The First Fruits of all creation.
Today, I want to simply encourage you and remind you of why you are on this earth and even exist.
Today, I want to examine who we are to God. What are we to the Lord? Are we just another thing He created? or are we special? What is our purpose on this earth.
Our text for today is James 5:7-11.
7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. 8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord [a]is at hand.9 Do not [b]grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be [c]condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! 10 My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. 11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.James 5:7-11 New King James Version (NKJV)
It starts with Creation
From the very beginning of creation, God set us apart as special.
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.Genesis 1:26-28 King James Version (KJV)
God made us in His image. In other words, God made man like Him. And here in verse 28 of Genesis we see our purpose, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it…”.
This was our purpose. To multiply across the land and make it holy. The word replenish means “fill up again” or “restore to a former level or condition”. WE were created to fill the earth. To make it like God because we are like God.
But as we all know sin came into this world and with it death.
Restoration through Jesus
But we know that Jesus came that we might have life and have it to the fullest (John 10:10). Jesus was sent to be the substitute for our sins. It is no coincidence that James compares the Lord to a farmer in James 5:7.
The Lord from the very start of creation built us to produce fruit and to populate the earth with His glory. We have been restored to God’s right hand in our spirits and yet there is still more ahead. We are the first fruits of things to come.
That is why it says in the very next verse to be patient!
We are made the First Fruits
The Bible often compares us as Christians to branches who bear fruit. In John 15 Jesus says He is the vine and we are the branches, and in James 5 we see Him waiting for the precious fruit of the earth to be produced.
But what is this precious fruit? It is us. A man’s spirit returning to God through the new birth is the precious fruit of the earth that God is waiting on. In James 1:18 it says…
18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures.James 1:18 American Standard Version (ASV)
This is how we know that the spirit alive unto God is the most important thing that God cares about. God is waiting patiently for those lost to come to salvation. In 2 Peter 3:9…
9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward [a]us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.2 Peter 3:9 New King James Version (NKJV)
The word “slack” in the previous verse could also be read as “slow”. Meaning God is waiting patiently for both the early (Old Testament) and latter (New Testament) outpouring of His Spirit on the earth before coming as the Judge (remember verse 7 of James 5).
Patience in Trials
8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord [a]is at hand.James 5:8 New King James Version (NKJV)
We are in the latter of the latter rains. We are in the time of great outpouring of His Spirit that Acts 2 talks about. But how can we do this? How can we be patient when trails come against us and things get hard?
What to do & NOT to do
9 Do not [b]grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be [c]condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! 10 My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. 11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.James 5:7-11 New King James Version (NKJV)
- DO: Count it a blessing.
- NOT DO: Grumble or Complain.
DO: Count it a blessing
2 Count it all joy, my brethren, when ye fall into manifold [a]temptations; 3 knowing that the proving of your faith worketh [b]patience. 4 And let [c]patience have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing.James 1:2-4 American Standard Version (ASV)
I want us to look at both James 5:11 and here in James 1:2. Specifically notice how it says “count it all joy” and “we count them blessed”. We are supposed to have the same response whether it happens to great men like Job (James 5) or if it happens to us (James 1).
To “count it all joy (charan – in the Greek)” means to be aware of God’s grace and favor in operation. Jesus says in John 16:24 to ask anything in His name that our joy or our recognition of God’s favor may be made complete.
So what kind of reaction are we supposed to have when trials come against us? The same reaction that happens when we see what God has done for those in the past. We should look at Job or Elijah or Paul or anyone else in the Bible, and just as we can see God’s favor at work in their lives, we should be able to see God’s favor in operation in our lives.
YES even while the various trails are going on.
NOT DO: Grumble or Complain.
Just as we are supposed to count it as joy, we cannot allow ourselves to complain regardless of what is happening.
Complaining is a dangerous poison. It starts out complaining at the situation and like wildfire will quickly spread to anything that remains close. Remember the children of Israel who after coming out of the desert began to complain about their circumstances. They started out talking about their feet, their lack of water, and whatever else they could find to grip about, but pretty soon they began to turn on Moses, and then on God.
14 Do all things without [a]complaining and disputing,[b] 15 that you may become blameless and [c]harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.Philippians 2:14-16 New King James Version (NKJV)
Philippians puts this very bluntly.
ADJUST YOUR ATTITUDE.
And start recognizing God’s favor in the middle of every situation: good or bad.
First Fruits separate the Whole
Throughout the Bible the first fruits have been used to make the whole holy. Paul says in Romans 11:16 concerning the Jews and Gentiles that
16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.Romans 11:16 New King James Version (NKJV)
Just as a tithe is offered to make the whole of your increase holy, and just as from the Jews came Jesus to redeem both Jew and Gentile that all would come to be saves so are we as Christians a sort of tithe.
What am I saying? James 1:18 puts it this way..
18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.James 1:18 New King James Version (NKJV)
And again here in Romans 8:19-23
19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of [a]corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.Romans 8:19-23 New King James Version (NKJV)
NOTICE: it does not say for the “Son of God” it says for the “sons of God” in verse 19. That is YOU! All of creation is looking to this day that James is saying be patient for. This day when the former and the latter rain have passed and Christ comes to take us home. The day when the first fruits of all of creation are harvested. And the corruptible body becomes incorruptible.
WE are the first fruits.
This is the time when all of creation shares in the “glorious liberty of the children of God”.
Jesus redeemed us from sin. He paved the way for salvation and a new heart. He took the heart of stone out and gave us a new heart, but we have yet to receive our new bodies. We still eagerly await “the redemption of our body.”
Though there are trials and the world is becoming darker than ever before, remember to rejoice in the trails and testing of our faith and recognize the signs. Jesus is coming back soon!
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