Stepping Into Your Fruitfulness
Sunday Sermon by Pastor Rajesh Mathew, Cornerstone Church, 15 August 2021
Mark 11:20- 20 Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.
Deuteronomy 32: 10- 13- He found him in a desert land
And in the wasteland, a howling wilderness;
He encircled him, He instructed him,
He kept him as the [a]apple of His eye.
11As an eagle stirs up its nest,
Hovers over its young,
Spreading out its wings, taking them up,
Carrying them on its wings,
12 So the LORD alone led him,
And there was no foreign god with him.
13“He made him ride in the heights of the earth,
That he might eat the produce of the fields;
He made him draw honey from the rock,
And oil from the flinty rock
(Deuteronomy- dethroning our enemy!)
- God wants you to suck honey out of the rock and oil out of the flinty rock. Suck honey! Making the best out of the worst situation- that’s what sucking honey out of the rock refers to. Have confidence that God will bring out something sweet from your hard situations.
Turning your troubles to raw materials for your greatness
- God promised the children of Israel upon completing their slavery, a land that is flowing with milk and honey. Several scriptures like in Exodus 13:5; 33:3, Numbers 14:8, talks about this promise- ‘I will take you to the land that is flowing with milk and honey’, says the Lord. However, they went through challenges. They went through the wilderness.
Honey symbolizes 3 things
- End product of a bee
- That means the bee goes through a process. It sucks nectar from flowers which in turn gets processed inside of the bee. Similarly, in your life, may be you have taken in the promises of God, but you haven’t yet seen its fruit in your life. Do not get depressed or fearful or tired, there is a process that is going on. As an end product, something sweet like honey will come through!
- A bee will sting you but you got to learn to turn your pain into gain. Forgive people who have hurt you. Don’t keep carrying that like a burden. There is a sweetness within this pain, you need to have that belief. Joseph was sold by his brothers and was in prison for 12 years. Yet, he had a favourable end. He forgave is brothers readily because deep down he was aware of the end product; he knew that the dreams that God gave him would come it pass.
When you have God’s presence, any condition can be come air condition!
- If God has given you a Word or a promise, even if you are going through a hard situation, hold on it and something sweet will come out of it.
- God wishes to see fruitfulness in us. In the New testament, Jesus says that He found no fruit on the fig tree. If you need to see fruit, you have to deal with the root. Some roots need to dry up. Jesus went to that tree with great expectation to see fruit.
Mark 11: 12-13- Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. 13 And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.
WHATS DOES THE ROOT SIGNIFY?
- The root represents a spirit of disappointment: Jesus had
gone expectantly to see fruit. He went with great expectation and joy but
was disappointed. Some of you tell me, ‘Pastor, I knew this job will turn out
good, I am sure that this business will go well” or you are expecting to get
married but did not happen, leaving you disappointed. You invested your
money expecting something big but did not work out. You expected your
wife would be pregnant and you would have a child, but it did not happen.
- Today get ready to suck in the nectar and rebuke that root in the Name of Jesus. God will take you into a new season and lead you into a fruitful land miraculously.
- Jesus expected to see the something positive but nothing came out of it. From afar it looked attractive, it was enticing but nothing in it. Marriage at the beginning was so attractive, the business looked so good when we started it. What you saw before is not what you are seeing now. There is nothing more depressive than being disappointed. There are many who stepped out to ministry only to be left disappointed. They say, “we prayed and sacrificed for the person but only left hurt.” Some even tell me, “Pastor, please pray that my life ends”. Some elderly people are disappointed. Many people have slept and have not woken up because of a heavy heart they had.
Think about Job’s life. the following happened:
- He had issues with God- the Lord told the devil I trust him, do not touch his life. 2. He had issues with is wife- She told him to curse God and die. (So, she could marry someone else perhaps!)
- He had issues with his friends- They sat with him for 7 days and all those days, the word says, they spoke yet said nothing. At that particular point, all he had was himself.
One thing I have learnt in ministry-- even if people hurt you, you don’t hurt yourself.
- Sometimes you have only yourself. You don’t understand the mysterious workings of God. If people don’t love you, you love yourself. If they say you are horrible to look at, you stand in front of the mirror and say I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Don’t give up on yourself, when everybody else has given up on you. Hope in God again!
- Sometimes when disappointments and challenges come against you, you need to tell yourself, hope in God again! You need to suck honey out of the rock. God has you still in His mind.
I have had people walk out of my life when I needed them the most. At such times, God gave me the grace to suck honey out of rock. When everybody walks out of your life, you don’t walk out of your life. You have to live strong and prove your doubters wrong. you have to use such
times to take instructions from God, enter into the depths of the Spirit and once again try to excel. Learn how to handle disappointment.
- The root represents delay.
