I live in New Jersey, it’s
a State which is oftentimes viewed in peoples minds with
Many people have a “preconceived
notion” that NJ
consists only of Asphalt Pavement & Oil Refineries, and it’s
no wonder because the majority of those visiting this area of the Country,
are usually headed to Manhattan (The chief business district of NYC) and
they fly into one of NYC’s
3 Major Airports:
JFK – LaGuardia - or
Newark Airport. Well, Newark Airport is actually located in Northern NJ,
just across the Hudson River from NYC.
(That particular part of the State is asphalt & Oil refineries.)
I can probably refresh everyone’s
memory, concerning that particular area, by mentioning an incident that
generated media coverage around the world.
You may remember when US Airways Flight 1549 with 155 people on board went
down in the Hudson River, back in January 2009. The plane
struck a flock of birds upon take off from NY’s
(The crash landing was quite unique, and received a Lot of coverage
world wide. (You probably don’t
remember the flight # or the date, But I’m
sure you’ll remember this
particular crash, if I mention a few details.
The airplane was airborne less than 3 minutes, when the pilot
radioed air traffic controllers, that he had experienced a double
bird strike, and declared an emergency.
(Apparently a flock of Canadian Geese were in the planes flight path upon
After that initial distress call to the Airport tower, Sully’s
last statement was “Were
going to be in the Hudson.”
(The Hudson River that is)
At first he was going to try and make it back to the Airport, but quickly
realized that there was not enough time, because the plane was loosing
thrust and going down.
So he set his eyes on the Hudson, and announced to his passengers to
“brace for impact.”
He put that plane down in the river, with barely a scratch; and everyone
got out alive. There were pictures & videos shown around the world, of the
passengers & crew standing on the wings in the 20 degree
temperature, as the plane drifted down the Hudson River.
It was quite a sight! The busy NY Metropolitan Waterway, with all its
ferries, tugs, police boats and Coast Guard boats dropped everything
they were doing, and rushed along side the downed plane to try and rescue
everyone, before the plane sank (and they succeeded.)
That plane floated down the Hudson River for approximately 4 miles, with one
wing in NY, and the other wing in NJ. That
became know as: “The
Miracle on the Hudson”.
That part of NJ, bordering Manhattan is densely populated and quite
congested, But thinking that all of NJ is like that, is a misconception,
and usually preconceived.
If someone ventures out of the Metropolitan area, there usually taken
by surprise, when they see just how
much of NJ actually is. (It’s
called the “Garden State”.)
(I think Tom had mentioned that recently, about NJ being
“The Garden State”.)
NJ has lots of farm land, we’re
known for “cranberries”
and more. We even had so many “chicken
laying egg farms” in the
past, that NJ still set’s
the price for “eggs”
each day, for the entire Country.
And were # 2, when it comes to horse racing (just under Kentucky.) Yes,
preconceived ideas oftentimes blur our vision to
reality & truth…
Another thigh NJ has an abundance of, is trees. Believe it or not,
we have lots of forest in NJ, but ya know, sometimes even the
forest can blur our vision, and produce some preconceived ideas,
We all heard the expression “Can’t
see the forest for the trees”
Well, sometimes we “can’t
see the trees for the forest”.
(Let me explain what I mean.)
Sometimes there are so many trees crowed together, that they can’t
ever reach their full potential, and become
and “fully mature”.
Plant trees to close to one another and they will have stunted growth.
I can drive around all day here in NJ, passing acre after acre of trees,
even my own property where I’m
currently living, is full of trees. But ya know, oftentimes, none
of those trees are very impressive, none of those trees stand out.
Why? Because there too congested & overburdened to reach their
proper & full potential, there too confined, kept within limits,
restricted from space and growth, resulting in a lack
of maturity & perfection.
Now contrast to that, there’s
a “senior citizens”
housing development that I visit from time to time (My job brings me in
occasionally to do some contracting work) and every time I go into this
particular development, I’m
astonished at the trees. (There quite impressive, and they
do stand out.)
(Reason?) The person, who originally designed this development, knew what he
was doing. He placed each and every tree far enough apart, so that
each individual tree could grow without any hindrance, and reach its proper
& full potential.
The trees in this particular development are awesome to say the
least. There fully mature, and perfectly, yes, perfectly
shaped on every side, and there mere, absolute beauty, grabs your
attention like a magnet coming in contact with metal.
