True Disciples of Christ

Bearing Spiritual Fruit
John 15:1-2, 6 ESV

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

“If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.”

What is this fruit he is talking about here? It is the result, the produce, and the outgrowth of our lives, of our walks of faith in Jesus Christ.

If what we produce in our lives are the works of the flesh – lying, cheating, adultery, stealing, blaspheming, cursing, lusting, sexual immorality, gossiping, slandering, and the like – then, with regard to God’s eternal kingdom, we are not bearing fruit. And, we will be thrown away into the fire and burned for eternity (Gal. 5:16-21; Eph. 5:3-6; Col. 3:5-11; Gal. 6:7-8).

But if we do produce fruit in keeping with repentance, of the Spirit of God, our Lord will prune us so that we may bear even more fruit. And, pruning is not pleasant. It is painful. But we need it for us to grow spiritually to maturity in our Lord Jesus Christ. We need it to humble us, too, so that we will walk in the fear of God and not in the ways of our flesh (Ro. 5:3-5; Phil. 3:7-11; 1 Pet. 1:6-7; 1 Pet. 4:12-17; Jas. 1:2-4; Heb. 12:3-12).

Abiding in Him
John 15:3-5 ESV

“Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

Jesus was speaking to his disciples here (minus Judas who had already left to betray Jesus). They were already pure, unstained, and upright because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Yet, they had to remain in Christ and in his word. They had to live in him, doing his will, following his lead. They had to die daily to sin and self and daily put on Christ and his righteousness.

For, if they didn’t, they couldn’t bear fruit for God’s eternal kingdom, because we can’t bear spiritual fruit in the flesh. We can’t muster it up ourselves just be doing “good deeds.” For, this fruit is of the Spirit of God, and we only produce this fruit when we are walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh (Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

We must be in God’s Word, but not just for 5 minutes a day. We need to be drinking in the Word of God throughout the day. We can listen to it while driving the car or while sitting in our houses. Or, we can read it various places on the internet as well as in our physical Bibles. The Word of God should be in our minds, in our hearts, and produced through our deeds, day in and day out. We should be living it, not just reading it, in other words.

Proving to be Disciples
John 15:7-9 ESV

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.”

Now, this “ask whatever you wish” is not about rubbing Aladdin’s lamp and a Genie pops out and gives us whatever our fleshly lusts desire. For, the prerequisite to getting whatever we wish is that we abide (live, have our being) in Christ and in his word.

So, if our lives are truly being lived in Christ – in his righteousness, holiness, purity, honesty and integrity – and if we are living the word of God in obedience to our Lord, in what we do, then what we wish (desire) will be what God desires, not what our flesh desires. And, that is why the Lord will grant us our desires, because they are his desires.

So, what is the proof that we are abiding in Christ and that his word is abiding in us? It is that we are bearing much fruit for his eternal kingdom. And, what is the proof that we are his disciples (his followers)? It is the same, that we are bearing much spiritual fruit for the Lord. And, that will be seen by our walks of faith, whether we are walking (living) according to the Spirit, or whether we are walking (in practice) according to our flesh.

Keeping God’s Commandments
John 15:10-11 ESV

“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

There are a lot of folks these days who are proclaiming that we no longer must obey the commandments of God. And, I concede that it can be a confusing subject with so many instructions on law and grace. But grace does not set us free from obeying our Lord, and from doing what he says to do. God’s grace is not free license to continue living in sin, in other words (Tit. 2:11-14; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; 1 Jn. 2:3-6).

Repentance and obedience to our Lord are taught consistently both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. Under the Old Covenant or under the New Covenant, God’s people are told they must leave their lives of sin behind them, forsake their idols, and follow their Lord in obedience to his commands and in surrender to his will (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Jn. 2:3-6; Acts 26:18; etc.).

We must die with Christ to our sins that we might live to Christ and to his righteousness. We are to no longer live how we lived before we believed in Jesus, according to the lusts of our flesh. But now we must be walking according to (in agreement with) God’s Spirit. And, we are to no longer be walking in the ways of the world and of the flesh.

For, if we continue living in sin, doing what our sinful hearts desire, living to please ourselves, without regard for God and for his commandments, then eternity with God is not in our future, but hell is in our future. For, Jesus died to liberate us from our slavery (addiction) to sin, not to merely forgive our sins so that we can continue in them without guilt. So, know the truth that will set you free, and live that truth, if you want eternal life with God.

Though Your Sins Be as Scarlet

Frances J Crosby, 1880
William H. Doane, 1876

“Though your sins be as scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they be red like crimson,
They shall be as wool!”
“Though your sins be as scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow.”

Hear the voice that entreats you,
Oh, return ye unto God!
He is of great compassion,
And of wondrous love;
Hear the voice that entreats you,
Oh, return ye unto God!

He’ll forgive your transgressions,
And remember them no more;
“Look unto Me, ye people,”
Saith the Lord your God!
He’ll forgive your transgressions,
And remember them no more.

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