Summary: In the greatest command of all, Jesus says, “Love each other”. He commands us to go and be fruit that will last, and above all, “Love each other”.
The Vine and the Branches (What is Spiritual Fruit?)
Tonight we will tackle an important question for all believers
Critical: “What does it look like to live like a Christian?”
If you’ve never asked yourself this before, perhaps tonight will help you
∆ What is spiritual fruit?
IMP: The true vine is not the church – it is Jesus
The gardener would be referring to God (Greek: georgos; meaning farmer)
The vine would be referring to Israel: Psalm 80:14-15, “O God of hosts, turn again now, we beseech You; Look down from heaven and see, and take care of this vine, even the shoot which Your right hand has planted, and on the son whom You have strengthened for Yourself.”
Jesus lists and shows us three types of believers here
• Those who bear fruit
• Those who bear some fruit
• Those who bear much fruit
Now, what is fruit? How does the Bible define fruit?
Fruit is NOT defined as evangelism or bringing others to Christ
IMP: It is an easy slope to fall down; as if soul winning is only fruit (false)
What is fruit? Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
This is not a passage on salvation; but on living for Christ
Those who are referred to have already been reborn – this is application
When we remain in Christ, we are abiding – we are content, satisfied
The true Christian will want more of Him, not more of what exalts yourself
To be content in Christ is the greatest accomplishment we could desire
Consider: What if we prayed more; read more; or desired more of God?
Jesus says (v5) that He is the vine, and we are the branches
A branch cannot survive if it is of the vine … it will wither and die out
When plugged into the vine, we thrive and live more fully
So Jesus says, if you remain in me, YOU will bear much fruit
So, how do we handle v6 and the implications of being tossed away?
One word: carefully! Let’s explore this intent from the words used
FACT: Christians who are saved cannot lose their salvation
This lends more weight to losing rewards in eternity – still saved but …
1 Cor 3:15, “If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved--even though only as one escaping through the flames.”
Consider APP: Imagine God’s disappointment for choosing to disobey Him
A father gives good things, but He still withholds rewards for disobedience
It is the same concept – while salvation is not removed, reward may be
Now, why would a loving God do that?
Sunday: Because He is a just, righteous, and Holy God
And … it is to the Father’s glory that we are to live rightly for Him (v8)
∆ How does God love us?
So, Jesus gives them very explicit directions on how to live (v9)
HUGE: God loved Him; He has shown us that love; now remain there
If we do what Jesus has told us to do, we will remain in Him
Re: Every lesson to date has been done to show us the Father’s glory
And we’ve been told these things so our joy would be complete
Being a Christian is not a life of rules, regulations, and legalistic views
It is a life of JOY; a life that brings us reward that surpasses what we want
Consider: Jesus regenerated in the tomb and He is alive
How much more will what He brings us be than what we desire?
Then, Jesus really piles it on for us to soak in (re-read v12-15)
We are no longer slaves, we are called into friendship with God
A slave has no idea what the master is doing … or even WHY he does it
Jesus gives us every reason for why He does what He does
To bring glory to the Father, who is so deserving
So consider, what has God done for you? He has laid down His life.
Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
And in this, even in the suffering, He says “you are my friend”
Now, this doesn’t mean we get easy with our familiarity – He is still LORD
But, it does mean that we have been brought in close to who He is … why?
So that everything He has made known to you God has told Jesus to tell you
APP: Our understanding of God can be so finite (small), it is just the surface
But Jesus not only tells us who He is, He shows it AND gives us the “why”