(A Message preached by Pastor Jim Cymbals)
“This is my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit showing yourselves to be my disciples”
– John 15:8.
The Bible talks about our growth as Christians and tells us this is the way we please God. When we are born again and become Christians we become a living spiritual being, and just like a plant, a tree, or a baby, we can grow. God has put a mechanism of life in us and now He just wants that life to develop and produce fruits that will bring glory to His name. When you look at a beautiful tree or a plant, you know that the secret of that plant is the life flowing through it. There is a new life principle within every Christian so that progress is made . Something is wrong when a child or a plant does not grow. Now, if you do not grow, there is consequence because when God puts life in somebody, He is grieved when they do not yield the fruit He was waiting for from this growth. Maturity in a believer is merely their growing in a way that God wants them to grow. Immature Christians are Christians who have been born again but they never grow. Maybe some of you are like that, God comes to you and He is looking for fruit, He has put His life in you, He has protected you, He has watered you, He has blessed you, and now He is saying “Where is the fruit?” The Bible tells us this is what Christ is all about, our bearing fruit. In John 15:8, Jesus says, “This is my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit showing yourselves to be my disciples”. How do you show that you are a disciple? It is by bearing fruit. What does bearing fruit do? It brings glory to the Father.
We live in a day of the cult of worship. I am all for worship, but you would think by talking to some people that the only way to glorify God is by lifting your hands for a half hour and singing “Hallelujah, Hallelujah”. I am all for that, I will lift my hands with you but I am not going to disregard the word of God, “This is my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit”. Anybody can make you lift your hands but it is how you live after you leave the church that shows how much fruit you are bearing. Today because of the Praise and worship industry, because of the praise and worship tapes, we have now the cult of worship where worship has a predominance that is nowhere found in scripture. When Jesus left He did not say, “Go and just stay in Jerusalem and worship for the next 30 and 40 years”, no He said, “This is my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit showing yourselves to be my disciples”.
Brothers and sisters where there is no fruit, it is either there is no life or something is drastically wrong. When you see no change in a person and no fruit coming from their lives, do not go by what they say, where there is no changed life, no sweetness, no love, no roots, no growth, it is either the person is not a Christian or something is drastically wrong. However, do not go looking and picking fruit for other people, look in the mirror first. The Bible tells us bearing fruit is what gives God glory. These people who go to shelters (dwellings for homeless people), six to eight shelters and are ministering at night for nothing but for the cause of Christ, they are loving people, and ministering to people, these are bearing fruit. People in the mercy ministry, the ushers who serve and take the low places, they are bearing fruit by serving, loving and helping. That is what gives God glory. Do not think that God’s glory is only an emotional thing when we all lift our hands. Yes it is part of it, it is wonderful to praise God but while we are here on earth, God is looking on us to bear fruit.
This issue is why the law was insufficient. Please brothers and sisters listen to me because in Hebrews 13, I have a charge that there is a severe judgment for those who are in leadership. I am not only responsible for myself but I am now in a way responsible for you. I have to admonish you, correct you and teach you, that is my job. You have to understand that the reason the law could not do anything even though the commands were true, holy and just, is because the laws were written on stones and had no life. So even though it was right, it could not bear fruit because a stone cannot bear fruit. In Romans 7:4 it says “So my brothers you also die to the law through the body of Christ (His death on the cross), that you might belong to another (as in marriage), to Him who was raised from the death that we might bear fruit to God”. Who are we married to? Not the law, not to Moses, we are married to Christ. Why? So that through that union we might bear fruit, just like husbands and wives get together and produce babies.
Spiritually speaking, we are married to Christ not just to go to heaven but so that we might bear fruit; that you might grow so that people might be able to come and eat from the good things that God is doing. It is so that the blessing of God might be on you and when it gets hot, people might come under the shade of what God is doing in your life. You will be a tree planted near the waters, the living waters, fresh waters. This is why we are married to Christ to bear fruit. In our country now it is about church growth. It is about how many people are in your church. But does it matter how many people come if they are not bearing fruit? What if they are white people who do not like black people or black people who cannot stand white people or Latinos who have no use for anybody? Does it matter how many of those you have? They are not bearing fruit. Does it matter if they are sleeping around? You can have a thousand people but if they are living corrupt lives, you do not have a church!
We are married to Christ so that we might bear fruit. Is there fruit in your life? The question is not “Do you come to church?”. The main question is “Are you bearing fruit?”. Jesus will do it, it is not up to you, just let Him do it. When Jesus comes again it will be about fruits not the trophies we won. He can do it. Remember that no matter what people tell you, it is the fruit that matters. If someone raises the dead, it is no proof. If they speak in tongues? It means nothing. If they can quote the whole new testament? It means nothing. That is not how you know the genuine. Look at it in Matthew 7:16, “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit but a bad tree bears bad fruit”. Whenever you see bad fruit continually, it is a bad tree. You cannot go up to a tree filled with apples and say “What a tremendous orange tree this is”, and if someone says that it is not an orange tree, you say, “Yes it is. I say it in the name of the Lord that it is an orange tree. I will not receive that as an apple tree”. You can talk all you want but by their fruit you will know them.
