Friday, May 20, 2016

Bringing Forth Fruit unto God


February 22, 2015

Now the title of my sermon tonight is Bringing Forth Fruit Unto God. That's what this chapter is about and that term is brought up over and over again in this chapter. I want to show you tonight from Scripture that when the Bible talks about bringing forth fruit unto God, that is referring to winning other people to Christ and getting people saved. That's what we call soul winning. In fact, let me just point you to Proverbs 11. Stay there in John 15, but in Proverbs 11:30, the Bible reads, "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life and he that winneth souls is wise." That's where we actually get the term soul winning that we use to talk about when we go out and knock doors and just tell people how to be saved. We just preach the gospel to them and we call that soul winning because the Bible says, The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life and he that winneth souls is wise." I'm going to prove to you from Scripture that when the Bible talks about bringing forth much fruit and bringing forth fruit unto God, it is talking about winning people to the Lord. It's talking about getting people saved. It's talking about going out into highways and hedges preaching the gospel and someone receiving the Lord Jesus Christ their Savior. I'm going to prove to you that from the Bible.

Let's start in this passage, John 15:1. It says, "I am the true vine and My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away, and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in Me and I in you, as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine no more can ye except ye abide in me. I am the vine. Ye are the branches. He that abideth in Me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit for without Me, ye can to nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch and is withered and men gather them and cast them into the fire and they are burned." Look at verse 8, "Herein is My father, glorified that ye bear much fruit, so shall ye be My disciples."

Now first of all, before I get into the sermon, just about bearing much fruit and show you all the Scriptures, let me just start by dealing with some false doctrine that some people will derive from this chapter. They'll try to use this to teach that you could lose your salvation or that if you don't bring forth fruit, you're not really saved. That's what they'll try to use this as. Now first of all, the Bible says, "As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools." Parables can be interpreted a variety of different ways, which is why we should never base our doctrine on a parable. We should base our doctrine on clear statements from the Bible. The Bible has so many just clear statements to anchor our soul to and to act as a foundation for our faith, that we shouldn't take a parable and base everything that we believe on a parable. No, what we should rather do is base our doctrines on clear statements, then use those statements to interpret the parable. Not vice versa, not take a parable and use it to contradict a bunch of clear statements. You always start with that which is clear and use it to interpret that which is a dark saying or parable, as Jesus Christ put it.

Now in this parable, it says that every branch that beareth fruit, he purges it so that it will bring forth more fruit. Now this is, basically, talking about trimming the tree, so if there's a branch that brings forth fruit, He'll purge it so that it'll bring forth even more fruit. That purging, in our lives, would be God removing sin from our life and helping us to be cleaned up and more efficient in bringing forth fruit. What this is saying is that if we go out and win souls to Jesus Christ, I'm going to prove that in the sermon that's what this is referring to, that God will then help us to clean up other areas of our life.

Now a lot of people have this backwards. They think you know what? I need to get my life totally cleaned up, then I'm going to go out soul winning. In fact, it's the opposite. We need to get out there and at least bring forth some fruit, then God will purge us, then we'll bring forth even more fruit. Now let me say this, if you have a lot of junk in your life, you're not going to bring forth much fruit, but you still need to get out there and try to bring forth some fruit because when God sees you bringing forth fruit, He says, "Here's a branch that I can purge, so that it can bring forth more fruit." I don't believe in this thing of waiting to go soul winning until your life's all in order and going ... First of all, if you wait that long, you'll probably just never do it because none of us have all our ducks in a row, none of us are perfect, none of us are fully a purged, perfect branch. We all have sin in our life and imperfection within us, so if you're going to be waiting for that, you just wait and it never comes.

A lot of people today think that they have to get certain sins out of their life before they can do soul winning. Look at the Bible and think about, for example, the woman at the well. God used her to bring a lot of people to Jesus, just immediately, just right away. She didn't clean up, right? A lot of other people that you see in the Bible, the same day they get saved, they're soul winning. The Apostle Paul was like that. He gets saved and just immediately he goes out and starts preaching the gospel. He had more to learn, but he still got out there right away. Other people that you see in the Bible, like the guy that was demon possessed, he gets saved and just right away he just goes out and starts preaching the word of God. Why not? A lot of people say this, "Well, I don't want to go soul winning until I've cleaned up my life because I don't want to be a hypocrite." Have you heard that one before? It's pretty common. "Well, I don't want to be a hypocrite, you know. I'm telling people one thing and do ..."

Here's the thing. When you go out soul winning, what message are you preaching? The message that you're preaching is believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. You're not preaching clean up your life and you shall be saved, so these people that say, "Oh, I don't want to go soul winning because I don't want to be a hypocrite," makes you wonder do they understand the gospel? The gospel's a free gift purchased by the blood of Jesus. Look, Paul said, "We preach not ourselves, but we preach Jesus Christ. We preach Him crucified." You're not a hypocrite telling people to believe on Jesus if you've believed on Jesus. Then you're not a hypocrite. "Yeah, but I'm not living a perfect life," but are you telling people to live a perfect life and you'll be saved? No, so that excuse goes out the window. That's just what it is. It's an excuse where people are timid to get out there in the highways and hedges, so they just come up with an, "Oh, I'm not ready yet," and then they're just never ready type of a thing.

Also, some churches will perpetuate this where they will hinder people from going soul winning because they have not gotten the sin out of their life. I talked to a guy one time and I approached him at our church and I said, "Hey, I really want to take you out soul winning, you know, have you ever been soul winning? Can I take you out some time?" He said, "Well, you know, the problem is, I smoke cigarettes and at every church I've been in, they had a policy that anybody who smokes can't go soul winning," or something. I'm like, "What in the world? Are you serious?" That's so ridiculous to sit there and hinder. Why would you want to add one sin upon another? Look, smoking cigarettes is damaging to your body. It's a stupid use of your money. It's bad for you and everything else, but to sit there and say, "Well, because I'm living in one sin, then I better not go soul winning," now you've just added another sin. At least get out there and go soul ... "Aren't you worried that people won't look right," I've had other people say, and, "It's going to be an embarrassment and a shame upon your church." Not at all. Not at all because nobody in this church has a worse reputation than I. No, I'm just kidding. No, just kidding.

No, because here's the thing. I'm not ashamed. I've gone out soul winning with some pretty gnarly-looking people and I'm not ashamed of them at all. Why should I be ashamed that I've got a new believer next to me, that I've got a new babe in Christ that's being trained and taught the things of God? You know what? If I walked into a church and everybody looked all perfect and everybody's all dialed in, that would just tell me they haven't reached anybody lately. When you have some rough-looking people in the church, that shows that people are being reached. Maybe you see people that don't look quite right. Hey, so what? I'm not ashamed of them. Why would I be? If they're saved and I'm saved and here's the ... I've even taken unsaved people out soul winning. Now obviously, they're not doing the talking. That would be heresy if they're preaching the false doctrine, but I've taken somebody out soul winning with me who was unsaved, just as a silent partner because I'm going out and preaching the word. If they want to listen to the word, and sometimes that person will get saved.

