Fruit that Abides
Preached by Jacob Clutts on May 30, 2021 at HFBC
Turn to John 15 in your Bible. John 15.
Good morning. Welcome again to Henderson’s FBC. My name is Jacob Clutts and I serve as youth pastor here. It is an honor and privilege to preach to you fine folk. I want to thank Pastor Sam for the opportunity to preach the Word of God to you.
Do you want to be fruitful?
What is the most fruitless thing you’ve ever been a part of?
Maybe it was a work project – good vision/idea, but it didn’t turn out.
You may say – 2020. I got nothing done. It felt like a whole year of spinning my wheels.
In general, we want to be useful. We want to be fruitful.
At work. At home with families.
We also want to be fruitful as a church. Amen? No one wants to be a part of a church that isn’t fruitful. We long to see growth spiritually – people growing closer to God.
In our passage today, Jesus teaches us the key to being fruitful is by abiding in him. By remaining close to him. By remaining connected to Him.
Read John 15:1-17, PRAY
(Father, Good. Jesus. Savior. Spirit. tastebuds for your word)
Our outline for today is a sentence that tells you what I want you to do, what this passage tells us to do:
Abide in Christ (v1-7)
To Produce Fruit (v8-11)
Fruit that Abides (v12-17)
Let’s look first at what it means to abide in Christ.
PART 1: Abide in Christ (v1-7)
CONTEXT OF JOHN 15:
The gospel of John was written by the apostle John. The first part of the book shows the ministry of Jesus and the final part shows the final week of his life. Beginning in Chapter 13 Jesus has the last Supper with his Disciples. He is preparing them for his upcoming departure.
After washing their feet to show his love, Judas is sent out to betray him.
Jesus tells them he must go to the Father but that he is sending the Holy Spirit to be with them and in them and that HE will empower them for ministry.
In these verses we study today, Jesus is speaking tenderly to these 11 men, knowing this will their last time together before his crucifixion and resurrection.
Look again at verse 1:
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
In a grape plant, the vine is the source of life. It is through the vine and only through the vine that the branches and leafs and fruit get their nourishment.
Christ is the vine.
That verse don’t say – you are the vine.
True Vine – No other vine substitute will do. No other source of life.
-God clearly says there is no other source of life but Christ.
Yall nodding your heads – Yeah, pastor I heard that before.
But few of us LIVE LIKE we want Jesus to be the most important.
-We live in a world full of “other vines” – other things we try to connect to for life and meaning.
We can easily look to other people or things to be our source:
-money, pleasure, sports, power, position
Christ is the vine, and the Father is the Vine Dresser
The Father is the Vinedresser
1b my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
The father is a good vinedresser. (SHEARS)
A vinedresser uses shears to cut away branches that are fruitless and to prune the fruitful branches so that they continue to be fruitful.
He prunes the branches that do not produce fruit.
- -Initially, that sounds harsh. Why he gotta cut off branches?
- -That’s why you ain’t the vinedresser.
- Vinedresser sound like he’d be adding leaves in.
- But if you’ve ever seen a healthy vineyard, it is a well-pruned vine.
- The Vinedresser hacks away many of the branches so that the few he leaves can produce fruit.
- This allows the energy of the vine to go toward producing more fruit.
God is serious about us being fruitful.
That means sometimes he will prune our lives.
Maybe you’ve heard it said before that God was pruning you.
Any of you ever experienced God’s pruning?
-In 2020, maybe God pruned your life – took away some things that we’re fruitful, helped you focus on what was most important.
If you are a Christian and you want to be fruitful, you should EXPECT God’s pruning to come into your life.
God takes away some good stuff.
Some of us are so busy that we cannot focus on fruit.
What does God need to prune from your life?
Sinful attitudes and actions
Business. Doing too many things.
So Christ is the Vine. The Father is the Vinedresser. So what’s that leave us to be? Look at verse 5:
We are the branches. v5
5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Jesus is talking to his 11 disciples, and in extension, to us.
We are branches.
That’s no small roll in the plant world, though. Branches are what holds the blossoms that turn into grapes. The branches are where the fruit grows.
As branches, we have a command: Stay connected.
verse 5 says Abide in me and you’ll bear much fruit.
Negatively it says – if you don’t abide in me, you can do nothing.
Apart from me you can do nothing does not mean “nothing at all,” for unbelievers of course carry on their ordinary activities of life apart from Christ. Rather, it means “nothing of eternal value,” or an inability to produce spiritual fruit.
