Vol. 5, No. 11
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What's the easiest way to identify an apple tree? To see apples on it, of course! What is an apple tree good for if it doesn't produce apples? Firewood! Is an apple tree still an apple tree even if it produces no apples? Yes, but it is an essentially worthless apple tree!
What is the easiest way to identify a Christian? Again, the answer is to look at the fruit being produced! What kind of fruit do Christians produce? Some have argued that the fruit of a Christian is another Christian, but that cannot be supported logically or scripturally. The fruit of an apple tree is not another apple tree, but apples.
How important is it that Christians bear fruit? Jesus answered that question when he said, "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit" (John 15:1-2).
This is a passage often misused today. Jesus is the vine. Of this, we can be certain. It is then argued that the branches are the various churches (denominations) found today. This assertion is not supported by the text. The branches are not churches, but individual Christians. Jesus further said, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). Further, he stated: "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned" (John 15:6). Clearly, Jesus was speaking of individual Christians.
If we fail to produce fruit, we are no more profitable to the Lord than an apple tree that fails to produce apples to its owner. Both are destined for the flames. Dead wood must be cut off and burned.
What fruit must Christians bear? The answer is found in Galatians 5:22-23. We must bear the "fruit of the Spirit." Specifically, God's people will show to the world love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. All claims to the contrary, a life that does not reflect these Christian graces is a fruitless life, and such souls are destined for the flames. Are you bearing fruit for the Lord?