A friend of mine was soul winning and his dad was visiting in town and he took his dad out soul winning. It turned out his dad wasn't saved and he gave the gospel over and over again throughout the afternoon. At the last store he gave the gospel, his dad said, "I prayed that prayer, too, just now because I realize from listening to you all afternoon that I needed to be saved. I realize that I'm not saved." He prayed right there and got saved and we baptized him in the evening service. Why not go out there and just preach the gospel to whoever will listen? Somebody wants to tag along, come on along. Another thing that we've done sometimes is won somebody to the Lord and had them actually join us for the rest of the soul winning, just right then and there, just put your shoes on and come soul winning, right? Hey, that's a start to a good Christian life when you get straight-out soul winning. Why? Because if you bring forth fruit, God will purge you and then you'll bring forth even more fruit and that's how you succeed as a Christian.

As you read this, in the parable, he says that as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, in verse 4, "Except it abide in the vine no more can ye except ye abide in Me. I am the vine. Ye are the branches. He that abideth in Me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit for without Me, ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch." Now look, this is a parable. This is symbolic. He's saying he's cast forth as a branch, but then it says this, "Men gather them," it says he's withered, "And men gather them and cast them into the fire and they are burnt." Now a lot of people will take this and equate this unto go to Hell. That's how they'll interpret the parable. They'll say, "Hey, when the guys pick up the withered branches and throw them into the fire, that's a picture of that person going to Hell."

Here's the thing. That cannot be what this pictures because we have a ton of clear Scriptures that talk about the fact that Jesus gives unto us eternal life, that He'll never leave us nor forsake us, that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, that it's impossible to lose our salvation. That's a whole sermon of itself, but there's just a mountain of Scripture, so obviously, if you're interpreting this parable that way, then you have the wrong interpretation because you'd be contradicting a lot of clear statements, even in the Book of John itself. What this parable is saying when it says, hey, the branch that doesn't bring forth fruit is withered and men gather them and cast them into the fire, it's just saying that's what you do with dead branches. You throw them in the trash, you burn them, you get rid of them. What God is saying is that if we don't bring forth fruit, He has no use for us, and it's like the Apostle Paul said, he said, "I don't want to preach others and then myself be a castaway. I don't want to be cast aside."

God, for example, casts aside a whole nation of people, the Israelites because remember, Israel was God's chosen people, but when they didn't bring forth fruit, and He goes into this in great detail in Matthew 21, or Matthew 20 through 23, all those chapters He keeps coming back to that theme. They did not bring forth fruit. He came to that fig tree of Israel seeking fruit thereon. He found none and what did He do? He cast them away. You say, "Well, no, the Bible says He didn't cast aside His people," yet He cast away all the ones who didn't bring forth fruit. Because He said, "Well, I didn't cast them all away because there's a remnant of Israelites who believe and they're the ones that are still My people."

Okay, so what are we saying here? In this passage, we see that God does not have any use for Christians that don't bring forth fruit. He has no use for them. You can't be, and I want this to sink in with you tonight, you cannot be a good Christian without bringing forth fruit, period. You can't. If you're not bringing forth fruit, don't tell me, "Oh, I'm abiding in Christ. I have a wonderful relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ." No, you don't because if you abide in Christ, you're bringing forth fruit and if you're not bringing forth fruit, you're worthless under the Kingdom of God. In fact, Jesus said, "If you don't gather with Me, you scatter abroad." There's no neutrality in this. You're either one that preaches the gospel, that gathers people under the Kingdom of God, you're out there reaping the harvest, or you're a liability. You're dead weight. You're not an asset under the Kingdom of God whatsoever. He has no use. That's why Jesus said, "If you follow Me, I will make you fishers of men." That tells me if you're not a fisher of men, you're not following Jesus.

Now I'm not saying that you're not saved because to be saved, you just have to believe in Jesus, but there's a difference, and this is the key thing I want to point out in this passage, there is a difference between being saved and being a disciple. Being saved versus being a disciple. Think about in Jesus' day. How many disciples did He have? 12, right, and then there were 70 others that later He sent out. Then in that early church, how many people, after 3-1/2 years of ministry, were in that early church in Acts 1? Only 120 people, that's it. 120, but how many people got saved through Jesus' ministry? The Bible says multitudes, thousands got saved, thousands got baptized, but how many assembled at that early church in Acts 1? Only 120 people. How many did He call the Disciples that were really close to Him and willing to follow Him anywhere He would go? There were only 12 of them. Okay, so there's a difference between being saved and being a disciple.

Here's even more proof. One of His Disciples wasn't saved, okay, so don't just equate those 2 things in your mind. That's why the Bible says here, in verse number 8, "Herein is My Father glorified that ye bear much fruit, so shall ye be My disciples." This is talking about being a disciple. When you're abiding in the vine and you're bringing forth much fruit, that's when you're considered a disciple of Jesus Christ because He said, "If you follow Me, I'll make you fishers of men." You can't be a follower of Jesus, you can't be a disciple, you're not in that group, unless you are bringing forth much fruit, period. Everybody else is on the fringe. There are saved people out there that don't go to church and they're not abiding in Christ on a daily basis. They're not reading the word, they're not filled with the Spirit, they're not bringing forth any fruit. They're not disciples of Christ. Just because they're saved, it doesn't make them a disciple or someone who's following Christ and living their life in a way that's pleasing unto Him.

Now if you would, just flip back a few pages to John 12 because I want to just teach you the subject of bringing forth fruit. What does it mean when God says bringing forth fruit or bringing forth much fruit? Right here, in John 12:24, it says, "Verily, verily I say unto you except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone." That's a key word there. "It abideth alone, but if it die, if it bringeth forth much fruit." This is talking about reproduction amongst plant life, okay. A corn of wheat, that living plant, is there, but it's alone. It's by itself. In order to bring forth fruit, it has to fall to the ground and die and then that seed will go into the earth and a new life will be produced. It will multiply and it says it will bring forth much fruit. Jesus is using that as symbolic of Himself dying, okay, and then bringing forth much fruit. Also, we can apply this to us that we have to die to self in order to bring forth much fruit.

What I want to really drive in today in John 12:24 is that bringing forth fruit is, again, associated with reproduction. What's the opposite of bringing forth fruit in this verse? Abiding alone, okay, so if it's just you, you're saved, but just you're saved and you're not getting anybody else saved, that's you abiding alone. Then there's bringing forth much fruit, which is you reproducing yourself. Go to Romans 7, Romans 7. Romans 7:2, the Bible reads, "For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth, but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if while her husband liveth she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress, but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ that ye should be married to another even to him who is raised from the dead that we should bring forth fruit unto God."

