John 15, Are You Bearing Fruit (audio file for download)
The next two weeks we are looking at two passages of scripture related to our lives as believers and our life as a church. The goal is to prepare us for our first ministry/committee day next Sunday. The reason I want to prepare us this way is two fold. 1. I want us to evaluate honestly where we are as a church, but in doing that, I don’t want us to fall into the trap of thinking that we can apply some type of gimmick to our church and see “results” I want us to be grounded in the Word as we pursue ministry as a Church. 2. I want to make sure we are on the same page when it comes to what we are called to as a body, and how we are going about doing that. We need to be clear on both the mission and the method.
Before we get into the passage, I want you to reflect on something for a minute. Before I ask the question I think it would be right to define the terms. When I talk about fruit that is mentioned in this context, it is a metaphor. What I mean by fruit, and what I believe God means when he says fruit is, “anything done in your life, or the life of another that displays the supernatural work of God.” This includes but is not limited to the fruit of the spirit. It can extend to encouraging conversations about Christ with another Church ember, as well as leading someone to faith in Christ. The main thing is that it is something you know happened because of the power of God, not your effort.
So the question is: Is your life bearing fruit for the kingdom? Not, has your life ever born fruit for the kingdom? Is there something you can point to and say, “God used me to bear fruit for Him, last week”?….. I am sure many of you can, and thats great. I am not sure if you are like me of not, but if you are you probably feel like you don’t bear fruit as often as you could, or should.
So whether you feel like you are not bearing fruit, or if you are desiring to bear more fruit, today will be a reminder to us, both as individuals, and as a body. A reminder that bearing fruit matters to Jesus, and instruction as to how it happens.
Before we go any further, lets read the text: John 15:1-11
Our lives are meant to bear fruit. God Cares about Results
There is an expectation of true Christians that you are making an impact for the Kingdom. v. 8 and the other scriptures we read.
Jesus has harsh words for those who do not bear fruit.
This should sober us.
We Bear fruit By Abiding In Christ. God Provides Results.
The good news is that when you are connected to Christ, you will bear fruit.
The answer is not to try harder to bear fruit, the answer is to get connected to Christ.
Practically speaking this is exactly what we talked about last week. You must respond to Jesus, you must keep responding to Jesus, and you must keep on keeping on responding to Jesus. This involves first of all an acceptance of Christ as your savior.
But think with me for a second about the phrase that Jesus uses to describe how we are to bear fruit. it is by abiding in Him. He wants all of our lives, and all of our hearts, all our thoughts, and actions and interactions to be bound up, and wrapped up, in Him. All our efforts, all our hopes, all our dreams, all our decisions need to be abiding in Him. If you and I want to bear fruit in our lives we don’t need a new program, or a twelve step process, we need to get our lives into Jesus. We need to move from a fan to a follower. We need to take up our cross and follow Him. That means our daily routines change, that means our activities may change. It may not mean that your activities change, but it most assuredly means that why you do them changes. Ill tell you what it means for me to abide in Him when I have a really difficult customer. it means that instead of getting really frustrated and cussing them out like I may be tempted to do when they as me to keep working on their house at 8:30 at night when I have an hour and a half drive ahead of me, I say, yes sir, I will do that for you. it means that I don’t get frustrated and upset at difficulty, it means that I realize that He is using a difficult situation to bear some type of fruit in my life. he is working something that I cannot see. It means that instead of getting upset with my situation, I go to Him to be with me in the midst of it. Now, I don’t do this perfectly, but He is helping me with this. That is what He is showing me it means to abide in Him more. I cant say all the ways it looks for you to abide in Him, but I can tell you if you are looking for a place to start, scripture study, and prayer are great places to start. God also gave us a family called the Church to help us to abide in Him. I mean if you go to the next verse in this passage, he says, my commandment is that you love one another. Nothing in our lives will cause us to abide in Him like the commandment to Love one another.
Bearing Fruit is ultimately about our Joy. We get to rejoice in the results.
So, why all this fruit bearing? What is the big deal? Well, if you look at verse 11, he spells it out clearly, it is for the fullness of our joy. I know this may seem a little strange to some of you, but think about it this way. God made us to have fullness of Joy. We are creatures that He created for joy.
Blaise Pascal Said it well I think when he observed:“All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.”
Here is the thing that is true about us based on this and more importantly the truth of scripture: We are built to seek joy, and true joy can only be found by abiding in Christ. When we do that, we will bear fruit for Him.
I want to give us time once again to respond to what God may be doing in our hearts through this word. During this time, let us ask the Holy Spirit to show us how we can make the step to abide more fully in Him.