Page 4 - April 2018 - Truth & Tidings
P. 4

The Fruitfulness of This Garden        How sad the assembly where the wall
        – “Pleasant Fruits” (4:13)           of separation is down. Anybody and
                                             anything may find its way in – the pastor,
          This garden is exotic. The fruits and   to emulate the sects; sharing pulpits with
        spices are not local, but from far-flung   denominational churches; reception on the
        shores and foreign climes. The fruit and   backburner, and people accepted with no
        fragrance of a local assembly does not   questions asked about morality or sound-
        derive from a local or natural source. Our   ness of doctrine. Entertainment becomes
        priestly exercise is from above. “I create   more acceptable than the Bible-reading or
        the fruit of the lips,” says our God. The   ministry meeting. Usually, the focus be-
        believers’ spiritual sacrifices are remind-  comes skewed to pander to young people.
        ers of the exotic shores of glory and are   Musical instruments multiply, choral sing-
        derived from the Holy Spirit. The world   ing takes over from prayer, praise, and
        fails to recognize their value and their   worship. Inter-church games are played
        preciousness to God.                 on weekends instead of engaging in tract-
          This garden must be cultivated. It re-  bands and open-air testimony. There is a
        quires constant time and attention. The   general dumbing down of standards of be-
        concept of husbandry conjures up an im-  havior, speech, and dress to accommodate
        age of hard work; labor that causes perspi-  and to appeal to the unsaved. They must
        ration and raises a sweat. The assembly is   not be made to feel different or uncomfort-
        no place for shirkers, but for workers, and   able among the believers!
        on a spiritual plane, not merely a physical
        level. Cleaning, decorating, and repairing   “Then I saw and considered it well: I
        the hall are necessary, and time must also   looked upon it and received instruction”
        be spent preparing for worship, prayer,   (Prov 24:32, KJV). Oh, that we might learn
        ministry, Bible-study, overseership, visita-  salutary lessons from seeing the garden of
        tion, and hospitality.               the assembly being reduced from spiritual
          Proverbs 24 gives us a timely warn-  fruitfulness to a “back to nature” condition,
        ing about what happens when a garden   before it is too late.
        is neglected through idleness and sloth,   “Thy plants are an orchard of pomegran-
        when the wall is breached, allowing wild   ates, with pleasant fruits … with all the
        animals, vandals, etc., to enter and spoil the   chief spices” (v13, KJV). “Thy sprouts,”
        garden. We do not read of fruits and spices,   better than “thy plants,” conveys the ideas
        or even vines in this garden. Instead, we   of life, energy, and vitality; three words
        have the results of the curse: thorns and   which should describe every assembly!
        nettles. The weeds encroach and the wall   “A paradise of pomegranates,” is how
        is breached. Everything goes “back to   JND translates this. Pomegranates were
        nature.”                             one of the fruits which the spies brought

        100 TRUTH kTidings   April  2018
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