Bearing Fruit for the Vinedresser
By Lance Mosher
The Ecclesiastes author wrote, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity” (Eccl. 1:2). He later explained how wisdom, possessions, labour, physical pleasure, and wine are wastes of time. He finally wrote, “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil” (Eccl. 12:13-14).
We have all heard of people feeling like they are living unfulfilled lives. Whether through their words or actions, they cry, “Vanity of vanities!” It is especially rampant among the rich and famous. More and more, however, Christians are beginning to say they feel like their lives are unfulfilled. That shouldn’t be so! Jesus, when encouraging His disciples the night of His betrayal and arrest, he told them how to live fulfilled lives.
These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
He promised them that their joy would be full if they listened to His words, particularly His words on this occasion. What were his words?
My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
He said that His disciples can prove their love and live fulfilled lives if they bear much fruit. The concept of fruit bearing for the Lord is scattered throughout the New Testament. Simply put, it is the idea that Christ plants Himself in our hearts through His word. When the seed sprouts, eternal life blossoms in us. We then have the opportunity to take the seeds of eternal life and scatter them into the hearts of others (cf. Luke 8:4-15). There are at least four ways Christians can bear fruit for God.
1. PRODUCE MORE DISCIPLES THROUGH EVANGELISM
Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, 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.
2. MINISTER TO THE NEEDS OF OTHER CHRISTIANS
For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things. Therefore, when I have finished this, and have put my seal on this fruit of theirs, I will go on by way of you to Spain.
3. EMULATE CHRIST'S ATTITUDE TOWARD ALL PEOPLE
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.
4. PRAISE GOD CONTINUALLY
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.
Jesus teaches that, in the realm of spiritual fruit bearing, the Father is the vinedresser, Christ is the vine, and His disciples are the branches. Just like any good vinedresser, the Father will procure ways to have the most fruitful crop.
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.
What a wonderful, fulfilled life it is to be part of the vine of Christ! We enjoy the sweetness of every spiritual blessing (Eph. 1:3). Someone who knows the goodness of the Lord can’t help but plant more seeds. However, some people will refuse to enjoy the nutrients from the Lord, and Scripture teaches that, for the sake of the fruit, those branches will have to be cut off and burned (cf. Matt. 18:15-17)
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.
However, those who bear fruit, they are pruned (which is not always comfortable at the time) so that more fruit can be produced (cf. Heb. 12:7-11). Will the Lord’s crop be bigger because of you? Are you sowing seeds for the gospel?
If you feel like you’re living an unfulfilled life, revisit the promise of Christ found in John 15:11. Spread the gospel through your words and actions. Help those in need. Show people the love of Christ. Praise God continually. Christ will give you a life full of His joy!
Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.
Except where noted, Scripture quotations are taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation