Summary: Producing Fruit of the Spirit
May 9th, 2010
1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
It is obvious, from this Scripture and others like it, that God wants us to be fruitful. In the parable of the talents, Jesus talked about three individuals that were given various amounts of money. The two that used their money wisely were richly rewarded. The one who hid his money was cast out to his destruction. In this scripture, the branch that doesn’t bear fruit is cast into the fire and burned. Jesus makes it very clear that fruitlessness is not an option for us. Jesus makes it very clear that he wants us growing and living and becoming bigger and better. But how do we do that? We are going to find out this morning.
Before we do that, we need to define fruit. I have heard pastors and evangelists describe this fruit as being souls you win to the Lord, growth of the church, using your gifts, and fruits of the Spirit. Some say if you aren’t winning people to the Lord, you aren’t being fruitful. That’s kind of heavy and negative. Who leads as many people to the Lord as we would like. We can all find a lot of guilt here.
Church builders say if the church isn’t growing you aren’t being fruitful. What pastor or Christian doesn’t feel his church isn’t growing fast enough? Other teachers say that you have been given gifts of the Spirit, like teaching, preaching, giving, helping, etc. and if you aren’t using those gifts for the Lord you aren’t being fruitful.
I think that is a little closer to it but I think the closest meaning of the fruit Jesus was talking about was the fruit of the Spirit. If you are producing the Fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life – then all the other kinds of fruit will take care of themselves. Do you remember the nine fruits of the Spirit? Galatians 5 says,
“22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
I think every Christian ought to memorize this fruit or have them displayed someplace prominently in his home. We need to always have these things on our minds and we ought to always be striving to get better at them. Our goal as a church is to “make Christlike disciples”. Our personal goal as a Christian is to become more and more Christlike. We are to be transformed into His image. We are to reflect Christlikeness in all we do.
The Bible says,
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” (1 Peter 1:6-7 New Living translation)
Jesus said, “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.” Matthew 5:11-12
Without trials we would not have an opportunity to grow in the fruit of the Spirit. One of the fruits of the Spirit is love. How to you become more loving? Jesus said,
“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:44-48