And why, why are those particular trees in that development so Unique, so
Impressive, so Profound, compared to the forest of trees that I’m
continually driving by?
Because these particular trees were originally chosen,
and uniquely placed where they would be unrestricted,
unhindered and free, yes, free to grow, and to reach their
Its quite amazing what one tree can look like when its standing
alone, and not cluttered with other trees pressing up against it,
restricting it, confining it and hindering its growth….
It’s a fascinating sight
to see one fully mature, with all its limbs & branches perfectly shaped,
without even a flaw……
Now the Scriptures often refer to
the Ecclesia, the called out ones, the members of God’s
church as “trees”.
So today, I want to talk a little about
brethren, because trees & the fruits they produce can help us
clarify who we are. Yes, trees and their fruits can identify
the one true church that Christ Himself began to build nearly 2,000
People often ask, “Where’s
is the one True Church? How do we identify which Church is the one
through whom God is working? This is a very important question, because
the church, in which Christ began to build nearly 2 Millennia ago, is
nearing its completion - nearing its maturity.
We need to be sure that that completion, that maturity
includes all of us.
the Church” &
in it” is a subject that
is plagued with “misconceptions”
& “preconceived ideas”,
so today, I’m hoping we
can eliminate some of that confusion by examining some
Why, because the answer brethren, to identifying the true church, and
who’s in it, can be found
in the trees and in the fruits in which those trees produce.
(Luke 13:6 please) (The proof is always in the pudding.)
The title of today’s
message is: “Where’s
The Church?” &
In It?” (Subtitle)
“Seeking Fruit in God’s
Luke 13:6 He spoke also this parable, A certain man had a fig tree
planted in His vineyard; and He came and sought fruit thereon, and found
(According to Isia 5:1-7 & John 15:1-8 [might be going there later] fig
trees & grape vines represent Israel as the visible
witness of God in the world, and
generally all within the visible Church of God, are
represented by the fig tree & the Grape vine.)
(Bottom line, Fig Trees & Grape Vines have a lot to say about God’s
people, And there speaking directly to you and to Me.
We need to give a listen.)
(Verse 7 of Luke 13) Then said He unto the dresser of His vineyard,
behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree,
and find none: cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground?
And He answered and said unto Him, Lord, let it alone this year also,
till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shall
cut it down.
“Faith without works is
“Trees without fruits are
(Let’s go to 1Kings 6:7
please because there’s
something there I want to take note of concerning the building of God’s
church, which Temple we are.)
(Many in God’s church
seem to take their calling lightly.) (But we have too High a calling
brethren to take it lightly; we’re
1st Fruits. “Planted
& “Harvested First”
And our harvest is rapidly approaching, there’s
no turning back for us. This world is going down like Sully’s
plane was going to ditch!
1 Kings 6:7 And the House, when it was in building, was built of
stone made ready before it was brought tither,
so that there was neither hammer nor Axe nor any tool of iron heard
in the house, while it was in building.
Now we’ve dissected this
verse many times in the past (The house that’s
being built is the “Household
of God” Those
being “made ready”
represent us. But what I want us to take note of here today,
is that Axe.
(What in the world is that Axe for?)
Why an Axe in the tool shed of the building of the COG? I’ve
been around axe’s
my whole life, but there for tearing down, not for building up.
(Mathew 3 Please) John the Baptist was well aware of that Axe in the tool
shed, in fact, it wasn’t
even in the shed, when John came on the scene; it was outside, and
Mathew 3:1 In those days came John the
Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And
saying, Repent ye for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
thing about that word
it seems to echo throughout the Bible, John came preaching
repentance, Christ started His ministry preaching repentance, even Peter, on
the day of Pentecost preached repentance.
V:3 For this is he that was spoken of by the
prophet Isiah, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye
the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about
his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.5 Then
went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about
were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said
unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the
wrath to come? 8 Bring
forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say
unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto
now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees
(What Fore?) therefore every tree which
bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast
into the fire.
Brethren, fruit production in God’s
church, is not something to take lightly, because it’s
(Let me clarify that) “Good
are a requirement to reside in the
“House of God”
Everyone has “fruits”
And as I’m sure we all
know the Scripture says: Only
can produce “Good Fruit”
& Only “Bad Trees”
can produce “Bad Fruit.”
are known by their “Fruits.”
