The title of our sermon is “Christian Trees”; not Christmas trees, but “Christian Trees.” There are many ways in which Christians are like trees. This morning we want to see some of the ways that Christians are like trees.
1. First we want to consider some personal, individual characteristics of trees.
Like everything else in God’s creation, there are no two trees that are alike. Some are pioneers, and some are climactic. Some are tolerant and some are intolerant. Some are straight and tall, some are short and snarled. Some are hard like ironwood, others are soft like balsa. Some shed there leaves every year (deciduous), and some are evergreen, and so on.
But in spite of their differences, one tree is not better by nature than another tree. They might have different uses, yet they all are useful to their environment. All trees have their God given purpose in nature, and are useful and valuable.
The same can be said of believers. However different we are, we all are useful and valuable in our own way. We all serve our own God given purpose and usefulness in the Lord’s work.
It takes a lot of different kinds of trees to make a good, healthy forest, and it takes a lot of different kinds of believers to make up a good healthy church.
2. Secondly, we want to consider some of the various parts of a tree.
We want to consider 5 parts of a tree, and see how these compare with believers.
Roots serve at least two functions in the life and growth of a tree.
First, roots give a tree the support it needs to stand upright. Without a strong root system, trees couldn’t stand up, especially in hard winds, and in the snow and ice. Secondly, roots absorb water and nutrients from the soil that a tree uses for food.
We want to notice some spiritual things that roots represent.
1) Roots represent the depth of true saving faith in the Gospel (Matthew 13:5-6).
2) Roots represent a Christian’s union with Christ (Colossians 2:7).
3) Roots represent a Christian’s depth in spiritual understanding (Ephesians 3:16-19).
4) Roots represent the strength of our convictions in the Word of God.
5) Roots also represent our connection and oneness with the Lord’s church. Are we deeply rooted in the church that Jesus built?
Our spiritual roots might also be compared to our senses (sight, hearing, etc.), which absorb the good things of God from His Word and send them to our minds for our spiritual use.
Do we have good spiritual roots this morning? Are they deep in the good ground, and do they spread out wide? Will they withstand the scorching heat of trials that will come our way? Are they absorbing much nourishment from the ministries of our church? Are they taking in plenty of nourishment from our personal Bible study, and meditation in the Word of God?
Remember, a tree can’t be strong and healthy if it doesn’t have strong healthy roots.
The trunk holds all the branches, and leaves, and fruit high up off the ground where the wind and the sun can reach them, and where they will be useful to the world.
We want to think about the growth rings of a tree. Every ring is another year of growth. Every ring represents a year of new experiences for a tree. Every ring makes the tree bigger and stronger, so it can bear more weight. If the tree had a good year the growth ring will be big. If the tree had a lean year the growth ring will be small.
We might liken the trunk of the tree to the Christian life. The believer’s life holds up the branches, and leaves, and the fruit of the Spirit, where the Son of God and wind can reach them, and where they can be useful.
Believers need a strong Christian life to support all of our branches of service. We need a strong moral character, and a strong testimony of God’s grace. We also need a strong spiritual understanding of the Word of God that has grown in our soul by the Holy Spirit and real life experience.
Like growth rings of a tree, every year of the Christian life adds another growth ring of experience. Every year our Christian character and godly testimony should grow. Every year our spiritual understanding should grow by another year’s experience. Every year we should be stronger to support more branches and more fruit, and more usefulness to the Lord’s service.
How big are our spiritual growth rings this morning? Are they nice and big from a good year of spiritual growth, or are they narrow from a lean year?
Is our Christian life growing stronger, and more productive as we grow in experience, and in spiritual understanding, and in the grace of God?
One thing about a tree, if it quits growing, that means it is dead. Likewise a Christian should grow until we die.
Also, a tree that grows to slowly because it is hindered in its growth, will be weak and vulnerable to disease and insect attack. So is a Christian vulnerable to spiritual weakness, who is not growing properly.
The sap of a tree is what heals its wounds and fights disease. Sap could be likened to the love and grace of God in our lives. Believers who are growing properly have plenty of love and grace flowing in our lives to heal our wounds and fight off spiritual diseases.
First there is the thick outer bark of a tree. The outer bark protects a tree from the weather and from its enemies. There are many beetles and other insects, and fire, and inclement weather, and vermin, and birds, that attack trees. Therefore, trees need tough outer bark for protection.
