The Doctrine of Blackberries

Matthew 5:3-6


            If there is nothing more traditionally American than apple pie, there is nothing more traditionally Southern than blackberry cobbler. Summer is at its peek when the blackberries are ripe and ready to pick. As my wife and I picked a few berries from our patch early one morning back in July, I was reminded of a lesson. – The ripest fruit always hangs lowest.


            In the kingdom of God, those who have grown the most in the grace and knowledge of Christ know themselves to be the least. – Those who are the strongest know themselves to be very weak. – Those who are the most knowledgeable know that they know nothing. – Those who walk in nearest communion with heaven feel themselves to be farthest away. -- The ripest fruit always hangs lowest.


            Those who are richest in grace are “poor in spirit.” They know themselves to be poor. Those who have greatest cause for joy are “they that mourn.” They mourn because they are keenly aware of their depravity, sin, and unbelief. Those who are nearest what they should be are “the meek.” They know that they are indescribably less than they should be. Those who are the fullest are “they which do hunger and thirst for righteousness.” Knowing that they are robed with the perfect righteousness of Christ imputed to them, being born of his Spirit, they hunger and thirst (in the depths of their souls, they hunger and thirst) after Christ – To be like him in the totality of their beings! -- The ripest fruit always hangs lowest.


            The more a believer grows in Christ, the nearer he approaches heaven, the more unfit for heaven he knows he is in himself. To be sure, he knows that in Christ he is “meet to be partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light.” He does not question the efficacy of Christ’s blood, the perfection of his righteousness, the fulness of God’s forgiveness, or the completeness of his acceptance with God in Christ. Regarding those things, he may indeed have the “full assurance of faith.” Yet, he knows that in himself he is most unworthy of and unfit for everlasting acceptance with the holy Lord God. Grace teaches those who experience it by degrees that we are the least among God’s servants, then less than the least of all saints, and finally that we are the very chief of sinners. These things we learn early in our heads; but they are truly learned only by experience. Truly, as they ripen for heaven, God’s saints are a people who are learning that – The ripest fruit always hangs lowest.


            When I was just a nineteen year old boy, as my wife and I started to leave his home after a night of blessed, edifying fellowship with Pastor Harry Graham and his wife, Nola, Harry made a statement to me that I have never forgotten, but am just beginning to learn. He said, “Don, it’s impossible to distinguish tares from wheat until harvest time; but at harvest time, the tares stand tall and the wheat bows its head.” – The ripest fruit always hangs lowest.


Grace Baptist Church of Danville - Grace For Today Radio Message #727

2734 Old Stanford Road - Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438

Donald S. Fortner, Pastor -Telephone 606-236-8235 - Email