Be Fruitful: Challenging Yourself to Abide in Order to Bear More Fruit

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The message of the love and forgiveness of God and his desire that all might find the fulfillment they are looking for in him is too important to neglect.

In John 15, Jesus said that he is the vine and we are the branches. As he develops the analogy, he adds, “Abide in me and bear much fruit.”

Furthermore, he says branches that do not bear fruit he removes and casts away. Those that do bear fruit, he prunes (that is, he refines) that they might bear more fruit. It is a process that he fully resources because he said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing.”

Perhaps some would say Jesus is speaking of the fruit of the Spirit and is challenging his followers to cultivate love, joy, peace, patience, and all of those qualities outlined by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 5.

While those qualities are of vital importance for all who take following Christ seriously, from the context of John 15 it is difficult to assert that the character of the disciple, important as that is, is what Jesus had in mind here.

Two things in the context clarify his point. In John 15:16, he said, “You did not choose Me, but I have chosen you, that you might go and bear fruit and that your fruit might remain.” It is a kind of fruit bearing that occurs as Jesus gives the last word, upper room instructions before he deploys his disciples to fulfill his mission to the world. He has in mind the life of reproducing reproducers for the Kingdom.

That is, Jesus wants his disciples who take seriously the role of following him to live lives of sharing the gospel with others and mentoring others so that they can also participate in this great work.

Furthermore, these words are at the very heart of the most fully developed instruction Jesus gives to his disciples and it is all about the mission of the church in the world. Go, in the power of the Holy Spirit, abiding in me, and produce fruit for …

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