FAITH AND FRUITS; faith is the catalyst for growth and fruitfulness

“So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers” (Acts 16:5).

Faith is a catalyst for growth and fruitfulness. 

Paul’s mission was to the Gentiles. Within a certain period, there was a great disagreement on the message of Gospel among the Gentiles. Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching that “unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1, 15). They premised salvation on circumcision. This created diverse believes in the church since a group was for, and another was against this argument. The case was sent to the Jerusalem Council. The Council, which comprised of Peter, James, John, Paul, Barnabas and other church leaders sat and addressed the issue.

At the end of long deliberations, Peter addressed the house and a solution was agreed upon. So Paul, on his second missionary journey went to the churches in the Gentile towns to speak to them about the decision of the Council. “As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey”(Acts 16:4). After he gave this message to them, the Bible says “the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers” (Acts 16:5). The good news was that, circumcision is not a requirement for salvation. When they heard this, their faith was strengthened. This suggests that, their faith was weakened by the previous teachings. They were doubting their salvation. Doubt is not faith, remember.

The devil is still in this kind of business today – giving us false teachings that question our faith in God, and the assurance of our salvation. This weakens our faith and makes us less fruitful. The Gentiles were wondering whether they were saved without circumcision or will be saved rather, when they circumcise.

This happens to us sometimes. We wonder if we have to do something special to feel right with God. Actually, faith in God isn’t feeling right but being made right with God; it’s a position, rather than an emotion. Being right with God is first by faith before deeds. Faith is not a feeling, faith is an intuition, an assurance.

Faith and Culture

You see, the Gentiles didn’t like the idea of circumcision because it wasn’t their culture, they were not familiar with it. That is what made most of them give up their faith, thereby reducing the church’s numerical strength. We sometimes try to force so many cultural beliefs and practices into Christianity to the extent that things get too complicated, and our numbers reduce (we become less fruitful) because our faith gets weaker. People’s faith have been drowned because culture was preached, rather than the Word of faith. Most of our cultural beliefs, taught in church make us unnecessary slaves. My advice therefore is, do not overemphasize things God Himself is silent on. Such things should be left for the Holy Spirit to throw His light on. Faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17). When they heard the wrong thing, their faiths diminished until the truth was told. The Bible said when their faith increased, their numbers increased; ‘their numbers’ here suggests fruitfulness. You don’t only have faith when the truth of God’s word is spoken – you become fruitful. But you first need to hearing the right things that will catalyze your faith to produce fruits. When our faith increases, we increase in fruitfulness; it’s hypothetical. Salvation begins with faith, spiritual growth has to do with faith, and fruitfulness comes as a result of an increased faith. Faith produces fruits!

May the Lord mend our nets!

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