During the summer between my freshman and sophomore year, I lived on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge. I had a great summer, classes were easy (a couple of physical education classes and a world geography class as I recall) and lots of time to read the Word and books I had been exposed to the previous semester through my discipleship group.
One such book, really a booklet, that really impacted my life was Dawson Trotman’s classic, . Though this booklet was not very long, it had a profound impact on my life. I realized that God’s Purpose for my life and for all Christ followers was to make disciples who make disciples. I began to realize during that summer that God’s purpose for my life was to bear fruit both in me and through me.
Fruit That Remains
Jesus said in John 15:8, My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples. Also in John 15, Jesus shares the last of the seven “I Am” statements in John’s gospel. In John 15:1 Jesus says, I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.
He goes on to say that He is the vine and His disciples are the branches. In order for the branches to grow, flourish, and bear fruit we must continue, remain, and abide in the vine. In the same way, if we want to grow spiritually, and bear fruit as disciples, we must be vitally connected to the Lord Jesus. As we are connected to Him, He will provide all the life-giving resources we need to accomplish His will and purpose for our lives. As we abide in Him, He will work in and through our lives to bear fruit. In fact, He will bear fruit, more fruit, and much fruit.
But what kind of fruit is Jesus talking about? I believe He is talking about at least two kinds of fruit; growing in Christlikeness, that is, godly character) and multiplying disciples.
Growing In Christlikeness
In John 15, Jesus shares the results of what will happen when we abide in Him; answered prayer (15:7), love (15:9), obedience (15:10), and joy (15:11).
Although several expressions of the fruit that will be produced are listed here, this is not an exhaustive list. Other lists can be found in Galatians 5:22-23, 2 Peter 1:4-7, and throughout the New Testament. I believe and I trust that you will agree that this fruit will only be produced in our lives when we abide, when we stay vitally connected, to the True Vine, Jesus Christ.
As we abide in Him, we are being conformed into His image. Romans 8:29 says, For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. We’re also being transformed into the same image as the Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 3:18, We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit. One thing is certain, if we’re faithful to abide in Him, He will be faithful to bear fruit in our lives.
In two weeks, we will look at the second area of fruit that is produced in our lives, that is, multiplying disciples.