We might liken the outer bark of a tree to our saving faith and the Christian hope. Our saving faith and our blessed hope of Heaven, protect us from those hard trials that are to try our faith, and from the many enemies of our souls. If our faith and hope are strong, then nothing will be able to penetrate our hearts and attack our faith, and inflict spiritual damage and loss to our souls.
Secondly there is the inner bark of a tree. It is through the inner bark of a tree that all the life giving water and nourishment flows throughout all the parts of the tree to provide the life giving nourishment that it needs to live.
We might liken the inner bark to our living faith. “The just shall live by faith.” It is through the channel of faith that the grace and love of God flow, and that we live and grow in the Lord. Therefore, we must have faith to live and grow.
What happens if the inner bark of a tree is cut (or girdled)? All the flow of nutrients stops and the tree will die.
So likewise would the believer die if our faith could be severed. But thank God nothing can sever our faith in Jesus.
The branches and twigs of a tree support the leaves and the fruit, and all the little creatures that live and feed in its branches.
The branches of a tree can be likened to all the various branches of our lives. Our lives are not just a single trunk, but they branch out into different areas into the world around us. And the more our lives branch out, the more leaves and fruit they will be able to bear, and the more good our lives will be to others.
The way that a tree grows more branches, is by getting more exposure to the sun. Likewise, the way believers can grow more branches of service, and to be more useful to the Lord’s service is to get more exposure to the Son of God. The more we bask in the light and the love of Jesus, the more our lives will branch out in new opportunities and channels of Christian service.
Leaves are likened to a tree’s glory, and its head and crown. But leaves serve a very important purpose. The leaves of a tree take light from the sun, carbon dioxide from the air, and water and nutrients from the soil, and produce the food that they need to live on.
In salvation we receive a new spiritual mind, that might be likened to the leaves of a tree. It is within our new spiritual mind where all the graces of God that we receive, and our experiences of life are processed into spiritual food that causes us to grow spiritually.
Like the leaves of a tree are renewed every year, believers need to renew our minds. Paul said to be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and that the inward man is renewed day by day. We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
What condition are our spiritual minds in? Do we renew our minds daily by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit? Are we feeding our new minds with all the good things that we need to grow? Or, do we feed our spiritual minds with things that corrupt and poison our lives?
In conclusion, there is another part of the tree that we want to see in our next message, which is the fruit. But from what we have studied this morning, what kind of “Christian tree” are we?
How about our roots? Are we deeply rooted and grounded in Christ for salvation? Are we rooted in spiritual understanding, and convictions from the Word of God? Are we deeply rooted in the Lord’s church?
How about our trunk? Are we growing up strong in the Lord so that we can be more useful in His service?
How about our bark? Do we have the protection of saving faith and the hope of Heaven? And do we have faith to live by? Remember, the just shall live by faith.
How about our branches? Are we getting plenty of the Son light of God’s love? Are our lives branching out into new areas of Christian service and usefulness?
What about our new spiritual minds? Are they being renewed day by day? Are we feeding them what is good for our spiritual growth?
Part 2; Galatians 5:22-23
This evening we want to complete the message that we began this morning entitled “Christian trees”. This evening we want to bring a message on the fruit of trees.
Basically the fruit of trees serves two purposes.
1. First, the fruit from trees provides food for the many creatures of the earth.
Spiritually, believers also feed others with the fruit from our lives. We want to notice the fruit of the Spirit that believers should bear in our lives.
In this verse we see several of the different kinds of fruit that believers should bear in our lives. We want to notice each of these briefly this evening.
1. The fruit of love: Love for God, love for other believers, and love for lost sinners. This is the greatest of all fruit and the most important. Love is what our church need!
2. The fruit of joy: True Christian joy comes from the Holy Spirit. It is not carnal joy. We should have joy in the services of God. If we can’t rejoice in God’s house then there is something wrong. But we should have joy in all things, whether they seem good or bad.
3. The fruit of peace: Peace with God and the peace of God which passeth understanding. We must be at peace with other believers, and the world as much as possible.
4. The fruit of longsuffering: This is patient forbearing, especially of injuries caused by other believers in the church.
5. The fruit of gentleness: This means being gentle and kind to others; how this is needed in our churches! How this is needed in our world.
6. The fruit of goodness: Goodness is refusing what is evil and immoral, and choosing what is right and moral. Should we have to be told to be good? But yet we do!