-You cannot produce spiritual fruit unless you abide in Christ
Question for part 1:
What needs to go? (SHEARS)
Is there something God is trying to prune from your life but you keep trying to let it grow?
So, Christ is the vine, we must abide in him.
But we don’t just abide in him to look good or get into heaven. We abide in Christ to produce fruit. That’s our second point. Look at verse 8.Part 2: To Produce Fruit (v8-11)
8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
Show of hands – who wants to glorify God in here?
What glorifies God? It says right there in your Bible – God is glorified when we bear fruit.
JOB ILLUSTRATION: What does the boss want?
You ever have a boss or a teacher who doesn’t tell you what they want you to do? It’s so confusing/frustrating – you’re never sure what the point is or how to make them happy.
God makes it clear – HE wants us to bear fruit.
So in verse 8 – what glorifies God? not only through praise & worship, but also through His followers bearing fruit.
Notice that verse 8 does NOT say God is glorified by your works:
Christ wants fruit, not just works.Christ could have ordered us to do works like robots – but he is after fruit.
In order for fruit to grow, His sap must flow to us, His influence must reach us and flow through us.
What a waste if you plant all kinds of seeds and do lots of work but fail to Pray to the Lord of the harvest.
You wouldn’t buy an expensive irrigation system for your farm and set it up only to not hook it up to the water source.
So also, we must not be so busy doing the work of ministry that we don’t take time to abide in Christ, the source of life.
The question we must ask is: What is the fruit?
I believe it’s inward fruit and outward fruit:
1 Inward Fruit: Fruit of the Spirit:
Galatians 5 – Love joy peace patience kindness goodness faithfulness gentleness, self-control.
God wants you to bear THIS fruit
It glorifies God – back to God’s original design for you to walk with him.
It benefits others.
When you are abiding in Christ, your life is shaped by his life:
You cannot STOP producing this spiritual fruit because you are connected to Christ and the more you abide in Him the more fruit you will bear.
This fruit of the spirit glorifies God And it benefits others.
Grapes plants don’t really benefit from having pulpy fruit – to some degree yes it nourishes the soil. But the fruit is for the benefit of others.
Same with us when we have the fruit of the Spirit.
So part of the fruit is inward.
But there’s also this part of outward fruit.
2 Outward Fruit: Disciples
Part of spiritual fruit is inward transformation.
Part of it is planting the seed of the gospel into others and watching it spread.
Gospel is a seed we plant in others. Just like a grape has a seed (or used to)
How do we abide in Christ and produce fruit?
Three ways: The Word, Prayer, & Obedience
1 The Word:
We abide in Christ by letting his word abide in us (Bible reading)
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you
Just like gardening, it takes work & discipline.
- We abide in Christ by letting our words abide in him (Prayer)
- You are not abiding in Christ if your only interaction with Christ is on Sundays at church.
- Prayerlessness leads to fruitlessness.
Verse 10 – If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love
You prove that you are a disciple of Jesus by bearing fruit.
You prove that Jesus is in you by obeying Jesus.
God gives us new desires at conversion. We go from loving sin to loving to obey God. If you’ve been a Christian for any amount of time, your desires should be changed. Praise God – he gives us new appetites.
SUMMARY OF PART 2
God is glorified in your life when you worship, and also when you bear fruit.
In order to bear fruit we must abide in Christ – stay connected to Christ – we do that primarily through the Word, Prayer, and Obedience.
Question: What needs to grow in your life?
Word? Prayer? Obedience?
God prunes you when you Abide in Christ what needs to go (SHEARS)
to produce fruit means growth – what needs to grow(Water can)
Finally, we’re to produce fruit that abides. What could it mean to produce fruit that abides? Look at verse 12-17.Part 3: Fruit that Abides (v12-17)
In verse 12-15 Jesus says a few key things to his disciples:
V12 – Love one another as I have loved you
v13 – Lay down your lives for one another, as I have for you
Jesus shows them the sacrifice it’s going to take to be fruitful.
14-15 – I’m showing you what God is doing – He is redeeming the world through me and through the church.
Then Jesus says these powerful words in verse 16
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you
Don’t get hung up on that – it’s not the point of the verse – all who come to Christ come through grace
Christ invited us in, calls us friends – but not just to be safe.
He calls us in to do what:
that you should go and BEAR FRUIT and that your fruit should abide,
- Bear fruit – that’s our calling…but then he adds this phrase:
FRUIT THAT ABIDES
What does this mean?
Part of the fruit we mentioned earlier what that inward fruit.
- Christ wants that INWARD fruit to abide/remain/to last.
