Wednesday, June 13, 2012

John 15:5-8

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.  This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:5-8)

Continuing with the analogy of the vine, Jesus presses home the point that, as disciples of Christ, we should be producing fruit. In fact, we should produce MUCH fruit, because it glorifies God. Jesus makes it clear that unless we are connected to Him, the Vine, and remaining in Him through the study of His Word, we will produce no fruit of eternal value. We all understand that if we cut off a branch from a lemon tree, that branch will quickly shrivel up and die. There will be no lemons growing on that branch. Apart from the lemon tree, it is dead and of no value for growing fruit. So, when we take ourselves away from God’s Word, we remove ourselves from the Vine that nurtures us. We, too, whither and “die” inwardly.

While driving to and from meetings yesterday, I happened to hear Pastor Skip Heitzig on the radio, teaching about the importance of God’s Word to our growth and relationship with Christ. He used an example from 2 Peter 1:16-19 in which Peter makes a defense for the truth of scripture. Peter reminds his audience that he was an eyewitness of Christ’s majesty, specifically at the Transfiguration, when Jesus shone in His glory as He talked with Moses and Elijah.

That had to be the highlight of Peter’s experiences with Jesus while Jesus walked the earth. Talk about a mountaintop experience! Peter saw Jesus shining like the sun, and he heard the Father’s voice from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 17). Yet, as wonderful as that experience was, Peter is able to proclaim that “We have also [in addition to the testimony of eyewitnesses] a more sure word of prophecy.” In other words, as great as his experience was, experiences fade. However, God’s Word abides forever! Staying connected to Christ, the Vine, through the study of His Word, has more lasting value to us than any of our experiences. What we learn by abiding in His Word remains with us. It accomplishes what God intends for it to accomplish in our lives: fruit is produced.

What exactly is the fruit of God? Well, it’s certainly the harvesting of souls for Christ. But it is also the fruit of our character, as laid out by Paul in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Last night we attended the kindergarten graduation of my grandson, Colin. As his teacher presented each child, she honored them for the spiritual traits that they displayed, including these spiritual fruit Paul mentioned. As she “blessed” each child, she emphasized the eternal value of these traits. There wasn’t a dry eye in the sanctuary!

Surely when we read God’s Word, these traits become more and more a part of who we are, as we are transformed by His Word. Don’t we all want more eternal fruit displayed on our branches? There is only one way that will happen: we must abide in or remain in Christ. Keep meeting Him in the morning to feed on His Word. It is God’s will that we produce this fruit, so we know that when we pray for an abundance of fruit, God will surely answer!  

No comments:

Post a Comment