Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Fruitful Christianity

Scripture: John 15 v 1 - 5: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3  Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing."

If Jesus is the true vine and our Father is the farmer who tends it, then the sap that runs through the branches is the Holy Spirit.  This is the Trinity at work here on Earth.

The vine that is Jesus is a spreading vine that covers the whole Earth.  It started in Israel, then to Samaria and then to the outer parts of the world.  The sap of the Holy Spirit causes the fruit to grow on the vine.  He is the new wine that bubbles forth in those who are filled with Him.

The Holy Spirit wants to use us to create the fruit to be harvested off this vine.  It is our principal instruction from Jesus, called the Great Commission, Go forth into all the world and make disciples of every nation.

Before we look after ourselves and our needs, look to God and discover what He needs from us, do it and then look to our own needs.  This is totally opposite to how the world lives and behaves, but it is how the Kingdom of Heaven works.  We have to walk the walk and talk the talk.

We are servants of the Most High.  We serve Him and must be excellent in our service.  Jesus did not come to Earth to be served but to be a servant.  We must be like Him, and follow His example.

We complain long and hard about public officials, presidents and government ministers, who fall far short of the perfection we would prefer to see.  Some are seriously corrupt and sinful.  How does our God judge us in our service to His Kingdom?  He says get that log out of our eyes before we pull the splinter out of theirs.

God says we get the government we deserve!  When we are united as the Body of Christ and serving Him in perfect excellence, He will reward us with a government of true goodness.  Golden rule applies - do as you would be done by; or what you do for others will be done for you.

True Christian fruitfulness comes from obedience to God, and holiness in worship and behaviour.  It comes from separation from the world and sin, and refusing to compromise with either.  Jesus in our hearts knows every thought, every desire, every deed and works to prune out those things in us that are contrary to His nature.

We are being turned into His likeness, which means we must submit to His ways of doing things.  He wants pure truth in us all the time.  He wants souls added to His Kingdom as each one is a part of His Body.  It is up to us to keep the vine growing and spreading.

The Father tends the vine and prunes it when He finds zero growth or dead wood.  In order to avoid being chopped, churches and individual Christians need to be spiritually alive and active in service.  We must apply our faith constantly because only things done by faith find acceptance with the Father.  Plus faith frightens Satan.  

Sometimes we apply our faith to the uttermost and don't see the desired result.  Our God never lets our faith and prayers go unfulfilled.  He may not answer directly but He will take your act of faith and use it in many other places.  You may not hear about things done far away but never think that your prayer would ever be tossed aside.  The Lord says My Word will never return to Me void.  It will accomplish what I sent it to do.

The real essence of the verses above is that we must abide in Him.  Abide means stay.  Stay in Him.  Do not wander in and out of the Christian life as we cannot serve two masters.  Jesus said we must expect the world to hate us because it hated Him.  He said we do not need to fear this hatred because He has overcome the world.  Those that hate us may persecute and kill us but we will immediately be in Heaven with Him forever.

So don't cling to the world and its lack of goodness, but cling to Jesus and His love.  Let Him reign in our hearts and use us to grow the vine in our neighbourhood, workplace or country.  Being inactive will cause the fruit and sap within us to dry up and wither away.  Then when we have a desperate need our faith does not stretch to meet it anymore.

Let our grapes be full of the heavenly new wine, whose sweetness blesses the living water and nourishes those who thirst for righteousness.  When the Lord tastes our fruit let it be delicious and succulent, so He knows we are bringing His life to others.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, we want to extend this wonderful vine into every place so that billions of souls will populate Heaven.  Show us if any part of it has been neglected and send us in to refresh it.  In Jesus' name. Amen.