Now in this Scripture in verse 4, we see that this parable or this simile is being used of being married unto Jesus Christ and bringing forth fruit unto God. Now the fruit of that wheat that falls into the ground is more wheat. It reproduces. It multiplies. We as human beings multiply by having children. That's why all the way back to Genesis 1 God said to Adam and Eve, "Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth." What's He telling them to do? Have children. He even told the animal life be fruitful and multiply. He even talked about the plant life in Genesis 1, having the seed within itself to do what? To reproduce and to bring forth after its own kind. In Genesis 1 He says over and over again, after his kind, after his own kind, after its kind. Look, why do we get to the New Testament and just totally forget that and all of a sudden, we don't know what bringing forth fruit is?

No, bringing forth fruit is reproducing after our own kind and even tying it into marriage emphasizes that because what's the fruit of my wife and I being married? It's all lined up back there. There's a whole row of fruits back there lined up. These are the fruits of marriage. This is what happens when a man and a woman reproduce. You have 8 children that are in our image, meaning that they look like us, they appear like us. They have traits that are similar to our traits and not even just physically, but also spiritually, mentally, your children are going to take after you because everything brings forth after its own kind. What we see here in this passage with Romans 7 is that bringing forth fruit unto God spiritually is a team effort between us and Jesus reproducing and bringing forth fruit. Just like He said, you have to abide in the vine, you have to abide in Me, and you'll bring forth much fruit, just as I can't bring forth fruit without my wife, and my wife can't bring forth fruit without me. It's going to take both of us to bring forth fruit.

It's the same way with soul winning, with winning people to Christ. I can't go out and win people to Christ without Jesus, without the Holy Spirit, right, because I have to have the word. Jesus is the word. The Bible talks about the sower sows the word. Faith cometh by hearing, hearing by the word of God. This is that spiritual seed of the word, okay. I have to have the word of God and I have to have the Holy Spirit inside me or I'm not going to get anybody saved just going out without the Holy Spirit, without any Bible verses, just going out doing it in my own words and my own strength and my own wisdom, I'm not going to get anybody saved. Just as much, if I refuse to go, if I stay home, God's not going to go out and get the people saved without me. Now when Jesus was on this earth, He did the soul winning because He was a human being, okay, but He said, "As long as I'm in the world, I'm the light of the world." He said, "You're the light of the world." Jesus Christ, the Bible says, has committed unto us the ministry of reconciliation and if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost. They are the ones who will continue to be blinded lest the light of the glorious gospel should shine in.

God uses us to do the soul winning and we have to have God to do the soul winning. It has to be both involved. It's a team effort between us and God in order to win people unto Jesus Christ. That's what this teaching. Now Paul also talks about this. You flip over to Romans 1, if you would. Romans 1, Paul talks about this when he refers to people who he won to Christ as his children. He's not talking about begetting a physical child. He's talking about spiritual children that he brought forth. He said, for example, in Philemon 10, "I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds." This is a guy that he won to Christ while in prison and he says, "I've begotten him in my bonds." He said in Galatians 4:19, "My little children of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you," because he had thought they were saved, but now he's doubting their salvation. He's not going to say, "I'm travailing in birth again until Christ be formed in you," because he says, "I'm afraid of you lest I bestowed labor upon you in vain," because they were getting into so much false doctrine, he's doubting whether he'd been saved.

He says also of Timothy, "Timothy, my own son in the faith." He says, "Titus, my own son after the common faith." These people aren't his physical children, but they're his spiritual children because he won them to Christ. There are a lot more Scriptures on that. For the sake of time, I won't belabor that point, but look at Romans 1. You say, "I'm skeptical, Pastor Anderson. I still don't think that when Jesus talks about bringing forth fruit as a Christian, I don't think He's talking about winning people to Christ. I think he's just talking about living a good life or just cleaning up your life." That's what most people out there think. You know it's true because guess what? Most churches aren't soul winning. Most churches aren't winning anybody to the Lord and they don't want to be tagged as unfruitful because they know that that means they're not following Jesus. They know that that means that they're not abiding in the vine. They know that they're about as valuable as a withered branch that somebody takes and just throws away because there's no use for it. They don't want to be the one that doesn't bring forth fruit, so here's what they say, "Oh, bringing forth fruit, look how much I've cleaned up my life."

Now look, you can clean up the tree and make it look wonderful. That doesn't mean that that tree is bringing forth any fruit. You could have a beautiful tree covered in flowers and pretty leaves and you can trim it and make it look so nice and prune it, but that doesn't mean it's bringing forth any fruit. People don't want to accept the truth that I'm preaching tonight, but look at the Bible. Romans 1 is another proof. Verse 13, "Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purpose to come unto you, but was let hitherto," let means hindered, "That I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles." Why does he want to go to Rome? He said, "I want to have some fruit among you like I've had among other Gentiles. I'm deader both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians, both to the wise and the unwise," verse 15, "So as much as in me is, I'm ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also." Notice the comparison between verse 13. "I want to have some fruit among you also." What does he say that as in verse 15? "I want to preach the gospel among you also," because how are you going to bring forth fruit? By preaching the gospel. That's what it's saying here.

Hey, "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life. He that winneth souls is wise." He said we bring forth fruit unto God just the way a husband and wife bring forth fruit when they're married. Here he equates bringing forth fruit to preaching the gospel. Now with that in mind, got to 2 Peter 1. 2 Peter 1. It's a spiritual childbirth when you go out soul winning. Paul said, "I'm travailing in birth." You want a man, soul winning's hard work. Look how hard it is for a woman who's in labor, right? We go out and we actually are begetting children unto the Lord and that's what the Bible is saying with all these times that Paul said that. Look at 2 Peter 1 with that in mind. Once we understand what it means to be fruitful, to bring forth fruit, it's talking about preaching the gospel. It's talking about winning souls. It's talking about reproducing and look, what does an orange bring forth when it reproduces? More ...

Congregation: Oranges.

Pastor Anderson: What does the apple tree produce?

Congregation: Apples.

Pastor Anderson: Apples, yeah, but what does the Christian produce?

Congregation: Good Christians.

Pastor Anderson: Other Christians. It's not that complicated. Again, people don't want to face this, so they'll say when a Christian brings forth fruit, they'll say it's love, joy, and peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness. Here's the problem. That's the fruit of the spirit. That's not the fruit of the righteous. "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life and he that winneth souls is wise." The fruit of Christians is more Christians. Why is the fruit of the spirit love, joy, peace, long-suffering? Because here's why, the fruit of the spirit is love because God is love as He brings forth after His own kind. He is the oil of gladness. He brings forth joy. The Holy Spirit is called the oil of gladness. He's the Prince of Peace. He brings forth peace. What I'm saying is that the fruit of the spirit should not be confused with our fruit. The Holy Spirit lives inside of us and when we walk in the spirit, the fruit of that will be that we'll be a loving person. We'll be a joyful person. We'll be a peaceful person. We'll have faith. We'll be a good person. We'll have temperance and meekness. Those are the fruits of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us.

