Posts tagged ‘fruit’

Da’ Vine Is Divine

A well kept, fruitful vineyard can be a thing of beauty. The meticulously dressed rows and the lush fruit require careful pruning and cultivation. It is no job for an amateur, that’s for sure. Vineyards were common in the agriculture of the ancient Near East, Jesus used them as analogies for teaching spiritual truths.

“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 it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 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. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. (John 15:1-8 NASB)

What causes a branch to bear fruit? It’s connection to the vine. If a branch is not bearing fruit, it is because it is dead. And Jesus makes a very strong point about fruit bearing. A branch will bear fruit, not by sheer will, but by staying connected to the vine. If we are not bearing fruit, it is a sign that we are no longer connected. Bearing fruit doesn’t keep you connected; being connected produces fruit!

Another fact of life that Jesus draws attention to is that in a vineyard, there is a season where there is a whole lot of cutting going on! The dead branches are cut off because they take up space needed for the live branches. But even live branches get pruned so they can produce more fruit. Why is that? It’s because fruit is only produced by new growth. The point is that we cannot rest on old fruit. Pruning keeps us from thinking that we are the ones producing the fruit. Apart from the vine, we can do nothing.

So what is this life giving flow that comes from the vine to produce spiritual fruit? His Words abiding in us! As we stay in Him, and His word keeps abiding in us, we WILL bear much fruit. I want to be clear in this. Just as we cannot bear fruit apart from Him, we cannot help but bear fruit if we are abiding in Him. Real fruit proves we are disciples, and a lack of fruit proves we are not disciples. How serious is this? Well Matthew 28 says our mission is to make disciples, and Acts 11 says the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch. If we have no fruit, we are not disciples, and thus are not Christians!

Again, this is not something you can accomplish by your own effort. You are either connected or you are not. And the proof is in the spiritual fruit. It is fruit from a divine source, because da’ vine is divine!

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How Do You Know?

Have you ever had something that you thought was valuable, but that turned out to be a fake? On occasion I find a show called “Antiques Road Show” where people bring in things they have that they think may be valuable. Sometimes they are surprised at the value of the object they thought was worth very little. Other times, they bring what they are sure is a priceless antique, and find out it is a copy with no value at all.
But what about salvation? Is there a way to determine if you or someone else really knows God? Can someone feel that they are truly saved, and yet be self-deceived and still in their sins? As always, the answer to this all-important question is found in the Bible. By inspiration, look at what the Apostle John wrote:

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: (1 John 2:3-5 ESV)

The primary test of the genuineness of our salvation, or anyone else’s is whether or not they are trying to obey the Words of Christ. By that I am not speaking about total moral perfection, but about growing in Christ and walking in love toward God and one another. Jesus spoke about this subject in a very direct manner in Matthew chapter 7.

You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ (Matthew 7:16-23 NASB)

Jesus equates knowing him with obeying him. No matter how we feel, or what we think, the fruit of our lives will give us away. When we look in the mirror of the Word of God, we need to use it to evaluate where we stand with God and do something about what we see reflected there. And we can’t fake fruit, either. If you are not in Christ, Jesus didn’t say bearing good fruit would be difficult; he said it would be impossible! A bad tree can NOT bear good fruit. That is also why, in Revelation chapters 2 and 3 when Jesus greeted each of the churches, he did not say “I know your hearts” but rather said “I know your works” because their works reveal their hearts!

But back in First John, he ends on a positive note. If we are those who keep His words, the love of God is perfected (or completed) in us. In the Greek, he is not signifying the love God has for us, but rather the love we have for God. The more we walk in love, faith and obedience, the more spiritual fruit we will bear, and the more proficient we become at loving on God. Our love deepens and we bear even more fruit. And we will know for sure that we are in Him”.

Perhaps it’s time to sit down with the bible and check our progress and determine now where we stand with God.

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