Bearing Good Fruit – The Fruit You Bear
Posted March 14, 2021
Over the past couple of weeks, I have spoken of God transforming us for the purpose of transforming us into His image and also for the purpose of bearing good fruit in the world. Yes, you and I are to bear fruit while we are in the world. So, someone may ask, what does it mean to bear fruit?
Some believers will tell you that bearing fruit is for preachers to do. Others view bearing fruit as doing the work of God. So, their outer actions, their deeds, become their main focus. Others actually view fruit bearing as some sort of competition, I suppose, as seeing who can bear the most fruit in the world and who can “win the most souls”.
Let’s take a look at what Jesus had to say about bearing good fruit. Now, when Jesus spoke about bearing fruit, let us pay very close attention to the fact that Jesus was speaking and teaching spiritually. He spoke and taught about bearing fruit through parables and He also did so very plainly so that the apostles and other followers could understand what He was saying.
A parable of His that I have preached and taught from before – The Parable of the Sower – is recorded in Luke 8:4-8. In that parable, Jesus speaks of a sower (farmer) who sowed his seed. Some of it fell on good ground while some of it fell by the wayside, on rock, and in thistles. In this parable, Jesus was likening us, mankind, to the ground and was likening the Lord to the sower. The sower (God) in this instance, was sowing seed in order to produce a crop that would bear fruit.
In order to get a good crop, the first thing a farmer does is cultivate the land – they don’t just go out and throw their seed everywhere wasting their seeds. Cultivating the land is what helps to encourage a good growing crop! I believe I have said this before and I will say it again now – farmers want to have a crop that provides good sustenance to those that eat their crop. This is their livelihood! So, one could say that bearing fruit is about sustenance, and again, since Jesus was speaking spiritually, let’s say bearing fruit is about spiritual sustenance.
One thing that should jump out to us from our key verse is that Jesus speaks of good and bad trees that provide good and bad fruit. In this passage of scripture, Jesus had just told the apostles to beware of false prophets (Matt. 7:15). Peter, in his second letter, wrote of false teachers who would be among us (2 Pet. 2:1). I believe what Jesus was trying to make clear here is that everybody is capable of bearing fruit and most likely does bear spiritual fruit in the world.
The Sustenance You Provide
I believe this to be a fascinating point because there are many people who would say that they aren’t a spiritual person, but little do they realize, they are still capable of bearing some kind of fruit in the world. As I said last week, we are all spiritual beings and not the flesh and blood that we see reflected in a mirror. No, we are more than this old body!
So, the question I would ask of you today is this: what kind of fruit are you bearing? What kind of sustenance are you providing to all of those who are around you? Whether some realize it or not, they may be bearing fruit that is bitter and sour. In other words, the fruit they bear is destructive to the taste buds – meaning it is toxic and destructive to the spirits of others.
So some may be providing destructive and toxic sustenance while others may be bearing fruit that simply isn’t ripe. When I say that the fruit they are bearing is not ripe, I mean that it is not fully grown and developed (matured). So, because the fruit that they are bearing is not ripe, they end up providing a sustenance that shortchanges whomever is eating of the fruit. Simply put, this tree is providing a fruit that leaves people empty.
Conscious of our fruit
Sadly, I believe we live in a time where most folks are so self-concerned that they could not care less about the fruit they are bearing to those around them. Jesus speaks a great deal about bearing much fruit and we see that the apostles also focused a great deal on bearing good fruit in their writings. We as true believers should certainly be conscious of the fruit that we bear.
We should be conscious of the fruit that we bear not because we are in some sort of competition with one another. We should be conscious of the fruit that we bear not because of our own outer appearance – appearing to be as a believer to others. No, we should be conscious of the fruit we bear because it is representative of our relationship (fellowship) – our connection – with God. When we are truly in fellowship with God and the Lord has spiritually transformed us, then bearing good fruit should become our new nature – something we do on autopilot.
Our connection with God
Jesus, again, speaks of our bearing fruit in John’s gospel. In John’s gospel, Jesus tells us that He is the true vine and that the Father, again, is the gardener (vinedresser) (John 15:1). He then says to us, “Every branch in Me” which shows a connection to Him (John 15:2). In order for us to bear any good fruit, Jesus says that we must abide (stay or dwell) in Him (John 15:4).
Now, if you know anything about gardening or simply nature, then you should understand that a branch disconnected from the tree does nothing. It is not possible for anything to grow on such a branch – no leaves and certainly no fruit. Those branches eventually end up falling from trees and if it’s oak, dogwood, sweetgum, or pecan they end up in my fireplace during winter!
Jesus specifically tells us that the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine and “neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” So we must be connected to the vine! If we are not connected to the vine, Jesus tells us a branch withers and dies (John 15:6). Such a spiritual disconnection happens when we aren’t diligent in our prayer life, our studies, and in our faith. A spiritual disconnect from the Lord will stunt our growth! So in such disconnection any fruit that might grow from us ends up diminutive and not ripe.
Cultivated for perpetual good fruit
Jesus proclaimed that He chose us and appointed (ordained) us that we should go and bear fruit and that the fruit we bear should remain (John 15:16). When Jesus says that the fruit we bear should remain, He’s saying that the fruit we bear is perpetual. Meaning that this fruit is long lasting — continues forever!
This fruit is not a toxic and destructive fruit. The fruit you bear should not be a fruit that is diminutive and not ripe. No, this fruit, because it grew from a seed that was cultivated and cared for by the Lord, is good and ripe! The sustenance that every believer should provide to the hearts and souls around us should be long lasting. God has cultivated (spiritually transformed) us for the purpose of providing long-lasting sustenance into the world.
Paul tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal 5:22-23). God is cultivating you so that you provide the sustenance of love to those around you. He is cultivating you so that you provide the sustenance of peace to those around you. We have been transformed to provide the sustenance of joy to all of those around us. You see, this is good fruit that is much needed in our world today!
The World’s Lack of Good Fruit
So, why does the world lack such good fruit? Why does the world lack this kind of sustenance? Again, Jesus said to the apostles, “beware of false prophets” who inwardly (in their inner man) are “ravenous wolves.” Paul wrote of the coming departing from the Lord in his first letter to Timothy. He said, “in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons (1 Tim. 4:1).”
I touched on this in this week’s Sunday School and I will mention it here as well – we live in a world that’s moving further and further away from the Lord. There are many who applaud such a movement away from God. Yet, I would say, the further away we, mankind, move away from God, we move away from the fruit of the Spirit. So, we see a world where the sustenance of love, joy, and peace begins to lack more and more.
There are many who have the right idea in mind of living peaceably with all people. Yet, it seems more and more people have grown used to eating bitter and toxic fruit that destroys the spirit. That being said, we should continue in the way of bearing good fruit as the Lord has cultivated us to do. Jesus said to us, “every branch that bears fruit He (God the Father) prunes, that it may bear more fruit (John 15:2).”
Yes, the world is certainly in trouble, yet I believe God has cultivated us for this time! He has cultivated us so that we can continue to bear good fruit in this world! And as you have heard me say before, I certainly believe our world can use the perpetually good fruit that we have to share. Stay connected to the true vine and bear good fruit.