Finishing this week’s study, Derek reveals four results of bearing fruit in our lives. First, we will get our prayers answered; second, the Father is glorified thus proving we are Jesus’ disciples; third, we remain in God’s love and security; and fourth there is double joy—Jesus’ joy in us and our own joy in our relationship with Him.
It’s good to be with you again as we draw near to the close of another week. Today I’m going to continue, and complete, the theme we’ve been studying this week: The Vine and the Branches.
I do trust that my talks on this theme have been helpful to you. In my previous talks I’ve interpreted the main features of this parable as follows: The vine is Jesus, the sap or the life in the vine is the Holy Spirit, the gardener or the owner of the vineyard is God the Father, and the branches in the vine are true disciples or real Christians.
God’s main objective emphasized throughout the parable is fruit in two main forms. First, the fruit of character, the fruit of the Holy Spirit, love and so on. The second is other believers won to the Lord through our lives. Trees that grow up are to the fruit on our tree which contains the seed which brings another tree into being. Or in the terms of Proverbs of 11:30, “He who wins souls is wise.”
One great basic condition for bearing fruit is remaining or abiding in Jesus. This in turn depends on two things; holding fast His words and obeying His commands.
In my talk yesterday I pointed out the important distinction between being corrected, punished, and being pruned. Correction is for wrong-doing, but being pruned is having good fruit cut off that we may bear better fruit. I pointed out so many Christians are confused when they are in the process of pruning, they are wondering what they are being punished for. But the answer is they are not being punished, in a sense they are being rewarded by being pruned.
In my talk today I’m going to share with you four results of bearing fruit. The first result of bearing fruit is getting your prayers answered. Jesus states this in John 15:7:
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”
Isn’t that tremendous? “...ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” Let’s like be handed a blank check with God’s signature at the bottom and being told, “Just write in any sum you want. The bank will honor it.” But you see, it depends on relationship, remaining in Him and His words remaining in us. Put the two together and it means that our life is such, the way we think is such, our responses and attitudes are such, that what we really wish, sincerely, is what God would wish for us. And so when we ask for what we wish, we’re asking for what God wishes. Our wishes are in line with His.
Now this comes partly as a result of what I was speaking about yesterday, the process of pruning. So let me say to you, if you are perhaps one of those who are in the midst of that process right now, first of all I hope my talks have helped you to diagnose what is going on with you, and secondly pruning may be painful but the end results more than makes up. Think of that, “...ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” So hold on, dear brother or sister, don’t give up at this point. Submit to the process of pruning and you will come through to that blessed place of asking whatever you wish, and knowing that it will be given you.
The second result of abiding in Him of bearing fruit, is that the Father is glorified. In John 15:8, Jesus says this:
“By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”
So, as we bear fruit in our lives, the Father is glorified by that. And the more fruit we bear, the more glory there is that goes to God out of our lives. You see the real, ultimate purpose of all living is to glorify God, just as the essence of sin is failing to glorify God. In Romans 3:23, that famous verse, Paul says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Our sin has robbed God of His glory. We’ve failed to give God the glory which is His due out of our lives.
Now faith and obedience begin to restore to God the glory of which sin robbed Him. And so as through faith and obedience we bear much fruit, by this Jesus says, “The Father is glorified.” If you have a right sense of proportion, there can be nothing in your life that you will desire more fervently than the privilege of glorifying God by your life.
Secondly, in that context, Jesus says, “By bearing fruit you will prove to be My disciples.” It’s one thing to say you’re a Christian, it’s another thing to prove it. Many, many people lay claim to the title of Christian today. But do they prove it? You say, “Well, how do we prove it?” We prove it by bearing much fruit. So Jesus doesn’t look down, I believe, on denomination, or church organizations, or those that are identified by some particular human label. He just looks very simply, very practically, for one thing. Where He sees fruit He says, “That’s one of My disciples.”
So, let me counsel you not to concentrate so much on doctrinal issues, denominational controversies, all of which tend to cut off fruit. Let me suggest that you concentrate in your life on meeting the conditions to bear fruit and thereby you will do two things: first, and most important, you’ll glorify God the Father; second, you will prove that you really are a true disciple of Jesus Christ.
The third result of bearing fruit is remaining in God’s love. In John 15:9, Jesus says this:
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.”
What a blessed and wonderful picture that is, to remain in the love of Jesus. Not to stray from it, not to wander away, not to come to a place where we lack that particular warmth, that particular sense of God’s presence, which is His love. Nothing in this life can compensate for losing the love of God out of our lives, the love of Jesus. And Jesus says, “If you remain in me you will bear fruit and you will remain in My love.” You see remaining in love of Jesus is the place of total security and fulfillment. When we are in the love of Jesus, then all our deepest needs are fully met.
There is a place of security in God. I always think in this connection of the words of Paul in Colossians chapter 3, “You died and your life is hid with Christ in God.” There is a hidden life which is with Christ in God. It’s the life that comes out of remaining in the love of Jesus. There’s total protection. You’re protected by being in Jesus, and by being in the Father. It’s the double covering of the life that abides in Christ. It’s not visible on earth. Paul says, “It’s hidden now, but one day it’s going to be revealed.” The world maybe cannot see it now, but those who are in it, know that they’re in it. They walk through life with a serenity and a confidence that other people stare at and are amazed at. But if they’ve never tasted and experienced the love of God, then they cannot understand it’s true source or its true nature.
The fourth result of bearing fruit is double joy, divine joy and human joy. This is a most wonderful picture. John 15:11, Jesus says this:
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
Notice Jesus speaks about two different joys, My joy and your joy. And He says, if we remain in Him and bring forth fruit, we will know both joys. What are they? Well, it’s clear to me that Christ’s joy is the joy of His personal relationship as a Child, as a Son with God the Father. This is His abiding joy. But then He says, we’ll also have our own joy, which I believe is the joy of our relationship with Jesus. So in Jesus, we first of all, have the joy of that relationship. And then we share with Jesus the joy of His relationship with the Father, it’s a double joy, His joy in us, and our joy made complete, but it’s the outcome of bearing fruit.
Let me then briefly, to close, sum up these four results of bearing fruit. First of all, answered prayer. “...ask whatever you wish and it will be done.” Second, the Father glorified and together with that the proof that we really are the disciples of Jesus. Third, remaining in God’s love. The place of true security and fulfillment, the hidden place that the world doesn’t see and that the world can’t touch. And fourth, the double joy, the joy of Jesus in His relationship with the Father, and then the human side of joy, our relationship with Jesus.
Well, our time is up for today but I’ll be back with you again next week at this same time, Monday through Friday. Next week I’ll be sharing with you on another rich and exciting theme from the Word of God.
My special offer this week is my book: Faith to Live By. This book explains in a clear and practical way the life of faith. It will make it possible for you to have that kind of intimate personal relationship with God which is the theme of my talks this week and which will make you a strong, confident Christian.
Also, my complete series of talks this week on The Vine and the Branches is available in a single, carefully-edited cassette.
Stay tuned for details.