Sermon Illustrations

Orchard Experts Wound Fruit Trees To Bear More Fruit

In verse 8 Jesus teaches us that the proof of discipleship is spiritual fruitfulness (Mt. 7:20). “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

The branch produces what the life coursing through its limbs empowers, which is the “fruit of the vine.” But it is not a mechanical production of fruit. The disciple connects into a relationship of love with both Jesus (v.9) and the Father (v. 10), out of which a transformed life, a fruit-bearing life, will flow. And God will be glorified by believer, by the fruit of believers, who are abiding in Christ and in His words.

The fruit the Father is looking for is spiritual. The Lord Jesus is looking for more than the "leaves" of mere words professed by His followers. He wants them to mature in Him and bear spiritual fruit. Thus the Father, like a good farmer, will do what is necessary to make us fruitful.

ORCHARD EXPERTS say that occasionally a fruit tree will give all its energy to growing wood and leaves but little or no energy to bearing fruit. To correct this condition, the farmer takes an ax and makes a deep wound in its trunk close to the ground. That severe procedure almost always produces a change. The next year the tree gives an excellent yield. It could be called "the fruit of suffering."

Oftentimes God uses a trial as an axe, or suffering as a pruning knife, so that we may stop channeling all our energies into the pursuit of temporal things. Sorrow, tribulation, ill health, and disappointment have a way of stimulating spiritual growth and fruitfulness. Our attention is then redirected toward eternal things, and we produce the fruits of righteousness that glorify His name. - H.G.B. Spiritual fruitfulness often comes through the pruning knife of affliction.

From a sermon by Dennis Davidson, How to Dwell in Jesus’ Love, 11/2/2009

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