On Bearing Fruit For The Kingdom

Southaven, Ms

By: Mike Upchurch

In the gospel of John, Jesus talked to His disciples concerning His followers bearing fruit…..

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”‭‭John‬ ‭15:1-2, 4-5, 8

Have you considered whether or not your life is bearing fruit?  One of my studies in College was Horticulture, and some principles in the plant world are perfect for helping to understand Kingdom principles.

Consider the apple tree.  It is said there are four stages of life for that tree, or any fruit tree for that matter.

The first stage would be when the tree is not able to take on enough nutrients to maintain life and it dies.

The second stage would be that enough water, nutrients, and minerals are taken in to sustain life, but little growth is experienced, and they are more prone to damage and disease.

Stage three would be the tree taking in enough of what is needed not only to sustain life, but to grow as well. 

And the fourth stage would be when the tree not only takes in enough nutrients to grow, but the tree then produces fruit from any excess.  And as a bonus the fruit contain seeds allowing it to reproduce after its own kind.

Now let’s apply the analogy to our Christian life….. 

In the first stage, if you don’t take in enough spiritual food such as prayer and study of the word, then you won’t be able to maintain your life in Christ and you will backslide and die spiritually.  I’ve seen this happen too many times before.  Someone will accept Christ as Savior, but they don’t study the word, and devote no time to prayer, and the longing for the world and it’s attractions are too much to resist, and they are soon acting just as they did before, with their spirit man being held captive by the flesh.  They die spiritually when that happens.

In the second stage, enough prayer takes place to sustain spiritual life, but unfortunately there’s no growth. They still have their old habits and may use coarse language, and their life doesn’t really reflect Jesus, though they may attend church.  They’re what we refer to as lukewarm christians.  And they are more prone to attack from the enemy in that stage.  Remember though, Jesus stated that every branch that does not bear fruit is taken away!  What a horrible fate that would be!

In the third stage, the soul is nourished by study of the word and by a constant prayer life, and their growth and their change is visible to others, but yet there’s still no fruit.  These might be church members who love the Lord, but never get involved beyond attending. 

In the fourth and final stage, not only do these Christians grow, but they produce fruit!  And they produce it abundantly!They are reproducers!However, consider our little apple tree again. The fruit it bears is not for the tree!  Apple trees don’t eat apples!  Their fruit is for others to enjoy and to produce seed! And it’s no different in the Kingdom. The fruit you bear is not for you!  It is for others and for the Lord.  That fruit may be prayers that are answered when prayed for others; or you may possess an understanding of the word through study and are able to teach others; or maybe you’re an encourager; you may be a soul winner and are able to lead others to the Lord. These things will happen when you not only have a disciplined prayer and study life, but when you also walk daily with the Lord in fellowship and have a deep relationship with Him, and are working to please Him!

 It’s important to examine yourself as to bearing fruit. Are you serving the Lord in ways that benefit you alone?  Are you teaching a Class so that others will think highly of you?  Are you serving your church in ways to be seen by others and not from a heart desiring to bear fruit? Remember the fruit is not for you!  However, if you are continually making your life about others, and you strive to bring others to a saving knowledge of the Lord, and you’re serving so that others will benefit, then you are bearing fruit for HIM and you are glorifying the Father, as Jesus instructed!

Strive to be a stage four Christian. Work hard at your growth and at producing fruit!  Allow the Lord to prune you when needed, even though it may be painful. If you are abiding in Him, then as He promised, you will bear MUCH fruit for Him and your life will glorify the Father which should be the ultimate goal of every Christian!

And that’s the way I see it!

Pastor Mike