Summary: Jesus tells us how to bear fruit that will last.
We are called to reject religion & place our faith in Christ, so we might experience real life, enter into real relationship, understand real truth, know real power, enjoy real freedom & live a life of real significance. The key verse in our passage for today is John 15:16. As we look to what Jesus tells us about how to bear fruit that will last, we will seek to answer three questions:
1. What is the fruit that will last? Some thoughts from Scripture:
A. The fruit of our lips - Confession of Christ.
“Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.” - Hebrews 13:15 (Amplified)
B. The fruit of the Spirit - Character of Christ.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” - Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)
C. The fruit of our lives - Conversions to Christ.
“I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to visit you, but I was prevented until now. I want to work among you and see spiritual fruit, just as I have seen among other Gentiles.” - Romans 1:13 (NLT)
We can take these things with us into eternity; and what better things could be said of us at the conclusion of life than we lived for Christ, lived like Christ, and led others to Christ? Jesus says the secret to bearing lasting fruit is the same secret to getting connected to Him in the first place - vs. 4-5. This is consistent with the rest of Scripture:
“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.” - Colossians 2:6 (NLT)
“For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” - Romans 1:17 (NIV)
If our life is going to be one of significance, it will only be as we maintain our connection to Christ, for He is our source of life (v. 5b). Notice that we don’t “produce” fruit, we “bear” fruit.
“Fruit-bearing is not a matter of being strong or weak, good or bad, brave or cowardly, clever or foolish, experienced or inexperienced. Whatever your gifts, accomplishments, or virtues, they cannot
produce fruit if you are detached from Jesus Christ. Christians who think they are bearing fruit apart from the Vine are only tying on artificial fruit. They run around grunting and groaning to produce fruit but accomplish nothing. Fruit is borne not by trying, but by abiding.” - John MacArthur
2. How do we draw on Christ’s strength? Three things:
A. Choose to surrender - v. 4
“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him.” - Ephesians 3:16-17 (NLT)
Have you ever been uncomfortable in your own home? Now that Christ has made His home in your heart, is there anything in your life that would keep Christ from being “at home” there (1 John 1:9)?
B. Apply the Scripture - v.7
Two application questions:
1) So what?
2) Now what?
C. Obey the Savior - v. 10
“Our Lord told His disciples that love and obedience were organically united. The final test of love is obedience.” - A.W. Tozer
3. What kind of branch am I?
A. The branch that bears no fruit - vs. 2a; 6
It is important to understand that while a branch on a grape vine doesn’t have free will, we do. Therefore, we need to understand that as believers whose lives are unfruitful, we have a choice. We can choose:
1) To remain in Christ - v. 2a
A vine puts out new shoots which grow into branches. However, these new branches often grow along the ground; they get covered with dirt and are shaded from the light of the sun. Although they are alive, they can’t produce fruit. The gardener will wash the dirt from the leaves and lift these branches up onto the trellis to get the needed light from the sun. The branch is cleansed, lifted up and trained to grow in a place where it can produce fruit.
The Greek word “airei” translated “cuts off” also means “lift up.”
Some believers are unfruitful because they are laying in the dirt of this world. But if they will choose to surrender, apply the Scripture, and obey the Savior, they can begin to bear fruit for God’s glory.