Victorious Fruit Bearing
- Results that Remain -
“But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” Luke 8:15
It is erroneous to believe that one is right with G
od when there is no fruit to evidence such. In many circles today, eternal security is sold to the unknowing as something people irrevocably receive as a guarantee no matter what their behavior is like after that initial “decision for Christ.” Is this what Jesus and His apostles taught?
“These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots.” Jude 12
The theme of the book of Jude involves apostates (those who left their faith in Christ after having saving faith – 1 Tim. 4:1). Let’s observe a portion of what Jude says concerning those he addresses who were at one time saved and departed from the LORD:
- “trees whose fruit withereth” – these people obviously had fruit. This we know because it says that the fruit they had “withereth.”
- “without fruit” – some were fruitless instead of fruitful.
- “twice dead” – these apostates he addresses were like all men - born dead in their trespasses and sins. They obviously got saved and then died spiritually again due to not continuing in their relationship with the LORD.
- “plucked up by the roots” – a plant that is not first planted cannot be “plucked up by the roots.” It would be absurd to say that the plant (represents people) addressed here was not first planted in the kingdom. No plant could possibly be uprooted if it were not first planted in the ground. In the same way, no person could be removed from the vineyard of the LORD having not first been planted their by Him.
An authentic walk with the LORD is characterized and authenticated by the bearing of good fruit (Gal. 5:16, 22-23). When we flourish in our relational walk with the precious Savior, He grants us His enabling grace and we are able to bear His fruit.
Conversely, if the person once saved does not abide in Christ he forfeits the forgiveness he once received (2 Pet. 1:9-11). We are not free to live in sin and remain justified (Matt. 1:21; Jn. 1:29; Rom. 6:1-2, 15; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Jn. 3:1-15). God dealt with sin at the cross when Jesus “who knew no sin” became sin for us in order to redeem us (2 Cor. 5:21). At the cross the Father momentarily turned His holy face from Christ who had become sin for us (Matt. 27:46).
Why did Jesus Christ come and die?
“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:14
Burned or Blessed
Fruit is the proof that there is relationship.
Regrettably, some want to believe they are insulated from judgment whether they continue to trust Christ or not. Jesus gave the promise of eternal assurance to those who are currently in relationship with Him and also guaranteed that those who do not abide (remain, continue) with Him will become spiritually “withered” and “cast…into the fire, and they are burned.”
Notice the curse pronounced upon those who do not continue with Jesus and the abundant blessings for those who do:
“If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” John 15:6-8
Obviously it is possible for “a man” to “abide not” in the relationship with the Vine (Jesus) or such a statement would never have been made by our LORD. Let’s look at two of the blessings bestowed upon the lives of those who abide in Christ:
- Answered prayer – “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
- Fruitfulness – “that ye bear much fruit.”
Bearing fruit in God’s kingdom is very important to Him, and in particular, fruit that remains. Fruit bearing is the premium measure of His abiding and sanctifying presence and work in each of His saints. He produces His holy and good fruit as the believer abides in fellowship with and obedience to Him. In Scripture we never witness the slightest hint that abiding is an automatic and salvation an involuntarily fixed state. The initial and perpetual involvement of the recipient is required by the One who so loved that He gave. Like a good farmer, the LORD told us that He prunes or purges His own so that they bear even greater fruit whereby He is glorified.
“…every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” John 15:2
So, the child of God should rejoice that He is being purged. It reveals that the LORD is pruning him to be a vessel to bear even more of His fruit.
The Vine also tells us in John 15 of the end of those who do not remain or “abide” in Him.
“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away…If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. “ John 15:2, 6
According to the LORD Jesus Christ, the person who does not continue to love the LORD supremely after He saves that soul, is taken away from the Vine, withered, and cast into the fire to be burned.
Notice closely in the above passage that it is the “man” who does not remain in Christ who is cast forth into the fire and not the branch. Our LORD only uses the imagery of the branch burning to help the hearer understand that He will cast forth into the eternal fires of damnation all who do not bear His fruit on that final Day. God’s Word is full of warning words like these about being burned up in unquenchable fire (Mk. 9:42-49).
Christ speaks in John 15 of “fruit…more fruit…much fruit”, and “that your fruit should remain.”
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” John 15:16
Fruit and fruit that remains is of premium value in the kingdom economy.
