Bearing fruits for the Kingdom of God is an important aspect of our Christian life. However, how often, do we hear preachers and pastors emphasizing its importance in their sermons or teachings.
In John 15, Jesus Christ metaphorically illustrates His relationship with His disciples using a Vine and its branches.
In fact, it is a very vivid description that not only shows how deep and close the relationship is; but also what He really expects from that relationship.
In these verses Jesus also very clearly indicates the purpose for which we are being called and separated from the world:
It is to bear fruits that bring glory to His Heavenly Father.
However, this truth is often misunderstood by believers. Hence, I am going to discuss a bit more in detail about this topic of “Bearing fruits in the Kingdom of God”.
First, let’s go through the verses:
1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes a so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.4Remain in me, as I also 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. 5“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15, 1-8)
As I mentioned earlier; In the above verses Jesus is comparing himself to a grape vine and His Heavenly Father as a gardener and believers as branches of that vine.
When we become believers in Christ, we are actually grafted into Him, the True Vine, and start bearing fruits by receiving spiritual nourishment from His Word.
So, the purpose of the branches to be in the Vine is to bear fruits. The branches that produce good fruits are pruned in order to produce even more fruits in abundance. But in contrast, the branches that do not produce good fruits are not allowed to be part of the vine, instead, they are cut down and thrown into the fire.
However, this “producing good fruits” aspect of our relationship with Christ is often misunderstood by many new born-again believers. Sometimes, many of them think that, the most important thing about having a relationship with Christ is to have faith in him, to believe in him and “that is it”, we don’t need to do anything beyond that.
Once we declare our faith in Christ, we are free to roam around with the title of “born again Christian” without holiness or obedience.
If, any Christian thinks in this manner, it is pure absurd and unscriptural. As it is evident from the above verses in John 15, we were called and separated by God and grafted into Christ in order to bear fruits. Well, what kind of fruits? See, what John the Baptist demands from the Israelites who came to him to be baptized:
7But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. (Mathew 3, 7)
Here, Prophet John is asking those Pharisees and Sadducees to produce fruit in keeping with repentance. What does that mean?
Once we repent of our sins, next thing should be; to turn away from them completely and not to produce those evil fruits anymore.
If we have already asked God to forgive us our sins, we should not keep committing those sins again and again. We should renounce our previous evil life style and start a life that is centered on obedience and holiness.
Let us see what Apostle Paul says;
19“So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. (Acts 26, 19)
The above verse is a clear evidence for Apostle Paul preaching that:
People should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.Yes, let me say it again: we should repent and demonstrate that repentance by our deeds: what kind of deeds? The same old filthy deeds of darkness? No! we should turn away from those evil deeds and do things that are pleasing to God.
Remember: we were once dead because of our deeds of darkness. See what Apostle Paul says about our pre-born-again state.
1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh a and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2, 1-5)
So, we have been saved by grace and grafted into Christ, in order to bear good fruits and once we become branches that produce good fruits, we are pruned by our Heavenly Father – the Gardener, so that we might produce even more fruits.
But remember, this divine pruning process might take different forms and it can be often very painful, however, the purpose and the intention of the Almighty God is good.
For example: sometimes, a good Christian (a branch that bears much fruit) might face too many challenges in his life. Despite walking every minute in the light of His love and living in obedience to His commandments, he might still find it difficult to move ahead.
When the challenges become too many, even mature born-again, fellow-believers in the Church might start wondering:
“What is wrong with this guy? He seems like a nice Christian, but why he is going through so many challenges recently? Is something wrong with his Christian walk? Is God unhappy with him?
But, here, what actually happening is, since, he is a branch that bears good fruits, his loving Heavenly Father is putting him through a divine pruning process, so that, he might become stronger and start producing fruits even more abundantly. Unfortunately, very few believers understand this hidden truth, even the one who is going through this painful process may not grasp it well.
Another key point we need to keep in mind is:
When we, as believers, produce good fruits in abundance; it not only brings glory to our Heavenly Father, but also, it shows to the world that, we are the disciples of Christ. In other words: our identity as disciples of Christ depends exclusively on how much good fruits we produce while remaining in Him and not on anything else. See, the verse below.
8This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15, 8)
Attending church on Sunday or taking part in small group activities will not help us to prove before heaven that, we are Christians; it might help, though, before the world.
So, the key points from John 15, 1-8 are:
Once we are in Christ, we should bear fruits for the Kingdom of God.
We cannot bear fruits unless we remain in Christ. We can’t remain in Christ while living in complete disobedience.
We’ll be separated from Christ if we stop bearing fruits in the Kingdom of God.
Bearing fruits brings glory to our Heavenly Father.
Bearing fruits shows that we are the disciples of Christ.
Well, now it is clear that, remaining in Christ and bearing fruits in the Kingdom of God are fundamental attributes of our Christian life. Therefore, let us strive to be true believers by producing fruits that bring glory to our Heavenly Father.