But the part of that Scripture that we better take to heart, is where
it says: “If our Tree
is Bad, then we better make our Tree Good.”
Because If we don’t, were
not going to be a part of God’s
There are many preconceived ideas running rampant in the COG today, as many
continue to search for the one true
I ask, could those preconceived notions & ideas as to where the
is, be blurring ones vision, and possibly stunting ones growth?
Should we be searching for pulpits, or should we be on a quest for
fruits, and how to produce them?
I received a text from Evans Ochieng over in Kenya last week, it read as
“I met Oriang
congregation who “moved
out” with Charles. And
have decided to “come
back” after noticed that
they were misled by Charles. They are just like prodigal son, so we received
them back with Joy, how about you?”
The small congregation that Evans is speaking of had been fellowshipping
with us for a while, but someone came along and stirred them into following
them, so they left our fellowship for a while, and now have decided to come
Due to preconceived ideas & misconceptions about the
identity of the church, this group (and its dittoed numerous times with
others) thinks that the “True
church” is in some
incorporated organization. They apparently feel that our group (which they
previously left) is the one, and there asking for permission to return.
Here’s my reply:
Yes, pass my greetings on to them, we welcome them back with open arms, But
let us All remember, it is God’s
Church, NOT man’s church.
If we still have His spirit that He gave us at baptism & hands, then we are
part of His church, and NO one can put us out (bar one) self.
Salvation is an individual thing which one must work out his own (and with
fear & trembling) so let us fear no man, but God only.
(End of quote)
Some feel we all have to be in the same group, same organization (like we
were back in “World Wide
CoG”) for us to become
& “on the same page”.
Well, we weren’t too
united or on the same page back then.
Even though the same exact doctrines were taught World Wide to all of its
members, at the end of the day, the members were not only on
different pages, they were in totally different books!
(True Unity amongst the brethren come another way)
In John 17, Christ told His Disciples:
“I and my Father are
one”. He then prayed
to the Father for all of us here today saying:
“Neither pray I for these
alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that
they all may be one; as thou Father are in me, and I in thee, that they also
may be one in us.
I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one,
and that the world may know that thou hath sent me, and hast love them, as
thou hast loved me.
(That word “perfect”
means: “complete in
mental & moral character”.)
(All the trees branches complete, full, and flourishing!)
Want unity is the church of God? Want to come together and not only be on
the same page, but also of the same mind & spirit? Then become at one with
God, by keeping His commandments…
producing plenty of “Good
Those who are at one with God will also be at one with one another. We don’t
have to be in the same particular physical group, we have to be of
the same spiritual mind…
(Isn’t it amazing how
trees can grow & mature to perfection, when there not
cluttered up against other trees, and have room to grow?)
I recently flew out to “Fort
Walton Beach” near
Pensacola, Florida to give a Kenya presentation. One of the church members
picked me up at the airport, and as we drove back to where we were having
services, we began discussing our beliefs.
(And we touched on quite a variety of subjects during our approximately one
hour drive) Funny thing, I didn’t
know this man from Adam (When I walked off the plane, he was standing in a
crowd of people who were all holding up signs. His sign read
(he didn’t even know my
We were total strangers, and he had never even attended World Wide CoG, let
alone be one of its members, but our understanding of the Scriptures & our
beliefs, dittoed one another (and to the T.) We were completely on
the same page.
As we reached our destination, he had this smile & look of amazement on his
face, and he said “Wow, I
only met you about an hour ago, but I feel like I’ve
known you my whole life.
Trees get their nourishments from the ground, from the soil; they need
water, and lots of it. They need space and room to grow, so their branches
are not hindered or quenched. And they need light, sun light and plenty of
(If these conditions are not met & maintained, they will
wither away & die)
(If these conditions are met, the tree will flourish & produce
plenty of good fruit.
Well how about our tree, how about us? What are our requirements in order
for us to flourish & produce plenty of good fruit?
(John 15 please)
John 15: 1 I am the 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 pruneth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Now you are clean (pure) through the Word which I have
spoken unto you. (It’s
the “Word of God”
that purifies us & sets us apart, not any man made organization) Abide in
me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except
it abide in the vine; no more can you except you abide in me.