What's our fruit? What's the fruit that we bring forth? It's other believers. That's what it means to be fruitful. Look at 2 Peter 1 with that in mind. It says in verse 5, "And beside this giving all diligence add to your faith virtue." Now look, faith is what saves you. That's the starting point, getting saved, having faith in the Lord, but it says, "Add to your faith virtue and to virtue knowledge and to knowledge temperance and to temperance patience and to patience godliness and to godliness brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness charity, for if these things be in you in abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." Let me first of all point out to you that barren and unfruitful are used side by side and what does the Bible call a woman who can't have kids?

Congregation: Barren.

Pastor Anderson: Barren, so notice, again, it's reproduction that we're talking about here with fruitfulness. Barren and unfruitful. Now when we talk about being unfruitful, it says here that if we have this list of things in us, we will not be barren and we will not be unfruitful. You know what that tells me? That if you're not a soul winner, if you're not winning people to Christ, if you're not reproducing spiritually, if you have not brought forth a spiritual son or a spiritual daughter unto the Lord, something's missing on this list. It has to be because God says is these things abound in you, He'll make you not be unbarren or unfruitful, so something's missing.

Here's what we've learned so far about people that are not bringing forth fruit unto God. We've learned that first of all, they're not abiding in Christ. They're not dwelling in close fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Number 2, they're not willing to follow Him because if you follow Him, He'll make you into a fisher of men. What else do we see? We see that they lack something on this list here. Maybe they lack virtue, maybe they just lack knowledge. They just don't even know what soul winning is. I think that's a lot of people. They just lack knowledge. That was where I was at as a young person because I remember growing up with a burning desire to get people saved. I even approached my youth leader as a teenager and said, "Can we go out and get people saved, preach the gospel?" I even tried, but I was ignorant and I hadn't studied the Bible. I'm not making excuses for myself. The information was right here all along. I could've went out and found it, but I didn't have the knowledge. I remember I would try to give the gospel to my friends at school. I went to public school and I'd be giving my friends the gospel, but I did it wrong.

Here's how I did it wrong. I didn't use the Bible. I didn't use verses. I didn't open the Bible and show them Scripture. I didn't even quote Scripture. I just explained it in my own words. I would just try to explain to my friends what it meant to be saved and I didn't even do a very good job of that, but I don't care how good of a job I did. If I'm not using the word of God, there's no power there. The power is in the word. The sower sows the word. The seed is the word. There's not going to be this Immaculate Concepcion taking place when you're soul winning without the Bible. No, you better have the seed there. You better know that with these 8 children that are lined up back there, there was a seed involved that made that happen. If the seed hadn't been there, those kids wouldn't be there.

That's why soul winning without the word of God doesn't work. I had a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. I wanted to get people saved, I tried to get people saved. I tried to even get guidance from leaders in the church. I went to my youth leader and said, "Can you teach me? Can you take me out?" He was so clueless that he can't teach me soul winning because he doesn't know soul winning. Therefore, I was unfruitful for a long time in my Christian work. Then, about 17 years old, I got into a church that gave me the knowledge and taught me and sent me out and got me the tools to go out door to door and win people to Christ. Then once I started winning people door to door, then I started winning people in my personal life and at work, family, friends, and it went from there. I was able to bring forth much fruit to God be the glory. It was all through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Bible says here, "Add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge temperance, to temperance patience." Something's missing when you're not bringing forth fruit. Maybe the knowledge is missing. You just don't know about soul winning. You've never even heard of it or you don't know how to do it. The great thing is, if you show up at one of the soul winning times at our church, there will be somebody there who has the knowledge to take you out and show you the ropes. There are also sermons that I've preached that explain it, the video demonstration, everything. Anybody who's here tonight, this isn't an excuse for you to lack knowledge.

What about patience? Some people lack the patience. They say, "Oh, I tried soul winning." They tried it for an hour, they tried it for 2 hours, they tried it for 5 hours and it didn't work and they gave up on it. They lack patience because we have to patiently bring forth fruit and put in the time and effort and be frustrated and fail and fail and fail. People tell us no and they tell us no and they don't get saved and they don't get saved. We continue with patience and in due season, we will reap if we faint not. You will get people saved if you continue sowing. He didn't say, "He that goeth forth and weepeth bearing precious seed might come back rejoicing." No, it says "Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." If you go out with the word of God and do the soul winning, people will be saved. Anybody who says soul winning doesn't work, I turn around and say, "No, you don't work." You're not doing the work because if you do the work, people are going to get saved. Either the gospel's not being preached or the gospel's lost its power. Those are the only 2 options when people aren't being saved. Either it's not being preached or it's lost its power.

What other option could there be? God says it's going to work. God says that His word has power. God says that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation. God says that if we go forth weeping and bearing precious seed, we will doubtless, oh thou of little faith. "Wherefore didst thou doubt? Doubtless come again with rejoicing bringing his sheaves with him." What else could be missing? Godliness could be missing. You know what? I think a lot of times, kindness and charity are missing. Kindness and charity could be that which is missing. If you go out and you're a jerk to people, you might not win as many people to Christ. Maybe you like kindness, but what's charity? Charity is love. If we have love in our hearts and care about ... Look at the word charity. Here's another word that comes from the same root. Caring, charity, do you see how they both are made of the same root word there? Caring, okay, charity, loving others.

You know what? If you don't love other people, you're going to be unfruitful because you're not going to care enough to go out and give them the gospel. You don't care enough to take time out of your schedule, to get out there and do the work. If you cared, you'd be out there warning people. If you love people, you'd be soul winning, so can you see how having these things missing can lead to you being unfruitful in your life? What if temperance is missing? Temperance is self-control. You know what? Then you're going to get into all kinds of addictions and all kinds of other things that are going to choke the word and make you unfruitful.

Go to Matthew 13, Matthew 13. What makes people unfruitful? What causes them not to win anybody unto Christ and get anybody saved? The Bible says, in Matthew 13, that there are different types of soil where the word is sown and it talks about people who bring forth fruit, some 30, some 60, and some 100. It talks about other people who don't bring forth any fruit. Now when we talk about 30, 60, and 100, that should show you right there that we're not just talking about love, joy, and peace because those are not numeric values, 30 love, my joy is at about a 50 right now. I'm about an 80 on the peace scale right now. That doesn't make any sense, but what if we go with what we've been seeing from the Bible about what it means to bring forth fruit. Now let's apply 30, 60, and 100. Does it make sense to say 30 people were saved? I went out soul winning over the course of years or months or whatever period of time, depending on how much effort you put in and where you went. You could say 30 people were saved, 60 people I've won to the Lord in my life, or I've won 100 people to Christ. Doesn't that make perfect sense because you can reproduce.

