50. Focus on the Fruit

Reading Plan

If you’re looking to dive deeper into what the Bible says about this topic, here’s a suggested Reading Plan, one passage per day for a whole week, based on the sermon:

  1. MONDAY: Philippians 1
  2. TUESDAY: Philippians 2
  3. WEDNESDAY: Philippians 3
  4. THURSDAY: Philippians 4
  5. FRIDAY: Romans 8
  6. SATURDAY: Genesis 2:25 – 3:24
  7. SUNDAY: Jeremiah 29:4-14

eGroup Discussion Questions – Great for personal reflection/journaling, too!

Sermon Notes: “Focus on the Fruit” ⤵️

Preacher: Steven Furtick
Passage: Philippians 1:22
Title: Focus on the Fruit
Date: May 3, 2020

Today’s sermon notes were taken during the 9:30 livestream from the Ballentyne campus.

Part 1: Looking Forward to Normal
Part 2: A Lesson in Letting Go
Part 3: Focus on the Fruit


  • Church isn’t limited to a physical location.
    • God is omnipresent. He is where you are.
    • He can visit and inhabit anywhere we choose to give him praise.
  • The kingdoms of this world and the Kingdom of our God don’t have much in common.
    • Offense is an event. Offended is a decision. The world thinks this is weird!
  • Just one verse: Philippians 1:22: “If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!”
    • Paul is in prison for preaching the Gospel. He doesn’t know how his life is going to turn out.
    • He doesn’t say this very much: “I do not know.”
    • The four words that express the greatest faith usually sound like: “He will come through,” “I trust in God,” etc… but sometimes the greatest statement of faith is, “I do not know.”
  • The way Paul models confidence: Focus on the fruit.

A. The Fruit and the Root

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.
Philippians 1:12, NIV
(advance: to make headway despite severe blows)

  • The most productive parts of your life will not be the prettiest.
  • We like the fruit, but the root is kind of boring. We all want what’s on the other side.
  • “When we get back to church”… Why wait? I thought you were the church!
  • Fruit without root doesn’t last long. I want something sustainable in my life. I want God’s blessings but I also want him to build me up.
    • A season for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
    • Focus on the fruit, even when you’re dealing with the root.
    • You are allowed to say, “I do not know.” We are all idiots at the same time.
  • Nobody knows how this whole Coronavirus thing is going to work out.
    • “Who has known the mind of the Lord?” (Romans 11:34a) Who knows?!
  • Paul always had an answer. But even here he did not know.
  • The truth is in the tension.
  • Faith operates in uncertainty.

B. Prison Sentences

As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.
Philippians 1:13, NIV

  • Clarity isn’t about the outcome. It’s about God’s presence.
  • The only thing you can really do is control your focus. You can’t make it sunny, or control other people’s behavior, or “pray away the virus,” but you can control your focus.
  • Not about physical focus (ADHD), but emotional and spiritual focus
  • The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23a)
  • But the root of the Spirit is priorities: what you’re planted in
  • The only reason there is a book of Philippians, is because Paul was thrown in prison. Paul would not have written these passages without being thrown in prison:
    • I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
    • And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
  • I don’t need to know how it ends to know that I’m going to see the glory of God in the middle of it.
  • You don’t need to know all the details to take the next step.
  • Releasing my need to know is the hardest thing.

And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
Philippians 1:14

  • I almost called this message “Prison Sentence” because we hang up Philippians 4:13 in a weight room, but he wrote it in a prison.
  • What is going to come out of your life in this quarantine time?
  • I do not know how long I’m going to be here, but I going to bear some fruit while I’m here.
  • Get your roots right. (Like hair)
  • The need to know keep us from receiving.
    • Sermon title option #3: “When Naked was Normal.”
    • Adam and Eve needed to know… the fruit was from the tree of “the knowledge of good and evil.”
    • When we didn’t have to hide behind fig leaves, to hide behind an image, or try to be someone that we’re not.
    • Genesis 2:25: They “were both naked, and they felt no shame.”
  • Who told you you were naked? (Genesis 3:11) Who told you that?
  • God is using this time to prune our lives of perspectives that didn’t come from heaven. (John 15:2)
  • Situation (outside) v. revelation (inside)
    • Situation leads to conforming
    • Revelation leads to transforming

C. Eager Expectation (apokaradokia)

But what does it matter?
Philippians 1:18a, NIV

  • When you figure out what actually matters, then you’ll be free.
    • Don’t waste your time keeping your carpet clean only that when your kids grow up and move out, that you’ll wish for them to come back and mess it up again.
  • What if we get fifty years of fruit from a few months of frustration?
  • Romans 8:18-28
    • Verse 18: Suffering and glory are not worth comparing. What do you want to focus on?
    • Verse 24: Hope is a focus, not a feeling.
      • If I know, I don’t need to hope for it. That’s where faith grows, in the unknown.
    • Verse 26: We do not know
    • Verse 27: He knows.
      • I know the plans I have for you (Jeremiah 29:11)
    • Verse 28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” …finish the sentence… “who have been called according to his purpose.”
      • That’s the fruit. The work (purpose) that God is doing.
    • Back to Verse 19: The creation waits in eager expectation… the creation waits for a revelation… what does that look like? It doesn’t look like certainty. The Greek word apokaradokia appears here and in Philippians 1:20.
  • I’m turning away from what I could complain about to what I am hoping in.
  • I’m looking forward to my fruit on the other side.
  • I know that all things work together for good.
  • In Numbers 13:27-28, the Israelites were focused on what they had to fight, on what they feared, they didn’t even eat the fruit that they carried.

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