February 16, 2014
By John Ulrich, Senior Pastor
“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.” (John 15:4)
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – a fruit that will last.” (John 15:16)
1. God expects His Church (as a group) to be fruitful.
In the Old Testament, God talked to Israel about their fruit. Although He sent His prophets to proclaim judgment and coming discipline when there was no fruit, He also blessed the whole nation when they turned to Him and produced good fruit.
In the parable of the fig tree in the New Testament, Jesus cursed the tree, which produced no fruit. In the metaphor of the parts of the body, Jesus taught that all members of the body are needed with their individual gifts perform the mission of the church and be fruitful. In Revelation, the author John told the seven churches in Asia Minor to repent for lack of fruit.
An individual must belong to a body for collective fruit. In a church community, the whole becomes more than the sum of the parts.
2. The way we become fruitful as a body is by “abiding in the true vine” (Jesus).
How do we do this? We start by individually abiding/remaining in Christ (John 15:4), with such things as reading the Bible, prayer, obedience.
We abide corporately by staying in the Word, praying for the church and its leadership, and being a church that is ready to obey.
3. Three characteristics of an abiding church:
- Our fruit will be unique to us individually and corporately. Pray to know our unique fruit.
- If we abide, the body will work together as a body should: Christ, and not the pastor, is the head of the church. (Ephesians 2:20)
- God will get the credit and be glorified as we abide in Him and bear fruit. As we glorify God, other people will be drawn to Him as the source of life.