I can put a number on my fruitfulness, 8 children that I have lined up back there. Fruit that has remained, okay, but you can't quantify some of these other things that people will try to pass off as the fruit of the Christian, but you can sure quantify salvation. Now it says in Matthew 13:18, "Here ye the parable of the sower. When anyone heareth the word of the Kingdom and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the wayside." Now this guy's not even saved because he hears the word of God, he doesn't even understand it. Now get your finger in Luke 8 because sometimes it's helpful to compare the 4 Gospels and see things from a different angle. This same parable is found in Luke 8. Now in Luke 8, we're going to start this parable in verse number 11. It says ... Keep your finger in Matthew 13 because I want to go back and forth. Luke 8 says this, now the parable is this, "The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are they that hear. Then cometh the devil and taketh away the word out of their heart lest they should believe and be saved."

These people aren't saved, are they, because before they have a chance to believe and are saved, the devil catches away that was sown in their heart. Why is the devil able to do that? Because they did not understand that which they heard. A lot of people, when they hear the gospel, don't understand it. What'll happen is the devil will come and catch away that which was sown in their heart lest they should believe and be saved, it says, okay. Now let's look at the next group. We can do it right here in Luke 8 because we're here. It says, "They on the rock," verse 13, "Are they which when they hear receive the word with joy. And these have no root which for a while believe and in time of temptation, fall away." Now some people will try to declare these people unsaved, but here's the thing about that. You're denying the fact that a person's saved when they receive the word of God with joy and believe? What else, pray tell, do you have to do to be saved? The Bible said, "But as many as received Him," remember, He is that seed. The sower sows the word. Jesus is the word. "As many as received Him to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name."

When you receive the word of God with joy and believe it, you're saved. You're a son of God. You have everlasting life. Even John 3:16 will tell you that, "Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Look, it's helpful to see it in both Matthew 13 and Luke 8 because Luke ... Flip over to Matthew 13 and let's look at that same person in verse 20, "But he that received the seed into stony places," Matthew 13:20, "The same is he that heareth the word and anon," anon means immediately, "Anon with joy receiveth it. Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while," that's like endureth for a while, "For when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word by and by he's offended."

This is exactly what Jesus warned about in John 16. When Jesus said unto the Disciples, "These things have I spoken unto you that you would not be offended." He said, "Look, you're going to be cast in prison. You're going to be beaten. You're going to be cast out of the synagogues." He said, "I'm warning you so that you won't be offended." Then at the end of John 16, He says, "These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I've overcome the world. Jesus says I'm warning you about persecutions and tribulations you're going to go to, so that you won't be offended. He's telling this to His disciples. He's telling this to saved Christians saying I don't want you to be offended when persecution and tribulation comes. Isn't that exactly what this says in Matthew 13? He says, in verse 21, "Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word by and by he's offended."

Plants have a major root system, in many cases, that will keep them and hold them secure through all the storms that they're faced with. Other plants, because the ground is very stony, they have no root in themselves. Basically, they try to send their root down and they hit that stony place, so they grow sideways with the roots and it's very shallow. Arizona is a place where we can understand this. For example, sometimes, in a storm, you'll see trees falling everywhere, won't you? Sometimes, it won't even be that intense of a storm and yet you see trees falling all over Arizona. Why? Because Arizona is a very stony place. Arizona has all kinds of places where it's just really dry and hard as a rock or even rock itself. These trees don't often have deep roots that go down deep, so when the storm comes, they're knocked down or washed away because they don't have that root system that goes down deep, okay.

I had a tree at my house and I thought that that was the case with this tree because a big storm came and it was a giant tree. It was the biggest tree in my whole yard. This tree came crashing down, but it didn't come crashing all the way down. It basically fell like this and then it was leaned against my house. We're looking at this saying how can the house have stopped this giant tree because usually when a giant tree comes down on a house, it's going to bash in the roof and it's going to dent it in, especially a tree of this size. Yet, the tree had crashed down and just stopped right there. Now we thought wow, this is a tough house. We were just praising the Lord. Thank God that it didn't destroy our house, didn't destroy the roof at all. This is great.

Then when I started to investigate further, I started trimming away some of the branches and I trimmed away the branch that looked like it was holding it up. I trimmed all that stuff away and the thing was still just at that same angle. I think, it's not the house that's holding it up. It's the root. It had a part of the root system that was shallow that fell over, but then the main root was still secure, so this thing had fallen over and I chopped it all apart and everything and that root was in very firmly. Finally, I cut down the whole tree down to the stump, got rid of the tree, and we had this stump there. Brother Jerry was there and basically, Corbin, I think you were there, too, when we were working on it. The first thing we did was we said, oh, this thing's already fallen over. Maybe we can hook up a chain and try to pull on it with Jerry's van and see if that will dislodge it. He's trying to get rid of this thing and it just wouldn't budge, so I got in there with a shovel and just dug and dug and dug, right, I just kept finding more roots, big giant roots that went just way down deep.

I just keep digging and digging and digging and going down real deep. Then I kept taking my chainsaw and just cutting these giant roots, but there just kept being another giant root. I just kept up. Then we tried to hook it up to the back of our van with chains, step on the gas, nothing's happening. Dig, dig, dig, cut, cut, cut, finally, we got to the point where we chopped out all the roots and we were able to just yank it out with the van and chains and pull it out. That thing wasn't going anywhere. You know what? In the storm, it did falter a little bit, but that thing would've continued. It took a lot to get that thing out in the end. All that horsepower couldn't even budge it. Why? Because it had a deep root. That's how we want to be as Christians. We want to have our root down deep, not be just a drifter, not be a tumbleweed Christianity that just has a root that's so shallow where we barely know the Bible, we're not really that attached to the church we go to, we're not really plugged in deep into the word of God or the house of God or anything like that. Then the smallest little wind will send us just tumbling down the road.

Look, that's what this is talking about. People fall away. What's that referring to? People who get saved, they get in church, they're excited about being in church, then as soon as they run into any opposition or any problems, they quit the church. Look, we could ask, we're not going to, but we could ask for stories. Everybody, in their mind, who's been in their church for many years, can think of people who were really zealous and excited and serving God and soul winning and doing great that eventually fell away and today, they're not in church at all. Today, they're in a liberal church or today, they're just in some other church and not doing any soul winning, but just warming a pew somewhere. That's what the Bible is talking about people that fall away. It's people that are not fruitful. They don't bring forth any fruit. Why? They were not rooted deeply enough.

