Summary: We are either producing good fruit, bad fruit, or no fruit.
JOHN 15:1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He 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. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain 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. 5"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.
What do you think of when you hear the word "fruit"? A snack? Your favorite fruit? How about a cherry cheesecake? YUM! If you do a search of the word fruit in the Bible, you will see it mentioned many, many times. Sometimes it’s talking about olives or figs...even grapes.
The most fequent translation in the original Greek/Hebrew has a symbolic meaning. For instance, all crops are considered to be the "fruit of the earth". I’m hoping Sister Denman decides to plant that garden again this year so I can enjoy some of those fruits! Children are refered to as the "fruit of the womb". The Bible also says that your words are the "fruit of the mouth".
People in both ancient and modern times use the word fruit to define results, products, outcomes, or achievements. If you have a job, you must be productive to earn your wages...unless maybe if you have a government job (just kidding). You have to work hard, fast, and smart so you can "get ’er done" for your employer. He has to be able to see the "fruits" of your labor so he can justify paying you. You see, usually your employer has a lot invested in you. Training, benefits, taxes....your employer wants you to succeed! He does not want you to fail...it is better for him if you do what you are supposed to do and bear fruit.
Did you know that God measures your character by your fruits? MAT 12:33"Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You are known by what fruit you produce. Now here’s the key point I want you to understand.....you are doing one of three things in your life right now.
1. Bearing good fruit like you are commanded to do 2. Bearing bad fruit that is not benificial to anyone 3. Bearing no fruit
Which category do you fit into? Let’s define these a little more. First, God’s main concern for all of us is that we bear good fruit. It’s the wise way, the smart way. Look in JAMES 3:13Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
The text first tells us about "bad" fruits....it gives us a list of what NOT to do...and then it tells us how we can bear "good" fruits. Look at vs 17. It’s talking about wisdom here...we all could use more of that! We are to be "full of good fruit"! Not just a little. Do you remember what Jesus did to the fig tree that was barren? So OK, "preach’a"...what exactly IS good fruit? Let’s look at what the Bible says.
First of all, we need to understand that only God can decide if your fruit is good or not. You can’t argue that you have good fruit with God...He is the final authority. MAT 7:20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. 21"Not everyone who says to me, ’Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ’Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ’I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Listen, you may think you are producing good fruit....but it is only good fruit if God says it is. It’s not by your standard that your fruit is measured, but by God’s standards. These people in this text thought they were doing everything right. Prophecy, miracles, driving out demons...probably even speaking in tongues.....but Jesus not only says that He never knew them, He also calls them "evil-doers" or "workers of inequities". Remember, it’s His standards, not ours!