Is Christ producing kingdom fruit through me, according to the unique gifts I have been given, or am I in danger of being cut off?
5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” - John 15:5-8
INSIGHT: Oh, what good news and tragic news there is in this passage. Notice that verses 6 & 7 both start with the word “if”. We must choose to remain in Christ so that we produce fruit and are not cut off. I see four types of fruit in Scripture, the fruit of our lips (Pro 12:14, Mat 12:33-34, Heb 13:15) the fruit of our behavior (Gal 5:22, Phi 1:9-11), the fruit of good works (Eph 5:9, Col 1:10), and the fruit of evangelism (Pro 11:30, Phi 1:22, Col 1:6).
Ironically though, we are not to strive to produce fruit! Our main role is to remain in Christ, through faith, daily dependence, and obedience. Then He will produce the fruit through us. No branch on an orange tree spends its day struggling and striving to produce an orange. The orange comes as a result of being attached to the tree. God often produces more fruit through me in one week now (not including by this book or the internet) than in an entire year, before I learned this spiritual secret. God is completely sovereign and more in control than I ever imagined. He sometimes directs me to people externally (by providence or signs) and other times internally (by the Spirit’s leading). I simply watch for them and step into the opportunities. There is no striving on my part. One time I was working on this book and I got so tired that I needed to go get some coffee. I headed toward my normal Starbucks, but at the last minute I turned right instead of left (Pro 16:9) and I went to a different one. I met three sweet older ladies. Before I left, we stood in in a prayer huddle and prayed. When we ended the prayer I got tapped on the shoulder by a man who asked if we could pray for him too. I made friends with him and found out he was trapped in a 20 year sex-addiction. Within just a few weeks of discipling him, God set him completely free!
A false believer, or a non-maturing believer, is someone who claims to be a Christian, but who is not showing or producing fruit, in accordance with the spiritual gifts and resources they have received. (1 Peter 4:10) If a “Christian” has been given spiritual gifts (and if they have the Spirit of Christ in them, they have been) and they are not using them, Jesus says they are taking up the soil and are in danger of being cut off (Luke 13:7).
All fruit is produced by the Holy Spirit, but we do play a vital role as the branch. We must know and practice the words of Christ and have the faith and courage to step into the opportunities He gives us! Then He gives us grace (power) and we will start to see more abundant fruit. Oh, what joy my friend!