What else is the problem with people when they don't have a root? Not only that, these people in stony places are people who begin to even doubt because it talks about they believe for a while, but then they start to doubt. They'll be, "Well, I don't really believe that way anymore, the way that they believe." They're still saved, but they start to doubt the word of God and then doubt the preaching that they were taught from the people who won them to Christ. Look down at Matthew 13. Let's look at this next group. The first group was the one that didn't understand it, so the foul of the air came and took it. The second was the one in stony places, no root. It says in verse 22, "He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word and the care of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word and he becometh unfruitful."

Look at Luke 8. Let's see that in Luke 8. It says in verse 14, "They which fell among thorns are they which when they've heard go forth and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life and bring no fruit to perfection." Look, we've know Christians like this, haven't we? Christians who just simply get busy and distracted with other things. It's not that they weren't saved. It's just that they're not bringing forth any fruit because they're too busy with the cares of this world, the pleasures of this world, and a pursuit of riches. They just get too into their job, too into make money. Look, some of you that aren't supporting your family might need to get into making money. Hello? Anybody out there? You need to get into making some money because God does want us to go out and work by the sweat of our brow and 6 days shalt thou labor and with quietness work and eat your own bread. Look, I'm not telling you, "Oh, yeah, Pastor warned me not to get too into work."

No, some of you need to get more into work, okay, but you don't want to get so into work that you're neglecting soul winning to where you don't care that the lost are dying and going to Hell anymore. You don't want to just get so busy that it becomes just about getting the 3-car garage and it becomes all about getting the boat and the RV and living in the lap of luxury and the retirement and the 401K and the stock portfolio and it's all about having 2 cars or fancier cars or a third car or it's about whatever, motorcycles or whatever. Look, I'm not saying that any of those things are bad, but you know what? If that's what your life is about, you're living a sad life. We need to live a life that's about serving the Lord and have joy unspeakable and full of glory, not chasing after this dream of just more money and more toys, so that's what he's saying, where the deceitfulness of riches comes in and people are just so into their career and their job that the main thing stops being the main thing.

Look, work as much as you need to work to put food on the table and provide your family with a place to live and clothes and food and support them, but you know what? You need to carve out some time and get out soul winning every week. There's 168 hours in the week. You need to take some time to go out and win some souls. That's what I'm saying. Don't get unfruitful. Don't let that choke you, but not just riches or pursuing riches. Notice we didn't say pursuing a normal living. That's something you should be doing, but we should not be pursuing riches. Not only that, he says pleasures of this world and just other things entering in. This could just be playing and having fun, where people just get so into hobbies and so into video games or just movies or just sports or whatever it is, where it just takes away from serving the Lord and serving the Lord's no longer important to them because they're just so busy doing everything else. It chokes out the word and that person becomes unfruitful.

In Luke 8, notice it says they bring forth no fruit to perfection. Why? Because of cares, riches, and pleasures of this life. They just get all into just whatever makes them feel good and whatever's fun for them, but look at the end. It says in verse 15, "But they on the good ground are they which in an honest and good heart having heard the word keep it." Look, they keep it. They obey it, is what he's saying, keeping God's commandments, obeying God's word. It says they bring forth fruit with patience. Over time, they bring forth fruit. Maybe not immediately, but over time, they bring forth fruit. Back to Matthew 13, we'll see the same thing. It says in verse 23, "But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word and understandeth it, which also beareth fruit and bringeth forth some 100-fold, some 60, some 30." There's your numeric value of the person who brings forth fruit.

Now again, a lot of people will mix this up and I've heard this parable interpreted as the only people in this parable that are saved are the last group. Have you heard that teaching? The only one is the last group that brings forth fruit, they're the only ones who are really saved, is what they'll say. Now here's why they're mixed up on this parable. I'm going to give you a few different reasons why they're mixed up. Number 1, they're mixed up because they have the wrong view that every single type of person is included in this parable and that's simply not the case because for example, it talks about the person, the only person who rejects the word of God, right, is the first person. The other 3 receive it. One receives it into stony places meaning they're excited, they believe it, but they don't get rooted. The other group that receives it receives it among thorns. They grow up, the plant grows up, but they get choked out of nutrients, okay, don't bring forth any fruit. Then the third one is the good one. The only person that rejects it in this parable is the one in the first instance and it doesn't even say that they reject it. It just says they didn't understand it. Do you get that? It says they hear the word of God and they don't understand it.

Basically, all 4 people in this parable are sincere in the beginning, in a sense. One of them is listening, at least, but they just don't understand. Then the devil comes and takes it away. Another person doesn't get rooted, whatever, but here's the thing. Think about all the people who do understand the gospel and reject it. Are they included in this parable? Where is the parable about the guy who hears the gospel, says yeah, I understand it, but I don't believe it. He's not here, so to sit there and say this is just everybody on the planet falls into this parable, no. How about people who don't even hear the gospel? Are they included? No, because this all the seeds coming at them, okay, and these are people hearing the gospel. There's nobody here who heard it and understand it and said, "Well, I don't believe that." Yet, there are a lot. You go out there, you'll find people. I've given the gospel to people that understood every word of it. They repeated it back to me, it all made perfect sense to them, and I said, "Do you believe it?" "No." Get real, people. There are people who are like that.

Number 1, they make the mistake of thinking that everybody is included in this parable, so because most people are unsaved, they think most of the parable's unsaved. No. The only person in this parable who's not saved is the first person because everybody else received the word and believed it and that's all you have to do to be saved, okay. The other mistake that they're making is that if that were the case, then the Bible would be teaching that if you don't bring forth fruit, 30, 60, or 100, then you're not saved, okay. That's a work salvation. If you have to keep the word of God with patience, that would be salvation by works, okay, but not only that, let me even just prove to you using math that there's no way that everybody's who's saved brings forth fruit. Even math will tell you that that is false.

This math is based on exponents of the number 2, which are my favorite kind of math, but anyway, if you double, it's like the old parable of the guy who said just pay me with one grain of rice on a checkerboard. Put 1 grain of rice on the first square and then put 2 grains of rice on the second square and then keep doubling it, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16. When you get to the last square of the 64th square, it's 18.44 quintillion, is what you end up with, is my understanding because it's 2 to the 64th power, okay. Here's the deal. I guess since you started with 1, okay, maybe it's half that, but the bottom line is, when you double it, it goes to an astronomical number more than you'd think, so let's deal with this in soul winning. Let's test the theory that every single person, every single person who gets saved is going to bring forth at least 30 fruit. That's what these people are saying that are interpreting this wrong. Okay. Let's say everybody is going to bring forth minimum because some 30, some 60, some 100, right, so the minimum here is 30, okay, so let's just go with the number 30.

