PRODUCE vs. BEAR: The New Testament uses two words to describe the fruit that should come from people's lives. The word produce is used to describe people like the Pharisees, who were trying hard to make their own fruit. They labored to keep obscure ceremonial rules just so, to give, pray and fast in ways that everyone could see their awesome piety, and to elegantly jump through all sorts of hoops to impress God. This, of course, is not the type of fruit God desires.
God wants His people to bear fruit, as indicated in v6 & 10. On the surface, their may not seem much difference between the two words, as it would be proper to say that an apple tree produces apples or that it bears apples. But bearing has a passive sense. Unlike the Pharisees who put all sorts of effort into production, all one needs to do to bear fruit is let the grace that flowed into you also flow out of you to your friends and neighbors.
'SO THAT' ALERT: We haven't stopped to look at each one, but there should be a little alarm that goes off in your head each time you read the phrase 'so that,' because it will likely give you immediate application to what is being taught. A perfect example is in v10: God fills you with His knowledge so that you may live a worthy life by:
Bearing fruit in every good work;
Growing in the knowledge of God.
IMPRESSIVE RESUME: Verses 15-20 is an example of a Christological passage; that is, a passage that explains who and what Jesus is. If you or somebody you know thinks Jesus was just a nice guy who healed people, this is a great passage to review:
v15: Jesus is the very image of God
v16: Jesus created all things, and all things have been created for Him.
v17: Jesus is holding all things together
v18: Jesus is head of the church, the first to raise from the dead !so that! he might be supreme in all things
v19: God's fullness dwells in Jesus
v20: Jesus has reconciled all things to God by making peace through His shed blood.
TURBO CHARGED: You've read today that it's not up to you to produce fruit, rather you are to passively bear fruit. But that does not mean sitting back and just waiting for it to happen. Rather, v29 teaches you that as Christ puts His energy into you, you are to reflect that and 'strenuously contend' for Him in the community you have been placed in.
AAA Prayer Tips:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God our Father (v2), the one who rules all things through our Lord Jesus Christ (v15-20)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom the Spirit gives (v9).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: