Bear Good Fruit
Matthew 15:1-8 (Johannes K)
The Vine and the Branches
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
- My first message here was based on John 3.
- My second message was based on John 10 “We can have eternal life.”
- Today, is from John 15 – so all are from the book of John.
On Jesus’ last night, when he finished the Last Supper, he taught to his disciples. This was his last opportunity to teach his disciples. Only about 6 hours from the time they finished dinner until his arrest – yet in this short time, he delivered a LONG message (John 13, 14, 15, 16).
So, this message is a very important last message from Christ. He gave many instructions.
He gave the commandment: Love one another; serve one another (he washed their feet).
If you love me, keep my commandments.
In John 15, he expects us to bear good fruit. He wants us to bear good fruit.
What kind of fruit is your favorite? Delicious ones, right? Beautiful fruit. Our God expects this beautiful, tasty fruit out of us. Why should we bear fruit?
#1: God works hard to help us bear fruit
Because the farmer works hard so that he may bear fruit. The farmer loaded himself with two heavy pails of fertilizer and spreading it over the crops. Why do they work so hard?
Jesus said, “My Father is working hard until now, so I’m working.” Do you think our God is resting? No. He is working now from the Beginning, so I’m working. God is like a farmer who works hard to help us bear fruit.
#2: Jesus said, “I’m the true vine.” (agro ami – it is only I who are the vine)
If you are attached to this true vine, you can bear true fruit.
If the branches are connected to the tree, the branch automatically bears fruit. So, if you remain in me and I remain in you, you’ll bear fruit. Stay connected to Christ and bear fruit – he’s the True Vine.
#3: If we don’t bear fruit, God will cut down (trim/prune) the branches that don’t bear fruit.
This is a warning. God will cut down and throw away what doesn’t bear fruit (v. 2). Therefore it is necessary for the children of God to bear fruit.
v. 6 “If anyone does not abide in me, he is cast out as a branch that is withered and they gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”
Branches without fruit = rubbish – cast in the fire and burned.
God says he will send these “useless, worthless” people into the fire – no fruit? no use.
Matthew 3:10 “Even now, the axe is at the root of the tree and the trees that doesn’t bear fruit will be cut down.” (Matthew 7:19 also?)
#4: Only those who bear fruit in keeping with the Kingdom of God can ENTER into the Kingdom of God.
Matthew 21:43 “ Therefore, the KOG will be taken from you and given to the people who bear the fruit of the kingdom.”
Only those who produce fruit for the kingdom will enter the kingdom (be a PRODUCER, not a CONSUMER).
The parable of the Sower: 4 types of soil (this is like our heart)
Bad, Good, Rocky, Hard, Weedy soil
Some people’s hearts are soft, some hearts are hard, some hearts are full of thorns, some hearts are rocky. The first THREE types of soil failed to produce a crop.
- The hard path = eaten by birds – no buds even.
- The rocky soil = sprouted, but scorched by the heat – failed to grow.
- The thorny soil = sprouted, grew up with the weeds, but the weeds choked the good plant – it didn’t bear fruit.
- The GOOD soil = bore good fruit (callos = good outsides / appearance)
Matthew 13:23 “He who received the soil on the good ground is he who hears the Word and understands it and bears good fruit – he bears 100-fold, some 60-fold, some 30-fold.”
Matthew 8:13? “The good soil = a noble and good heart who hear the Word and retain it and by perseverance produce good fruit.”
Only these kinds of people are proper (qualified) for the Kingdom of God.
#5: Jesus Christ chose us (appointed us) so that we may go and bear much fruit.
When we bear fruit, our God is glorified. We should bear fruit to glorify God.
Jesus wants us to bear good fruit. But he never really clarified (explained) what kind of fruit that is – not in detail – so I thought about it.
- Thanksgiving + Praise (Did you thank God this morning? Did you praise God? We should START our worship, prayer, etc with praise and thanksgiving. Did you do that? Everyday? So, sometimes, as I’m walking along, I think, ‘did I bear this fruit of thanksgiving today?’”)
- Submission, humility and love (There are many conflicts in the church – and in families, etc – we need submission! We live in the Age of Rebellion! Children rebel against parents; students rebel against teachers; citizens rebel against governments. We need submission, love, harmony.)
- Fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22-23 “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control.”) Do you have this kind of fruit?
