One of the biggest buzzwords in the church is “Fruit.” Christians talk about Fruit all the time, whether they’re talking about the Fruit of the Spirit or the Fruit of someone’s life or whatever. There’s even a verse in Scripture that basically says you can identify a true believer by the Fruit their life produces.
Okay, so if you don’t hang out in churches very much, what on earth does that mean? Obviously it’s not a literal statement because people don’t grow fruit, not like a tree does. Imagine walking around with apples hanging off your arms. . . .
Fruit can be the produce you buy in the store that was grown on a tree or a vine. Yes. But Fruit also means the results or product of someone’s efforts. Anything produced or accrued. A return or a profit.
So the Fruit of good study habits is good grades. The Fruit of careful spending is a larger bank account balance. Fruit is anything that is produced with effort.
So to a Christian, Fruit is going to be people they have led to Christ. Or disciples they have trained. Or ministries under their purview. Or people’s lives they have affected.
But here is the question this morning. How do we produce fruit?
See, fruit trees are designed to produce fruit. That’s what they were created to do, but apple trees have to produce apples. Orange trees have to produce oranges. You’re not going to get plums off an oak tree. Just like you’re not going to get pears off an elm. Only certain kinds of trees produce Fruit.
All people are designed to produce fruit but in a different way.
Fruit trees are fickle. They have to have everything just right or they don’t produce. And, granted, it depends on the type of tree. It depends on your climate. It depends on how old the trees are. There are a lot of contributing factors. And most of the time, if you just leave a fruit tree alone, it isn’t going to give the best harvest every time. Sometimes it may not provide a harvest at all. But if you work at it, if you keep the limbs pruned, and the weather obeys, and you fertilize and you do what you can to keep the birds and the pests away, you’ll get a great harvest.
So how do people produce fruit? Well, people will produce fruit if left alone. It’s what people are designed to do. But the fruit may not be any good.
We had an apricot harvest one year after it had rained too much. And even though there were plenty of apricots, none of them were edible. They had no taste, no flavor, and most of them had split wide open because of too much rain.
People on their own will produce fruit, but none of it will be of any importance. It might be a high paying job or a good career or a bonus or a nice house or a fast car. But what good are any of those things? None of them last. Most of the break. All of them will vanish when the world ends.
If you want to produce lasting fruit, you have to be plugged into the source. Trees can’t produce fruit unless they’re planted in good ground. It’s the same with people.
People aren’t designed to be fruit trees. People are designed to be the branches of a fruit tree.
Today’s verse is John 15:5.
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
This is what we need to remember today, Christians. We’re not self-sufficient. And if we want our lives to mean something — if we want to produce fruit that will last into eternity — we need to be connected to Christ. And the beautiful part about being connected to Christ, is as long as you abide in Him, you can’t help but produce fruit.
That’s it. If you live and walk with Christ, your life will bear eternal fruit, and you won’t have done anything. At least, it won’t feel like you’ve done anything. It will just happen.
Now, there will be times when you will work to achieve something for Christ. And it will be hard work. And there will be challenges. And there will be days when it doesn’t feel like you’re accomplishing anything, but in the end, the harvest will be bigger and you’ll be stronger for it.
But even in a harvest where you work your hardest, fruit isn’t going to come just because you worked hard. Lasting fruit only comes through connection with Christ. You’re not going to produce it on your own, no matter how hard you work.
So don’t let your pride get in the way. Remember that real Fruit only comes through living and walking with Christ. Because apart from Christ, we can do nothing. We can scramble around, and we can do our best to make progress, but in the end, it will all be for nothing if Christ isn’t at the center.