First Fruits

sliced fruits on tray

This Sunday is Pentecost, which is celebrated by Christians across the world. It comes from the word pentekoste, which means 50 and it marks 50 days from Easter Sunday. Its origins are from the Old Testament when Israelites were commanded to have three festivals a year–Passover, Feast of Weeks (aka “first fruits,” now called Pentecost), and the Ingathering. Pentecost was a way to give thanks to God for providing crops. It was scheduled 7 weeks from the first harvest of wheat, which happened right around Passover.

Like Passover, Pentecost took on new meaning through Christ. Instead of only celebrating first fruits of the physical harvest, it is now a celebration of the first fruits of the spiritual harvest. It’s very fitting that on the first Christian Pentecost, 3,000 souls came to Christ through baptism. The link to first fruits doesn’t seem to be acknowledged as much as it should and we absolutely should not overlook the strong link. God is the God of harvest. He provides out of his love for mankind. The feast was an annual requirement because God provides each year, forever.

Listen to Peter’s language: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord calls to himself” (Acts 2:38, 39 ESV). If we, the church, are faithful God will keep providing the promise of harvest for all generations!

Keep In Step With the Spirit

faceless black person picking coffee cherries

We’ve been talking a lot about equipping the saints for works of ministry. When people are bound together in love, that unity produces maturity. Iron sharpens iron. We see things and experience things that we otherwise would never have experienced. There is no room in the kingdom for unproductivity. We are workers for the kingdom and we’re supposed to produce fruit.

And speaking of fruit, Paul tells us what the fruit of the Spirit is. When we are disciplined in the fruit of the Spirit, we do not indulge in the things that keep us from God. Not only that, Paul reminds us that there is no law against doing them: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22, 23 ESV).

As we equip one another, we need to be reminded to bear Spirit fruit. That fruit is pure, righteous, and will keep us from doing wrong. Paul urges his readers to “walk by the Spirit” and they will not gratify the desires of the flesh. The great news is that we can become practiced in living out the fruit of the Spirit. We hear a lot about detoxing the body and, in a very real sense, we can detox our spirits by partaking in Spirit fruit.