In January 2012, our church is going to focus on a very important topic, one which is the essence of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. You might check out a men’s study we did years ago on the Secrets of the Vine.
Just as one would expect grapes from a grape vine, the most obvious fruit of a Christian is another Christian. We should tell others how Jesus Christ was crucified for our sins and arose from the dead for us to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). God wants us to “show and tell” so that others will become disciples as well. Bearing fruit is the way we prove we are his disciples (John 15:8).
Other spiritual fruit will include our personal character qualities, such as “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control,” (Galatians 5:22-23). Spiritual fruit is produced in and through our lives as we abide in Jesus, which includes gathering together in community to study his Word and worship.
There is only one command of God that humans have not failed to do… God’s first recorded words to Adam were, “Be fruitful and multiply,” (Genesis 1:28). This meant having children but on a spiritual level, it also means for us being fruitful in serving God and other ways. Jesus gave a similar commission when He said, “I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain,” (John 15:16). Just before His ascension, Jesus commanded His followers to, “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
So, how can you work with God in His garden? Jesus said, “Abide in Me” (John 15:4, 5).
First, you must have the right seed: Jesus is the seed of Salvation. You must receive Him and be vitally connected to Him (John 1:12). When you believe in Jesus, yielding your life to Him, He grafts you into Himself (Romans 11:17). This speaks of personal salvation. Has that happened to you?
The soil of your life must be cultivated: This involves abiding in Jesus. He said “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7). Consider this interpretation:
- If you abide in Me – that would be worship.
- My words abide in you – that would be Bible study or involvement in a small group.
- Ask whatever you will – that is obviously prayer.
- It shall be done for you – that could be personal obedience (John 15:10).
Having good soil includes getting the rocks and weeds out of the soil. Rocks and weeds could refer to sinful attitudes and habits, which prevent spiritual fruit bearing.
Jesus said, “My Father is the vinedresser” (John 15:1), which could be translated “farmer” or “gardener.” God’s Holy Spirit shows Christians areas that need work, and change. Our humble response to His conviction allows God to get the rocks and weeds of sin out of our lives.
Jesus says the vinedresser “takes away” or “prunes” the unfruitful branches to increase their fruitfulness, (John 15:2). Many plants produce too many leaves and unfruitful branches. This compares to Christians who get too busy (even in good church related activities) or get their priorities confused. Our lives may be filled with many good activities while neglecting the best, such as worship, Bible study, prayer and witnessing. Does God need to prune your life of unfruitful activities so that He can make you more fruitful for Him?
Gardens need to be protected: In literal gardens, there are enemies like rabbits, deer and insects. This could compare to the attacks of the enemy. Our divine “vinedresser” will defend us as we abide in Christ.
- Sunshine and rain involve God’s gracious response to our prayers.
- The nutrients from the soil could be compared to the food of His Word.
- Fertilizer could be our kind deeds to others preparing them for the seed.
So, how is your spiritual garden? Is it fruitful for God? Abide in Christ and His Word. With His power and grace you can have a bumper crop. Amen.