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Thesis: Fruit-bearing is different for each individual Christian.


1. Begin with a conversation between a farmer & a fruit tree:

FARMER: Good morning tree! How are you doing today?

TREE: Just fine, farmer! My, isn't it a lovely morning?

FARMER: Yes, it is. Except for one thing--where is your fruit? I see all your nice, green foliage and your sturdy trunk and root system, BUT WHERE IS YOUR FRUIT?

TREE: Master, you will notice I am more firmly anchored than any tree in the orchard. I have the most beautiful leaves to be seen anywhere! I have no broken, sagging branches or scuff marks from workmen's shoes on my limbs.

FARMER: That's well and good, but I planted you for the purpose of bearing fruit, not to look pretty and preserve yourself! Suppose all of my trees had your attitude! Why have you not produced fruit?

TREE: I tried bearing fruit once a few years ago. Some of the beautiful fruit I worked so hard to produce fell to the ground and became rotten. The odor was terrible. My limbs would bend and break and in the effort my whole system was strained--it was all one tree could stand! Then the workmen came and climbed my tender limbs and snapped my branches with their rapid strokes. To top it all, I produced the most fruit of any tree in the orchard and I didn't get any glory! No, I am content to stay right here and leave fruit-bearing to some other tree. After experiences like these what do you expect?

FARMER: I expect you will make beautiful logs for my fireplace!

2. From this story and the text from John, it is apparent that Christians are expected to produce fruit.

a. What should this fruit look like?

b. Let the NT answer this question.

c. This AM we are going to do three (3) things:

1) Clear away some inadequate definitions of "bearing fruit."

2) Look at some key NT texts on what it means to "bear fruit."

3) Reach an important conclusion about Christian "fruit-bearing."


A. Attendance, giving, involvement in church activities.

1. There is some basis in the NT for this definition of fruit.

2. Rom. 15:27-28; Hebrews 13:15.

B. Evangelism--"fruit of a Christian is another Christian."

1. There is some basis in the NT for this definition of fruit.

2. Rom. 1:13; 1 Cor. 16:15; John 4:35-38.

C. These ideas have a limited basis in Scripture, but do not exhaust what inspired writers mean when they say we are to "bear fruit."


A. John 15:8-12--section immediately following our reading.

1. Jesus says, in effect, "Fruit-bearing is like ..."

2. To abide in Jesus, keep his commandments, and love one another!

3. No specifics mentioned, but cannot fail to get his point!

B. John 12:23-26.

1. To act in self-sacrificing ways toward others.

2. Again, no exhaustive list of activities--still get point!

C. Matt. 12:33-35.

1. Fruit-bearing reflects what is in our hearts.

2. Fruit-bearing is to have something happen on the inside of you.

3. Fruit-bearing is as much WHO you are as WHAT you do!

4. The fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).

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