19
Jan
09

Producing Fruit

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

John 15:1-2 

 

AGREE/DISAGREE: The validity of our salvation should be evaluated based upon whether we produce godly fruit in our lives.

 

Producing Fruit

 

grapes2Are you bearing any fruit in your life as a Christian? What do we mean by fruit? Is it demonstrated by something like the number of people you’ve won to Jesus recently or is that just “works”? What exactly is the source of this “fruit” we’re encouraged to produce?

 

In the passage above, Jesus says He is the true vine. Furthermore, we’re to understand the branches to be those who grow in Christ. And to consider the metaphor further, a vine, in and of itself, doesn’t produce fruit effectively unless it is properly cultivated and cared for. That’s where God the Father comes into the picture.

 

God is the vinedresser or gardener. Is there a need for a gardener? Evidently there must be because Jesus says that every branch that doesn’t produce fruit is taken away.  By “taken away”, or as some translations read “lifted up”, this can mean God takes away the deadwood, the branches that do not produce fruit. Another way of considering the verse is that God, as the Master-Gardener, must change the location of some of the branches that hang about the true vine, because in their present state, they impede the rest of the living, fruit producing branches from growing and flourishing. It’s worth noticing that it’s the gardener that does this and not the other fruit bearing branches. That may be a little obvious, but in practice, many well-meaning believers think they must rid the vine of all non-productive branches. That’s not a healthy understanding of this passage.

 

The vinedresser removes and repositions those branches that fail to produce fruit because He knows the difference between a branch that is stunted or dormant, but still very much alive, and a dead stick. God sees what goes on inside our hearts. If we take the meaning of God “taking away” these dead branches as the concept of being removed permanently, for the purpose of destruction, then the picture turns very ominous indeed, but would have to apply to judgment.

 

Weeds in the Crop

 

Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ ”

Matthew 13:24-30

 

wheatIn the picture Jesus presents in this parable, an enemy has sown weeds among the wheat; unproductive, leaching plants among a crop that is meant to produce fruit.  The weeds can be understood as poisonous grasses that look exactly like wheat, but with smaller, black seeds. In the parable, Jesus indicates that irreparable harm would be done if someone attempts to remove the weeds before harvest. As Jesus proceeds to identify the ultimate end of these weeds, clearly the allusion here is to judgement as it is in Matthew 25:31-33, when the sheep are accepted and the goats are rejected.

 

Back in John 15:2, every branch producing fruit is pruned so it can produce more fruit. God graciously and righteously cuts, purges or cleanses away all things that would hamper our production of first quality fruit. God does this to His precious children because sin and other evil influences drain spiritual life from us as believers, making the life we live for Christ less than what it is designed to be.  

 

 

Producing godly fruit is only possible if we abide in the true vine, Jesus Christ. The best definition I find in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary for “abide” is to endure without yielding. As for being pruned, it’s never fun, and often hurts tremendously, but God is a skilled vinedresser and the end results are always a significant improvement in the quality of life we live for Jesus.

 

Fruit Inspectionmageye

 

Take some time to do some “fruit inspection”.

What areas in your life are you able to see fruit produced? 

Are you able to identify the godly fruit?

Do you ever find yourself zealously trying to uproot the weeds in God’s vineyard?

Are you well connected to and abiding in the true vine of Jesus Christ?

What might you do to better endure without yielding?

What areas do you think God is pruning in your life to increase the production?

How do you respond to that pruning when it comes — complaining or rejoicing?

 

God Bless and Grace 2 U.

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