Am I Producing Fruit?

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“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:9, NIV).

In reading Matthew 3 this morning, I am reminded of the bold preaching of John the Baptist. God assigned John the role of preparing the way for the coming of the Messiah. John’s message was one of repentance. He warned his hearers to stop sinning and turn to God. The gospel narratives indicate that crowds traveled miles to hear John, and multitudes repented of their sins.

If you have repented of your sins, asked Jesus to forgive you, and believe that Jesus is Christ and Lord, the Word of God declares that you are saved (Romans 10:9-10). You have been adopted into the family of God with the promise of eternity with God in heaven. That is great news!

But until you leave this earthly home, John’s message still has great relevance. As Matthew 3:9 commands, are you producing fruit that is in keeping with repentance? What does good fruit look like? When the Bible talks about fruit, it is talking about the way you are living your daily life.

In an overall sense, producing good fruit means that you are living a productive life for God, doing things that please Him instead of thinking and doing sinful things like you used to. You used to follow one path; now you’ve had a heart change, and you’re on a different path.

Throughout his writings, the Apostle Paul describes fruitful living.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Peter’s writings contain similar language related to producing fruit in keeping with repentance. After listing character qualities indicative of a godly life, he states the impact related to your Christian walk.

“For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:8).

In practical terms, what does this look like?

Perhaps you were once a manipulator, a person who “used” people for what you could get out of them. Now you respect people, treat them lovingly, and serve them whenever you can.

Maybe your language included frequent profanity. Now you do your best to refrain from the use of foul or course language. Your family, friends, and co-workers notice this change.

You may have struggled with lust and viewed porn sites regularly. You repented and no longer practice this destructive habit. Additionally, you have created ways for others to hold you accountable.

When around others, were you known as a gossip, starting rumors and tearing people down? You no longer gossip about people, but instead say things which build them up.

Did you cheat on your spouse? Since repenting, you are true to your spouse and are doing your best to win back trust in your marriage.

Maybe you neglected integrity, rationalizing that it was OK to lie when it would get more money for your business. Now you tell the truth, even when it hurts.

Were you selfish, always putting your needs ahead of others? You’ve changed and now look to the needs of others before your own.

As Scripture plainly states, you aren’t a follower of Jesus simply because you call yourself a Christian. Your life and behavior must reflect a heart change that is evident to God and others.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

Producing fruit happens as you commit to obeying God’s commands, resisting temptation, serving others, and sharing your faith as opportunity arises. And that commitment can only be honored as you allow God’s Spirit to guide and enable you.

Will any of us do this perfectly? Definitely not, and God knows this. I’m so thankful for this verse.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

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