January 12, 2014
by John Ulrich, Senior Pastor
As Christians, spiritual fruit is the visible outworking of the life Jesus gives us.
In John 15: 1-8 we are warned that a fruitless tree faces divine wrath. The branches will be cut off (Jn. 15:2) and burned (Jn. 15:6).
A. There are people who appear to be “in Christ”, but do not produce fruit. John says that they will be separated from Christ and face God’s judgment because they do not abide, live, or get vitality from Christ.
B. These people will ultimately be removed from Christ.
C. They will be thrown into fires of judgment (Rev. 20:15).
Four Observations about Fruitlessness:
1. This seems harsh.
This judgment is as much a part of Jesus’ teachings as “love your neighbor”. God is an absolute, not up for discussion. God provides escape from punishment of our sin by Jesus.
2. We are not called to live in fear.
God prunes even the branches that abide and produce fruit (Jn.15:2). We are “already clean”, pruned, through Jesus (Jn. 15:3).
We are either burning branches or pruning branches. As believers in Christ, it is already settled by His death and resurrection that we are pruning branches, even if we are deeply troubled by our sin or fragile trust in Christ. A disciple is one who stumbles, follows Jesus, and when he stumbles again, he continues to turn back to Jesus and find life.
3. Assurance of salvation comes in bearing fruit.
When we repent and let Jesus life through us, we see that our fruit is simply the visible out working of the life Jesus lives through us.
4. The solution to the problem is not on the fruit side.
We are not asked to try to make fruit. We are only truly made alive (bearing spiritual fruit) by Jesus our Savior, not by anything outside.
Real life, bearing much spiritual fruit, comes through Jesus. Fruit is produced as the life of the vine (God through His Son, Jesus) comes through the branches (us). We are to remain, abide in Him (Jn. 15:4), not to try harder.
Jesus said, “Without me (apart from me), you can do nothing.” (Jn. 15:5)
Questions to ask ourselves:
Am I a fruitful Christian?
If I do not see fruit in my life, what is the issue?
Do I need to get back to abiding or have I ever abided in Him?