Fruitfulness

9.  Fruitfulness

Fruitfulness is a very important subject in the Kingdom of God. It is important that we produce fruit. In Genesis 1:28 we read about the first commandment given to man. “And God said to them, ‘be fruitful and multiply.‘” For them it meant, “to have children.” For us today, it would have a number of meanings but the most important meaning, would be to “have spiritual children or to influence people for Christ.”

Fruitfulness is the will of God for our lives. In Colossians 1:9-10 we read, “… that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;”

It is God’s will that we bear fruit. Jesus said in John 15:16, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He would give it unto you.” Jesus called us to “Go, and bear fruit!” This is our calling! We do not bear fruit by sitting and waiting for something to happen. If we do nothing, nothing will happen.

It is important that we pray and spend time with God. But this must not be an excuse to do nothing. Jesus has already commanded us to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel…” In fact, when we bear fruit, it will affect our prayer life. There is a connection between bearing fruit and God answering our prayers. God has already told us to preach the gospel and tell others about Christ. It is our responsibility to take initiative and use the opportunities that we have.

It says that “our fruit should remain.” Firstly, it means that our fruit should continue over a period of time. Secondly it means that our fruit should affect our eternal existence. John 4:36He who reaps receives a reward and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that he who sows and he who reaps will rejoice together.” Our fruit on earth will affect the rewards that we will receive in heaven.

In John 15:8 Jesus said,  “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” When we bear fruit, we not only do the will of the Father, but we bring Him glory and honor. We reveal the goodness of God to people and they in turn give Him praise and honor. It brings Him great pleasure when we bear fruit. Furthermore, it is a sign that we are disciples of Jesus. When we bear fruit, we become part of what He is doing on the earth and He recognizes us as His disciples. We cannot claim to be a disciple of Jesus if we do not bear fruit.

John 15:2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away:” He is the Vine, we are the branches. There are serious consequences if we do not bear fruit, we will die spiritually! On the other hand we read, “Every branch that bears fruit, He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” When we bear fruit, He will work in us so that we will bear more fruit. Whenever God prunes us, and cuts things out of our lives, He is preparing us to bear more fruit in the next season.

What does it mean to bear fruit?

First of all it means the fruit of the Holy Spirit: In Galatians 5:22 we read about the fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Love, joy, peace…) This is the nature of Jesus. God has called us to be conformed to the image of Christ. (Romans 8:26). To be fruitful, is to grow spiritually and become more like Jesus. The character of Christ in us produces fruit through us. We read in 2 Peter 1:4-7 about the fruit of the about the fruit of the Holy Spirit. In verse 8 it says, “For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Secondly, it means to influence people for Christ: When we lead people to Christ, make disciples, plant churches, heal the sick, set people free, we are bearing fruit. Jesus said in Matthew 28:18-19, “Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations…” It means that through us, the Kingdom of God should increase and the kingdom of satan will decrease in the earth. Jesus taught us to pray, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Thirdly, it means to make an investment in eternity: Romans 6:22you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.” The Bible says that we will be rewarded according to our works. There are certain things we do on earth, which will affect our eternal inheritance. For example: Our commitment to Jesus, our obedience, our giving and our faithfulness to do the will of God.

How can we bear fruit?

The greatest key to fruitfulness is the principle of the cross: In John 12:24 we read, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain (fruit).” This is obviously speaking about Jesus death on the cross for us. As result of His death, many sons have been born into the kingdom. The principle of the cross is that “out of death comes life.” This principle is found throughout the Bible. It is even found in creation and in nature itself. A seed has to die before it can grow and bear fruit.

As we deny ourselves and let Jesus be Lord over every area of our lives, we will become more fruitful. Paul said, “Death works in me, and life in you.” Sometimes God will do a work in us, so that He can do something through us. It is called “pruning.” In John 15:2 we read, “and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” We see the example of Abraham, when he offered up his son Isaac; he became the father of many nations. The more we die to self, the more we will experience the life of Jesus manifesting in us and through us, and the more fruit we will bear.

Secondly: Our relationship with Jesus produces fruit: John 15:5I am the Vine, you are the branches, whoever abides in Me and I in Him produces much fruit.” As we develop our personal relationship with Jesus, we bear fruit. In Romans 7:4 we read “that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. Just as intimacy between a man and a woman produces fruit, so intimacy between us and Jesus produces spiritual fruit.

