John 15:4–6, “…No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “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. 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.”
Many professing Christians seem to be religious, but not fruitful ones. What Jesus did when He was alone with His disciples is that He spoke to them about living productive, fruit-bearing lives. Just as in Psalm 1, the key for the tree to be nourished was being rooted near the streams of water and having the water travel up the root system all the way to the branches to produce fruit, so to do we find a similar illustration here. Jesus emphasized strongly that “…no branch can bear fruit by itself”. Can you imagine cutting off a branch from a tree, and expecting it to produce fruit when disconnected from the source of nutrients? That would be absurd. Jesus points out that in the same way, no one can live a fruitful life UNLESS and only UNLESS they remain in Him! It is not enough for a branch to be near the vine (trunk), it must be connected. Jesus tells us that HE is the VINE and we are the branches.
If we are in Christ it will show forth from our lives. A healthy vine cannot but help bear grapes, a healthy orange tree will bear oranges, etc…, and a healthy Christian life will bear the character of Christ and reproduce souls into the Kingdom of God. It has been rightly said that when a husband and wife are intimate children are born, and likewise when one is intimate with the Lord souls are born again! Peter denied the Lord, wept bitterly in repentance, and eventually became the leader of the Apostles as he preached at Pentecost (Acts 2), he wrote first and second Peter, and eventually would be crucified upside down for Christ not feeling worthy to die in the same exact manner as his Lord.
Why would a professing Christian stay fruitless? Jesus tells us that some branches don’t produce fruit ever, because they are not connected to the vine. A branch cannot bear fruit unless it is attached, and if it is not it withers up because the branch can only die without life flowing to it. When I cut branches off from trees all they were good for eventually was firewood because they were nice and dry and dead, as dead wood burns the best. A life unconnected to Christ will be one that is picked up and thrown into the fire. Judas was a fruitless branch that betrayed Jesus and ended up committing suicide. Judas was NOT connected and everything that Judas influenced was toward death! Jesus said, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy (cast) both soul and body in hell.” Unconnected lives that stay unconnected will end up in the Lake of Fire. Rev. 20:15 reads, “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
An absolutely fruitless life is evidence that one is not a believer. “Fruit bearing is not only possible but certain if the branch remains in union with the vine. Uniformity of quantity and quality are not promised. But if the life of Christ permeates a disciple, fruit will be inevitable (EBC).”
Application: Is there fruit in your life that you are Christian? Do others recognize that Christ is in your life? Ask two trusted believers and two non-believers how they view your relationship with God? And above all remain in Him and you will bear fruit and show to belong to Him! Go and reach the unconnected lives in your life and connect them to Christ! Blessings Pastor Phil