Summary: God’s plan for your life isn’t that you’ll be successful. Instead, He wants you to be fruitful.
This is the final message in the series “GRACE-FRUIT: Jesus Living in Me.” Over the past nine weeks we’ve examined the nine flavors of the Fruit of the Spirit. In order to put the Fruit of the Spirit in the full context of Galatians, let’s read Galatians 5:22-25:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:19-25)
The Fruit of the Spirit is such an important list in the New Testament that when we were designing this Worship Center about 15 years ago, I noticed there were nine doors entering the building, so I suggested we name each door after a Fruit of the Spirit. The Building Committee thought it was a good idea. So, you’ve probably noticed each door has a different name of the Fruit of the Spirit over it.
These nine traits should be evident in the personality of every Christian. Over the past nine weeks I’ve spoken mostly about the WHAT—what are those nine characteristics? In this message I want to talk about the HOW—how we can we live a life that demonstrates those nine positive characteristics. I’m calling “The Secret to a Fruitful Life.” But it’s not a secret at all: in fact, it’s in the second part of the title of this series. The Key is Jesus living in me.
In John 15, Jesus tells us HOW to live a fruitful life. Have you ever seen those movies about a nuclear powered sub that is going to launch a missile? In order to launch the missile, both the Captain and the XO have to insert two keys into the launch director and turn them at the same time. It takes both of those keys to launch the missile. When you combine the key of John 15 with the key of Galatians 5, you are ready to launch out in the exciting adventure of life full of the Fruit of the Spirit!
Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He 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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain 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. 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.” (John 15:1-5)
Jesus spoke these words the night before He was crucified. He knew His time left on earth was short. He would be crucified, resurrected, and after forty days, would ascend back to His Father. The disciples would no longer have Jesus physically present with them. But Jesus promised them something—or Someone—even better. He promised He would send the Holy Spirit to live in the disciples, and the Holy Spirit would bear witness to Jesus. He would empower the believers to demonstrate the personality of Jesus, the Fruit of the Spirit. Here are four life-changing truths that Jesus shared about living a fruitful life.
1. Fruit is proof of my relationship with Jesus
When you buy fruit in the grocery store, you see a little sticker on it. That means somewhere between the tree and the store, someone inspected that piece of fruit. When it comes to people, Jesus said we are all to be fruit-inspectors. In Matthew 7:16 He said, “By their fruit you will recognize them.”
God’s plan for your life isn’t that you’ll be successful. Instead, He wants you to be fruitful. Jesus said, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:8) The best way you can live a life that gives glory to God is to bear much fruit. Jesus said that your fruitfulness is PROOF you are His disciple. We sometimes say, “The proof is in the pudding.” When it comes to the Christian life, the proof is in the fruit!
Christian fruit is expressed in two different ways. In one sense, the fruit of a Christian is another Christian. It involved spiritual reproduction. Inside an apple there are apple seeds, and in each seed there is the potential for an apple tree that will, in turn, produce many more apples. God’s first command to Adam and Eve was to “Be fruitful and multiply.” That’s still God’s plan for us—that we should be involved in leading other people to faith in Jesus Christ. The reason this church is here is because someone planted gospel seeds in the lives of people who planted more seeds of the gospel, and we’re experiencing the harvest of fruitful Christians who have come before us. Are you planting seeds of the gospel wherever you go? Can you point to someone and acknowledge that you planted the seeds of the gospel into their life? The fruit of a Christian is another Christian.