Lasting fruitfulness (By Revd Manik Corea)

How fruitful you are for Christ depends on how faithfully and strongly connected you are connected to Christ.

There is an anecdotal story told of George Whitfield, the great English evangelist who preached to hundreds of thousands on both sides of the Atlantic. He was asked how many were converted after one particular evangelistic campaign. ‘We’ll know in five years,’ he replied

No fruit is instant. It must grow over time. Genuine, God-cultivated fruit will be shown in the way we live out our lives, in all of its dimensions

We typically name a tree according to its fruit. Indeed, Jesus said the fruits of our lives will identify us as genuine followers – or not (Matthew 7:15-20).

It is a sign of us being His true disciples. In John 15:8, Jesus proclaims: ‘By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to by my disciples.’

The context of Jesus’ statement here is the famous analogy of the vine and branches (John 15). His point is clear: branches (i.e. us) must stay connected and receive life giving sap from the vine (i.e. Him) in order to produce fruit of the vine. The Gardener will sometimes prune the branches, as painful a process as that might be, in order in time to make the vine even more fruitful. However, fruitless branches are removed and burned.

God is looking for fruit in our lives. The fruit is not for the tree, but for the gardener.

What then is this fruit that we are to show forth? Is it the inner spiritual growth into Christ-likeness within the life of the disciple (Galatians 5:22-23)? Or is Jesus speaking of more visible and outward growth and the works of faith in our lives? What about making other disciples?

It could well be argued from the context that Jesus in mind outward manifestations of that inward reality of our lives connected with him – that is, the words and works we say and do in His name, which are the result of abiding in His love, and obeying His word. Theologian Don Carson suggests ‘(t)he fruit is everything done in conformity to the will of Jesus Christ.’[1]

Chief of these works are that we be witnesses and disciple-makers in the world.

Pastor John Piper argues that the broad definition of ‘fruit’ here must include the making of new disciples – arguing from John 4:25,26 for the analogous use of ‘fruit’ to refer to the harvest of people for eternal life.[2]

In Scripture, a ‘fruitful vine’ is sometimes used as a picture of great productivity and blessing.[3]In Psalm 128:3, the word ‘fruitful vine’ is spoken of the wife of the man who fears God and is blessed with many children. It is not hard to see then that Jesus has in mind the growth and multiplication of disciples (our ‘spiritual children’) as the fruit we are to produce in his kingdom (see Matthew 21:43).

In NAMS, we have long contended that we’ll know we’ve ‘made’ a disciple, when he/she seeks to make another. The disciple is starting to bear fruit.

So, if we are to be fruitful disciple-makers that ‘bear much fruit’ and prove to be his disciples, then we must persevere in staying connected to the vine that is Jesus and seeking to be fruitful in our disciple-making for Him.

How are you bearing fruit for Jesus today?

 

If you would like to learn and be helped to be a faithful Christian in your local context, who is learning to make other disciples and become fruitful, you may like to be a NAMS Centurion with us. Go to www.namscenturion.com or write to us at info@namsnetwork.com to find out more.

 

 


[1] The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus: An Evangelical Exposition of John 14-17; D A Carson; Baker Books: 1980, pg 111

[2] https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/i-chose-you-to-bear-fruit

[3] For example, as used of Joseph in Genesis 49:22 or of Israel in Ezekiel 19:10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus: An Evangelical Exposition of John 14-17; D A Carson; Baker Books: 1980, pg 111

 

[2] https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/i-chose-you-to-bear-fruit

[3] For example, as used of Joseph in Genesis 49:22 or of Israel in Ezekiel 19:10.

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Lasting fruitfulness (By Revd Manik Corea)

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