Summary: This culture is longing for an authentic view of Christianity and God demands it. This series paints a picture of the Authentic Christian.
Authentic Christianity - #5 of 7
* Consider this conversation between a farmer and his 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!
* Playing the part of the tree would be us, all believers, while playing the part of the Farmer would be the Lord. Jesus always reserved His harshest judgment for the unfruitful. You and I are expected to produce fruit & good fruit at that!
* So take to heart a statement which will serve us well during this time:
* Every person or life produces fruit of some kind. What kind do you produce & how are you producing your ‘life’s’ fruit? Candidly, “Every person believes they are producing anything but good fruit.” Yet Jesus makes it as clear as a sunny day, that not everyone produces fruit because no one can, by themselves, produce good fruit.
* Let’s unpack our text together. He begins by giving us the secret of producing fruit.
1. The Power to produce good fruit – Jesus begins by identifying the source of our fruit and the power to produce fruit. He says, ‘I am the vine and my Father is the vinedresser.’ The Father holds the power and the Son is the conduit by which God sends His power. Here’s the deal; “Connected to the vine, you’ll always be fine.”
* Through the vine (a metaphor for our Lord) we receive the power that we need to produce good fruit. All we have to do is be connected to the vine.
* No one in here can ‘grow’ a tomato plant by yourself. Yes, you can plant seed or re-sod a young plant. You can fertilize it, water it, and even ‘baby it.’ But you do not possess the power to grow it. If you attempt to produce a tomato apart from the power which God has given through agriculture, it will fail. This comes from an unseen act of nature (actually it is an unseen hand). Without God’s hand working in nature, you will never produce one tomato.
* Without God’s hand in and on your life, you will never produce any fruit which will be considered by God as GOOD.
* In life, you cannot produce good fruit by yourself. Yes, you will produce fruit as everybody produces fruit of some kind, but the Bible says, it will not be good fruit rather the fruit which Jesus spoke of in the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 7. To read verses 15-20 is to realize that Jesus is teaching Believers produce good fruit while it is non-believers who produce bad fruit. The expectation from our Lord is that authentic believers are tied to the vine and produce good fruit. In Matthew 12 Jesus said, “A good tree brings good fruit and a bad tree brings bad fruit. A tree is known by its fruit.”
* An African native came to America for a brief visit and of all the things he love, he loved the lights. He carried a porch light & bulb home, installed it, & it didn’t work. Why? Because he didn’t have access to the power. Can you make the parallel?
* I ask you, “What is the fruit of your life?” “What type of fruit are you known for?” “How does God value what you produce?” Both Jesus and John the Baptist taught, “Produce fruit consistent with your repentance. By the way, “you attempt to produce good (or godly) fruit on your own; you’ll die a slow death.” He’s the power.