Be Productive

Jesus speaks of your fruit and that means the productivity of the Christian life: producing by your impact upon other people, producing others who also know and love and abide in the Lord Jesus.

Scripture: John 15:6


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing alright today? Well, I trust everything’s alright at your house. One of the nice things about being a believer in the Lord Jesus, is that no matter what the circumstances may be, at any given time, you have the good, solid assurance that you’re in His hands and that He is in control. I take great comfort in that day after day. My circumstances change just as yours do, and with them, my feelings change, just as yours do. Our feelings and our moods are affected by our circumstances, and even by the weather. I used to be a song leader. That was my specialty for a while in my salad days. And I found then, that it takes about three times as much effort, to get a crowd to sing well, if the barometer is falling. A falling barometer means an apathetic crowd and it’s hard to get them to sing well.

I’ve often said, I guess, on this broadcast, “Don’t ask the boss for a raise if the barometer’s falling, because he’ll be feeling bad. His hair pulls, his teeth bite, his corns pinch, his arthritis aches, and he won’t give you a raise, if you ask him for one when the barometer is falling. He’ll throw you out instead. Wait until the barometer is rising, and then he’s feeling better, and he’ll listen to you, and then throw you out, probably.” [chuckle] Well, just kidding, bosses. No, our feelings change with all sorts of stimuli: The circumstances, the people around us, the weather, the barometric pressure. Your own body clock changes your feelings from time to time. I kept a graph on myself for about a year. I had 365 spaces all chalked off on a piece of paper, and then I had it calibrated all the way from “hallelujah,” and “yippee,” to “yuck.” And I found that my feelings varied routinely, every 10 to 14 days, I was up or down. Well, all of this, by way of telling us, once again, “You can depend upon your Lord, casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.”

We have a high priest who can be touched with the feeling. He knows how you feel, touched with the feeling of our infirmities. Thank God for that. Take comfort and take courage from the fact, that you know a wonderful Savior who cares about you, who knows how you feel, and who will, thank God, see you through victoriously, even this very day. We’re in John Chapter 15 and that brings me, then, to a discussion of this matter of abiding in Christ. “Abide in me,” says He in Verse Four, “And I in you, as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine. No more can ye, except ye abide in me. He that Abideth in me, and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit. For without me, ye can do nothing.” Now, our Lord Jesus puts it both ways, “Abide in me.” That means you depend on Him for life, for strength, and for fruitfulness. But He says, “I in you,” that means that His life, His wisdom, His power, His beauty, all become part of your life.

As I’ve reminded you so often, First Corinthians One tells us that, “Christ is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” All that you ever need is in the Lord Jesus. “Ye are complete in Him,” says Paul, writing to the Colossians. “He’s the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.” Complete in the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything you ever need to know about God the Father is in Jesus. “He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father. I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” Jesus said. All you ever need to know about God is found in the Lord Jesus. That’s why the Bible tells us, “We must be born again through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” Why? Because He’s the one who infuses divine life, His life into you, and while you depend on Him for life, and strength, and fruitfulness, He gives you Himself. “Abide in me,” said He, “And I in you.”

Glorious truth, the exchanged life. You exchange your need for His supply. You exchange your weakness for His strength. You exchange your frailty under temptation for His holiness. You exchange your cowardice for His courage. You exchange your impatience for His eternal long suffering. The exchanged life, all that Jesus is, is available to you by faith. Take it by faith today. Take, beloved, listen, take by faith what you need from Jesus, because it’s all yours. He bought it for you when He shed His precious blood on Calvary’s cross. Now, we have another ‘if’ clause. “If a man abide not in me.” If you neglect this relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, it’s possible for you to neglect that relationship. The writer to the Hebrew says, “Let us, therefore, give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip,” or, “Drift away from them,” as it says in one version. “Lest at anytime we drift away from them.” It’s possible through carelessness and thoughtlessness, to drift away from the truth concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, and to neglect that vital relationship with Him.