Who spoke these words? To whom was he speaking?
It is intriguing to note that John the Baptist spoke these words as he was speaking to men who were highly religious but not righteous in the eyes of God.
“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance. And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father (religious affiliation): for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” Matthew 3:7-10
Didn’t Jesus tell us to know or discern others by their fruits? Also, aren’t we known by others by the fruit our lives bear? (Matt. 7:16, 20) He also informs us: “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” (Matt. 7:19)
We are told to bring forth the real and tangible evidence (fruit) that we have answered the divine call and laid down our lives to follow Christ. The focus, affections, and actions of our lives are to conform to that inward work Christ began in us when He saved us (Phil. 2:12-13). This fruit will be that which is consistent with the grace of God which granted genuine heart repentance. We are dead and our lives are hid with Christ in God (Col. 3:3). We no longer live - He does (Gal. 2:20). The fruit of the true believer will be divine grace at work. His life will be marked by certain landmark, irrefutable characteristics. For the one who is truly in Christ, old things are passed away and all things are become new (2 Cor. 5:17-18).
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10
Recently, I spoke with a man who said he was saved and knew most of the correct things to say. He has been an active member of the most popular evangelical denomination in America, and has been taught that as long as he believes, he is saved. Yet, saving faith is defined much differently in Scripture. Saving faith is always seen in the fruit of the possessor’s daily life. This man’s perspective is all too common.
“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” James 2:19
It’s not enough to just say one has faith. In God’s economy, good fruit is an earmark of kingdom citizenship. Father, please bless us to abide in Christ and to bear His fruit.
“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” John 15:2
The fruit of being born again and remaining in Christ, is always according to Galatians 5:22-23. (love, joy, peace…)
The life that is truly submitted to Christ bears unmistakable telltale fruit. Every one of us can be known by our fruits.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Galatians 5:22-24
Hindrances to Fruitfulness
Jesus has a question for us to ask ourselves - before it is too late:
“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Luke 6:46
Why lie? Why pretend? Not remaining in fellowship with Christ means we are not abiding (remaining) in Him. Living in blatant disobedience to the commands of the LORD is clear evidence that one’s heart is not in fellowship with Him. The lack of fruit is the attestation of the lack of relationship. The existence of good fruit is the verification of a life-giving relationship.
The Alpha and Omega told us exactly why a person becomes unfruitful after hearing the Word.
“And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” Mark 4:16-19
If I have more time to pursue the pleasures of this sinful world than I do to seek the face of the Savior I profess to know, I have deceived myself. The one who truly loves the LORD, counts Jesus more important than all else in this life and wards off the false prophets and temptations that call him to worship at the altar of false gods.
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” James 1:22
In the Mark 4 text above, did you catch the 3 things Christ told us choke out the life of God in us – making us “unfruitful”?
- “Cares of this world”
- “The deceitfulness of riches”
- “The lusts of other things”
- Jesus said that these 3 things “entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” “Unfruitful” here means lacking the fruit consistent with a life that is rooted, grounded, and abiding in Christ and therefore assured and blessed. Beloved, we should stop here to examine whether or not the evidence of our lives reveals us to be real believers. Please show us Jesus!
When I am not putting first His kingdom by seeking His face and doing His will, “the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.”
Remember what the Holy Spirit told us through Jude?
“These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water (have talk but not walk), carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots.” Jude 12
Jude tells us that those who once knew Christ and have since fallen away, have withered fruit that was once healthy, are without fruit, twice dead, and plucked up by the roots. Scary isn’t it?
This world and all the sinfulness in it will soon pass away. The message of holy Writ tells us beforehand that the King of all kings is coming soon and will separate the wheat from the tares, sending the tares to a burning and eternal inferno. Our LORD was intent upon us understanding this truth. In Matthew 13’s account, He summed up His long parabolic discourse concerning the eternal separation of the real and counterfeit (wheat/tares) with these words:
“So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord.” Matthew 13:49-51
Is He Truly “First”?
Truly placing the LORD first in our lives and setting our affections daily upon Him and His kingdom work is paramount to our fruitfulness. What a blessed privilege to know Him and be known of Him! Help us love You more LORD Jesus!