7. The fruit of faith: In this context the word “faith” probably means faithfulness. Being faithful to our word and our promises to God and man. To be trustworthy, and conscientious in our business; both inside and outside of the church!
8. The fruit of meekness: This means humility of mind, and forbearance of carnal passions, such as rash anger. How many of us could use some more of this fruit?
9. The fruit of temperance: This means self-control of our carnal appetites and lusts. Believers need control over our appetites, our tongues, our sensual passions.
There are also some other spiritual fruit that are mentioned in the Bible.
1. The fruit of righteousness (James 3:14-18): This is the fruit of the peacemaker. James is especially talking about how believers should treat one another. Beloved our churches need less strife and contentions, and more peacemakers!
2. The fruit of holiness (Romans 6:22): This is our progress in our pursuit of sanctification. We once were servants of sin, but now it is our goal to serve righteousness. We don’t want to serve sin anymore, but serve righteousness more and more. As we succeed in our goal toward sanctification, we yield the fruit of holiness.
3. The fruit of our lips, which is praise and thanksgiving to God (Hebrews 13:15): Beloved, our lives ought to be loaded down with the fruit of thanksgiving to God for all He has done for us.
Sometimes we Baptists moan, and groan, and gripe as if God hasn’t given us all things in Christ! (Romans 8:32). But He has given us all things, if we are saved! If we could just be more thankful, we would all be a whole lot less cantankerous!
4. The fruit of our labors (Philippians 1:22): These are all blessings that we bestow upon others. When we labor to bring someone to salvation, or bring them along in their faith, these are the fruit of our labors.
Isn’t it good to be able to help others along the way? May our lives be a channel of blessing to others; both saints and sinners alike.
5. Finally, there is the fruit of eternal rewards (Philippians 4:17): These are rewards for faithful service, that are laid up in store for us in Heaven.
2. Secondly, another important purpose of a tree’s fruit is reproduction.
Without fruit there would be no reproduction, and eventually trees would cease to exist. So, in order to reproduce, trees produce seed, which is then disseminated upon the earth, where hopefully it finds good ground, and brings forth new life.
In a similar way believers need to reproduce more believers, by the help of God’s grace. We do this by broadcasting the Gospel seed upon the ground of men’s hearts, where hopefully it will find good ground, and bring forth new spiritual life.
Beloved, this is so important to the life and future of our churches. Not only that, but we are commissioned to reproduce! Jesus said “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15). That essentially is our commission; to reproduce! To make disciples, and Baptize them, and then teach them all things that Jesus commanded.
Those were essentially the last words of Jesus to His church. Did that commission ever change? Was it ever rescinded or abrogated? NO! I believe the great commission is still in affect. And if we believe this as a church, then what are we doing about it? Are we sowing the Gospel seed personally? Are we doing all that we can do collectively as a church?
We have some good local missionary endeavors, but I believe there is room for growth in this area. We voted recently to find another good missionary to support. That’s good. Maybe we will be able to pick up another one before long.
May God help us as a church, to have a missionary zeal, both for our local community, and for foreign missions.
I believe that missions start at home. When a church ceases to be missionary in its own community, then we are failing in our missionary responsibility.
In conclusion, are we bearing the manifold fruit of the Spirit in our lives that we spoke of this evening.
“Well,” we say, “I have a lot of some of them, but not much of others.” I believe the Holy Spirit intends for us to have an abundance of all the various fruits of the Spirit.
Or we might say, “I have all of them some of the time, but not all of the time.”
May the Lord help us to bear all of the fruit of the Spirit all of the time.
I realize that this is easier said than done. Don’t forget, the pastor is also human, and He knows what is ideal from what is a reality in his own life.
Yet, as we taught in Philippians 3 a while back, we should aim for the mark. We are not going to achieve perfection, but it should still be our goal. We will never get even close if we don’t set our sites on the target!
The same with the fruit of the Spirit. We will come closer to have all the fruit in abundance if we desire and strive to have them. Once again, often times we set our goals to low. We need to raise our expectations for our lives. And always remember that “we can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth us!
And then, are we sowing the seed of the Gospel? Are we trying by God’s grace to spiritually reproduce new believers through spreading the Gospel among the lost. I realize that it takes the Holy Spirit to quicken and give life, but the Lord didn’t tell us to worry about that part. He simply said “Go ye, and preach the Gospel!”
Are you saved this evening? Have you repented of your sins and sinful ways? Have you come to trust that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day for you?
If not, repent and believe the Gospel and you will be saved this very moment…