- That’s why he said you must be connected to Christ to produce the fruit of love and joy, etc.
- But Christ also wants us to have FRUIT THAT BEARS FRUIT
This is similar to the Great Commission in a way – Christ calls us and sends us out to make disciples.
WE ARE SENT TO BEAR FRUIT:
Sent out with the sweet fruit of the Spirit AND the seeds of the gospel.
Don’t be a seedless fruit.
Fruit has seeds insides.
That sweet pulpy part is there to sweeten folks up to it. Fruit is sweet. Not bland. You the aroma of Christ to the world. But to some it’s the stench of death
In Colossians 1:5–6, Paul says, “Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth.”
Making disciples is work
-disappointment of weeds choking up those in whom you are investing
-Dry spells where it seems mundane
-demons that come to steal away the seed as it’s first planted
-We must be committed. We must die to ourselves if we are going to be about bearing fruit that lasts.
BEARING FRUIT REQUIRES DEATH:
HOW FRUIT GROWS:
The fruit is actually a branch that gave up being a branch so that it could be fruit. The bud of a plant, which would have elongated into a leafy branch, remains in a special case. It’s further growth as a branch is stopped as it becomes a blossom then a fruit. The branch’s life terminates with the ripe fruit that is harvested or that drops to the ground.
The Christian life begins in self-sacrifice
We begin our walk by dying to ourself and finding life in Christ.
When we believe, we are grafted into the Tree of Life, the cross of Christ – the ultimate symbol of dying to self.
WHEN YOU ARE CONNECTED TO THIS SELF-SACRIFICING VINE you become self-sacrificing.
Christian fruit occurs when we die again to our goals in life.
- Like a bud that quits it’s natural pursuit of being a long leafy branch – we abandon out quest of building our own kingdom and we focus on being fruitful.
- Instead of growing for our own ends, we produce the blossoms of holiness and the fruit of the spirit for the glory of God and the good of men.
WHAT NOT TO DO: HEZEKIAH
King Hezekiah was a good king in general. But he finished really poorly. He got sick when he was 39 years old. God healed him and promised him 15 more years of life. But Hezekiah foolishly let off the gas pedal. He gave a tour of his palace and treasury to his enemies. God told him that because of his foolishness, the enemies would come and destroy the city. Isaiah the prophet delivers the bad news in 2 Kings 20:16-19
2 Kings 20:16-19 ESV
16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord: 17 Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the Lord. 18 And some of your own sons, who will come from you, whom you will father, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” 19 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?”
Hezekiah’s focus was on himself, his life.
there will be peace and security in my days
Bearing fruit is about thinking of the next generation.
Hezekiah’s sin was coasting
It’s easy to coast. It’s hard to tell when you are coasting.
Coasting doesn’t glorify God.
Coasting doesn’t produce fruit that abides.
BEARING FRUIT REQUIRES DEATH to ourselves.
We are here because the disciples remained IN CHRIST AND DIED TO THEMSELVES and produced fruit that remained:
To the original 11, Jesus tells them – your work will fill the whole world!
Branch out. Bear fruit.
Not just behavior. Not just fluff. Fruit.
These 11 regular men who lived nearly 2000 years ago went forth and gave up their lives to produce fruit. Who else has had as fruitful of life as these me? What was their fruit? Look around – it’s us!
The Book of Acts shows how they bore fruit as they abided Christ and lived sacrificial lives:
And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:7)
There’s a warning for us in this passage:
2020 was a year that caused many believers to pursue Christ.
To abide in his word and prayer.
Now that the world is blossoming again, now that there is a promise of fruit, we may decide to rely on ourselves.
There’s HOPE in this passage: Vs 16 offers hope.
Christ has ordained into place that we would bear much fruit and that it would remain.
HOPE: When we are attached to Christ, when we are in intimate fellowship with him, we WILL produce fruit.
And God is with us and ready to help us to be fruitful…so much so that the end of v16 says “so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you”
When the Word of God abides in us and drives our thoughts/desires, it aligns us with the will of God.
God’s will for your life is that you abide in Christ and bear fruit that abides. (repeat)
WHAT TO DO: DENNY KILMER
When I was about 16 years old a man named Denny came into my life. Denny was an older man at my church. Denny was a former hippy who loved Jesus. Denny played guitar and sang the Psalms to music. Denny read the Bible like it was real and living.
Denny became my unofficial mentor. Denny made it a point every Sunday to say hi to me and pray for me. He was a big guy and he was a hugger. When I got a guitar, Denny helped me learn how to play it. Denny helped me understand how to pray – not by teaching a class on prayer but by praying for me and with me. Denny was always ready with a word of encouragement. As a young person, it was nice to have a guy like Denny at church.