In Matthew 6 Jesus was speaking to us about food and clothing and said “For after all these things do the Gentiles (those who do not have a covenant relationship with the LORD) seek.” (Matt. 6:32) He was conveying to us that is characteristic of those who do not know Him to greedily pursue the menial things of this fleeting life. Then He told us that as we – His children – seek first His kingdom, “all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33) So, is the insatiable, endless appetite and pursuit of that which will perish with the using ever going to fill or satisfy us? What is driving us? What do we lack inside that would drive us to chase that which those who do not know Christ strive after as if there is an answer in those things?
Learning to be thankful and content with what we currently have is not only a test, but it is also essential to kingdom living and the fruit of an abiding life.
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Philippians 4:11
“And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” 1 Timothy 6:8
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5
The secret to keeping our relationship alive with Christ is the daily, ceaseless pursuit of Him with joyful thanksgiving for the “great salvation” He has graciously purchased for us with His own blood (Heb. 2:3, 9). The best defense against evil weeds in the garden of our heart and mind truly is a powerful, militantly advancing offense. As we awake each morning to burst forth in exuberant praise to our God, the enemy is hindered in his work and our day begins with advancing and conquering faith.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
A person only falls into the pursuit of earthly pleasures when he is not seeking first - as his ultimate life priority - the King and His kingdom.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Matthew 6:33-34
If I do not daily seek Him in intimate prayer and in His Word, it is because I am engrossed in self-idolatry, seeking my own selfish ends, and not truly and duly worshipping, and upholding the God who made and bought me. “Ye shall have no other gods before me.” (Exod. 20:3)
Maintaining the “good works”, the disciplines of a holy life that is in communion with Christ, is essential to fruitfulness in God’s kingdom.
“And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.” Titus 3:14
Maintaining the first fruit time of Bible study and prayer communion is indispensable to continuing to keep our lives in vital union with the Vine Himself. Nothing can be more rewarding – now and forever. Rendering to the Master the first minutes of our day, our very initial waking moments, is crucial to abiding close with our Savior.
“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” Mark 1:35
“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” Psalms 5:3
If I don’t spend time with the Father in prayer communion, it must be due to the fact that something or someone else has become more important than Him. Heal our idolatry LORD! If my life is one endless pursuit to fulfill my own needs and desires (spiritual adultery and idolatry), it is because Jesus is not truly my first love. “First” means first.
“Let each day have its value from your calling to abide in Christ. As its light opens on your waking eyes, accept it on these terms: a day, just one day only, but still a day, given to abide and grow up in Jesus Christ. Whether it be a day of health or sickness, joy or sorrow, rest or work, struggle or victory, let the chief thought with which you receive it in the morning thanksgiving be this: ‘This is a day that the Father has given; in it I may, I must, become more closely united to Jesus.’ As the Father asks, ‘Can you trust Me just for this one day to keep you abiding in Jesus, and Jesus keep you fruitful? you cannot help but give the joyful response: ‘I will trust and not be afraid.’” Andrew Murray, Abide In Christ, pgs. 114, 115, Whitaker House
Though they had works which looked good on the outside, the people in the church at Ephesus had faded from upholding Jesus Christ as Head of their lives. This is exactly what inevitably occurs when the believer leaves off to experience Christ in personal communion. To this gathering of believers at Ephesus, Jesus said:
“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” Revelation 2:4-5
The divine promise here is that if we do not repent and return to our first love, God will remove His holy presence (“candlestick”) from our lives - “quickly.”
“They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” Titus 1:16
What’s the real score? Do I genuinely possess a relationship with Him or just profess or pretend to have one?
Our view of the One who is Judge of all is ultra important. He sees not as men see. Men see not as He sees (1 Sam. 16:7; Isa. 55:8-9). Jesus told us that those who are “born again” can “see (perceive) the kingdom of God.” According to how the born again believer lives in and by the Spirit and the Word, he is able to see or view or perceive the things the way God does.
PRAYER: Holy Father, grant my eyes to see and ears to hear what is priority to You. Do Your work in my heart and make me to be a rich and increasingly fruitful field for Your eternal glory. Please fill my heart afresh with Your love. Also, grant me the privilege to help others to be fruitful and that that fruit might remain to the end. LORD Jesus thank You for saving me and for continuing Your good pleasure in my life. I love You. Take full possession of my life Father and produce Your holy fruit in me
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