a garden that is locked, a garden that is locked, a spring that is sealed.
In verse 12, God describes the church as a locked garden. This means a virgin or Jewish Bride, not tainted by the world or another lover. No one has entered this garden. It’s like what it says in John 15:1.
John 15:1 – Then Jesus said, I am the true vine, and my Father takes care of the vineyard.
The Gardener or the one who takes care of the vineyard or garden is God. He wants the gate to the garden to be locked, not allowing outside influences to interfere in the work He wants to do in the garden.
God’s plan is for us as His bride to produce fruit, flowers (how we treat others), and worship (incense).
Verses 13-15 – 13 You are paradise that produces pomegranates and the best fruits, henna flowers and nard, 14 nard and saffron, calamus, cinnamon, and all kinds of incense, myrrh, aloes, and all the best spices. 15 (Your are) a spring for gardens, a well of living water flowing from Lebanon.
This is for one reason and one reason alone – to please Him. Understand this: producing fruit is not for our pleasure, neither is it for the world’s pleasure, but only for God’s pleasure. The fruit He produces in us is for Him. The flowers (the way we treat others) He causes to grow through us is for Him. The incense (our worship) that we produce through Him is for Him alone. You see, we are created for His pleasure, He tends, prunes, and cares for us.
Revelation 4:11 NLT – You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created.
Most translations say, “will,” instead of “pleasure”. But the same is true. All of creation was created by the will of God for one express purpose, to bring Him pleasure.
We as His garden (or Jewish Bride) need the wind of the Holy Spirit to blow on us – sending the sweet smelling incense of worship out to the world.
Verse 16 – (Bride) Awake, north wind! Come, south wind! Blow on my garden! Let its spices flow from it. Let my beloved come to his garden, and let him eat his own precious fruit.
Notice that this is the bride proclaiming this. She is telling the wind to awake, to blow on her garden so that the spices and incense may arouse her beloved to come to his garden and parake of his own precious fruit. This should be our prayer: “Come, Holy Spirit, take my worship, take my life, blow on me, that I may be pleasing to the Lord. That the fruit that I produce, He partakes of.”
Romans 12:1 – Brothers and sisters, in view of all we have just shared about God’s compassion, I encourage you to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, dedicated to God and pleasing to Him. This kind of worship is appropriate for you.
Mark 12:30-31 – 30 So love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. 31 The second most important commandment is this: Love your neighbor as you love yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.
In this passage, we see both the incense and the flowers: The incense – our worship, it is directed to God alone; The flowers – our service, it is directed to others.
God’s ideal for us is to be a locked garden, producing fruit, flowers, and incense for His pleasure alone. This is also the Holy Spirit’s deepest desire for us as well. So much so that He directs His energy and life to fulfill this purpose in us.
Next time we are going to begin looking at four type of soil, and which is the best soil to produce the garden that God wants to grow in our lives. We will look at these in the upcoming weeks.