Tuesday, October 4, 2022
DISCIPLESHIP POINT 5: PRODUCE FRUIT--PRODUCE MUCH FRUIT--PRODUCE FRUIT THAT WILL LAST
“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19.
Welcome to the Soulwinnersr.us website. Let’s recap the last discipleship post done several weeks ago entitled, “Discipleship Point 4: Heading Toward the Celestial City!” That post talked about the second why, the “good why”, if you will, of discipleship. Before that, we talked about the “bad why” of discipleship, although it’s a necessary “why”. And that was encouraging and teaching disciples to avoid riding on the “Long Black Train” toward an eternity in hell.
But the “good why” of discipleship is to stand alongside and encourage disciples to take the wonderful, but sometimes fraught with danger journey to The Celestial City. The Celestial City is the term John Bunyan used in the book “Pilgrim’s Progress” for what Revelation 21 calls the New Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem is a city where disciples of Jesus will go when they either die or are caught up in the air with Jesus when He returns.
The walls of the city are made of jasper stone and gold. The main street is paved with pure gold clear as glass. The twelve gates that surround the city are twelve solid pearls. The river of the water of life flows from the throne of God and the Lamb down the middle of the city’s main street. The New Jerusalem will be amazing beyond belief!
Today we’re going to talk about a very key component of discipleship. I entitled the post “Discipleship Point 5: Produce Fruit—Produce Much Fruit—Produce Fruit That Will Last.” It’s about Jesus’ discourse in John 15:4-16 where Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches.” He said in verse 4 that if we as Christians stay connected to Him, the vine, we will “produce fruit”. Not only will we produce just a few pieces of fruit, but He said in verse 5 that we will “produce much fruit”. Lastly, not only will we produce much fruit, He said in verse 16 that when we stay connected to Him, the vine, we will produce “fruit that will remain" (or “last” as it says in other versions).
What in the world did Jesus mean about producing fruit—producing much fruit—and producing fruit that will last? I don’t think He’s talking about fruit from a tree or a plant, or even what Paul referenced about “the fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:22-23. There Paul was giving a contrast between living evil lives and godly lives. The fruits of the Spirit Paul talked about were “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” They were contrasted with the evil acts of people described earlier in the chapter. These evil acts were, and the list is long, “sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar." So, the fruits of the Spirit are ways to live holy and godly lives. They are internal acts that occur within a person. The fruit production that Jesus was talking about in John 15, on the other hand, are external acts that the person accomplishes, with the help of being connected with Jesus and His Holy Spirit.
In Matthew 7 Jesus talks about knowing people “by their fruit.” I think what He said might have something to do with the “fruit of the Holy Spirit”. But I’m more convinced than ever, after studying the topic of fruit production, that it has more to do with leading people to Christ, and discipling them along the way.
Jesus wasn’t verbally specific about what He meant in John 15 and Matthew 7. But I’m firmly convinced that producing fruit—producing much fruit—and producing fruit that will last, was clearly about you and me as Christians making and teaching disciples to follow Him, and stay connected to Him for all of eternity.