We want all to come to know Jesus Christ to bear fruit the way Jesus wanted it to be for his followers

 

Those who truly abide will bear fruit. Jesus tells us: "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in me." The person who abides discovers that his soul is nourished with the truths of God as he stays in a close, living, energized relationship with Jesus Christ. The natural result of that is spiritual fruit.

 

Sometimes we think we can bear fruit alone. We become independent because we think we are strong or clever. Or sometimes we look at fruit we have borne in the past and think we can do it alone; we forget God worked through us to produce the fruit.

 

A branch can bear no fruit apart from the vine. Even strong branches can't bear fruit independent of the vine. The strongest branches, cut off from the vine, become as helpless as the weakest; the most beautiful are as helpless as the ugliest, and the best is as worthless as the worst.

Fruit-bearing is not a matter of being strong or weak, good or bad, brave or cowardly, clever or foolish, experienced or inexperienced. Whatever your gifts, accomplishments, or virtues, they cannot produce fruit if you are detached from Jesus Christ.

 

Christians who think they are bearing fruit apart from the Vine are only tying on artificial fruit. They run around grunting and groaning to produce fruit but accomplish nothing. Fruit is borne not by trying, but by abiding.

 

To bear genuine fruit, you must take your place on the Vine and get as close to Jesus as you can. Strip away all the things of the world. Put aside the sins that distract you and sap your energy. Put aside everything that robs you of a deep, personal, loving relationship with Jesus. Stay apart from sin and be in God's Word.

Having done all that, don't worry about bearing fruit. It is not your concern. The Vine will merely use you to bear fruit. Get close to Jesus Christ and His energy in you will bear fruit.

 

Some people find reading the Bible insipid and boring; they think sharing their faith is dull. Others find those things exciting. Invariably, the difference is that one is working on the deeds, and the other is concentrating on his relationship with Jesus Christ. Don't focus on the deeds; focus on your walk with Christ--the deed will grow naturally out of your relationship.

Fruit is a frequent metaphor in Scripture. The main word for it is used approximately a hundred times in the Old Testament and seventy times in the New Testament; it appears in twenty-four of the twenty-seven New Testament books. It is mentioned often, yet it is also often misunderstood.

 

Fruit is not outward success. Many think that if a ministry is big and involves a lot of people, it is fruitful. But a church or Bible study group isn't successful just because it has many people--fleshly effort can produce big numbers. Some missionaries might minister to few people but bear much fruit.

 

Fruit-bearing is not sensationalism. A person does not have a lot of fruit because he is enthusiastic or can make others enthusiastic about a church program. God produces real fruit in our lives when we abide.

 

The fruit of the Spirit is common to all of us, yet the Spirit uses each person differently. Fruit cannot be produced by simulating the genuine fruit another person has borne. It is tempting to see the fruit another person has produced and try to duplicate it. Instead of abiding, we try to produce what someone else has produced, but end up with only artificial fruit. God did not design us to produce the same kind of fruit. Our fruit is uniquely arranged, ordered, and designed.

 

Real fruit is, first of all, Christlike character. A believer who is like Christ bears fruit. That is what Paul meant in Galatians 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." Those were all characteristics of Christ.

 

Christlike character is not produced by self-effort. It grows naturally out of a relationship with Christ. We don't first try to be loving, and when we have become loving, try to be joyful, and so on. Instead, those qualities become part of our lives as we abide in Christ by staying close to him.

 

Second, thankful praise to God is fruit. Hebrews 13:15 says, "Through him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name." When you praise God and thank Him for who He is and what He has done, you offer Him fruit.

 

Help to those in need is a third kind of fruit to God. The Philippian church gave Paul a gift; in Philippians 4:17 he told them he was glad for their sake that they had: "Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account." He appreciated it not for the sake of the gift, but for the fruit in their lives.

In Romans 15:28, Paul wrote, "Therefore, when I have finished this, and I have put my seal on this fruit of theirs, I will go on by way of you to Spain." Again he referred to a gift as "fruit." In both cases, their gifts revealed their love, so Paul counted it as fruit. A gift to someone in need is fruit if it is offered from a loving heart, in the divine energy of the indwelling Christ.

 

Purity in conduct is another kind of spiritual fruit. Paul wanted Christians to be holy in their behavior. He wrote in Colossians 1:10, "that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God."

 

Converts are another type of fruit. Many New Testament passages show that converts are spiritual fruit. For example, in 1 Corinthians 16:15, Paul called the first converts in Achaia the "first fruits of Achaia." Like other spiritual fruit, success in winning converts is not accomplished by anxiously running around and participating in lots of "evangelistic activities"--it comes by abiding in the Vine. The way to be effective in leading people to Christ is not solely by being an aggressive witness; rather it is by abiding in Christ. Concentrate on your relationship to Jesus Christ and He will give you opportunities to share your faith. There is no need to become anxious because you have not yet won a certain number of people to Christ.

 

As you become closer to Him and more like Him, you will discover that sharing your faith is a natural outgrowth of abiding. You may not always see fruit immediately, but fruit will be borne, nevertheless.

When Jesus was traveling to Samaria, He met a woman getting water. She told the people in her town about Jesus. As the people from the town came out to meet him, He said to the disciples,

 

Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. Already he who reaps is receiving wages, and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this case the saying is true, "One sows, and another reaps." I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labor. (John 4:35-38)

 

The disciples were reaping the results of other people's labor. Those people did not see all the result of their labor, but their efforts still bore fruit.

 

William Carey spent thirty-five years in India before he saw one convert. Some people think he led a fruitless life. But almost every convert in India to this day is fruit on his branch, because he translated the whole New Testament into many different Indian dialects. He was not the one to reap directly what he had sown, but his life's legacy bore much fruit.

One of the most fulfilling experiences in life is to bear fruit for God. If it isn't happening in your life, the reason is simple--you are not abiding in the Vine.