Ask God in His own wonderful way to make it possible for you to become more and more fruitful. The fruit of a Christian is somebody else that's been introduced to Jesus because of you.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, this is your friend, Bob Cook, and I’m back with you, once again, to look at the Word of God. We’re studying together in the Gospel of John. We’ve come now to Chapter 15. Our Lord Jesus there says, “I am the true vine and my Father is the husbandman,” or the head of the farming process. “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, He taketh away. And every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth.” That’s our word ‘prune.’ “He prunes it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” “Now, ye are clean through the Word, which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, 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. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit. For without me, ye can do nothing.”
We’ll stop there for now. What does this say? One, “I am the true vine.” That is an exclusive relationship between the Savior, and you, the believer. “My Father’s the husband.” That is an exclusive authority exercised by the heavenly Father in connection with your life. Always remember, God is growing something in your lifes, to bear eternally worthwhile fruit, and He is in charge. Verse Two, “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, He taketh away. And every branch that beareth fruit, He prunes it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” An exclusive process, fruit is required and fruitless branches are removed. Fruitful branches are pruned to bring forth more. What is the essence of this pruning? Verse Three, “Ye are clean through the Word, which I have spoken unto you.” The Word of God cleanses your heart, makes it possible for you to bear more spiritual fruit. What is the position that you and I should occupy? It’s abiding. “Abide in me, and I in you,” says He. “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”
Now, that’s the basis of what this says here. I always like to see from the Scripture, “What does it actually say?” Before I do very much commenting about it. Pretty good idea, wouldn’t you agree? Dr James Gray used to say, “Master what the Bible says and you won’t have much trouble with what it means.” Well, then, our Savior remarks then to His disciples, “I am the true vine.” True vine means there may be other vines. Just as in Chapter 10, He said, “I am the good shepherd,” not the hireling, not the one that doesn’t really care for the sheep. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep. Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold.” “I am the shepherd,” the shepherd, exclusively shepherd. Now, He comes to Chapter 15, He says, “I am the vine,” exclusively the vine. “There may be other sources, so-called of life, and strength, and productivity.” That’s what a vine is to the branch, isn’t that true? Life, strength, and productivity. “There may be other sources, so-called of life, and strength, and fruitfulness,” but Jesus said, “I am the true vine.”
Now, you come up against this in dealing with the people of the world again and again. See, it’s an offense to them, when you say, “There isn’t any other way to be saved, except through the Lord Jesus.” And here, our Savior’s remarking, “There isn’t any other way to be fruitful, except through Him.” Well, I can’t argue it. I only have to tell you He said it. And if He said it, it must be so. The little girl remarked, “If He didn’t mean it, why didn’t He say so?” [chuckle] If our Savior said it… He never had to say, “I beg your pardon, I was mistaken.” Never did that, did He? He lived a perfect life, and died a perfect death, and lives today to be our perfect intercessor, and there isn’t any possibility of mistake in this altogether perfect Savior. And so He said this, He said, “I’m the only one.” “No man,” John 14:6, “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Paul echoes the same sentiment. “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man, Christ Jesus.” He says, “I’m the true vine. My Father is in charge.”
Have you meditated recently on the fact that Almighty God is in charge of your life, and that the Lord Jesus is concerned to see you be fruitful? Now, our Savior says in another place here in John, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go, and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.” “Your fruit.” Now, Galatians 5:22-23 talks about the fruit of the Spirit. That’s the result of the Holy Spirit indwelling your life, believer. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. But Jesus, our Lord, said that, “You’re fruit.”
