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Title: How to Be Fruitful (1)
Scripture: John 15:1-17

Introduction

When Jesus said, “I chose you…that you might…bear fruit-fruit that will last.”

He was saying, “Spend your life in pursuit of that which has lasting significance and value!

What does He mean by “fruit”?

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV).

Those nine qualities describe the only life that’s truly worth living.

Fortunately, you’re not left to produce this kind of fruit by self-effort.

Indeed, you may as well try to pick yourself up by your own bootstraps!

No, Jesus said this, “I am the true vine, and by my Father there is the Gardner.

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… 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 you remain in Me, and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:1-2,4-5 NIV).

Who is Jesus speaking to? Believers.

“Every branch in Me (v.2 NIV).

Who is the Gardner?

“My Father is the Gardner” (v.1 NIV)

What’s His goal?

For you to be “even more fruitful” (v.2 NIV).

What is the secret of fruitfulness?

Constant contact and intimacy with Jesus.

“If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit” (v.5 NIV).

So, if you want to be more fruitful, draw closer to the Lord.

Time in the Word

When it comes to what we have uncovered in the Introduction it leads us in Scripture to John 15:1-17 where we find the Word of God to speak about Jesus being the vine and His followers being the branches.

Let’s look deeper at this and see how it affects today in our lives…

15 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 

You see, the grapevine is a prolific plant; a single vine support numerous branches and bears many grapes.

In the Old Testament, grapes symbolize Israel’s fruitfulness in doing God’s work on the earth (Psalm 80:8; Isaiah 5:1-7; Ezekiel 19:10-14).

In the Passover meal, the fruit of the vine symbolized God’s goodness to His people.

So thinking about this, it means that Christ is the vine, and God is the gardener who cares for the branches to make them fruitful.

The branches are those who claim to be followers of Christ.

The fruitful branches are true believers who by their living union with Christ produce much fruit.

But those who become unproductive – those who turn back from following Christ after making a superficial commitment – will be separated from the vine.

Unproductive followers are as good as dead and will be cut off and tossed aside.

Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He [a]prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already [b]clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 

Jesus makes a distinction between two kinds of pruning; cutting off and cutting back branches.

Fruitful branches are cut back to promote growth.

In other words, God must sometimes discipline us to strengthen our character and faith.

But branches that don’t near fruit are cut off at the trunk not only because they are worthless but also because they often infect the rest of the tree.

People who don’t bear fruit for God or who try to block the efforts of God’s followers will be cut off from His lifegiving power.

Remain in Me, [c]and I in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit [d]of itself [e]but must remain in the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; the one who remains in Me, and I in him [f]bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 

“Fruit” refers to number of different things that will be evident in a believer’s life.

In this chapter, answered prayer, joy, and love are mentioned as fruit (John 15:7, 11-12).

Galatians 5:22-24; 2 Peter 1:5-8 describe additional fruit; qualities of Christian character.

If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown away like a branch and dries up; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 

Remaining in Christ means believing that He is God’s Son (1 John 4:15) receiving Him as Savior and Lord (John 1:12), doing what God says (1 John 3:24) continuing to believe the Good News (1 John 2:24), and relating in love to the community of believers, Christ’s body (John 15:12).

If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so [g]prove to be My disciples.

Many people try to be good, honest people who do what is right.

But Jesus says that the only way to live a truly good life is to stay close to Him, like a branch attached to the vine.

Apart from Christ our efforts are unfruitful.

Are you receiving the nourishment and life offered by Christ, the vine?

If not, you are missing a special gift He has for you.

When a vine produces “much fruit,” God is glorified, for daily He sent the sunshine and rain to make the crops grow, and constantly He nurtured each tiny plant and prepared it to blossom.

What a moment of glory for the Lord of the harvest when the harvest is brought into the barns, mature and ready for use!

He made it all happen!

This farming analogy shows how God is glorified when people come into a right relationship with Him and begin to “produce fruit” in their lives.

 Just as the Father has loved Me, I also have loved you; remain in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

When things are going well, we feel elated.

When hardships come, we might sink into depression.

But true joy transcends the rolling waves of circumstance.

Joy comes from a consistent relationship with Jesus Christ.

When our lives are intertwined with His, He will help us walk through adversity without sinking into debilitating lows and manage prosperity without moving into deceptive highs.

The joy of living with Jesus Christ daily will keep us levelheaded, no matter how might or low our circumstances.

Disciples’ Relation to Each Other

12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13 Greater loves have no one than this, that a person will lay down his life for his friends. 

We are to love each other as Jesus loved us, and He loved us enough to give His life for us.

We may not have to die for someone, but there are other ways to practice sacrificial love: listening, helping, encouraging, and giving.

Think of someone who needs this kind of love today.

Give all the love you can, and then try to give a little more.

14 You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, because all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. 

Because Jesus Christ is Lord and Master, He should call us servants; instead, He calls us friends.

How comforting and reassuring to be chosen as Christ’s friends!

We owe Him our unqualified obedience, but Jesus asks us to obey Him because we love Him.

16 You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. 

Jesus made the first choice – to love us and to die for us, to invite us to live with Him forever.

We make the next choice – to accept or reject His offer.

Without His choice, we would have no choice to make.

17 This I command you, that you love one another.

Christians will get plenty of hatred from the world; from each other we need love and support.

Do you allow small problems to get in the way of loving other believers?

Jesus commands that you love them, and He will give you the strength to do it.

What our world needs is a lot more brotherly and sisterly love.

We get caught up in life and forget about the commitment we gave to our love of Christ.

The final question is, if I were to look at your words and actions, would I see this type of love.

Are you loving and helping your brothers and sisters in Christ in this way?

If it isn’t why not commit today to being a follower of Christ’s Word and doing what is right according to His Word through prayer and supplication?

We need each other, why not start today to let this be seen in all your actions and words instead of letting your love of Christ being covered as it is today?