We’ve all heard the verse where Jesus describes a good tree bearing good fruit. And we’ve all heard countless preachers, books, blog posts, and general conversations where the topic was this of bearing fruit. It seems many Christians today are consumed by the alleged need to bear fruit. In fact, there are also many who have been wrongly told that if they don’t “bear fruit” then God will cut them from the vine and they will wither and die and go to hell. First let me say that this assumption is absolutely absurd!
This absurd assumption comes from a misinterpretation of John 15: 1-8. They take the first few verses, “I am the True Vine and My Father is the Gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit…”, and take that as a warning that if you don’t bear fruit for God, then you will be cut off. Which basically equals: If you’re not a good Christian, if you don’t tithe, don’t feed the homeless, or be a good “godly man or woman” then the Father will cut you off from His Son. It is a teaching of self-effort, self-righteousness, and outer workings of the flesh to somehow please God enough so that He won’t cut us off from the Vine. This teaching paralyzes so many of God’s children from bearing any real fruit to God! I know I was at one point.
So this teaching is taught with great fervor and zeal but little-to-nothing ever happens. Few Christians begin bearing more fruit after hearing such a message. Why? I think Jesus explains it best:
“You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the Vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
Jesus made it quite clear to the disciples that they were already clean! That they had no need to worry about whether or not the Gardner was going to cut them off the Vine. He made it, also, quite clear that we cannot bear fruit on our own accord–by our own outer actions, our own righteousness, nor our own morality. We must remain in Christ, the True Vine, to bear fruit. And because He lives inside of us by the Holy Spirit, because His blood has covered ALL sins, then we need not worry that we are only one mistake away, one bad day from, being cut off and thrown into “the fire”. Thank God!
So Why Bear Fruit?
So, if we are already clean because of the word spoken to us by Jesus and His precious blood, then why bear fruit? What’s the point? And if we are to bear fruit, then to whom shall we bear it, is it for us? For God? For others?
Upon considering this I instantly thought of an apple tree. The apple tree bears fruit–apples in case you wondering (smile)–that have a specific purpose. The tree doesn’t bear fruit for its own use, for the tree can’t feed off its own apples. No, the fruit is for the purpose of making new apple trees from the seeds in contains, but also for the enjoyment of those who would eat that fruit.
That fruit, first and foremost, is to be enjoyed by the One who planted the tree and He who watered the tree. Then, after the Planter has had His fill, it is for the enjoyment of all who the Planter would allow to come and partake of that fruit.
This is quite like us. We bear fruit, NATURALLY, no by force, for the Planter, Jesus Christ. He is to have the first-fruits of His own labor because He is the one who has caused the growth, not the tree (you).
Then, after the Planter has had His fill, it is for the enjoyment of others. Oh what a blessed thing it is when we bear fruit and others are able to partake and enjoy that fruit! What a blessing! What a calling! And the glorious thing about it is, we are all called to do such.
The fruit is never for ourselves, but the enjoyment we receive as others partake of our fruit, is for us.
A Final Word About the Ultimate Purpose of Fruit
I want to take a minute to describe what I believe to be the ultimate purpose of bearing fruit.
As individuals, we can bear fruit. But if you’re only an individual that fruit will be incredibly limited. But if we take all the different fruit-bearing trees, and graft them together to make ONE glorious tree, we will reach our ultimate purpose in fruit bearing!
So instead of the Planter only having a large group of small, individual trees planted in His field only bearing one type of fruit, He can have one glorious, large, magnificent tree bearing many types of fruit. Which would satisfy a gardener more? A hundred small trees, or one huge tree?
The shade of this larger tree will be greater as well. No one wants to sit under the shade of a small tree, for it blocks little-to-no sunlight. But everyone loves sitting under a large tree! The world would have a shade tree (the church) instead of a small tree (the individual) to rest under and to enjoy.
Also, because each tree would be grafted into the larger tree, each specific one would be much more fruitful and thrive so much more. Because instead of the individual tree having to rely on his or her own resources (the soil, sunlight, nutrition), it would have the resources off all the other trees that it is grafted to to share. That means that each tree could rely on the other trees for nutrients and water. The trunk of the tree and its roots would be much larger making it able to draw more resources from the soil below (which is Christ). There would be more leaves to breath in more carbon dioxide and more sunlight. So many parallels that could be drawn here!
This happens as a group of brothers and sisters are willing to be grafted together. That means, cut open for all to see and being tied close together–not an easy process. But once the healing of the trees begins, and they begin to graft together, what a glorious thing! This is what God has intended for mankind since the beginning.
There is much that could be written on the subject of Bearing Fruit and the Ultimate Purpose of Fruit Bearing. But indeed, it would be an entire book. So maybe someday I’ll write that book :).
But for now, that’s all I have to say about fruit bearing.