- Fruit of Light (Eph 5:9 “The fruit of light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth.” Good deeds, kindness, righteous things, right things, – don’t do wrong things – no immorality, no deceit.) “Whoever does not practice righteousness is not from God.” This is the right thing to do. The fruit of the light = truth (in the moral sense – you should be trustworthy, reliable, etc). Sometimes it’s difficult to meet these kinds of people – but Christians should be this kind of person. ____11:1 “When we bear the fruit of righteousness, God is glorified.” Col 1:10? “That you may be fruitful in every good work and increase in the knowledge of God.” You see the tangible, concrete, grapes? God also wants the tangible, concrete, visible results of our faith! If we do not have such fruit, we will be cut off and thrown into the fire.
- Fruit of Souls – preach the gospel, lead people to the Lord. There are many people in my mission field who do not know Christ (less than 0.1%). I passed by many villages and my pastor said, “There is not even ONE SINGLE believer in this village.” It’s very terrible. We should bear this fruit of salvation. Romans 1:13 “I do not want you to be unaware, my brothers, of my plan to come to Rome, that I might have some fruit among you, just as among the others.”
He wants the fruit of souls.
Romans 16:5 “Greet ___ who is the first fruit of ____ to Christ.”
He preached the gospel and got the person saved. This is the first fruit after he preached the gospel. God wants this kind of fruit.
- 1. Thanksgiving + Praise
- 2. Submission, humility, love
- 3. Fruit of the Holy Spirit
- 4. Fruit of Light
- 5. Fruit of Souls
Today’s verse shows the conditions needed to bear fruit:
1. To be clean
(God cleanses us to be clean and bear much fruit) We should be holy, clean, pure. Jesus said, “Our God is purifying us so that we may bear more fruit.” “You are ALREADY clean because of the Word I spoke to you.” (John 15:3)
If you have the Word of God, you become holy – it makes our behaviors, thoughts, actions holy, lives holy, souls holy. It makes us clean and holy – it removes dirtiness.
- 7 deadly sins: Wrath, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, pride, sloth
We should remove, purge this kind of dirtiness and then we will be clean to bear fruit (God’s Word does this). Also “if anyone cleanses himself, he is a clean vessel, appropriate for the Master, and can bear good fruit.”
2. Jesus: “You must remain in me and you will bear much fruit.”
“As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, neither can you unless you abide in me. Without me, you can do nothing. If you do not abide in you, you are cast out into the fire and burned.”
What is the meaning of “remain in me”?
Totally depend on Christ – the branch cannot survive without the tree – so we must be attached to the vine which is Christ. We must totally depend on Christ. The grace of God flows freely from the Lord.
Sometimes this is blocked by rubbish – treasures of lust, immorality, sinfulness, wickedness, etc.
We should totally depend on Christ: Matthew 18:3 “Truly, truly, unless you are converted and become little children, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” I’m 55 years old, how can I be transformed into this little child? What is Jesus teaching by these Scriptures? We should be powerless, ignorant, weak, except by Jesus’ power. “Please, help me! I cannot do this without you!” You should be like a child. “Father, help me!”
I’m helpless, I have many problems. God help me. Be like a child, totally depend on our Lord. This is to “abide in Christ.”
If you want to get into Christ, leave all the earthly, secular things behind. You want to enter into a relationship with Christ and “remain with him”? You cannot do so with earthly, dirty things and thoughts. Leave them all behind to stay in Christ. You cannot get into a relationship with Christ with sinfulness, wickedness, etc.
Luke 14:33 “If you do not forsake all that you have, you cannot be my disciples.”
Another condition for bearing fruit?
#3: If you abide in me and MY WORD abides in you, you will bear much fruit.
We should always, ever have the Words of God in our hearts – meditate on it everyday. And obey his Words.
We have learned much of the Bible, we know much of the Scriptures, but still, few people keep the words of God.
“If you love me, keep my commands.”
This is not my word, it comes from God above, it comes from heaven. How can you dare disobey the words from heaven? These words I speak to you are from my Father in heaven, so you should keep these words from heaven.
#4: Ask whatever in my name
Pray – God works through our prayer. We should ask through our faith to God and he will reply. We should pray. Whenever I have a big task, I ask my family of believers to pray for me. If they do not pray for me, it is very hard for me to work – but if they pray, GOD works – I feel it. He works through me.
So, we should pray to bear much fruit.
Conclusion: v. 8
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing youselves to be my disciples.” This proves that you are truly my disciples.
No fruit? No disciple.
The visible, tangible, beautiful fruit from us is what God really seeks. Yes, your activities and programs in church are good, but God wants to see FRUIT.
God is a powerful God and he will use us so that we may bear much fruit.
How many grapes does the vine bear? So many.