Let's say every saved person's going to win 30 people to the Lord, okay. Here's why that math doesn't work because let's pretend that there's only 1 saved person on the whole planet, which we know there are many more than that, but just for sake of this discussion, let's say there's 1 person that's saved on the planet. Let's say for the entire year they go soul winning every week for the whole year and they only have 1 person saved. Now that's a pretty low expectation, right, but they went out and they got 1 person saved. Or maybe they only went soul winning once a month or once in a blue, but let's just say they go out and they get 1 person saved in the whole year, okay. Then in year 2, how many people are now saved? This isn't that complicated, folks. No, no, no, 2 people because the first year ... Let's pretend I'm the only person who was saved and I go out and I win 1 person to the Lord just in year 1. We're not talking about a lifetime yield here. Just year 1, I win 1 person to the Lord, now there's 2 of us that are saved, right, so we've doubled.

Now the 2 of us, we're going to go out soul winning because I'm going to win this person to the Lord. I'm going to teach them to be like me. I'm bringing forth fruit. I'm reproducing after my own kind. Hey, I'm a soul winner. I'm going to make you a fisher of men like me. Then the 2 of us go out soul winning all year and we only have 1 person saved, each. I have 1 saved, he has 1 saved. At the end of year 2, we have ...

Congregation: 4.

Pastor Anderson: ... 4, okay, so what do we have? 2 to the second power or 2 squared. The third year, we double again. The 4 of us go out and get 1 person saved each. We have 8, which is 2 to the third power. I was right about that checkerboard number, by the way, 18.4 quintillion because it's 2 to the 64th power because on the first square is 2 to the ... Okay, I don't know. Anyway, I'm getting too complicated. I'm confusing myself, but think about it now. We're in year 3, let's keep it simple. Year 3, we've got 8 Christians in the whole world. Now would you say that we're just a soul-winning machine?

Congregation: No.

Pastor Anderson: We're awesome, 3 years, 8 people saved. Okay. Are we one of the fastest growing churches in America? We're running 8 after 3 years. Are we the fastest growing church in America? No. Is anybody impressed? No, but then we go out the fourth year and all we do is just get 1 person. Look, is it too much to ask of you Christian to win 1 person to the Lord in the whole year? It's pretty realistic, I think. Very realistic. Okay, so then in the fourth year, we've got 16. We're doubling, okay. The fifth year, 32, the sixth year, 64. People still are thinking this is a slow growth, okay, but then it goes to 128, 256, 512, and after 10 years of effort, after a decade, we've got 1024 people saved. Now that's substantial and not only that, we didn't just get 1024 people saved, we got 1024 people who all are soul winners. Now that's a pretty amazing church, huh? Church with 1024 soul-winners in it after 10 years of effort? Now we're an amazing church, even though our beginnings were humble.

Okay, we keep doubling from 1024 we double to 2048 and we keep doubling. Listen to me. When we get to the 20-year mark, we would have over a million people saved just if every Christian, just starting with 1 saved person only and every Christian just wins 1 person to the Lord the whole year. We haven't done a big TV campaign. We didn't go on the radio or the TV or have giant crusades in baseball stadiums. No, we just went out one-on-one and just won 1 person to the Lord per year, the whole year. That's all we did and then just taught that person to do the same thing we do, to be a soul winner. After 20 years, we would have over a million, and after 30 years, we would have over a billion. Now how many people live in the world today? About 8 billion, right, something like that, so let's say it's 8 billion, okay. Think about it. After 34 years, okay, or no, 33 years, after 33 years, every single person in the whole world would be saved. Since we're not starting with 1, yeah, if every Christian right now that's a saved Christian on the earth right now would win 1 person to the Lord per year, it would happen way sooner. It would just happen in a few years that the whole world would be saved.

Now the question is is the whole world saved?

Congregation: No.

Pastor Anderson: You know what that proves? That 99% of Christians are not winning anybody to the Lord. That's what it proves because if every Christian was bringing forth 30, then that would mean in 30 years, they've had 30 saved, 1 a year, and the whole world would've been saved a whole bunch of times by now. Now we know the whole world's never going to get saved because some people reject the gospel. Of course, most people reject God, so that's not the point. The point is that when you look at the numbers, here's what you learn. Soul winning works. God was pretty smart when He told us to go out and win people to Christ, baptize them, and then teach them to observe all things that we've commanded because if we can reproduce and bring forth after our own kind and teach them to observe what we observe, we can easily win the whole world to Christ, or, at least, give everybody the gospel. It's not happening and it's not going to ever happen and the reason why it's not ever going to happen is that 99% of Christians are zero soul winning.

That is what's wrong with our country, that is what's wrong with the world we live in, and that is why masses are going to Hell tonight because Christians are not abiding in Christ and they're not bringing forth fruit and they're not falling to the ground and dying, they're not willing to travail and burn. They're on a spiritual birth control pill and they won't go out and do the soul winning and they're not seeing anybody saved. You say, "Well, we're not going to get the whole world saved," but you know what? We should experience in this church that exponential growth to where we would multiply greatly. Look, our church is almost 10 years old. Why is our church not running 1024 red-hot soul winners? There aren't 1000 people here today and there dead sure aren't 1000 people in our church going out soul winning and winning 1 person to the Lord per year. Why not? You know why? Because a lot of Christians, most Christians are dropping the ball and not doing the soul winning, that's why.

Let me ask you this, are you one of the people that's winning somebody to the Lord every year? Obviously, there are a lot of people in our church who win somebody to the Lord almost every week because why? You say why are certain people winning somebody to the Lord every week? Because they're actually out putting in the most hours of doing it. The people that are having people saved on a monthly basis, it's because they're out soul winning a lot in the course of that month. The people that even bring forth in a year, it's because they're putting in time. It doesn't always happen after just an hour, 2 hours, 3 hours. You have to, with patience, go out there and bring forth fruit and go out there week after week after week and keep doing it. Look, somebody is dropping the ball big time in Phoenix, Arizona. I'll bet there are a whole bunch of independent Baptist churches that are dropping the ball, not doing the soul winning. There are people in our church that look, they're a withered branch.

Let me tell you something tonight. I'm preaching this sermon for a couple reasons. Number 1 is because we need to be fruitful as Christians in order to glorify the Lord. He said, "Herein is my Father glorified that you bring forth much fruit so shall you be my disciples." You want to glorify God? Be a soul winner. Number 2, people are dying and going to Hell out there. We need to be a soul winner. Soul winning works. Anybody who says it doesn't work doesn't understand math and doesn't understand the Bible and is just not willing to go out there and roll up their sleeves and do the work because it's hard work. Why am I preaching this tonight? A third reason, not only because we want to glorify the Lord and obey Him, not only because of the fact that people are dying and going to Hell and soul winning is the answer to get them the gospel, but thirdly, because if you do not participate in bringing forth fruit, you are in danger of falling away. I'm not saying you're going to lose your ... You can't lose your salvation. It's by faith, it's eternal life, ye shall never perish, but you are in danger of getting backslidden and quitting the church and washing up and you may not even be here a few years from now.

