Bear Much Fruit
This is found in John 15:1-17, particularly verse 8: “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
A DISCIPLE UNDERSTANDS FRUITFULNESS
Even from the first page or two in your Bible, God sets forth the principle of ____________________________. Fish reproduced fish. Birds reproduced birds. Cattle reproduced cattle. Apple trees produce seeds that will create more apple trees. And even humans, as God created us, were to reproduce other humans as well. In other words, everything reproduced as the Bible says, “after their kind.” This is the law of nature.
As you understand fruitfulness, it’s important to note that the “bearing of much fruit” is three-fold. In the Bible, there are three manifestations of the fruit we are to bear, as branches on the vine of Jesus. Here they are:
- First, it begins with ___________________________________________. Galatians 5:22-23, Philippians 2:15, 1 Thessalonians 4:12. A fruitful life bears the mark of the Godhead, the Father, Son, and Spirit!
- Second, it progresses to _____________________________________. 1 Peter 2:12, Colossians 1:10, Matthew 5:16. To a lost world or skeptical culture, there is a need to “see,” to observe some tangible proof that Christians are a different breed, are of another world! This, too, is spiritual fruit.
- Third, the first two results in souls becoming ____________________________________. Colossians 1:6 speaks of the “gospel bearing fruit all over the world.” As Romans 7:4 says, when we are raised with Christ to a new life, we are “raised to bear fruit.” The fruit of a Christian is another Christian.
A DISCIPLE ALSO UNDERSTANDS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THESE 3 TYPES OF FRUIT
This is the main point of today’s message. There is a distinct connection between these three types of fruit, plus they are progressive in nature. The fruit of spiritual character leads to the fruit of good deeds, which in turn opens the doors of hearts to receive the saving message of the gospel. To understand fruitfulness, one must see all three of these in a cohesive balance in a person’s life.
A DISCIPLE IS PASSIONATE ABOUT THE MISSION OF CHRIST
- A true disciple understands the _______________________ of the One they are following. Matthew 1:21, Luke 19:10.
- A true disciple understands that a disciple is one who is _______________________! Jesus said as he neared the end of his time on earth, “As the Father sent me, I am sending you” John 20:21.
- A true disciple models the life of Jesus Christ as we:
• __________________ with the eyes of Jesus. Matthew 9:36-38
• __________________ with the heart of Jesus. John 8:1-11
• ________________ with the hands of Jesus. Mark 8:1-10
• __________________ with the mouth of Jesus. Matthew chapters 5, 6, 7
So today, stay close to Christ, connected to the vine. Let your branch of his kingdom become fruitful. As you implement the teachings of this message, you will develop the necessary balance, finding strength in all three aspects of fruitfulness: the fruit of the Spirit (spiritual character), the fruit of good deeds, and seeing the fruit of souls coming to Christ. Then you will “bear much fruit” and know the fullness of living in Christ.
QUESTIONS & EXERCISES
For Daily Devotionals or Bible Study Group
- Read the complete story of the vine and the branches in John 15:1-17. Envision yourself there that day when he stopped by a vineyard to give a spiritual lesson. How does the imagery of a vineyard help you to understand God as the care-takes? Jesus as the vine? Disciples as the branches? Fruitfulness?
- Give thought to (or discuss in your group) the correlation of fruit being found in three different ways. Is there one or two of these that you are stronger in while maybe giving less emphasis to the third?
• How are you doing in the development of spiritual character and values?
• How are you showing yourself to be a disciple by doing good deeds, serving others?
• How are you sharing your faith and looking for opportunities to lead people to Christ?
- Is the statement, “The fruit of a Christian is another Christian”, logical to you? Is it a matter of only evangelism being the fruit of a disciple? How do the first two manifestations of fruit lead to the last one – people being saved and following Jesus as a disciple also?
- In what ways are today’s Christ-followers falling short in fulfilling the purposes of Jesus to “seek and save the lost?” Is there a fear factor involved here? Is there a lack of knowledge limiting us? Could it be our busy lifestyles that hinder us? Have we not been taught properly? Do we fall short in the compassion Jesus had for people?
- Give thought to your life in the following ways we can model the life of Jesus:
• See with the eyes of Jesus. Matthew 9:36-38
• Feel with the heart of Jesus. John 8:1-11
• Care with the hands of Jesus. Mark 8:1-10
• Speak with the mouth of Jesus. Matthew 5 ,6, 7