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Making a Difference By Fruit Bearing

By Dr. Tom Walker

McDowell Countytom walker mcdowell county Zion Hill Baptist Church

            In John 15:18 Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 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. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.  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. 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 a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”

We are concerned in our studies about making a difference at the point in history we find ourselves. If you are a born-again child of God, you have been called upon to make a beneficial, helpful contribution to the society in which you live. It is possible to make a notable difference if you are truly a child of God.

One way we can do so is to bear fruit for the Lord as we go about our daily walk. Good fruit is the product of a person walking with the Lord and being filled with the Spirit of God. Although we have the enemies of the world, the flesh (old nature), and the devil, it is still possible to produce spiritual fruit for the glory of God in our lives.

A Possibility

Note the words “Beareth not fruit.” If there is no spiritual fruit, it indicates that a person does not have spiritual life. If a tree has life it will produce fruit during the growing season. That person who has no fruit, that has no presence of the Spirit of God, will be taken away to a placed called Hell, at the end of his or her earthly life. The ungodly is like the chaff of the wheat, which the wind drives away (Psalms1:4). Compare verse 6 which speaks of the person who bears no fruit and see him cast into the fire and being burned.

This could not mean that a person is saved for a while and becomes lost again. That would contradict too many Scriptures that make it clear if a person is saved, he or she will be the property of God forever. If you read Ephesians 4 about the seal of the Spirit of God, if you read Romans 8 and many other passages, you can have a sense of security, in regard to your salvation. When God gives life to a believing sinner, it is the quality of life that is eternal and unending (John 3:16-18).

The AMG Concise Bible Commentary says the following: “Those who bear no fruit are like the dead branches of a vine. Though attached to it, they receive no life from it. They say they are disciples of Jesus, but they have no spiritual union with him and in the end, they will be destroyed. Such a person was Judas Iscariot (John 15:6). If people are true disciples, they will prove it by the fruits that their spiritual union with Jesus produces.”

A Purging

What does the word “purge” in verse 2 mean? It suggests being cleansed or purified. It is clear how the Lord accomplishes the purging. Verse 3 tells us exactly what God uses to purge us. Christ says, “Ye are clean through the word I have spoken unto you.” Psalm 119:9 says, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word.” Speaking of the Lord’s church in Ephesians 5:26, the Apostle Paul says, “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word of God.” By reading, absorbing, and obeying the Scriptures, one’s life becomes cleansed, thus, producing a greater amount of spiritual fruit.

Sometimes the Lord uses what we consider distasteful and undesirable experiences to enter into our lives, in order to make our lives bear and produce more fruit for him. Romans 8:28 is always true. It says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Tough times and trying experiences are good for us, because they make us lean more dependently upon the Lord.

A Practice

Bearing much fruit is dependent upon our “abiding” in Christ. The words “abide” and “abideth” are used 7 times in our passage under consideration. To abide is to continue, to say or to remain. It means we keep on trusting, we go on depending, and that we continue believing Christ and His Word. Sinclair Ferguson wrote, “Abiding in Christ means allowing his Word to fill our minds, direct our wills, and transform our affections.” Ferguson goes on to say about the characteristics of abiding in Christ that it is: “Believing in Christ (Jn.6:56), leaning upon the Lord in dependence upon Him for life and vitality, remaining in Christ’s words (Jn.14:21,23), obeying Christ’s commands (John 15:9-10), and abiding in Christ’s love (Jn. 15:9-10).”

A Personal Relationship

            The Lord Jesus uses the words, “I in you.” Those three words indicate and refer to a personal relationship. He lives in every believer through His Spirit (1 Cor.12:13). He is nearer than our heartbeat and our next breath. The Lord is available to us twenty-four hours a day and in reality, lives within the heart of the believer. One songwriter wrote these words in his lyrics a song:

“I’m rejoicing night and day
As I walk the narrow way,
For the hand of God in all my life I see;
And the reason of my bliss,
Yes, the secret all is this:
That the Comforter abides with me.
He abides, He abides;
Hallelujah, He abides with me!
I’m rejoicing night and day
As I walk the narrow way,
For the Comforter abides with me.”

A Productive Life

      In verse 5 you find the words, “The same bringeth forth much fruit.” There are degrees of fruit-bearing found in the Bible. The four states of fruit-bearing are as follows: no fruit, fruit, more fruit, and much fruit. The last of the four is what the Lord desires for all his children. If we do not bear the right degree of fruit, it would be impossible to bring the proper glory to God through our lives. Much fruit is seen in our lives when we depend constantly and continually upon our Lord. Jesus reminds us in verse 5, “Without me ye can do nothing.” The productive life is the dependent life. The more we depend upon Christ, the greater the production of fruit will be in us.

A Promise

In John 15:7 Jesus made a wonderful promise. “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” What an encouraging promise which encourages us to live right and to pray. If we remain in fellowship with Christ and allow His Word to find a lodging place in our hearts, this promise pertains to us. If we are walking closely to the Lord, we are not going to ask Him for ridiculous and unreasonable things.

A Possession

Christ said in John 15:11: “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” That statement of Christ involves both a possession and a portion. We are to constantly have joy in our hearts; it is to be an overflowing joy, so full that it is more than enough. Don’t live beneath your privilege as one of God’s own. It is a sad matter to have a declining joy, but a blessed privilege to have an increasing, productive joy. Whatever fills you is what will control you. If you are filled with God’s Spirit you will have heavenly joy, but if you are filled with sin, ungodliness, and rebellion, you will come far short of the joy the Lord desires that you possess. Joy is a product of Holy Ghost control in our lives (Gal. 5:22-23).

Do you want to make a difference for God and righteousness from day to day? It takes abiding in Christ to know God’s best in your life. If we stay in His Word and obey what we see as we read the Bible; if we will continually seek to obey and live out the truths of the Scripture in our lives, we can bear much fruit. Much fruit brings much more glory to God.


Dr. Tom Walker is President of Foothills Bible College and Pastor of Zion Hill Baptist Church in Marion, NC. You can read more good Christian News from Dr. Walker HERE.