Now, you’ve been born again, you’re still God’s child, but now, the fruitfulness is affected. He’s talking about fruit, “Bringeth forth much fruit. If a man abide not in me,” then what? Well, then there’s no more fruitfulness. He’s cast forth as a branch. When you prune a tree or a bush, you cut off the branches, and you pile them in a pile to be burned later on, or to be disposed of in whatever way your particular community tells you to do. “Cast forth as a branch.” And you see those leaves, and when you cut that branch off at first, nothing seems to be any different, but come back in three hours, after the sun has beat upon it for a while, and it’s withering, the leaves are withering. Why? Because the source of life has been cut off. “Cast forth as a branch and withered,” it says. “And men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” Why does He say that? Because, beloved, the less you abide in Christ, the more you become the victim of people’s actions around you. “Men gather them, cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”

Have you ever wondered at the glee with which unsaved people pounce upon every morsel of bad news about a Christian? Have you ever wondered about that? It’s not that they are so moral. It’s not that they are so righteous. It is that they enjoy pouncing on any bit of bad news about the weakness of some believer, who has neglected to abide in the Lord Jesus. The less you abide, the more you become the victim of people’s actions around you. Do you want to be kept? That is, really kept, “You, who are kept by the power of God,” says Peter. Do you wanna be kept from the attacks, either of malicious folk, or of ignorant, though well-intentioned people? Do you want to be kept? Stay close to Jesus. The person who is depending upon the Lord Jesus Christ, filled with the Spirit of God, who indwells the believer, depending upon the eternal promises of God, that person is secure from the attacks of people around. Yes, they may criticize you. Yes, they may even attack you, and try somehow to do harm to your life, or to your ministry, or both. But you, my friend, are unflappable and unsinkable, when you’re abiding in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Why? Because He’s in control. He’s in control. His life is flowing into your life. His righteousness is flowing into your character. His holiness is shining through your ministry. His redemption has wrapped up the entirety of your life and made it a continuing miracle. And the unbeliever cannot… Not only cannot understand it, but he can’t attack it successfully. Even the unsaved philosophers have admitted that it is impossible, logically, to argue with a person, who’s had an experience with God. You absolutely cannot be successfully attacked, if Jesus, your Lord, is abiding in you, and you in Him. Will you remember that the next time things get a little rough? Look up and say, “Lord Jesus, I’m gonna abide in you. I’m gonna exchange my life for your perfect life, by faith.” Let Him win the battle. Good idea? Now, what is the result of abiding? I’ve just sorta ticked it off in my own mind here, as I looked at John Chapter 15.

First of all, the Lord Jesus speaks about fruit, “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” And if you do bear fruit, it says in Verse Two, “God prunes you, that you may bring forth more fruit.” And then in Verse Eight, He says, “Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit.” Fruitfulness is the objective of God’s working in your life. Just the idea of getting to heaven for myself sounds a little selfish and it may well be, but when I think of fruitfulness, Jesus said, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go forth, and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain your fruit.” Now, there is such a thing as the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Against such, there is no law.” That’s the fruit of the… In other words, that’s the result of the Holy Spirit running your life.

But Jesus speaks of your fruit and that means the productivity of the Christian life, producing by your impact upon other people, producing others who also know, and love, and abide in the Lord Jesus. Fruitfulness, abiding in Christ, makes you productive. Not abiding, neglecting the Lord Jesus, makes you non-productive. Every personnel manager knows that a guilty conscience is a deterrent to efficiency. You find a person whose work is suddenly falling off and he’s not ill, so you look and see what’s going on. Well, either there’s some kind of hanky panky going on or whatever it is. A guilty conscience, every personnel person knows this, is a deterrent to efficiency. Fruitfulness is impaired when you and I neglect our Lord Jesus Christ.

Dear Father, today, help us to abide in Jesus, to depend on Him for divine life in our human life, Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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