Matthew 3:8-12, ” Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
Jesus Christ cursed the barren fig tree, and it dried up from the roots and withered away. He then used the example of the fig tree to expound on the importance of having faith in the provisions of the LORD GOD and His Will to supply all things to His believers, according to His Way. This required believers to hold faithful expectations, but at the same time practice the righteous walk through forgiveness of others, so the Father in Heaven can forgive them and provide His great Things according to their needs.
It is only when we hunger and thirst to be filled with the things of God and empty our craving hearts from the unfulfilling selfish nature of carnality that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we could ever hope or ask for. When we are still and cease from striving in our human nature and submit to His Sovereignty, He will lead and guide us into all Truth.
Hosea 14:8 (Young’s Literal Translation)
O Ephraim*, what to Me any more with idols? I — I afflicted, and I cause him to sing: ‘I am as a green fir-tree,’ From Me is thy fruit found.**
In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. Colossians 2:9-10
Life’s “losses” are not lost when you place them into God’s hands. Likewise, what we perceive as “gains” are not what they appear to be if they keep us from knowing God and true freedom found only in His everlasting life.
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Philippians 3:7-21 (ESV)
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
In Matthew 16, Jesus is asking his disciples who men say that he is and then he asks them -those of his inner circle – those who walked day and night with him – “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
How do we pursue deep intimacy with God? Do we work at it as if buying His love or do we revel in His presence enjoying the freedom of His love? Are we like Moses, who stayed or went contingent upon the presence of the Lord. Do we realize that apart from Him, we are only playing in the shallows of life? And even if we launch out into the deep — without Him, we are “up the creek without the proverbial paddle.” Our whole life depends on Him. For it is in Him that we live and move and have our being. Apart from Him, we can do nothing.
It is not in us to produce any fruit because the life is in the Vine, and it grows deeply anchored underground nourished and protected by the love of God which is shed abroad in our hearts by His Holy Spirit.
Psalms 127:1-3, “Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman wakes but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he gives his beloved sleep. Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”
*The name “Ephraim”, means “doubly fruitful.” Ephraim is the son of Joseph that the patriarch, Jacob re-named “Israel” bestowed upon the double blessing of the firstborn.
**Deuteronomy 33:13-17, GOD’S WORD Translation
About the tribes of Joseph he said,
“May the Lord bless their land with water,
the best gift heaven can send,
with dew and deep springs below the ground.
May the Lord bless their land with crops,
the best gift the sun can give,
the best produce of each month,
the finest fruits from the oldest mountains,
the best from the ancient hills,
and the most plentiful crops of the earth.
May the Lord bless their land with the favor
of the one who was in the burning bush.
May these blessings come to the tribes of Joseph.
May they crown the people who are like princes in Israel.
They will be as majestic as a firstborn bull.
Their horns will be like the horns of a wild ox.
They will use them to push away nations
including those at the ends of the earth.
The tens of thousands from the tribe of Ephraim
and the thousands from the tribe of Manasseh will be like this.”
Isaiah 11:10-13, “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.”Isaiah 40:1-8, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”