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Abiding in Christ. Some thoughts from John 15

John 15 is about abiding in Christ and bearing fruit. Here's a list of thoughts I have about what it means to abide in Christ and live a fruit-bearing life:
  1. Fruit is good works. "Good" is not defined by me. Good works are works God considers good; they are the activities which are in alignment with His law. They are only possible through Jesus. On my own, I have nothing good.
  2. Fruit is goodness, righteousness, and truth. If something requires me to be less than completely truthful, it is not good fruit. This has greater and deeper implications that I initially think. The more I contemplate it, the more I think this is really a life-altering concept.
  3. Fruit is a direct result of the controlling forces in your life. The tree is recognized by it's fruit. Jesus is the vine, we are the branches. If my life is not producing the kind of fruit God considers good, it is because my branch is not locked into Jesus' vine.
  4. The kingdom was removed from the Jews because of a lack of fruit. John warned them to produce fruit in keeping with repentance. They were busy producing fruit in keeping with tradition. If our lives are marked by repentance, our lives will be full of fruit.
  5. God is the gardener. He sets everything in motion. He grows the fruit, not us. The fruit is for His pleasure. He allows weeds (bad fruit) for now, but come harvest time, it's not going to be good for the weeds.
  6. Every branch gets cut. No fruit branches are cut off. Branches bearing fruit are pruned. Expect to get cut. The gardener disciplines (prunes) those he loves. The pain of pruning will eventually give way to the joy of fruit bearing.
  7. Different ways to say "Remain in Jesus":
    1. Wait with Jesus
    2. Stay with Jesus
    3. Live with Jesus
  8. Remaining with Jesus is NOT having coffee with Jesus. You don't get to come and go.
  9. Nothing we do on our own will produce fruit. There is no human formula for fruit production. Believing we can create a checklist for fruit production is arrogance and leads to a lack of dependence on Jesus.
  10. Branches detached from the vine are burned. Even if this is symbolic, the flames still represent punishment/destruction/etc. This picture leaves no room for universalism, the branches don't get saved in the end.
  11. When Jesus' words remain in us (see #7), we WILL bear fruit.
  12. Fruit is a demonstration of discipleship. The kind of fruit you bear is a demonstration of who or what you are following.
  13. God is glorified when we bear fruit. While it is tempting to try to explain why, it is not necessary. It is enough to say God is glorified, and allow that to be the motivation.

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