Sunday, February 17, 2008

Are you Bearing Fruit Yet?

John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. (English Standard Version)

Yes. I guess that you could say that this story never gets old for me. We've just read the story of the Fig tree, and the judgement that was imposed on it for not bearing fruit. And yet, there's another story in the Bible with the same message. "Bear fruit, or else..." Well, what are you waiting for? Obviously the story or message is an important one to have it repeated over and over again in the New Testament.

Let's go over the verses again more closely, and let's see what we know. Jesus is the speaker, and he is calling Himself the true vine. Could there be other vines? Imposters? I think the implications are there that yes, there could be other vines, but the true vine is the only vine that matters. Jesus states also that His Father - God is the vinedresser. The One who walks throughout the garden and inspects the branches. Who searches for the good and for the bad. It is God who removes those branches that are attached to the vine, that are not producing. Remember the Fig tree? Why should the tree be left to use up the soil when it is not producing fruit? Why then should the branch be allowed to remain in the vine if it is not producing fruit? It is God who tenderly prunes those branches that are producing fruit. Why? To enable and encourage them to bear more fruit. What a neat idea. We should always challenge ourselves to bear more fruit. We should never be satisfied to just bear a little. God allows us and enables us to bear as much as we can. To continue to develop and mature so that we can always continue to bear more and more. God is awesome!

See also what prunes us, what cleans us. Jesus' words. Read His words, and listen to God through His word. Allow His word to work on us, and to clean us of every evil fruit, every dead branch that we support. Allow Him to prune us and clean us so that we can produce the good fruit, and so that we can continue to bear even more fruit.

We are encouraged to abide in the vine, and the vine will continue to support us. The only way that we, the branches can bear fruit is by remaining in the vine. We cannot bear ourselves. We cannot support ourselves. We cannot bear fruit on our own. We can do nothing on our own.

Again, we see the stern warning that if we choose to fail to bear fruit, then we will be cut off -- separated from the vine, and cast away and later burned. Again, it is implied that only for a little while will we be allowed live in the vine before we are inspected and expected to bear fruit.

My prayer is that we are found in the one and only true vine. There are imposters out there, so we must be sure. That our respect and love toward God would cause us to glorify Him by producing much fruit. That we would never be satisfied with only producing "just enough to get by", but that our goal would be that we should strive to always bear as much fruit as we can, and then some. Give God the glory and honor that He deserves.

Are you listening to what God is saying in His Word?

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