The tree had brought out the leaves but something was delaying the fruit. Delay means a stretch in time from a prophecy to its fulfilment. We got a revelation of the Holy Spirit but there was a delay in it manifesting. Even this morning, God presence is coming upon some delays in your life.
Psalms 90:14- Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days!
- Satisfy us early with your mercy. Anything late doesn’t give us satisfaction. Just think about it, Abraham had his son at the age of 100. He is going to buy baby food and diapers at the age of 100! People might wonder if it is for his grandson. Even at the age of 41, I had to pray for grace!
I renounce the spirit of delay out of my life. In my family, my children, my business, health, manifestation of God’s blessings. I renounce the spirit of delay.
Psalms 119: 126- It is time for You to act, O Lord, for they have [a]regarded Your law as void.
Lord, it’s time for thee to act. See your miracle come, see your health, see your depression and discouragement leave. See the Lord uproot every disappointment and delay in Jesus name.
It is time for God to act, not for the devil or even us.
God is moving upon family lives and removing delays.
- When delays come, we compromise. Seeing there was a delay in Moses coming down from the mountain, Aaron made a golden calf. Moses came down, made him melt it, mix it in water and drink it. Whatever you worship is what you take inside of you. If you worship a calf, that’s what you are taking inside of you. That is why you need to worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth. When you do so, you are taking Him in, you are creating an avenue for Him to work.
- Drink of the Presence of Jesus in your life. Do not worship anything else, worship the Living God! May His presence come upon you.
- The root represents DISGRACE
Everywhere Jesus went, miracles happened. The fig tree was the first place
He desired to see fruit but saw nothing. Many must have thought that Jesus
must have lost His grace. Some may have said, “Looks like He has missed it!” Judas must have said, “oh now we need to spend money for food. Thomas
must have doubted his capabilities”. That is disgrace or shame.
Scarcity or financial lack is not the problem in itself, but the
disgrace that it brings to us is the problem.
- Your respect, your dignity is the issue. There is a way that wealth will bring in that. I am not teaching you to run after wealth. But knowing that God blesses financially and it is a blessing and fruit that I need to receive in my life and walk in, is important. As a pastor, I have seen people struggling without finances, people who have no money to pay school fees, to buy their children new clothes or even take a vaccine! It’s time to get out of that false spirituality. That is a root. Let it be uprooted in your life.
- There is a saying that failure is an orphan, riches has many relatives. There is a lot of dignity and respect that goes with being blessed even materially and financially. When a wealthy man frowns, people will still smile. A poor man frowns, people think it is a bad attitude. People decide on others’ attitudes but looking at his financially standing.
- God needs you blessed, not just spiritually but even materially. Let that spirit of poverty and disgrace leave your life.
Psalms 69:7- Because for Your sake I have borne reproach; Shame has covered my face.
- Shame has covered my face. It can be seen on people’s face. This message is for those who are struggling with lack.
Psalm 25: 1-2- To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. 2 O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me.
David prayed that not one who looks unto the face of Jesus will ever be put to shame. May the Lord reward you and honour you.
How will one be put to shame?
- The Psalmist says, ‘let not the devil triumph over me’. It is not people who put us to shame, it is the enemy. Do you not want a good pair of clothes to go for an interview? Look, I am not talking about buying branded clothes. You can buy whatever brand you want. That is not the issue here. More than the clothes you wear, it is the confidence behind it that is important. I have seen in my life, that people with confidence can swallow up poverty!
Speaking of confidence, I am recollecting the Theatre show we had put up last year, for Easter. We conducted a stage show and set it was all up in just one week. There was no time for costumes! But I told the actors that God has chosen and anointed you for this. The end product was awesome though the costumes were made out of curtains but God’s Hand moved and it was excellent!
God is speaking to someone, you do not have money even to buy your undergarments, God is telling you I will bless you!
Isaiah 54:4- “Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of your youth, And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.
- There are two things, one is to be ashamed and another is to be put to shame. For example, you are trying to start the car in the morning and it doesn’t start; in that case you feel ashamed. But imagine your car not starting in the middle of a busy road with other people yelling at you, in which case you are being put to shame. Another example, your wife asks you for money at home but you have none to give her, you feel ashamed. But imagine your landlord showing up at your house and creating a scene for not paying house rent for 6 months; this is a case where you are put to shame. If your child is called out of class and disallowed to sit in in front of all other children for not paying fees, you are being put to shame.
Today is the last day that you will be put to shame.
‘Fear not’, I shall not be ashamed and I shall not be put to shame. Let the Lord remove disgrace and shame from its very roots from your life.
Mark 11:23- For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
- Jesus says, even if you rebuke to mountain it will be uprooted by its roots. Jesus is teaching his disciples about prayer and faith. It is in prayer and faith that the unwanted roots dry up. Disgrace, delay and disappointment will leave your life by its very roots. You need to pray and have faith in the Word. That is when fruitfulness will flow out of your life. You need to have confidence in God and also confidence in yourself.