I am the vibe you are the branches; he that abideth in me, and I in him,
the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me you can do
If a man abideth not (in the correct incorporated church? No!) If
a man abideth 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.
If you abide in me, and my Words abide in you, you shall ask what you
will, and it shall be done unto you.
8, Herein is my Fathers Glory, that you bear much fruit; so shall you
be my disciples.
Disciples are what we need to be brethren, but not disciples of men, but
Disciples of Christ. And disciples of Christ bear much fruit.
There another misconception that needs to be addressed. Some feel that
unless we are all together, under one leader exclusively, God will
not work with us, or use us. But that reasoning is contrary to the Word of
There’s an example of
that in Numbers 11. It took place back when the people were complaining
about the “Manna”
(the bread from heaven) that God had given them to eat. They weren’t
satisfied with just manna, they lusted after meat to eat. (Physical meat
Moses was burdened (to say the least) at the complaining of the people, so
God had Moses gather 70 men of the elders of the people, and took some of
His spirit that was upon Moses, and put it upon them.
(Let’s take a look at
that in Numbers 11)
(We can pick up the story in Numbers 11: 16)
Numbers 11: 16 And the Lord said unto Moses, gather unto me 70 men of the
elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the
people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of
the congregation, that they may stand there with thee.
(elders here means “aged”)
& (officers mean overseers)
17, I will come down and talk with thee there, and I will take of the
spirit which is upon you, and will put it upon them, and they shall bear the
burden of the people with thee, that thou beareth it not thyself alone.
(dropping down to verse 24)
24, and Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord, and
gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round
about the tabernacle.
And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the
spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came
to pass, that when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied and
did not cease. (Spoke by inspiration)
But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was
Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and
they were of them that were written, but went not out to the tabernacle; and
they prophesied in the camp.
And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad & Medad
do prophesy in the camp. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses,
one of his young men, answered and said, my Lord Moses, forbid them.
29, and Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? Would God that all
the Lord’s people were
prophets, and that the Lord would put His spirit upon them!
(I better read that in the NIV)
29 But Moses replied, are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all
the Lord’s people would
prophesy, and that the Lord would put His spirit on them.
Oftentimes there is envy & jealousy with in the congregations (a jockeying
for position) (Even the “ministry”
quick to exclude those who are not of
“Their particular fold.”
That’s a very bad
attitude to harbor.
(There was a similar story in Mark 9:38-41.)
The disciples wanted Jesus to forbid others to drive out daemons, because
they were not part of their group. But this type of narrow attitude was
condemned by both Moses & Jesus.
Mark 9:38 (Better start in 36 as I begin to wrap this up.)
Mark 9:36 And He took a child and set him in the midst of them, and when
He had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, whosoever shall receive one
of such children in my name receiveth me; and whosoever shall receive me,
receiveth not me, but him that sent me.
(Going to read verse 38 in the NIV)
“Master, said John, we
saw a man driving out deamons in your name and we told him to stop, because
he was not one of us.
But Jesus said: do not stop him, no one who does a miracle in my name can
in the next moment say anything bad about me. For whoever is not against us,
is for us. I tell you the truth; anyone who gives you a cup of water in my
name because you belong to Christ will certainly not loose his reward.
We can’t put limits on
God – He can work through
whomever He chooses. (And He does.)
Brethren, lets eliminate misconceptions & preconceived ideas concerning
where's the church & who is in it.
Residence in the “House
of God” is Not determined
by which man made incorporated group we attend, it’s
determined by our actions, our behavior, by our production of fruit
(NJ fruits consists of: tomatoes - cranberries - blueberries & more.)
(Fruits of the spirit consists of: Love - Joy - Peace - Longsuffering -
Gentleness - Goodness - Faith - Meekness & Temperance.) All those attributes
describe the Father (They come from the Father)
And there a requirement for being in good standing in God’s
church, and we do have to “work
out our own salvation with fear & trembling”
The Axe is still readily available.
(Definition of Axe in the Hebrew is:
“To cut off”
(Still used today in employment [or rather unemployment] when one gets
plane was going down (This world is going down) Sully set his eyes on the
Hudson; we need to set our eyes on the Kingdom of God. How do we do that? By
producing Fruit “Good
Fruit” and plenty of it!