You say, "Well, I'm here now. I'm an active member of the church. I don't go soul winning, but I am an active member of the church." You know what? I hope you stay for as long as possible, but honestly, I'm predicting that if you never get of soul winning, I'm predicting you're going to fall away. You got to have some soul winning in your life. A lot of people say, "Well, you know, my soul winning is just not door-to-door." You hear people say, "My soul winning's just not door-to-door, Pastor Anderson. It's not that I'm unfruitful. It's just that my soul winning's not door-to-door. My soul winning is in my daily life of giving the gospel to people that I come across and people that I run into, friends, family, loved ones, coworkers." Here's the thing about that. Its usually not really happening. It sounds great in theory that you're just winning people to the Lord in your personal life and that you're constantly giving the people the gospel everywhere you go. You know what? If you're really doing that, if you're really just walking down the street and you come across people and you're stopping them and giving the gospel and you're stopping people at all manner of areas of life, and you're actually giving the gospel to everybody in your family, everybody at your work, and all these different things, you know what? Then great, you're bringing forth fruit.

Wonderful, but you know what? You know and I both know that that's not happening and that it happens once in a blue moon. Look, that was my philosophy growing up. I tried that, and ask me how many people I won to the Lord. The answer's zero. I went out soul winning door-to-door, and then you're going out consistently every week and putting in the time. That's when I started getting people saved, was door-to-door soul winning. Then after I got good at it and got in the habit of it and God purged me and I brought forth more fruit, then I got to where I was doing the daily life soul winning. Look, all of us should have both in our life because God tells us to preach the gospel to every creature. Every creature doesn't work at your job. Pretty soon, you're going to run out of relatives to give the gospel to unless you're Hispanic and just have 5 million cousins and second cousins and third cousins. Okay, you're never going to run out of family to give the gospel to. Great, give it to all them until Jesus comes.

When we as Caucasians say oh, my family, we're talking brothers and sisters, mom and dad, and children. Sometimes, when Hispanic people talk about family, it's a real extended family. It's third cousins, it's a great big thing. They have a little family gathering and it's huge. There's cars parked down the street for miles. I got to help this guy out. He's family. It's a third cousin once removed. Look, here's what I want to emphasize to you. Bringing forth fruit, He said bring forth fruit to perfection. That's completion. Okay. You're not bringing forth fruit if you give someone the gospel. That's not bringing forth fruit. You're bringing forth fruit when a person gets saved. Are you getting this? Just giving somebody the gospel is not bringing forth fruit. Getting someone saved is bringing forth fruit. Okay.

That would be like if I got married, right, and I have a physical relationship with my wife, I say, "Well, I planted the seed," but does that mean that any fruit was produced? Fruit is produced when the baby's born. When that person's born again, that's fruit that's being produced. Just saying, "I planted the seed, therefore, I've been fruitful," you wouldn't look at somebody who has no kids and say, "Oh, that person's fruitful." The evidence is that the husband has planted the seed. No, that doesn't make them fruitful until reproduction runs its course and the child is brought forth. Now you say, "Well, you know, I'm a woman and I'm physically barren. What do I do?" This is where the patience comes in, too. Look at the women who were barren physically. They waited on the Lord and eventually, God answered them and they had a child as they waited with a ... Same thing with soul winning. The parallel is there, so don't tell me, "Well, I just plant seeds. That's what I do." That's not going to put a baby in the crib. "Well, I just planted seeds."

Look, here's the thing. If you're not winning people to the Lord, you're doing something wrong because the Bible says, "He that goeth forth and weepeth bearing precious seed shall doubtless come again with rejoicing bringing his sheaves with him." Don't just view this cop out of, "Oh, well, you know ..." Some people won't even go through a full plan of salvation with somebody. They'll just barely drop some hint of Jesus and they'll go, "Oh, that was my witnessing for the day. Hey, buddy, Jesus saves. God bless you. Oh, man, I'm so gland I got to witness that guy." We've set the bar so low on witnessing or how about this. I don't have it right here, but whose got the ... Here we go. Here's my witnessing for today. "Hey bud, hey pal, read this later." That's not soul winning. That's not bringing forth fruit. That's not ... "Well, but I planted the seed." That's not relevant. Where's your son in the faith? Where's your daughter in the faith? Where's the reproduction? Where's the fruit that you're bearing today spiritually? You need to get out there and not just say, "Well, I'm just planting seeds." No, you need to get out there and win somebody to Christ.

You say, "Well, I can't control whether they get saved or not." You can take the horse to the water, but you can't make him drink. Yeah, but guess what? If you go out there and go through the whole plan of salvation with somebody with your Bible, eventually somebody's going to get saved. If you're not getting people saved, it's probably because you're not going through the whole plan of salvation with people and using your Bible. I'm speaking from experience. I got saved as a 6-year-old boy, but I wasn't fruitful until I was 17 years old. Why? Because as a child and as a teenager, I was given a partial plan of salvation without using the Bible. As soon as I started actually opening my Bible, going through the full plan of salvation, explaining the whole thing and showing all the Scriptures, then I started getting people saved. Maybe not instantly, but eventually, it's going to happen. I don't want you to be barren or unfruitful because I'm afraid you're going to wither away. I'm afraid you're going to be cast aside. I'm afraid you're going to fall out because you're just a dead weight. You need to get out soul winning.

I thank God that the vast majority of people at our church go soul winning, praise the Lord for that, thank God for that. Look, there's no excuse not to go soul winning in this church because we've got all different times. We meet in different parts of town and if none of that works for you, you can find somebody, myself included, that'll take you at another time and get you out there doing the soul winning. There's no reason to be barren or unfruitful. It's time to put the root down. It's time to cast aside some of the pleasures and cares and riches that are maybe slowing you down and carve out some time to get out there. "I don't know what I'm doing," silent partner. All you do is show up at a soul winning time, we'll put you with a loudmouth that'll do all the talking. All you got to do is come along for the ride. That's where it begins. You learn, you get the knowledge, then pretty soon, you'll be saying this, "Let me get the next door. I got the next door." That's a glorious day when you do that.

Lets' bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father, we thank You so much, Lord, for giving us this ministry, Lord, because the ministry of reconciliation, the job of going out soul winning is such an honorable job that You've given us. You've given us a major purpose in our life where we can actually do something of eternal value. We can reap a harvest of souls unto salvation and inherit all these wages and rewards, Lord, for the work that we do that no one can ever take away from us because it's riches in Heaven, not a 401K on this earth. Lord, I pray that every single person in this room today would say, "You know what? I'm going to get serious about winning souls. I don't want to be unfruitful. I want to win somebody to the Lord." Show up at a soul-winning time. Open their mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.



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