This speaks about prayer, worship, reading the Bible and spending time in His presence. The more we focus on Jesus the more we bear fruit. In 2 Kings 19:30 we read, “They shall take root downwards and bear fruit upwards.” The root is that part of the tree that no-one can see. It is our private time with God. We have the example of Jesus in Luke 5:15-17. “And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed. And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching … the power of the Lord was present to heal them. Prayer should be a high priority in our lives if we want to be fruitful.

The word of God sown into our lives produces fruit. As we read His word, meditate on the word, believe the word and apply the word to our lives we become fruitful. When our lives are based on what God says in His Bible and not what our circumstances tell us. We have a wonderful scripture in the first Psalm. Psalm 1:2-3his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season.” The word of God sown into our hearts will automatically make us fruitful.

Thirdly: We must remove things from our lives that prevent us from bearing fruit: In John 15:2 we read about pruning of the branches. “Every branch that bear fruit, he prunes it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” God will continually remove things from our lives that prevent us from being fruitful. He works in us to make us more fruitful. He cuts away areas of compromise, wrong relationships and priorities. The further we travel with Jesus, the less we can take with us.

In Mark 4:18-19 we read about the parable of the Sower and the seed that fell among the thorns. “And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” We notice that “it chokes the word.” It is possible to fill our hearts with His word and then fill our hearts and our minds with things that “choke” the word. If we plant seed in our gardens, we must also remove the weeds that prevent the seed from growing.

In Hebrews 12:2 we read, “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily ensnares us.” There are certain things we do that are not sinful, but they are like “weights”, they hinder us from bearing fruit. It could be the media, relationships and things that waste our time. The Holy Spirit will from time to time show us these things if we have a desire to bear much fruit.

Fourthly: Our relationship with the church makes us fruitfull:   Relationships are important. Jesus is the Vine, we are the branches. Branches are connected to other branches. As we are connected to one another and have committed relationships we will bear fruit. Psalms 92:13-14 Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;” God wants us to be planted in His house which is the local church. We cannot bear fruit without our brothers and sisters. To be planted means that we are committed.  We meet together, submit to one another, worship together, pray together, etc. We cannot bear fruit on our own!

In Psalms 133 it says, “How beautiful it is when brothers dwell together in unity … there God commands the blessing.” Where there is unity, love and commitment, there will be fruit! Acts 2:44 we read, “Now all who believed were together and had all things common.” Acts 2:47 says, “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

Fifthly: Praise, worship and thanksgiving makes us fruitful: We read in Psalm 67:5-6Let all the peoples praise You o Lord. Let all the peoples praise You. Then the earth shall yield her increase. God our own God will bless us. Our praise and worship affects the spiritual atmosphere around us and mobilizes the angelic forces to help us bear fruit. The best thing we can do if our lives are fruitless, is to praise God more and more.

Finally: We need to take active steps to preach the gospel and tell others about Jesus: In John 15:16 Jesus said, “I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit...” We “go” and bear fruit! WE do not bear fruit by sitting and doing nothing! We need to be intentional about witnessing and leading people to Christ. Mark 16:20 says, “They went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, confirming the word with accompanying signs.” The preaching and proclaiming of the word produces fruit. The fruit is in the seed. The seed is the word of God.

In Colossians 1:5-6 it says that the word of the gospel of truth is “bringing forth fruit.” The word gospel means “good news”. When we tell people about the good news of salvation and the love of God, the words we speak will produce fruit in the hearts of those who hear the word. Paul said to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2preach the word, be instant, in season and out of season.” As we take active step to do this, we will begin to produce more and more fruit.

We have already read in John 15:16 where Jesus said, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain.”  We will be rewarded in eternity for the fruit that we have born on earth especially fruit that remains. In the parable of the talents, the man who produced the greatest fruit received the greatest reward in eternity.

Finally, we read in Genesis 49:22Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a well; his branches run over the wall.” The well mentioned here can be likened to the Living waters that Jesus promised to give us. This speaks of the life giving presence of the Holy Spirit. It also says here that his branches run over the wall. Therefore, even when we are confined, by our jobs, our families or our circumstances,  there is nothing to prevent us from being fruitful and influencing others for Christ. God will give us opportunities and, like Joseph, “our branches will also run over the wall.”

God will always give us opportunities to be fruitful for His kingdom.  We are called to be fruitful and multiply. Amen