Message by Pastor Gary Morrison – June 13, 2013
Psalm 1:3 “He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”
The results of genuine grace and godly meditation in the Word of God is to produce orchards full of fruitful and well grounded Christians, Christians whose roots are constantly being replenished by the Streams of Living waters that is Our Glorious Saviour, Jesus Christ.
This does not mean that a tree is ever a finished product, but an ongoing work of growth in the Grace of God. A work of growth is of necessity a slow process, growing through the mysterious workings of God’s Holy Spirit, who uses our exposure to the precious life-giving Word of God. We need to be diligently reading His word in a devotional way. We need to be staying fresh and supple, constantly being refreshed and softened by grace. We need to be growing in grace by our maintaining a current relationship with our Saviour, who is the Lord of all grace. We need to be resting on His all-sufficient grace that has justified us, and is daily sanctifying us. His grace in us is relentlessly with us, O what a joy to have such a faithful God, pursuing us, following us, walking with us, leading and guiding us.
We do not take any of his gifts to us for granted and must never allow it to become a distant memory. We keep the daily working of his grace treasured up in our hearts, this keeps, and preserves and strengthens what He has done for us, and is continuing to doing, a fresh work of grace in our hearts, we remain grateful and thankful. We don’t have to have long memories, but loving ones. That is only possible if we have our roots in Jesus Christ. A tree does not become restless, it does not move to shadier parts of the orchard, nor does it seek out a greater flow of water further upstream or downstream alongside the river. No, but its roots will simply go down deeper to obtain the water it needs. This tree is immovable, as it has already found its rest, and all it needs to grow and produce the fruit God has ordained for it to produce.
Psalm83:13 “Make them like tumbleweed, O my God, like chaff before the wind.”
Granted the psalmist is writing about the enemies of God’s people, but I could not help being drawn into thinking about how often those who claim to be true believers are actually the enemies of God’s people, not sheep but in disguise, just like the wolves in Sheep’s clothing that we are warned about so many times in the New Testament.
God’s people described as trees planted by rivers, also as the branches of the One true Vine (John 15:1ff). We are like living plants with roots, and branches drawing on the power of the Lord for our survival. We are a living organism, connected to Our Living God.
In John 15:2 we are told that “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit,” A frightening thought, now I in no way do I think that this implies a loss of salvation, but it certainly speaks of what is effectively deadwood being cut off and cast out. Any false believers will be separated from the body as an act of judgement and discrimination. A dead branch can never produce fruit. The only purpose of the Church is to produce fruit, why then are we so concerned when deadwood drifts away from our churches? Why are we so introspective when chaff is blown away by the Lord in response to the prayer in Psalm 83:13? Why are we surprised to consider that Tumbleweed and false believers do exist? The Word warns us of this reality.
I think it’s because of our love for the lost that we can be heartbroken to discover the true character of some whom were close to use, whom we loved. It must have been even more difficult for the Lord to have chosen Judas, knowing full well what he would do, entrusting him with the finances, and lovingly treating him like a brother. The Lord did not fail Judas; on the contrary Judas is the one whose habitual embezzlements added up to one final betrayal.
The Lord knows full well our feelings of betrayal when that which we now know was tumbleweed blowing into our congregation and staying with us for a while, the attachments we formed were entirely one-sided, never reciprocated. There is no growth in deadwood, in tumbleweed, only in trees and vines. Then when the working of the Holy Spirit becomes too much for the tumble weed, just like when a gentle breeze slowly gathering strength and almost imperceptibly becoming a strongly blowing wind. Just as deadwood and tumbleweed cannot discern the mysterious workings of Holy Spirit, but they can see and feel the effects of His work blowing through the lives of the trees as the wind is visible in the leaves of the trees and vine branches as the wind blows through them. Unlike the trees and vines which are well rooted and only move in the wind in a small way, but benefit from the cooling effects. But the only natural response for tumble weed is to move on, blown out the doors of the local church and moving on somewhere where they can temporarily settle down until the Holy Spirits work disturbs their false sense of peace, and cause them disquiet and then they endlessly repeat their cycles of coming’s in and going’s out again and again. What a waste, but with weed it’s inevitable.
The sadness is not just in the fact that they show signs of life, signs of God’s grace as they move in the wind, but then move away, but the sadness is also in their temporary abode with us, there is an effect that they have on the true brethren, these tumbleweeds, are unwitting emissaries of the wolves we mentioned earlier. Their work is quite clearly not to put down roots, and grow beside the river and produce fruit, but they will never see themselves as branches attached to the vine, as these tumbleweeds never intend to put down roots. In fact they will resist all efforts and workings of the Holy Spirit and His servants in the Church, resisting all the Pastor’s and elders, and ultimately even all the members urgings to become members, to place their roots down, to be grafted into the life-blood of the Church, to remain constant, patiently growing in Grace, not blowing in the wind endlessly seeking greener pastures. Their work is to make others as restless as they are, to cause and instigate trouble and unhappiness, to instil a consumer mentality into the hearts of God’s people, to make them as unhappy as they can; their task is to be like Job’s wife and his “comforters” who never really understood Job, nor his predicament. Though they certainly knew full well how to make his problem worse than it was, and it was severe. False words false counsel, false comfort is no help at all. This is possibly why God in His wisdom has made them into tumbleweed, chaff, because at some point they must be blown away, blown out of the Church.
“Lord, protect your people from deadwood, from tumbleweed, the servants of our enemy!”
Dear reader, please search out your heart, are you a tree, a branch of the Vine, or are you Tumbleweed, turn to your Saviour and beg for Grace, for a chance to put your roots down into the Church, into your local Church and stop being restless, endlessly looking for that perfect Church that will always elude your grasp.