Why are We to Bear Fruit? The Answer May Surprise You

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.


19 thoughts on “Why are We to Bear Fruit? The Answer May Surprise You

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  1. This is fantastic, brother! Wow… it blessed me so much.

    I encourage you to pray about writing the book. I think God is revealing to His people a deep revelation of who He is. Frank Viola beautifully describes Christ and us as a temple, house, building. Milt wonderfully describes Christ as the image of God. We need to see it from the tree and the body pictures. I’m currently working, by God’s leading cause I dread how my loved ones will react since they don’t understand any of this, to write about Christ from the Body perspective.


      1. Might be waiting awhile… started last week and am on page 28. When I finish it I could send it to you. Do it! God has given you a revelation I know has and can bless so many, including myself.


  2. Yes, yes, exactly! And my Bible adds in the notes that “takes away” can also mean “lifts up”. Could it be that our Heavenly Father actually lifts up the non-fruit bearing branches that are laying on the ground, rather than taking them away…so they may begin bearing fruit?! Psalm 145:14 says just that: “The Lord lifts up all those who are bowed low.”. Have we not all experienced this? He has been “the lifter of my head” many, many times. Thanks Michael for this great explanation of this awesome scripture.


  3. Michael,

    I like the ESV translation of the word “cut off” where it is written as “prune”. Prune gives a much better picture of God’s dealings with those who are in Christ and are yet to bear fruit. Rather than being cut off we are cut back and the dead (old man) is pruned away so that the life from the Vine can pour into new growth that will bear fruit.

    We cannot be plucked out of His hand but we will certainly be disciplined as sons. Good post bro.


    1. Yea, I agree with that translation more myself. “Prune” is a much better, and more fitting verb in that passage than “cut off”. I believe it describes the words of Jesus more fully.

      Thanks for commenting


  4. I like the view of one tree. It shows when the Lord is pruning or dealing with things in our life by the cross it’s not just for us, but the whole tree. So it can become healthier as a whole. Beautiful coporate example.


  5. Michael, I have probably 30 bibles lol, but my fav is the NKJV Spirit Filled Life Bible and this reference is in the comments. I also have learned that grapevines don’t have their own natural support system (like trees have trunks). Therefore without someone supporting them, the branches tend to fall to the ground and lay there. With support, they wind and grow and climb and bear fruit. I think this is such a cool picture of dependence….Jesus on the Father, and our dependence on Jesus.


  6. Yes, as Lisa is pointing to, grape vines climb up upon other plants or trees or any ready objects. after a few years, the base of the vine becomes sturdy enough to offer some support for a well-tended vine.
    Michael, what is good fruit of the Spirit referred by Jesus? Surely not tithing. Identify the real fruit, and every temptation to prune back John 15:1-8 will subsequently fade away.


  7. I find it interesting that the Lord seems to have trees on the mind of several of the saints; perhaps there is more of Him to be found by looking into it?

    Good post and good comments as well. Thanks, everyone.


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