I. That to which we “assign” value captures our heart.
“…where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Mt.6:21)
II. To most people, the value (treasure) of the kingdom is “hidden,” they do not see it realistically.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (Mt.13:44-46)
- Before a person is truly prepared to relinquish all else for the kingdom, he / she must recognize the value of God and His kingdom.
- This kind of supreme value is not something one person can simply give to another. We can inspire and encourage but in the final analysis, individuals must see and receive it for themselves.
III. Genuine righteousness (or unrighteousness) is the fruit of one’s heart.
“…bear fruit in keeping with repentance…” (Mt.3:8)
“…the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.” (Lk.8:15)
“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Pr.4:23)
- Ministry is not suppose to teach people to act like Christians (hang apples in fig trees or, worse, hand out plastic fruit), it is to encourage a genuine change of heart and assist in the cultivation of the fruit that springs forth from it.
IV. A wrong commitment of heart cannot produce fruit of righteousness and a right commitment of heart will not produce fruit of unrighteousness.
“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Mt.7:17-19)
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.” (Mt.12:33)
In conclusion, once one repents and has a change of heart, assigning supreme value to God and His kingdom, producing moral fruit involves the ongoing process (in due season) of planting, watering, fertilizing, sunshine, pruning, harvesting, etc. (Is.28:23-29).
“Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.” (Act 8:22)