John 15:1-8: The Source of fruitfulness.
“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, as I also 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 you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are 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 done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” NIV
”Do not confound work and fruit. There is much work for Christ that is not the fruit of the heavenly Vine.” Andrew Murray.
The ”fruit” we bear as disciples of Christ is to the ”Father’s glory” and by it our identity is revealed (8). It is God’s ambition for us that we should ”bear much fruit” (5, 8); and let us not forget the vital, yet painful, contribution of the pruning knife in the production of a greater crop (2b). We may not like this truth, but if honest, surely we will say that it feels like we grew the most when times were hardest.
The key to fruit-bearing is to ”remain” in Jesus (4, 5, 6, 7), and for Him to ”remain” in you. Notice the repetition of this word. It is the continuous, living connection with Jesus ”the true vine” (1) that is indispensable.
The ”fruit” produced on the Vine is linked to the nature of the tree. A vine produces grapes – not apples, oranges or pears. And the fruit of a life in Christ will be a Christ-like life.
”…apart from me you can do nothing.” (5b). The deep, inward apprehension of this truth will transform your prayer life. It will fill prayer meetings. Prayerless people and prayerless churches probably just don’t get this. It certainly looks and feels that way. Recognition of our utter helplessness apart from Christ will bring us to our knees and keep us on our knees. There are many things we can do without prayer, and many of them may appear spectacular and impressive. (I guess the Tower of Babel did!) But we cannot glorify God in the production of much and lasting ”fruit”.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, please keep my heart in closest contact with you.