It is important to bear Good Fruit!
A Study of the Gospel of John 15:1-17, 26,27.
What does God call Good Fruit in our lives?
The Word of God's Fruit: Galatians 5:22-26
Whose responsibility is it to abide in Christ?
What does it mean to abide in Christ?
Who makes it possible to abide in Christ?
What if I don't abide in Christ?
What is it like to be changed by Christ?
After our Lord Jesus was giving His disciples His last consecutive teaching, He had taken a figure very familiar, the vine, the emblem of Israel's national life. Said Dr. Morgan: "He stood there amid the ruins of the vine, so far as the nation was concerned, and having excommunicated it from the position of responsibility and privilege which it had held, He said in affect, God has not failed if the nation has failed. The purposes of God are not abandoned. He Who created the vine to bring forth fruit for the world is not defeated. So when He said, 'I am the vine, the true' in that great Word He transferred the privileges and responsibilities from the Hebrew people to Himself and those associated with Him.
"We saw that in this 5th verse He repeats the figure, not using the words 'the true' but indicating the relationship of all such to Him. 'I am the vine, you are the branches,' and it is impossible for us to conceive of anything more startling, splendid and final than that. Hell was all around Him through the treachery of man and the animosity of degenerative priesthood about to put Him on His bitter cross. That is when He said, 'I am the vine, the true.' 'I am the vine and you (that little group of men) are the branches.'
"This allegory of the vine and branches is the most complete expression of the mystical union between Christ and the believer in this gospel. It combines the thought which the apostle Paul later expressed in the figure of the body and its member with the peculiar emphasis which John lays on love as the chief mark of this inward fellowship." (Eph 3:6; Rom 12)
We are talking about the fact that the great theme here is fruit bearing and the conditions of fertility. Our Lord was speaking particularly to those who were His Own.If we are branches in the living vine, if we have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as our own personal Savior, then the one great thing for which we are left in this world is to bear fruit to the glory of God.
In John 15:8, our Lord declared, "Herein is my Father glorified that you bear much fruit." What does God call good fruit in our lives? First of all we should consider some of the things that pass for fruit. Remembering the words of 1 Samuel 16:7, "Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."
Looking at some of the suggestions about certain things that pass for fruit, Dr. James E. Rosscup, in his book Abiding in Christ, mentions these particular things. The first one is success. When a Christian seems to be successful in his niche and is regarded favorable, it is popular to label him in some particular situation as "fruitful." But it is very possible to confuse outward success of the moment with fruit, even though there is an actual big difference. A professing Christian may appear to be very fruitful in a given situation, but may, in fact, be in quite a sad state with regard to genuine fruit or success within. We note that there are fleshly and satanic counterfeits for all of the gifts.
Secondly, sometimes people equate fruit with something sensational, and even worse, emotional.
Thirdly, Dr. Rosscup suggests that another thing that passes for fruitfulness is sectarianism. A Christian may labor arduously in the work of his particular denomination, working the "program" and can be wonderfully fruitful before God. Or, on the other hand, tragically he may be merely going through the motions, merely oiling the denominational machinery to keep all the wheels turning.
I am confident that many of our Sunday School attendance contests, with all of their hoopla and circus atmosphere, prize giving, in the interest of nothing more than numbers, to win a numbers victory over some other group, could never be considered fruit by the wildest excursions of the imagination. Of course striving for numbers is both right and necessary, because if we do not grow numerically we will die, but our reason for reaching numbers must be biblically correct, andthe goal must be to lead men and women to a personal commitment to all they are and ever hope to be unconditionally to Jesus Christ as the Lord of life and the Savior. In other worse, make them disciples. This is fruit.
Fourthly, another thing that passes for fruit is the secular as opposed to sacred. The Christian should wholly avoid any spirit of heart that is secularistic (worldly or empty of genuine spiritual attitudes).He should, rather, nourish within himself a sacred spirit. Pleasing God involves the motive of the heart. This is the crux of the matter. I must ask myself, as a branch, what is my true motive? What is my incentive? What is the purpose for any specific thing I do? Is it actually to please and glorify God, Who is the Husbandman? Is it to live to carry out the will of Christ, as we read it and understand it in the Word of God, the vine with whom I am related? It is quite possible to do the right things with the wrong motives. It can be the fulfillment of someone else's ambitions, or for some personal advantage, or to gain recognition or prestige for myself, or to receive some business or social promotion because my action projects a good image and will look good on the record.
Do I teach Sunday school class simply because it gives fulfillment to me, or exalts me over a little kingdom? Do I sing simply because I enjoy singing and I like the fellowship? Is what I d o a performance in the flesh or a ministry in the Spirit? The inventory of motives goes on and on.Anything that I do in the interest of the "flesh" (secular) and that is not for the glory of God, when I stand before the Lord Jesus Christ at the "Bema" seat, the judgement of works, anything and everything done in the flesh will never, never pass for fruit.
