Jesus talked about the net cast into the sea and open to every kind of fish.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.” – Matthew 13:47-48
He likens the net to the Kingdom of heaven which is open to every body on earth, irrespective of their nationality, tribe, tongue, sex or race. A Kingdom to which many are called but few are chosen.
The rejected fishes were good and edible but not to specification.
He likens the chosen fish to the believer who meets a certain standard.
This believer has a rich store of knowledge, is able to seat down and by maturity and use of his senses, separates the old teachings from the new.
These are teachers.
A teacher is a matured person in the Kingdom, not a neophite.
Paul said matured believers ought to be teachers through word and character.
“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for He is a babe.”- Hebrew 5:12-13
“…… a babe”, not matured!
It takes maturity which comes by experiencing or tasting the Word of God to discern between good and evil.
Our heart is like a net that grabs all forms of teachings; good and bad, edifying teachings and destructive teachings.
Our heart is like that tree of knowledge capable of good and evil which God asked man to stay away from.
The heart indeed is not so smart!
Experience, maturity, calls for us to sit down and sort out the old teachings that served in their time from the new and better teachings which came by divine revelation: a message of the hour, of now, of Faith.
For example, Jesus said He chose us to bear fruit and if our fruit remain we shall ask anything of the Father in His Name and He may give it to us. We have been told concerning this that fruit bearing refers to the souls we win! No!
This is a distraction from the real fruit! And it is a major contribution to the moral decay in church! No single one of us has the power to keep a soul! God will not hold us responsible for souls that did not remain! Every soul must answer, and be responsible for itself. True, we should encourage one another to keeping faith in God, yet salvation is a personal race! God holds us responsible when we fail to warn them of the consequences of indulging in sin, and of ultimate judgement!
Paul could not retain all the souls he won to Christianity. Even Demas, an evangelist under Paul, could not be retained! Non of us can retain a soul.
What then is the fruit we are expected to bear?
This can be developed only through exercising the senses with the Word of God.
In Matthew 3, Jesus likens man to a tree. Isaiah agrees. ( Isaiah 61:3)
“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 bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” – Matthew 3:8-10
You are a tree!
The kind of tree you are determines the fruit you bear! We are known by our fruit, not our seed!
In Christ, God empowers us to bear fruit. But we have to initiate the process. God will not force us against our will. This is implied in Romans chapter one; if we fail to meet our initial part: “retain Him”, He would leave us to ourselves and not help us.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient. – Romans 1:28
He rather “prunes” us to bring forth much fruit when our zeal, determination and trust are in Him.
“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” – John 15:2
We need to have the hunger ( Matthew 5:6), not a wish, but the burning desire that would drive us to exercising our senses with the Word of God and put our body under subjection to the Word.
Jesus chose you to make a difference, to make an impact in your home, your job, your business, your neighbourhood. Do the right thing whether your employer is there or not.
Be “filled with the fruits of righteousness” – Philippians 1:11
“…..abounding in fruit in every good work” – Colossians 1:10
Make an impact through your character!
In Christ, when we begin to work on our character, exercising our senses with the Word of God, He steps in to help us. There has to be a genuine interest. Not a wish, but a sincere desire. The desire that can stand the purging fire, the strain and rigours of exercise.
There is no good in man. Without God’s help we cannot bear good fruit.
Spiritual exercise is not only good for our spiritual health, it helps keep us raptureable; in shape.
If we stop exercising we go out of shape.
Moses was trained by God in the wilderness for forty years. A mighty man in word, an orator ( Acts 7:22). He became a stammerer because of training. Deposits of Egypt: pride, self, arrogance, and all, were burnt out of him. He bore the fruit of being the meekest man on earth.
But he lost it when he stopped exercising. When you start don’t stop!
The process of purging is a very painful process. Even trees cry out when cut!
Jesus learnt obedience through the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:7-8). He was hundred percent God and hundred percent man, meaning He felt pain like you and I. What He went through in training helped form His character. Though God’s son, He had to go through it Himself.
So let’s go to the gym of the Spirit and exercise; “work out” our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).
Work out and keep working out your salvation!