Now, what is the fruit of a Christian? Aside from these divine characteristics that the Holy Spirit builds into your life, love, joy, peace and so on, aside from those characteristics, what is the fruit of the Christian? Well, you drop a kernel of corn into the Earth, what is the fruit of that kernel of corn? A whole stalk of corn with it’s tassels, and it’s ear, and so on. You drop an acorn into the ground, what’s the fruit of the acorn? It’s an oak tree. See? The fruit of any given individual kind of life, from prunes to pollywogs and so on, the fruit of any kind of individual type of life is more of the same. So the fruit of a Christian is more Christians. The prime concern of Almighty God is to make you fruitful, to make you more fruitful, to cause it to be that you bear much fruit. “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.” Eh? Verses Five and Eight. So the prime concern… Now, get hold of this, would you, beloved? The prime concern of your heavenly Father, is that you bear fruit, and the fruit of a Christian is another Christian. Have you introduced anybody to Jesus recently? Have you shared with anybody your love for Christ? Has the love of God poured out through you to anybody?
I read just today an article in a little publication that comes my way, written by a person who has spent, I suppose, nearly three decades in academia, as a college professor and administrator. She says that, “Her heart just got hungry for more of God,” and so she began to pray, “Lord, reveal yourself to me. I don’t want anything. I haven’t any list today. I just want more of you.” She said, “Her mother remarked that, ‘She was glad to see her daughter was resigning from God’s advisory board.’ ” [laughter] It’s a nice way to put it. But anyway, while she was praying, she again, and again, and again was reminded of some people around whom she had been detouring, because she disliked them. She disliked them. And she had to confess that to her Lord, as she prayed honestly about the whole matter.
And God seemed to suggest to her waiting spirit, that she pray for these people, just as she would pray for herself, for more of God’s presence, and more of God’s blessing, and more of God’s outpoured love. Oh, that was a hard job to do, but she started. And she found that, as she began to pray for them, even as she would for herself, that God’s love poured out upon her in such prodigal and lavish ways, that her own soul was delighted, and warmed, and melted with the warmth of divine love. And then God suggested to her, “Pour out that love on these other people, show that to them.” And so she found ways of sending that love, God’s divine love, out by faith to these lives, and showing it in her attitude, in what she did. The results, of course, were wonderful.
You see, the fruit of a Christian, is the influence of God through you to other lives. So I have to ask myself and I have to ask you, my beloved friend, what about the fruit, has there been any? See, the penalty for being fruitless, is to be set aside. I think some of the hardest experiences I’ve had, in a good many years in the ministry… I was ordained at 31, how many years is that? 31 from 88. Alright, [chuckle] more than half a century of being in Christian work. I can’t understand it, ’cause I’m so young… [laughter] But you know, some of the most painful experiences I’ve had, has been to see people who’ve been set aside by God, because they stopped bearing fruit. They weren’t any less smart, they weren’t any less talented, they weren’t any less gifted, they hadn’t lost any of their natural charm or ability, but they just were set aside, because they had stopped bearing fruit. You want to think about that, and pray about it, and ask God in His own wonderful way, to make it possible for you to become more and more fruitful? The fruit of a Christian is somebody else that’s been introduced to Jesus, because of you. He says, “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, He taketh away.” We were talking about that. “Every branch that beareth fruit, He prunes it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” What God wants is not less, but more.
It’s a rule in business, isn’t it? You business people know, if you don’t go ahead, you go back. You can’t stand still in business. I remember when, during the years back in 19… Well, it was ’57 through ’62. Those were five years that I worked with the dear people at Scripture Press in Wheaton. Mr Cory was the Founder and President of the work in those days. I was Vice President, in charge of what they called Distribution, which is a pious word for Sales. And I remember his impressing upon me, he says, “You have to add 10% new customers every year.” “Well,” I said, “That’s quite a goal, Brother Cory.” I said, “Why do you say that?” And he said, “Well, because you lose that many normally, either through death, or removal, or something else, and you have to add new names,” said he. Well, that was the first time I’d thought seriously about the whole matter of attrition in clients, or customers, or whatever. But it’s true, isn’t it, in business? You have to go ahead or you go back. Well, I’ll tell you something, beloved. It’s true in spiritual matters too. If you don’t grow and bear more fruit, you’ll stop growing and bear less. You wanna pray about that? I hope you will.
Dear Father God, oh, work on us that we might be fruitful, more fruitful. In Jesus’ name, I pray this, Amen.
Till I see you once again, meet you once again, by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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