FRUIT OF THE BRANCHES III
Series on John 15 pt. 12
Does anyone know what kind of tree this is? It is kind of hard to tell. Does anyone know what kind of tree this is? It is an apple tree. How did you know it was an apple tree? Because it had apples on it.
Let me ask you this, how many of you claim to be Christians? One more question, how do others know you are a Christian? Our Lord Jesus gives us a simple test.
He states Mt 7:16 "You will know them by their fruits.” Also John 15:8; "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
Jesus states that we will be known by our fruits and it is by our fruits that the Father is glorified and folks will know that we are disciples of Christ.
So fruit in our life is very important thing to have.
Today we continue our look into what the Bible means when it speaks of the fruit that we as Christians ought to have in our lives. This goes along with the bigger study we have are engaged in and this is John 15. I want us to keep in mind that we must have an understanding of what Jesus means by fruit, what the Bible means by fruit if we are to have a proper understanding of John 15.
Please turn with me to John 15:2-5. This will be our starting out passage;
“"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every [branch] that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch 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.”
What I want to point is that if you don’t understand what the Bible means by the term fruit in this passage, you cannot understand what the passage means. We must have an understand of what Jesus means when he uses the term fruit. That is why we have spent the last couple weeks looking at some truths regarding biblical fruit. If you are interested in what we have looked at up until this point those sermons are available on CDs please let me know and we can get those for you.
Let us now turn our attention to the specific fruit that the Bible mentions. Just as there are specific fruit in the natural world, bananas apples, oranges, etc. There are also specific fruits that are listed in the Bible.
The first fruit I want to point out to is the fruit of evangelism.
There are two passages I want us to look at. First Rom. 1:13,15 Here Paul writes; “Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles… So, as much as is in me, [I am] ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.”
Here Paul is saying that he really wanted to visit Rome. He had planned on doing so but was unable until just prior to writing the epistle to the Romans. Paul also gives the reason that he desired to go to Rome and that we he might have fruit among you. He goes on to say that he was ready to go to preach the gospel to those who are in Rome.
From the context of the passage it is clear that the fruit that Paul is referring to is those who would come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour through the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. His desire was to see the fruit of evangelism, the fruit of proclaiming the gospel that Jesus Christ died for our sins, that He was buried and that He rose again on the third day.
We also see the fruit of evangelism in 1 Cor. 16:15. Once more this comes from an epistle of Paul; “I urge you, brethren––you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and [that] they have devoted themselves to the ministry of the saints––”
Here Paul mentions that the family was Stephanas were the firstfruits of the Achaia. In other words they were the first folks to come to know the Lord through the proclamation of the gospel in that region. They were the fruit of evangelism..
From these two passage we can that a type of fruit that ought to be seen in our lives is that people come to know that Lord Jesus through our proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This fruit is what I would term as the fruit of evangelism. May I add that this is one of the most sweetest fruit there is.
There a few thrills greater for me then to be used by the Lord in leading someone to Jesus Christ. I cherish those opportunities that the Lord has given to me to share the gospel with someone and have that person respond.
How many of you know what a jujube is? No not the candy. It is a rare Chinese fruit. The reason you don’t know what it is, is because to us they are rare. You don’t see them at Pricechopper or Wal-Mart.
What is sad however is that the fruit of evangelism, is like the Jujube fruit, its rare. It is unfortunately one of the rarest fruit in the church. Most Christians have never led anyone to the Lord. That is because most Christians do not have burden for the lost like they should.
I will say that the fruit of evangelism does is not always produced by a person sitting someone down and speaking the gospel to them. It can be produces by praying for someone’s salvation, it can be produced by witnessing to a person through acts of kindness or love, by living in such a way that Christ is seen in us. All these things can produce the fruit of evangelism.
We must understand that it is always God who produces the fruit, but we are here to plant and water.
As we read in 1 Cor 3:6-7 “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.”
As I see it there are far to few Christians willing to do the planting and the watering.
But we can see from the Scripture that there ought to be the fruit of evangelism in our lives, for that is one of the fruit that our Lord speaks of in John 15.
The second specific fruit I want us to see is the fruit of righteousness. Let us again look to the Scripture at some passage to see what we can learn about this fruit.
First Phil 1:9-11 “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” (ESV)
This passage tells us what I would say is the most important thing about the fruit of righteousness and that is that it comes through Jesus Christ. Which is to say that any righteousness that we claim is not our righteousness but the righteousness that is ours through a relationship with Jesus Christ. So just as we said with the fruit of evangelism, it was God who produces the fruit, (remember we just plant and water), it is Jesus Christ would provides us with the fruit of righteousness because we have no righteousness apart from Christ.
The fruit of righteousness come into our lives when we trust in Christ. It comes into our live when we believe in the gospel. If you are a believer in Christ you cannot help but have the fruit of righteousness in live, because again it is not anything that you do, it comes with Christ.