When a guy is a crook he will act like a crook. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Listen to me, not every minister on the radio preaching or praying for the sick is a Christian. There are false prophets; wolves in sheep clothing. I went to a meeting years ago when I was about 14 or 15 years old in the academy of music where an evangelist walked by, looked at me, told me to stand and read my mind. He read my mind and knew exactly what was in my heart. I found out when I got older that the same night that minister was shacking up with a guy who was an homosexual. It is by their fruit you will know them, not whether they raise the dead, not whether they can get the organ to stir everybody. It is by their fruit you will know them. It is not whether they can move you in the pulpit, get you to stand and get you into all gyrations, that is not how you will know the genuine but by their fruit you will know them. You will know them by their fruit and not by what people say or how many of their generations have been going to church.
Let me get to a close by showing you this verse in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to me’Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day ‘Lord,Lord’ did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” In whose name? Not Budha, but in the name of Jesus they prophesied and cast out demons. Jesus did not say to them they were faking it but He says to them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me you evil doers”. Many and not a few will hear this. How demon possessed can be set free and sicknesses can be healed and prophecy uttered and yet at the end of life to have that terrible judgment word come on you, that is not for you and I to have to understand.
All it is is a wake up call for all of us. Works of power is not what it is about, it is about fruit. Not the gifts, it is the fruit. You judge a tree by its fruit. When someone is bigotty and prejudiced, the tree is bad, I do not care if they go to church six times a week. If someone never talks about the Lord and is just wrapped up in the world, in movies, in the things of this world and never mentions Jesus, I won’t care if they were a minister’s family member, something is wrong. By their fruit you will know them. This is a good word for all of us. This is why Israel,even though they were God’s covenant people, had this word said to them by Jesus. In Matthew 21:43,Jesus says to the Jewish leaders, ” The kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will bear fruit”. Note it is not given to those who go to church or worship or sing but those who bear fruit.
Certain trees would look good but when you take a bite of the fruit, it is rotten, the fruit is bad. You could look at the way the branches go up but you cannot eat the branch, it is the fruit! This is how it goes with churches, God goes along for so long and then He says “You are not going to bear fruit? I’m pulling this thing down, I’ll find someplace and someone else that will bear fruit for my name”. John the Baptist in the height of his ministry said these words, “The axe is already at the root of the tree and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. Brothers and sisters, I would say that after all Jesus has done for you and me, the least He can expect us to do is to bear fruit. Remember it is not your fruit, for the fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Meekness, Kindness, Self-control, Gentleness, Endurance, Faithfulness (Galatians 5:22).
Whose fruit is that? The fruit of the Spirit. It is not you doing it. You can bear fruit only as the Holy Spirit works in you and produces fruit. Jesus said in John 15, “Apart from me you can do nothing”, and that is why He put His Holy Spirit in us so that we can bear fruit and be kind and loving to people. You never know, you may have so little time for people to eat of your fruit. If we are going to bear fruit we got to bear fruit now. We got to be loving, helping, talking and doing what we can because the night comes when nobody can work. Remember the work is bearing fruit. God does not want you to do, He wants you to be. If you will be, then you will do but if you just try to do, you will never do because you are not being. God wants you to grow. Look at what Jesus says in John 15, “I am the true vine and my Father is the husbandman. He cuts off every branch in me that does not bear fruit and those that bear fruit, He prunes so that it will even be more fruitful”. How many of us have had God do some pruning work on us to get some more fruit? You see, whom the Lord loves He chastens. That chastening is pruning. Is it pleasant? No, but it makes us bear more fruit. Jesus says, “Remain in me and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself except it remains in the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in me and I in you. Notice that the abiding is not going to church. Going to church is just the icing to the cake, the cake is our thoughts being guided by the Lord. It is asking Jesus, “Should I say this sentence to my wife? Should I say this sentence to my son? Should I say something or keep quiet? Guide my thoughts Jesus. Guide my every word and let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to you”. That is abiding. It is filling yourself with His word, spending time loving, honoring and worshipping Him.
If you want your life to bear fruit and you realize this and do not want to be one of those people who is cast into the fire because they bear no fruit, if you want Jesus to reside in you and produce fruit, then open your heart to Him so that He can come into you and you will bear fruit in a new way. If this is your heart desire and you do not want to live a fruitless life, then pray and tell Him as follows…
“Lord Jesus let my life praise you. Lord Jesus come into my heart today. Let your life in me produce fruit to the glory of God”. God I thank you for these people today, maybe some of them do not have your life yet in them, then let them receive Jesus right now today. It may be that some have been wrapped up in church and churchianity, religiosity instead of new life through Jesus Christ, I pray that they will repent of their sins and just ask you to come in for you said to as many as received you, you gave them the power to become new creations. Now Lord, others have had an experience, they do love you but something has messed up the fruit bearing process, the tree is barren, and they want to see that change. Lord they cannot do that in themselves. O Lord forgive us for our barrenness. Forgive us that you came to many of us and looked for fruit and there was nothing but these little things that we have known about you for so many years. I pray that you will do a work in these lives so that their lives will be fruitful and so that your Father may be glorified in heaven and so that your name might be praised and you might be made happy. We want to live worthy of you, pleasing you in every way, bearing fruit and growing in the knowledge of God. Help us to grow. Help us to bear fruit. Get rid of all the junk that chokes up the plant. Purge us, refine us, and sanctify us. We ask in Jesus name. Amen.”
(This message was culled from a sermon preached by Jim Cymbala, Pastor at Brooklyn Tabernacle, New York, USA. I believe this has been a blessing to your soul and your spirit. May we become God-glorifying and fruit-bearing Christians in Jesus name. Amen.)
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