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?
Good words, then, may themselves be an index in which the believer bears the fruit of inner Christ-likeness, but no matter how good a particular act or deed may be,unless that proceeds from a right motive, in this case love, and is in accord with the proper moral standard of the Word of God, the revelation of His truth in His Word, and aims to bring glory to God, it is not fruit, nor is it a fruitful good work in the sight of God.
The imminent theologian Kuyper, in his famous work on the Holy Spirit, says a work is good when, 1) It is conformable to God's Law, for He alone possesses the right to determine what is good or evil. 2) When it is done in faith. He is saying that we must actively do the work realizing that although the Spirit works in us, He does not work apart from us. Which brings us back to the works of our Lord when He said, "without Me you can do nothing." So it is we ourselves who do it, making the work our own, but all the while it is He that has wrought in us, the blessed Person of the Holy Spirit, so that He, our wonderful Christ, deserves all the glory. When this is true, the "good works" are indeed fruit.
So, as branches in the vine, we are responsible to produce fruit. In other words, we are to give clear evidence of the fact that we belong to Jesus Christ by the kind of lifestyle we live, moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day. And never forget that our Lord said the true test of discipleship is fruit. "By their fruits you shall know them." Matt 7:20.
Throughout this passage the phrase "abide in Me" is used over and over again. Said Dr. MacLaren, the great expositor, "No wise teacher is ever afraid of repeating himself. The average mind requires the reiteration of truth before it can make that truth its own. One coat of paint is not enough, it soon rubs off. Especially is this true in regard to lofty spiritual truth."
And so our Lord repeats over and over again the figure of the vine and the branches as the picture of our union with Him, and necessity of that union, if we are to bear fruit. Before we can ever "abide" or "remain in Him," which speaks of constant conscious communion and fellowship, we must be "in Him". Listen to the words of John 15:4-5. "Abide in Me, and I in you; as the branches cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches, he who abides in Me and I in him, bears much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing."In the process of bringing salvation to the hearts of men, God is ever first. By His Spirit He invades the heart of the sinner, and so the sinner now becomes in principle a saint and thereby receives the power to remain in Christ. And the more he does so, the more he will experience the loving presence of the Redeemer. It is the responsibility to abide in Christ that is placed squarely upon our shoulders, and that is exactly where it belongs. But the power to exert oneself and persevere is God-given.
What is meant by abiding in Christ becomes plain in John 15:7-9, where we see that to abide in Christ, to remain in Christ means to maintain an unbroken, living communion with Him, to have no known sin in our lives that is not judged and confessed; no interest is not which He is not brought, no life which He cannot share. The abiding one takes all burdens to Him, and draws all wisdom, life and strength from Him.
The admonition "abide in Me", is in agreement with numerous exhortations addressed to believers, warning them against apostasy and bidding them to abide in the faith. These warnings regard the matter from the side of man. They move on the plane of human responsibility. It is true that once a man has made a commitment to Jesus Christ, surrendered to Him all he is, and ever hopes to be, unconditionally, forever, he remains saved forever. No one and nothing can ever pluck that believer from the hands of the Father. But this inevitable includes exertion and diligence and watchfulness on that man's part to be sure he is living his life in the will of God and in the consciousness of Christ's presence and in obedience to His Word. The strength to thus persevere in the faith is from God and from Him alone. "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. John 10:28,29 KJV Also: Rom 8:10-39
Severed from our Lord, a branch can effect nothing, having no independent fruitfulness or stability. All its powers are derived from this supernatural source and depend on Christ's faithfulness to His own nature and functions. Therefore, "he that abides in Me and I in him brings forth much fruit."
I repeat, the language here does not repress the endeavor of the human after righteousness. We must always remember these words were addressed to disciples who had to learn of the necessity of constant spiritual contact with their invisible Lord. If any believer attempts to live on his own reputation, or his supposed strength, or the clearness of his intellect, or the vigor of his body, or the imminence of his position, he can and will do nothing.
