Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Bearing Fruit in Old Age

“The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.  They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God.  They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the LORD is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.”  Psalm 92:12-15

When God examines the limbs of our lives, he searches for fruit.  Jesus said, “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:8).  John the Baptist once preached, “Bear fruits in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:8).  Fruit bearing is the result of our union and communion with Christ (John 15:5).  It proves the reality of our discipleship and brings glory to God.  And Christians may bear fruit in every stage of life from infancy to old age.  Timothy was taught the Scriptures from infancy (2 Timothy 3:15).  David trusted in the Lord from his earliest days.  “Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.  On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God” (Psalm 22:9-10).  This is why God tells us to remember our Creator in the days of our youth (Ecclesiastes 12:1).  “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth” (Lamentations 3:27).  So fruit bearing can begin in infancy, and it can continue to old age.  Our text says, “They still bear fruit in old age.”  May this be said of us in the final years of our lives!  The righteous continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ in the last chapter of their lives (2 Peter 3:18).  They do not live as if they have already arrived in heaven.  In their old age the righteous continue to meditate on God’s Word, pray in the power of his Spirit, and daily repent of their sin.  The Spirit continues to empower them to bear his fruit when they are old and physically weak (Galatians 5:22-23).  They are firmly rooted in God’s truth and continue to grow spiritually until their dying day.  Old saints are like fruitful trees.  “He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.  In all that he does, he prospers” (Psalm 1:3).  Old believers treasure the Sabbath day and the public worship of God.  This Psalm is entitled “A Song for the Sabbath.”  In addition, we see that these old trees are planted and grow “in the house of the LORD” and “in the courts of our God.”  How old saints rejoice to assemble with God’s people for corporate worship!  “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD!’” (Psalm 122:1).  They lack no resources to sing his praise to the glory of his name because they are “ever full of sap and green.”  And the reason these old saints are able to continue to bear fruit in old age is because of the greatness of their God.  His way is upright.  He is their rock and “there is no unrighteousness in him.”  If we want to bear fruit throughout our lives on earth, and if we want to bear fruit in our old age, we must depend upon our mighty God.  He says to us, “Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he, and to grey hairs I will carry you.  I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save” (Isaiah 46:3-4).  Whether we are young or old Christians let us strive to bear fruit now so that we might be like those in Psalm 92:14 who “still bear fruit in old age.”  The end of life is no time for coasting, drifting, wandering, and backsliding.  We may retire from our earthly employments, but this is no time to retire from the labors of our sanctification.  Consider that this is the last chapter of our lives before we stand before our King and Judge.  Shall we slip into eternity with our eyes closed?  Let us be sober in our serious pursuit of holiness and love!  Let us abide in the Lord Jesus who is our only Vine!  He supplies the life, resources, and power to bear the fruit of love.  Let us join ourselves to him alone!

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