Sunday, June 2, 2024

 Fruit Bearing

Part 2

Pastor Vicky Moots
Kingman, Kansas

In John 15:1 Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman,” and in v. 5 He said that we are the branches.  But what is the fruit? Gal. 5:22 tells us that it is the fruit of the Spirit.  As you can see, we now have the whole Trinity represented here at work in our lives regarding our fruit bearing.  God the Father is the Husbandman (or the farmer, the vine dresser), who is responsible for the crop; Jesus is the Vine and the Holy Spirit is the fruit.  That means that all of the work of fruit bearing is done by the Trinity, the God-head, and not by us.  The branches do not do any of the work of pruning.  It is not of our works lest we should boast, and therefore we cannot glory in our fruit bearing.  Our part is to yield to the cutting of the Word of God, which is the pruning tool, and allow the Holy Spirit to produce the fruit in our lives.

In Gal. 5:22-23 the Apostle Paul describes the 9-fold fruit of the Spirit, which is 3 times 3, or a trinity of trinities.  The number three not only speaks of the Trinity, but also of resurrection, for Jesus was raised on the third day.  It is the power of the resurrected life of Christ in us, manifested through the Holy Spirit, that produces the fruit.  Fruit bearing requires the very essence of the life of the Vine, the life of Christ, which Paul, calls “…Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).  He is abiding in us, and we are abiding in Him.

Gal. 5:22-23 states, “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no Law.”  Notice that Paul did not say “fruits” but “fruit,” singular not plural.  There is only one fruit of the Spirit.  A fruit tree or vine can only bear one kind of fruit, but that fruit will have various characteristics which can be described in several different ways in order to clearly differentiate it from other fruits.

Take, for example, an apple.  How would you describe it? Round, red and shiny? Well, so is a tomato or a cherry!  Therefore, it needs further clarification.  Is it soft or firm in consistency? Is it juicy? Does it smell good? Some characteristics of a fruit can be described by examining it from the outside, by feeling it, by looking at it or by smelling it. But other characteristics can only be discovered by looking inside it by cutting it or crushing it.  So, you must bite into the apple and tear it with your teeth before you can tell if it is juicy or crisp or tastes good and sweet.  And if you continue biting it, or if you cut into the heart of it with a knife, you will find something different in the middle:  there are seeds, and if you plant them, you will get more fruit.  That is the resurrection life of the fruit.

Of course, all of this has a spiritual meaning.  The fruit of the Spirit is love itself, God’s love, Agape, a selfless love, a divine love that expects nothing in return but freely gives everything.  The rest of Gal. 5:22-23 describes in more depth how that love is manifested in us as the fruit of the Spirit.

The love of God, Agape, is “…shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost…” (Rom. 5:5), and demonstrated outwardly in our lives when we go through times of crushing, trial and testing.  The intensity of God’s love was shown to the world when He sent His Son to die for us, for greater love has no man than to die for another.  If we are not manifesting God’s love in our lives, then we need more pruning, more cutting, more crushing. 

The amount of fruit we bear depends on the degree to which we are abiding in the Vine.   Since “abiding” means “to stay, to remain, to submit to,” the closer we stay in fellowship with the Lord, the more fruit of the Spirit that will be produced.  We do this by submitting to the pruning of God’s Word which cuts away our own desires, our showy production of long branches full of leaves and self-works.  

In this study we are going to go into detail regarding each portion of the fruit of the Spirit listed by Paul in Gal. 5:22-23 in order to better understand it, and the means by which His love is displayed in our lives to others around us, with whom we come in contact.  Our goal in fruit bearing is to not only bear fruit which pleases the Father, the Vineyard Keeper, as a sweet aroma to Him, but to also bear fruit which draws others to Christ when they are enticed by it, to partake of it and to taste for themselves and see that the Lord is good.