Posts Tagged John 15: 2

Fruit Club

John 15: 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 remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you.

I, just like every other minister of the gospel, revel in sharing the Good News. Everyone wants to hear how Jesus’ life and sacrifice will improve the quality of their lives. We are living in an age of self-interest almost to the point of self-absorption. What this means for ministers is that the message people want to hear is how Jesus helps them. The question we have attempted to answer is, “What is in Christianity for me?” Today’s verse functionally turns that question on its head because Jesus made it clear, in this statement, that it isn’t all about me. This is an uncomfortable and harsh reality for some of us but for others of you, this is a higher form of truth and reality and one that you embrace avidly.

Too often we get the cart before the horse but if we spend time with this verse, pondering the fullness of its message, we find rich revelation. Jesus makes clear that the Father will do whatever you ask of Him when you approach Him through Jesus. However, that is the second part of the equation. The first part is that He chose you. We all think we chose Jesus, almost like we graced him with our acceptance of him. We fill our salvation with arrogance as if we were some prize worthy of winning. We weren’t. There is nothing in us that makes us worthy of anything EXCEPT the Father’s love for us. His love for us has clothed us in the worthiness that Jesus won for us. The only thing we did was to accept this garment of blessed grace.

Secondly, Jesus points out that there was a reason for choosing us. Sadly, it isn’t because we are so wonderful, wise and beautiful. We have a purpose and he appointed us for this purpose, that we should bear much fruit. There is also a consequence for not fulfilling our purpose. “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He (the Father) takes away” (John 15: 2).

I want to preach just the part of the verse that says the Father will do everything we ask in Jesus’ name but that would be a miscarriage of my duties to you and to the Father. The truth is what equips you and not just the candy-coated version. When you understand the Father’s love and Jesus’ sacrifice you also appreciate that everything they tell us to do benefits us. Yahweh’s love is pervasive but it is not egotistical nor meant to train you to be a spoiled, arrogant child. He wants to raise you into the vision He has of you as a mature partner in His kingdom.

The natural consequence of bearing good fruit is abundant harvest. People spend many words and thoughts trying to figure out the purpose of life when it has been “hidden” right here in plain sight for thousands of years. Your purpose and mine is to bear good fruit. As we do, the Father multiplies our seeds so that a bountiful crop is always maturing in our back yards. Christianity was never meant to be a “Bless Me” club. It is a service organization. It turns out, though, that the way to the blessings is through service.

I want you blessed and happy. I desire that your basket overflow continually. So, go serve someone else. Think about what others may need or what you could do for them. Start at home and at work. What could you do today for your mother? How about your spouse? Maybe your next door neighbor would love just to have a visit or take your mechanic a glass of tea. Do you have doorman in your building? There are people around you all day who need to see Jesus’ fruit. You are the branches on his vine. Bear much good fruit.

From Disgrace to Wisdom

Proverb 11: 2       NIV

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

Yesterday we learned from the life of Uzziah that when we fall into the trap of pride and arrogance we are headed for a great fall. We also saw a clear warning about pride and arrogance in Proverb 16: 18. In today’s proverb King Solomon teaches that pride is accompanied by disgrace. Because none of us wants to suffer disgrace Solomon warns us off of pride. Happily Solomon shows us the other side of the coin. Humility leads to wisdom.  

The Amplified version says “When swelling and pride come, then emptiness and shame come also, but with the humble (those who are lowly, who have been pruned or chiseled by trial, and renounce self) are skillful and godly Wisdom and soundness.” It seems that humility comes through that process whereby God prunes us as Jesus spoke about in John 15: 2. We do learn humility through that process of tutoring that God leads us through. It seems that as we grow we become more and more humble. The more we know, the more humble we become. So, humility is actually a sign of our growth and maturity. I am not speaking about a false humility though. We are to be confident in the things of God and in His might and power. That never leads us to considering ourselves as worms in the dirt. We are the very children of God; His prize and His treasure. 

It also seems clear from this passage that in order for us to gain wisdom we have to venture forth in a spirit of humility. That only makes sense though, doesn’t it? If we are arrogant then we think that we already know a lot. When we think so highly of ourselves it is very hard to receive wisdom from others and frankly in our arrogance we don’t even go to God and solicit His advice. Wisdom is for those who have renounced self. It is for those who have been pruned and chiseled by the hand of God. When we submit ourselves to be molded and sculpted by God we must do so in spirit of humility. It is through our submissiveness that God transforms us and gives us His wisdom. Therefore, repent of arrogance and pride and give way to humility. In this way God can fill you with His wisdom which will bless your life in every way.