Producing the Fruit of the Kingdom
Matt. 21:43 - "Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits."
As you evaluate your daily behavior, what do you see? Toward the end of Matthew's gospel we read of the chief priests, elders and scribes as their desire for popularity and control drive them to crucify the promised Messiah. However, their rejection of Jesus was not an isolated event but the latest symptom of a larger problem demonstrating that they had rejected the rule of God in their lives (stopped seeking the kingdom) long before Christ came.
Jesus told those men that the kingdom would be removed from them and given to a people who would produce it's fruit. What kind of fruit does the rule of God produce in someone's life? Consider the fruit listed in Gal. 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Consider the attitudes of the kingdom citizen listed in Matt. 5:1-12.
Underlying the lists in these two passages is the principle that if you submit to the rule of God (seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness) you will unquestionably be changed in measurable ways. The opposite point also needs to be considered, if your daily life has not been changed what does that tell you about your place in the kingdom?
As you consider Jesus' statement in Matt. 21:43, which group of people would you find yourself with, those having the kingdom taken away from them or those to whom it was being given?
(Originally written on 1/25/13)