God's Purpose of Bearing Fruit
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 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. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 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.”
The Lord has grafted us into Himself for a purpose. From the time we receive Christ as our Savior until the time He calls us home, He has a purpose for us here in this life. God has an ordained purpose for you, and that purpose is not that we would live as the Scriptures say,” henceforth to ourselves,” but that we would live unto Him. God places certain men in a full-time ministry of teaching, preaching, studying, and praying over the Word of God. Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:12, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.” He has called pastors, teachers, and evangelists for the perfecting of the saints and the work of the ministry. While we see this on occasion, recognize that every member is to be a minister and every saint is to be a servant. God has called each of us to bear spiritual fruit. If we are going to understand this, we need to recognize some of the truths from God’s Word.
The Provision of Christ
First of all, we need to see the provision of Christ for each one of us. How does Christ make our purpose different than someone without Christ? Since we cannot bear fruit of ourselves, we need to recognize who Jesus is and what He provides. ”I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
What is the provision of Christ? Although Christ offers us many provisions, there are two that are given for the specific action of bearing fruit. The first one is His truth. In John 17:17, Jesus said, ”Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” He speaks the truth through His Word every day. There is no way that we can have spiritual vitality apart from Him. He is the true vine.
Not only do we find provision in His truth, but also in His life. He gave His life on the cross of Calvary, and by rising from the dead He continues to give us life and sustenance today. The term “true vine” means that He is the genuine vine. He is the way to receive spiritual life and spiritual sustenance. We cannot bear spiritual fruit apart from Jesus Christ. He is the true vine, the source of spiritual life for all Christians.
Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ …” This means that his old nature was nailed to the cross. He continues to say, “nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Christ gives us His life to live. When you ask Jesus to be your Savior, He saves you from Hell for all of eternity, and He gives you a purpose for life today. Christ is living in you if you are saved, and He’s living in you by the person of His Spirit. Paul says, “…Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
The Process of Christian Growth
Once someone accepts Christ as his Savior, God says that His will is that he would begin to grow. ”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)
To grow, we must first be in Christ. Two specific ways of growth are purging and abiding. Purging removes the impurities from our lives. The Father is the husbandman, which means He has authority over the branches and is capable of helping us to grow in the Christian life. He will lovingly prune our lives that we may bear more fruit.
The goal of God’s purging and pruning in my life is to clean and purify my life of wrong motives and sin that would hinder the testimony of Jesus Christ. Sometimes God will clean us through His Word. John 15:3 says, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” God also purifies our lives through trials. The Bible says in Hebrews 12:5, “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him.” When trials come, many Christians quit attending church or reading the Word of God because they are unable to face what is going on. God says, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”(Hebrews 12:6)
A few years ago, I called a pastor friend and was telling him about some problems and trials I was having. It was difficult to share these things with him. At the end of the conversation, he said, “Just hearing these problems you have been having, Brother Chappell, makes me so happy.” I thought, “My problems make you happy. Why do my problems make him happy?” I will never forget what he said next, “God wouldn’t allow this purging and these trials into your life unless He was going to allow you to bear more fruit as a Christian.” Pruning is a process whereby we are disciplined to become more like Christ and to conform to the image of Christ and to follow the ways of Christ. Pruning will make a way for us to have greater growth in the future.
The second way to grow is abiding in Christ. If you want to grow in Christ, then be faithful to the Word of God, faithful to the house of God, daily abiding with Jesus Christ. The Bible likens the Christian life to being planted by a river of water. “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:3)
The word “abide” means to remain with Him. The problem with most Christians today in America is that we want instant gratification. We want to pray once and have it answered. God does not always work this way. God wants people who remain in Him daily. Be rooted and grounded in Christ that you might abide with Him in your Christian life. “Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Colossians 2:7-8)
The Purpose of the Christian Life
“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”(John 15:8)The purpose of the Christian is to bear fruit. This is not our fruit; it is the fruit of Christ –born of Christ, and brought about by His Spirit, through the vine, and to the branches.
The chief end of man, the ultimate purpose of man, is to glorify God. The secular humanist philosophy in our educational systems today teaches, “The chief end of man is man.” The Bible says that the reason we are here is to glorify our Creator. Thank God that through Christ we can bear fruit that glorifies our Father.
Spiritual fruit is an eternal fruit, and God wants us to bear much of it. What is this fruit of which we speak? You cannot bear this fruit until you are grafted in with the Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot receive His Spirit until you receive His Son. When a man receives Christ as his Savior, he receives God’s Spirit, and God’s Holy Spirit begins to bear fruit through you. “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. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22-25)
Notice that it says “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace …” It does not say, “the fruits of the Spirit.” It is not a list to check off when you have mastered one. All of these attributes are manifested in the life of a person that is controlled or filled by the Holy Spirit. Someone who is allowing Christ’s life to flow through them and is yielding to the Spirit will evidence that Spirit-filled life. It is the fruit that only God can bring.
A lady some time ago said, “My husband can be so nice when he wants to be, but he just never wants to be.”
That is how we are in our fleshly nature. We just do not want to do what is right. God’s Holy Spirit flowing through us will bring about this fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:25 says, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” God’s purpose for our lives is that we would bear much fruit –spiritual fruit, the kind that is only born because of Him.