Denny understood what it meant to look for who’s next. Who is going to carry the faith after us.
I am here today because of the dozens of men and women like Denny. I had many friends who grew up in church who left. I’m thankful that Denny took the time to invest in me. Denny has born fruit that abides – I am that fruit. And I pray that my life glorifies God.
Question for Part 3: Who needs to Know?
What young people need your attention?
What are the names of branches you’ve helped grow?
What ways do you need to die to yourself so you can invest in who’s next?
What fruit will remain from your life in 100 years?
If you only watch but never participate using your gift, you’ll get bored and leave. -Matt Chandler
Abiding in Christ means pruning.
Produce fruit – inwardly – fruit of the spirit and outwardly – gospel spread.
Fruit that ABIDES – sacrificial living to pass on the faith to the next generation.
Three ways to respond:
Question for part 1: What needs to go?
Christ is the true vine. We must abide in him.
The Father is the vine dresser – he is pruning true believers so we can be fruitful
What needs to go in your life:
Sinful action? Sinful attitude. While we sing, confess it to God and repent.
Question 1:What needs to go?
Question for Part 2: What needs to grow?
Three ways we abide in Christ and produce fruit were:
Word, Prayer, & Obedience. What needs to grow in your life?
1 Word – spending time in the word? It takes word to abide.
2 Prayer – Are you fruitless? Commit today to spending time in prayer. Let God cut something out of your life so you can pray more.
3 Obedience – What area has God called you and you haven’t obeyed?
You may be watching this or here today and you are not a follower of Jesus Christ – you will never grow spiritual fruit if you are not connected to Jesus.
The sad reality is some of you are listening today and you’ll say good sermon, Jacob. I’m gonna go try to be good.
The LAST thing Jesus would have you do is leave and try to be good. That would only be good works. This word has been clear – When you reject Jesus as Lord, You are choosing to be cut off and thrown in the fire.
That is not what Jesus is after. Jesus is after you. Fruit only comes by being close to Jesus. Being United to Jesus as Lord, as the vine. As the source of your life.
Maybe over the last few days/weeks God has been calling you to himself. You’ll have an opportunity to respond with faith today.
Please tell someone. Romans 10:9 says if you confess with your Mouth Jesus is Lord (King/Source of your life) and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved.
Question 1 was : What needs to go? Question 2 was:What needs to grow?
Question for part 3: Who needs to know?
CHURCH – CHRIST CALLS YOU BRANCHES
Our kids students live in a world full of other branches – wrong world views, false idols, all clamoring for their hearts.
Part of your call, church, is to be branches. I may be stretching the metaphor a bit, but your job is to wrap your branches around these students, help them see the beauty of Christ. I cannot do that alone. These parents of our teenagers need you, your branches, together, to help them bear fruit.
You can do that through prayer, by getting involved in serving on Sunday in student ministry and kids ministry – we have a lot of new rolls coming up.
Sam shared a couple weeks ago that one of the leading causes for young people to stay connected in the church after they graduate is older generations being in their lives.
Here’s a simple way for you to rub off your faith: Become the gum lady or the guy guy. Develop a reputation for being the person to see on Sunday. That gives an opportunity for you to rub off your faith on these young people. That gives them something to look forward to.
Who needs to know?
What is your fruit that abides?
Abiding in Christ means pruning (SHEARS)
so we can grow and Produce fruit – (WATER CAN)
Fruit that ABIDES – GRAPES
mean sacrificial living to pass on the faith to the next generation.
Do you want to be fruitful?
Let’s pray then we’ll stand & sing & respond:
Father, you are a good vine dresser. For those of us who have things that need to go, prune away. We want to be fruitful.
Jesus, you are the True Vine. Forgive us for attaching ourselves to other things. For those of us who need to grow – help them grow in Word, prayer, & obedience so that we can abide more fully in you and bear much fruit.
Spirit of God, you empower us to bear fruit. Give us eyes to see who needs to know. Who we can pour ourselves into for your glory?
God, help us to abide in you as a church. Make us fruitful. For your glory and our good. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Thank you for your attention.
If you need to talk to someone, come forward and grab me or pastor David.
I love you church.
Our student ministry is having Thursday night hangouts this summer beginning this week. This Thursday it’s at my house this week at 6:30. We’ll be meeting a a different house each week.
No evening services tonight. God bless you.
Go, be fruitful & multiply, in Jesus Name. Amen.