Tag: bearing fruit
Scripture reading for October 4th: Colossians 1:1-19
The Colossian Church was under attack by false teachers. These teachers were promoting religious rituals and were using mystical techniques to move the church members away from Christ and His holiness. It all seemed good on the surface, but it was not of God or Christ or from the Holy Spirit!
“To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossi: Grace and peace to you from God our Father. We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints–the faith and love that spring from hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the Gospel that has come to you.” (Colossians 1:2-6a) Paul addressed the ‘holy and faithful brothers’ at Colossi. There was evidently a faithful remnant who were truly saved and filled with the love of Christ. Paul told them that he was praying for them with thanksgiving for the work of Christ in them. The Gospel of Christ always produces fruit of love and faith in those that receive it.
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord, and may please Him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you might have great endurance and patience. . .” (Colossians 1:9-11)
I love Paul’s prayers and have often prayed this prayer for myself and others. Paul knew that the best way to love these believers was through prayer. God would give them knowledge of His will as he prayed for them. Paul’s goal was to have them please God, living a life of good works that would bear fruit. The best way to keep them from the false teachers was to pray that the Truth would flood their souls! Why not take time today to pray this prayer for yourself or a loved one? It’s a good way to stay ‘holy and faithful’!
Scripture reading for May 26th: John 15:1-27
The teaching of Jesus about the Vine would have been a familiar theme to students of the Old Testament. In Isaiah 5:1-7 we have a prophetic song of the vineyard that spoke of Israel as the vineyard of the Lord and the men of Judah as His delightful plant. (Isaiah 5:7) God’s complaint was that the vine of Israel was unfruitful in obedience to the Lord because they broke His commands. Jesus, in this last night of teaching, stated that He was the true Vine and that His disciples were the branches.
“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.” This parable was very easy to understand in the Hebrew culture and in many cultures around the world because grapes are grown in many places. God is the Gardener and Jesus is the True Vine because He is the only begotten Son of God. He came in perfect obedience to the Father and would bear much fruit. God as owner of the Vineyard is looking for fruit and prunes the vine for maximum fruitfulness.
“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. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to My Father’s glory, that you produce much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.” (John 14:5-8) Jesus stressed the importance of abiding in Him. It was only through a relationship with Him that they would produce fruit. They would have access to ask the Father for whatever they needed, and God would grant it. What a promise to those who stayed attached!
Scripture reading for November 4th: John 13-17
Several years ago, I planted two grape vines in my back yard along the fence. I had used these potted vines as a sermon illustration of Jesus’ teaching in John 15. I studied grapes and found that they were one of the most widely grown crops in the world. There are many different varieties and colors and people love to eat them fresh, as juice, or as wine. They also need cultivation and tending to be the most fruitful and healthy. Dead and diseased branches need trimmed off and the vines trained to grow in the arbor. The branches are not good for anything but producing fruit. They will not make lumber but are only good for burning.
Jesus used this great agricultural example to teach his disciples about their need to stay attached to Him! Jesus said that He is the true vine and the disciples are branches. If they would just “abide” in Him and allow His Word to “abide” in them, they would produce much fruit. (John 15:7) Being a branch is all about “abiding”! Abiding branches ask the Father for what they need, and He answers! We must stay attached and draw our nutrients from the vine and its roots. It doesn’t sound too hard to understand! A branch that doesn’t remain attached is good for nothing but the fire!
Jesus also went on to say that His Father is the gardener who tends the vine. (John 15:1) The gardener’s job is to keep the vine healthy and producing fruit. Jesus’ Word is the means of pruning His branches. All fruitless branches are pruned off to keep from wasting precious nutrients so that those branches that are abiding could use those nutrients to produce fruit. Fruitful branches are pruned and trained to maximize fruit production. God is glorified when His branches produce much fruit! (John 15:8) Branches that produce no fruit are trimmed off and are good for nothing but the fire. These are like people who refuse to abide in the vine and think that they can make it on their own.
As a sermon illustration this year, I took a branch off this grape vine. It had grown in 4 years to nearly 20 feet long and covered a section of a wooden fence that I planted it near. I put the branch in water and brought it to church. One branch had 12 clusters of grapes on it and a second branch had none! I had cut them off and after just one hour, the were already wilted. It is amazing how quickly they die without attachment!
The lesson for us is plain and simple. We must stay attached to the vine and also bear fruit. This takes a relationship with God through His Word and prayer! He wants fruit that will last for eternity! What a privilege to bear precious fruit for eternal life! Are you securely attached and producing?