"For other foundation can no one lay than that which is laid which is Jesus Christ. Now, if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw; each one's work will become manifest for the day will declare it because it will be revealed by fire and the fire will test each one's work of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has build on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire." 1 Cor. 3:11-13.Only the things that I do that are permeated with the desire to give glory to God and to our matchless Christ are truly fruit bearing. Paul the apostle says, "Therefore, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Cor 10:31.
I cannot in the flesh, (the secular), even attempt to imitate the life of Christ. I must depend upon the Holy Spirit to reproduce through me and in me the life of Christ.
Now we turn our attention to what God does call fruit. "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit. So will you be My disciples."
Says Dr. Rosscup: "Fruit in the Christian life is 'a many splendor thing.' It grows in as many aspects and forms as there are expressions in life itself."
He mentions, number one, fruit in the New Testament is seen as a character that is Christ-like. For example, Gal 5:22-26 shows us the fruit of Christian character, which the Spirit of God produces in the life of the believer. This is the real evidence of the indwelling presence of ht Holy Spirit. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law (no necessity of law). Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other."Gal 5:22-26
All of these specific things mentioned by the apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, constitute fruit for the glory of God. So if we have professed that we have experienced the miracle of the new birth through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, this is the kind of fruit our lives should produce. This should be the character we present to the world.And if our lives are not producing this kind of fruit, though we may have trusted our Lord for salvation, we are certainly not living in fellowship with Him.
If, instead of love, there is bitterness, cynicism, malice, unkindness; if, instead of joy, there is gloom; if instead of peace, there is feverish unrest; if instead of patience, there is an uncontrolled temper, if instead of goodness, there is moral evil, if instead of faithfulness there is unfaithfulness, if instead of humility, there is selfish pride, if instead of gentleness, there is harshness, if instead of self-control and self-restraint you are a victim of the lust of the flesh, no matter what your profession might be, you are not living in the constant consciousness of the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.The Holy Spirit is being hindered from reproducing Christ in you, because if we live in fellowship with Him, and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit will be manifested in our lives.
The results of faithful service is precious fruit for which we shall be rewarded when we stand at the judgement seat of Christ and our works are judged by the fire test and found to be as "gold and silver and precious stones."
Dr. Rosscup suggests, number three,the winning of souls to our Lord Jesus Christ is also fruit, visible fruit we can see right now. This is what the apostle Paul was speaking about when he said to the Romans (1:13): I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.
Fourthly,faithful stewardship is a form of fruit. In Philippians 4:15-17 the apostle recognizes that the gift prompted by the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the Philippians was fruit, because it "was really and investment, which is increasingly paying them rich dividends…" Evidently, the contribution to Paul had originated in an attitude or essence of love (thus fruit) in the believers' hearts. The gift itself, inasmuch as it is intimately intertwined with the life flow of love, is also fruit in a sense.
In Romans 15:28, the apostle Paul wrote of the financial gift that was given for the needy Jewish Christians in the area of Judea. He called it "fruit", because evidently it was the product (harvest) of God-imparted love shed abroad in their hearts, giving them a concern for others. Giving to the cause of our Lord Jesus Christ, and though His love to those who are in need, is considered by the Word of God to be fruit, fruit that indeed brings glory to God.
Fifthly, the question is frequently asked, "Are good works fruit?" In this respect the emphasis first should be upon what a person is in character, before considering what he does in conduct. For example, when qualities of the believer's disposition are the fruit of the Spirit, he manifests these virtues in works. The gracious God-given attitudes inspire, permeate, flavor, and give tone and value to the works themselves. So the Christian may be (Col 1:10) "fruitful in every god work," meaning that a quality of Christ-likeness is invested in and imparts true worth to every outward good work. He can (2 Cor 9:8) "abound to every good work." He can be (1 Cor 15:58) always "abounding in the work of the Lord," and give evidence (Acts 9:36) where we are told "…at Joppa there was a certain disciple, named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas; this woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did."
Printed by permission from: The Voice of Calvary, …set for the defense of the Gospel. Phil 1:17 ~P.O. Box 2000, Eugene, Oregon 97402-9971
Message # 1689 of Pastor / Teacher, Jack MacArthur. ---Heard on radio stations throughout the U.S.A.!
John 15:1-17,26-27. KJV("Ye" means "You")
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that ye love one another.
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
I want to be in the Branch of the Lord Jesus Christ. I want to ask Him!
Are you detached from the Lord? Where will you go?
Or are you attached to the Lord Jesus Christ?
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