Listen to God’s word in Phil 3:8-9 “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which [is] from the law, but that which [is] through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;”
So the fruit of righteousness that is manifest in us is not our own that come out, but it is the righteousness of Christ is that is showing in us. It goes back to that general definition of fruit that we made mention of last week. Basically what fruit is in our lives demonstrates that power that is alive in us.
So when the fruit of righteousness is in our lives we will live righteously, not through our strength but through the strength of Christ. To live in the righteousness of Christ is to live according to the moral standards of the Scriptures, not the moral standards of the world.
To live righteously is basically this, to live in a way that is acceptable to God. In a way that He is honored and praised. And we know how to do that by looking to His word.
The first thing then we must keep in mind about the fruit of righteousness is that it comes only through Christ.
Another passage the mentions the fruit of righteousness is Heb 12:11; “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
In its context this verse is speaking of the chastening of God. That is to say just like any good parent, God chastens His children when they go astray.
Think about this for a second. Why do we punish our children? I know that I punishment my children because I have found their behavior to be unacceptable. I want them to stop that behavior and conduct themselves in more proper way.
The same is true with God. There are times when the Lord may chastise us, why? For the same reason I just mentioned. Because He finds our behavior unacceptable and He desires us to conduct ourselves in a proper way. In a way that is acceptable to Him, in a way that is according to His word, and in a way by which He is honored, praised and glorified. Again we can do this not by our own power but through the power of Christ in us. Christ abiding in us and we abiding in Him just was Jesus tells us in John 15.
(Just to point out that this all connects to what we said last week about how all good fruit must fall into the two categories of bringing God glory and being derived from His word.)
So the chastisement of God produces the righteousness of Christ in our lives. Or in other words, the chastisement of God works in us so that the fruit of the righteousness of Christ is seen in our lives.
The next specific fruit I want to talk about is the fruit of giving. Listen to Romans 15:25-28, this is the apostle Paul writing these words, “But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem. It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things. Therefore, when I have performed this and have sealed to them this fruit, I shall go by way of you to Spain.”
What we see here is that Paul is going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints there. He has with him a what appears to be a monetary gift from Macedonia and Achaia to help the poor who are in Jerusalem. He is saying that just as the share in the spiritual blessings of Christ, they ought to be willing, and they were, to minister to the Jerusalem saints what God had blessed them with materially. Paul goes on to say that after he has delivered this gift, a gift he refers to as fruit, he will travel to Rome.
The point here that I want to make is the giving is viewed as a fruit. And as a fruit it is something that ought to be present in the live of a believer. Now I do not want us to get hung up on the giving part of this. I do not believe it would be right to use this verse to beat folks over the head with a say, “See you should be giving more, more fruit! More fruit!”
A believe that fruit here is not so much in the giving part, as it is in a detachment of material things in the life of the believer. In others words, the fruit is for us to have our focus not on getting more stuff or keeping more stuff, but our focus is to be on the spiritual not on the material.
We should be willing to give it all away for the sake of Jesus Christ. So this fruit is more of an way of thinking then an action.
That is not say that there is not an aspect of giving here. We are all called to support the ministries of Christ through giving. But understand that it is all God’s anyway. If God wants you to be homeless and without a penny guess what? If He wants to bless you abundantly with material things, He will.
What is important is how attached we are to our material possessions.
That is the question. That is what reveals the fruit of giving.
I believe the Bible gives a great illustration of this fruit in the story of Zacchaeus. Many of you know the story of Zacchaeus. He was rich tax collector who was kind of short. So he climbed a tree to see to see Jesus. And Jesus calls him down out of the tree to have dinner with him. Zacchaeus’ heart is changed by the Lord and this is what is stated in
Luke 19:8-9 “Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold." And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham;”
What we see in Zacchaeus’ life that demonstrates that he has salvation is a fruit, (you will know them by their fruit), and it is the fruit of giving. Zacchaeus shows a detachment from the material. Where he once was a greedy dishonest man, his thoughts know are of the spiritual, of pleasing Christ. Money no longer means what it once did. It is a great example of how this fruit that Jesus speaks of in John 15, demonstrates what power is at work inside a person.
So today we have looked at three different types of fruit mentioned in the Bible. Fruit that ought to be evident in the live of a believer of Jesus Christ. Fruit that would show who it is we have our faith in, that shows what power is at work in us.
We saw fruit of evangelism, the fruit of righteousness, and the fruit of giving. I pray that you would examine your live for these fruits. Keeping in mind Jesus’ words, “By their fruits you will know them.”
In closing we saw that in the life of Zacchaeus salvation came through an encounter with Christ. And that is how salvation comes to each of us, through an encounter with Christ. Through the power of the Holy Spirit by which we realize that truth of the gospel. That Christ died on the cross for the sins of His people. That He was buried in a tomb and three days later He rose again to the glory of God.
I pray that every person here believes in that gospel. That each one of you realizes that you are a sinner in need of Saviour and that that Saviour is Jesus Christ. Do you believe in Him? Have you trusted in Him and His blood for the forgiveness of sin? I pray you have.
If you have any questions.
LET US PRAY