- The Washington Times - Monday, April 15, 2002

Excerpts from a sermon yesterday by the Rev. Guy A. Williams Sr. at Parker Memorial Baptist Church in Burtonsville, Md.

Over the last few days, I've been up in my study at home and I've looked out about my yard, and the trees in the back of my house, and looking at those trees, I've been noticing that they've begun to bud and bloom. I've been anxiously moving about my yard because not very long ago, just before we got that great spell of rain, I planted some grass seed, and I've been looking to see whether or not the seed has given way to new growth. It is clearly suggested to me that it is growing season.
The reality is that everything that's around us is intended to grow. But some of us are like just like some places in my lawn. Good seed has been sown, but growth is sparse. Good preaching and good teaching is sown in your life, but nonetheless, there is sparseness in some of our lives. Therefore, I thought I would stop by this morning and remind you that it is growing season, and that perhaps some of us need to recognize that just like it is growing season on the outside, it ought to be growing season on the inside.
In this Scripture in John 15[:1-8], it is clearly suggested that if you're not being productive for God, you have minimal value. If you're not producing good fruit in your life, whatever you're doing is contrary to the purpose of your design. The problem with a whole lot of church folk today is that we have the perception that we're here for ourselves. There's a whole lot of preaching and teaching that's going on in some places and a whole lot of bad theology in our music that says the same thing that God simply has you there that He might bless you, that He might enlarge your territory, that He might broaden your mind. And I pray that the Lord does all of that, but not that you just be blessed in the area of your material possessions or the area of your life, but that your soul would also prosper. A lot of us have our priorities wrong.
You can be all that God has intended for you to be by His design if you simply allow yourself to understand the process and participate in the process. He says, "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes it away." He does some pruning; He does some work. And by the way, what He wants to see is productivity. What kind of productivity? What He wants is fruit. If you really are bearing fruit, it will show.
If you're not growing, you might in the category of the group that needs to be removed. "Are you saying that if I'm not being productive with the fruit of God in my life, that God might remove me from the vineyard called Earth?" That's exactly what I'm saying. Have you ever stopped to think that your and my being here tomorrow or by the week's end is predicated upon our growth level? I don't think we measure ourselves the way God measures us. The text makes it clear. Jesus said, "I am the vine, you are the branches. Every branch that does not bear fruit, He, the Father, takes away." What this verse is talking about is people who belong to God that are being unproductive that have the light snatched out of them.
Go to Revelation Chapter 2. God told the whole church [of Ephesus], "Y'all are doing great. But you lost your first love." And God says your first love is Me. God says, "I can't have anybody else in My place." He says, 'Get it together, or I'll take the life out of you.'"
God says, "I'm concerned with qualitative growth, and I can't afford to have something hanging around in my church that looks like it's alive but it's dead." God says, "If it's dead, it's gotta come out." Let me work to a close by saying this: Whether you live the year out is in part tied to your level of productivity. Everything is designed for you and me to be productive."

Next week: a sermon at Virginia congregation.

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