I have decided that I will not despise the day of small beginnings. I will have confidence in God and in myself. Even if I have no one with me, I will still worship Him. Suck nectar from the rock!
- Turn your pains into gains. Our God is the one who steps into your challenges Jesus stepped into the furnace.
Psalms 81:16- He would have fed them also with [a]the finest of wheat; And with honey from the rock I would have satisfied you.”
It is possible for honey to come out of your struggle. Fruitfulness can come forth even from yourdifficult situations. Saul went looking for donkeys but came back as king. The children of Israel had the wilderness and Maara like bitter places to traverse through. Elijah sat under the juniper tree wishing he would just die. But if he did, would Elisha have come, would Jehu be anointed?
In the midst of your challenges the Holy Spirit is saying do not run away. God will strengthen you to do greater things for him again, He has already kept a lot of things.
- God will serve you honey out of the rock. You can see the walls of Jerusalem in Israel. It is majestic and beautiful to look at. Bible scholars say that the Israelites had the best knowledge to build. Even when they were slaves in Egypt, even as they were being beaten, they kept building.
Don’t allow your pain to swallow up your gain. Don’t allow your emotion to swallow up your devotion. Do not let what you are going through to stop you from where you are going to.
There is honey in the rock. God is taking you into a land flowing with milk and honey. The end product of your life will be well, a land that is flowing with milk and honey.
FOUR POINTS TO REMEMBER
- MAKE YOURSELF READILY AVAILABLE
Deuteronomy 32:11- He found him in a desert land And in the wasteland, a howling wilderness;1. He found him in the desert land- You make yourself readily available-- That is what ‘found’ means.
- God asks in Isaiah chapter 6, “who shall we send? There were the priest and worshippers and people gathered in the temple. They were worshipping and praying but still God couldn’t find anyone because no one was readily making themselves available for God. No one said to him,” Lord, here am I”. God asks, who shall go for us in the midst of a congregation that was praying!
Even when there is devotion and prayer, you have to make yourself available unto God. That is your passion for God. You need to make yourself available.
- BE LED BY GOD
Verse 12: So the LORD alone led him, And there was no foreign god with him. Romans 8:14- 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
- Whoever is led of the Holy Spirit is a son of God. Be filled and be led by the Spirit. At a time when you are not feeling any presence, how can the Spirit lead you? You need to first be filled with the spirit. God will only instruct you when you are actually filled. There are people who will be led by men.
Only the one who is filled can be led. If I am not full of the Holy Spirit, I cannot discern every leading.
- There are people who are led by the flesh, by other people and also those who are led by the devil.
When God leads, how do you know it is God?
- PROMPTINGS OF THE SPIRIT: When you are filled with the Spirit, you will feel the promptingsof the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament, the woman says, this man looks like a man of God and let’s build a room for him”. That is a prompting. It is not a voice but a prompting. God will never prompt you to negativity but to positivity. He will prompt you to pray, to give, to help someone. Lord prompt me in your way.
- INSTRUCTION FROM THE MAN OF GOD: Instruction comes usually by the pastor or the shepherd placed over the church. That is a process. It might be a simple instruction. Elisha saidto Namaam, go immerse yourself 7 times. It is an instruction. There are people who will not take any instruction. God has told me. “do not instruct anyone who act like I know it all!” Some people will only learn when they crash because you can never instruct them otherwise. I haveseen people who, even after a fall, won’t take instruction from the Holy Spirit. They still try to motivate themselves. They play the religious game and you can never help them!
- There are people who you cannot correct or instruct. So, you miss out on how God is trying to speak to you or lead you. However, in the midst of the wilderness God instructed them. If there is any are that I am not experiencing God’s fruitfulness, starttaking instructions.
- INFLUENCE: God begins to influence. It is a leading of the Holy Spirit. Through your life, if God’s Holy Spirit is moving through you, your life will influence others to follow Jesus. If it is an influence Holy Spirit it will lead people closer to soul winning. If your life is not influencing you and others towards prayer and worship, Word, Jesus and the church then it is not the Holy spirit. Influencer is a common term being used now for social media! Who is influencing you and what are you influencing people towards?
- God leads you with influence. That is the Holy Spirit leading. Even if you rearing animals, whether you are a nurse, student, God is able to lead you. When you are led of the Holy Spirit, God will make you a witness in your sphere of influence. That is where honey flows out from the rock
- VOICE OF GOD:God peaks to some people audibly! Sometimes even in a still small voice God can speak.
- Verse 13: “He made him ride in the heights of the earth, That he might eat the produce of the fields;
Don’t be slaves to men. It is not men but God. Men don’t make you. God makes you. God said I will make you fishers of men. This morning God, is genuinely making some people. Holy Spirit is making you something in the midst of your wilderness and rock like situations.