My Father is glorified by this; that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples. John 15:8
You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, John 15:16 (HCSB)
I love all of scripture and the 15th chapter of the gospel of John is one of my favorites. This chapter will speak volumes to us if we will only listen.
In verse eight it is clear to see that we please and glorify God by not only producing fruit, but producing much fruit. The only way you produce fruit is by planting, and tending to the fruit trees or vines. For us that is sharing the gospel – God’s story, our story of God in our lives through one time opportunities and on-going relationships.
To glorify is to elevate to a level above all human elements. This is truly where God lives and we need to recognize this and be certain to live this way. This is exactly what verse eight is speaking of. We lift Him up, elevate Him in our eyes, mind, heart, and soul, and in the eye and mind of others when we produce fruit, when we live our lives in such a way that it points others to God and to a personal relationship with Christ.
The sixteenth verse says that we are to produce fruit that remains. I believe the last word in this verse is a key word in this statement from Jesus and one that is often overlooked or dismissed. I often hear pastors and church members make statements as, “We gave out 340 backpacks” or “We fed more than 500 families this year through our food pantry.” While these are good and worthy ministry efforts, where is the fruit that remains? I applaud churches who do these community ministries and yes we are in many of these efforts planting seeds. However, many times they are done without premise of fruit that remains.
Certainly God blesses our efforts – when our efforts are in line with His will for our particular body of believers. Copying ideas and events that we read or heard worked for another church will most often lead to poor results in our church. When we copy models we are not likely to see the results like the ones we hear or read about. Do not copy models, capture principles.
We could copy the model of Jesus: dawn a long plain linen robe and sandles and walk everywhere, teaching on hillsides and at the dinner tables of IRS agents. But that is not what God blessed. That is not what made the difference. The principle of Jesus life and ministry is that He poured Himself – all He knew and all He did – into others. He had compassion on others and He continued to pour into His disciples. He was meeting needs and he was continuously feeding the mind and soul, teaching, equipping. He was building disciples – fruit that remains. Then, in the Great Commission this is exactly what He advised us to do. Pouring himself into eleven men, then to the apostle Paul, Jesus turned the world upside down – and is still doing so 2,000 years later. Now that is producing fruit that remains. May we do likewise.
We can fully live out verse eight only when we have mastered verse sixteen.