Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings. Ps 17:8
Remember last years Cherry and Apple crops? They were not very good. This year, paints a stark contrast to last years harvest. It may be one of the best harvests ever. Thank you Lord for blessedly sustaining us last year. Thank you for the generous harvest this year.
I have had my share of cherries this year. I am just beginning to think about apples. Let me ask you some questions about apples. What is it that you like about apples? Why do you like them? Is it because they taste good? Maybe its because they look good, especially the deep red varieties. What is your favorite? I think my favorite is Granny Smith. Maybe we like apples because they not only taste good, but they are good for us. Finally, I think we like apples for the endless recipes they can be used in – apple pies, apple sauce, apple crisp you can give them to your teachers to make them feel appreciated. Apples are a marvelous fruit…sometimes.
Jesus used fruit to illustrate the spiritual health of his followers. Read John 15:5-8. People that were rooted in Him and His Word were like trees that bore healthy fruit. People that were not rooted in Him and His Word bore fruit that was withered and rotten.
Pretend that you are strolling through the woods on a fall day and you spot me, a tree, standing in the woods. Then you look at my branches. One is green with leaves, and another leafless and is almost completely severed from the tree. Then you see my fruit. On one branch hangs a beautiful, shinny, bright red, tasty apple. On another branch, broken off and barely connected hangs another apple, wormy, small, dull and rotten.
Which apple would you want to eat?
Many of us have begun school again. This leads to the bearing of fruit. This kind of fruit begins and grows through study, preparation, and training. This is why we go to school – to prepare to become beneficial members of society and the world. What we do and how we do it determines what kind of fruit we will be. If we work hard, no matter what we do, we will bear good fruit. We will be beneficial to the world
My son, keep my words
and treasure up my commandments with you…
keep my teaching as the apple of your eye;
bind them on your fingers;
write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 7:1-3
There is a spiritual kind of fruit. This fruit grows and matures as we are connected to Jesus Christ. He connects us as we are rooted into God’s Word. We are connected to our Lord by faithfully coming to church and receiving the Lord’s Supper. We are strengthened and grow strong as we do devotions, pray prayers, and study the Bible. As a result we are able to bear good and delicious fruit.
Firstly, this fruit is a good confession that Jesus Christ is our Savior. Secondly, this fruit is the good work that we do as we love and serve our neighbors, friends, classmates, teachers, parents and all the people in our lives.
Remember, fruit doesn’t exist for itself. We do not exist in the world for our own sakes. God has a purpose for us – spiritually and physically. Spiritually we exist in the world so that other people might come to know Jesus as their Savior – we prepare for this by remaining in and abiding in Jesus Christ. Physically, we exist in this world to serve our fellow man in acts of love and service. We prepare for this by studying hard in school. Together this is what it means to be Christian.
“He found him in a desert land,
and in the howling waste of the wilderness;
he encircled him, he cared for him,
he kept him as the apple of his eye.” Deut. 32:10
In life sometimes we will bear bad fruit, we won’t do what we ought. We won’t be as connected to God’s Word as we should be. We may not faithfully attend church. We may not study and apply ourselves as much as we ought. We won’t love and serve like we should. This is our miserable lot. We are sinners. God is merciful and graceful. He is always faithful. His faithfulness is most clearly seen in Jesus Christ. Because He died on the cross, we are forgiven. Now, the Lord continues to gather and enlighten us with the Gospel so that in Christ we may again be the bearers of good fruit.
For the sake of Jesus our Heavenly Father sees us as the apples of His eye. He is ever eyeing His apples and lavishing them/you with His love and grace in Jesus. This same Jesus dwells continually dwells with us, now and forever.
For thus said the Lord of hosts, after his glory sent me to the nations who plundered you, for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye… Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the Lord. And many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. Zechariah 2:8-11.
Love, Pastor Mark