What is being said is that no branch ever bears fruit in isolation, it has to have a vital connection with the vine. Here we have an emphatic declaration of human helplessness apart from Christ. In isolation from Him no spiritual achievement is ever possible. And for the complimentary truth, compare the words of Phil 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me."
We have an important illustration in the life of the apostle Paul in connection with the storm and the shipwreck in which he was involved. God had given him the definite promise (Acts 27:22) "There will be no loss of life among you." Nevertheless, Paul says to the Centurion and to the soldiers (Acts 27:31) "Unless these men remain in the ship you cannot be saved." The word of warning did not in any way contradict the certainty that the men would actually be saved. The men heeded the warning and no life was lost.
Dr. Boice reminds usthat our Lord wishes to stress that His disciples must be fruitful, and it is characteristic of the vine that it is good for nothing except fruit-bearing. If it does not produce grapes it is worthless. The reason for this is that the wood of the vine is too soft for any other purpose. A tree might be cut down and sawed into planks and then used to construct furniture or build a house, but the vine is always gnarled and twisted and cannot yield planks. Besides, it is brittle, anything built of it would soon break in the user's hands and be worthless. It is not even good for burning.
Barclay points out in his commentary that at a certain time of the year it was stipulated by law that the people were to bring wood offerings to the temple to supply fires for the sacrifice, but it was also laid down that the wood of the vine must not be brought, because it was useless for that purpose. It burned too quickly. The only things that could be done with it, save letting it lie around, was to make a bonfire and destroy it quickly.
And that brings us to John 15:6, which tells us that a detached branch is fruitless. "If anyone does not abide in Me he is cast out as a branch and is withered. And they gather them and throw them into the fire and they are burned."
There must be a constant, active relationship between the believer and his Lord if the resultant life is to be productive. And this comes from saturation your life with His Word and the fellowships of prayer. From the vine comes the life, from the branches, as a result, comes the fruit. Notice, as we have seen. The vine is dependent upon the branches to bear fruit. Our abiding in Christ connects us constantly with the source of life. His abiding in us brings a steady supply of fruit --"much fruit." "Without Me (or, literally, 'severed from Me') you can do nothing."
What a tremendous truth this is. Do we find in this the secret of the terrible catastrophe which has overtaken our civilization? Do we not see that all of our effort, apart from Him, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Triune Godhead (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit), though wrought on an imposing scale, comes to nothing? Men must be blind indeed if they do not see in the world crisis an evidence that something vital has been wanting, a lack of which has brought confusion and ruin upon the nations. Man, without the knowledge of Christ, loses God, and if this be true, as far as our culture is concerned, oh, how true it is in our personal lives; we are powerless to touch hearts and change lives. The more we serve our matchless Christ, the more we realize the truth of His Words, "Without Me you can do nothing." But, as we said a moment ago, in contrast, the apostles said, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me." Phil 4:13.
If there is to be any fruit in our ministry that will endure unto eternal life, it must come by the living power of Christ working through us, and not by any virtue or effort of our own. "Cut off" from the fellowship of our wonderful Lord, not only can we do nothing, but we are good for nothing. And even what we do, though it may appear good and be good, in relation to what it accomplishes in others, it is, nevertheless, not acceptable fruit in the sight of God. Butabiding in Christ as the branch and the vine, we become channels of the outflowing of His Spirit, and the Fruits of the Spirit are wrought in us, and we, by our live and conduct, bring glory to God.
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?
Lord Jesus Christ, I understand that I can do nothing without you. I see the mess ups that I have done with my life. I know that I have sinned against You and against myself and other people. Jesus, I know that You love me. I know that You died on the cross for my sins, my wrong doing. Jesus please forgive me for all that I have done wrong. I ask You to take my sins away. According to Your promise, "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. (Isaiah 1:18) Thank You for making me clean Lord. Please fill me with Your Holy Spirit that I may live for You for the rest of my life and abide in You for Your glory! Please bless me and teach me. Create in me Your heart that I may glorify You with my life!! In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen!
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