Summary: "Living a Fruitful Life" is a message from John 15:1-5. In this passage, Jesus explains the process of spiritual fruit bearing: (1) Recognize that God is the vine dresser; (2) Realize that Jesus is the true vine; and (3) remember that you are just a branc
LIVING A FRUITFUL LIFE
Salvation by faith in Christ alone has two fundamental dimensions. First of all, being saved means I will one day live in eternity with God. Likewise, being saved means that I am to live for God on earth each day. One on hand, Christianity is about getting man out of earth into heaven. But in a real sense, it is also about getting God out of heaven onto earth. Because we are saved, we are going to heaven when we die. In the meantime, God has left us on earth that we might live for him. This is not a news flash for most of us. Followers of Jesus Christ are constantly told that we should live for God. However, it is this very teaching that often makes church so frustrating and counterproductive. We are often reminded that we should life for God, but we are rarely taught how to do it. So I want to address this question: How can I truly live for God? Jesus answers: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.”
In John 15:1-11, Jesus describes the Christian life as a branch bearing fruit or being fruitful. But this description is not unique. Through the New Testament, living for God, or aspects of it, is described as bearing fruit or being fruitful.
• In Matthew 3:8, John the Baptist speaks of true repentance as fruit.
• In Matthew 7:16-20, Jesus speaks of the evidences of spiritual authenticity as fruit.
• In Romans 1:13, Paul refers to winning converts to Christ as fruit.
• In Romans 6:22, he refers to growth in holiness as fruit.
• And in Romans 15:28, he speaks of the monetary offerings given to meet the needs of others as fruit.
• In Galatians 5:22-23, the characteristics of Christlike character are called “the fruit of the Spirit.”
• Colossians 1:6 pictures spiritual and numerical growth in the church as fruit.
• Colossians 1:10 describes doing good works as fruit.
• Hebrews 13:15 calls verbal praise to God as “the fruit of our lips.”
The New Testament consistently describes godliness as fruitfulness. But here in John 15, we are given a definitive explanation of the process for spiritual fruit bearing. This explanation hinges on the claim that Jesus makes for himself: “I am the true vine.” The spiritual implications of this divine claim give us a simple but comprehensive strategy for living a fruitful life.
I. RECOGNIZE THAT GOD IS THE VINE DRESSER.
In John 15:1, Jesus says, “I am the true vine.” This is the last of Jesus’ seven, famous, self-descriptive “I AM” statements recorded in John’s gospel. But this final “I AM” statement is unique in that it is the only one in which Christ makes God the Father an explicit part of the picture he uses. Jesus says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.” A vine and a vineyard need someone to care for them. Jesus says this is the sovereign role God the Father plays in the spiritual world.
• God is the vinedresser.
• God is the gardener.
• God is the husbandman.
• God is the farmer who works the ground.
• God is the one who owns and operates the land.
• God is the one who cultivates the vineyard and cares for the vine.
Jesus describes Father this way to teach us two lessons about God’s will for us and work in us.
A. IT IS GOD’S GOAL TO PRODUCE FRUIT IN OUR LIVES.
God’s plan and purpose for your life is to make it fruitful for him. John 15:8 says that we glorify God by bearing much fruit. Colossians 1:10 says that bearing fruit pleases God. In Matthew 21:19, Jesus gives his most severe word of judgment to an unfruitful fig tree. And Matthew 21:43 makes it clear that the cursing of the fig tree was a declaration that Israel had lost is privileges and position as God’s chosen people because they have been unfruitful. I repeat: God has just one priority for your life: SPIRITUAL FRUIT.
Check out how John 15 speaks of fruit.
At the beginning of verse 2, Jesus tells us what God does with the branch that does not bear fruit. He takes it away. Then it tells us what God does with the branch that does bear fruit. He prunes it so that it might bear more fruit. Then in verse 5, Jesus plainly says that he is the vine and we are the branches. If we abide in him and he in us we will bear much fruit. Don’t miss the progression of the text. God wants to move you from bearing no fruit, to bearing fruit, to bearing more fruit, to bearing much fruit. God’s goal for your life is that you will bear actual, added, abundant, and abiding fruit to his glory. God the Gardner is working to make our lives fruitful for him by uniting us to the true vine – The Lord Jesus Christ. We do not and cannot do anything to produce fruit in our lives. Fruitfulness is what God does in us because of our union to Christ. Our lives are fruitful for God only as we let Jesus live in us, just like the branch gets its life from being connected to the vine.