Where is the fruit in your life?

Michael Ngubane

We thank the Lord that we can meet today. We also thank the Lord for the way in which He works amongst us. The Lord’s train is on the move and nothing stands still. It is wonderful to see God’s work going forward in power. We thank the Lord for everything He does.

What was in your heart when you left home to come to the service? Did you desire to obtain heavenly things? Was it your prayer that the Lord should speak to you? Faith should not be like putting on clothing and then taking it off. Faith should be a part of us. It should be something we live by.

If you have not decided for the Lord yet, allow me to ask why do you not believe? What brings joy to you so that you cannot believe? What is the beauty of not serving the Lord? There may be a person here who is outwardly blameless. He/she attends every service. But is the Lord in you during that time? What is happening in your heart if you have not surrendered yourself to the Lord yet? The choir sang about the wonder of being saved…not even half of the wonder has been told…how wonderful to see my Lord face to face. If you have not yet committed yourself to the Lord, you will not understand what the choir means when they sing these words.

It is important to walk with God, do His will and work alongside Him. Satan desires to steal the treasures we find in the Gospel. Satan’s only goal is to make us spiritually poor, empty and without a goal. When we come to a service it should be our prayer, ‘Lord, speak to me, equip me, teach me what I need to know in order to walk with You.’

Today’s text is a well-known portion.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:1 – 11

I trust that the Lord is doing something in your life as you read God’s word. It is clear and understandable.

When the Lord spoke to His disciples, it was close to His death. This is clear in the chapter before and after this one. It is as if His heart was broken. He had to fulfil the work His Father had sent Him to earth for and he thought of His friends whom He was about to leave. He had shown them the way but He may have wondered whether their love would grow cold or they might not fulfil their calling. He may have been afraid that their love might dwindle, or that they might not continue the work in the same way. He may have been concerned that there would be strife amongst them, or that they may forget what they were called to. Maybe they would become self-centred instead of being concerned about the Gospel. He left them with these wonderful words which instructed them how to live and how they to live with each other.

Through the way a Christian lives, he/she must bear fruit. The Bible says that faith without works is dead. Faith without power is no faith at all. A Christian who says he has faith, but there is no power, that is no faith. If a Christian is on fire today, but lukewarm tomorrow, it is not the life of a Christian. A life with Christ goes forward. It does not stand still. It is not a Gospel of today on fire, and tomorrow backsliding without no love in the heart. It is not a Gospel where you say, ‘Lord, Lord…’ and tomorrow you deny Him. It is not a Gospel where today there is unity but tomorrow, division. People who have a divisive spirit are from Satan. Those who look back are not of God or the Gospel, they are of the evil one.

Jesus’ words in this text answer many questions. You may have been a Christian for so long, but there is no life, no fruit. What is the cause? You may hear how God is blessing His children and you desire the same, but nothing happens. You may have heard much but sit with this question: how do I acquire that fruit, that life?

Jesus introduces Himself by saying who He is. He shares what He does, and His final goal.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.

Jesus is the Son of the living God. He humbled Himself to our level so that He could be with the branches of this vine. He has everything at His feet. He is the Morning Star, yet He lowered Himself to our level so that everyone can understand. This is self-explanatory. There are other vines, but this is a special one - it is the true vine. In Him there is life. In Him things are created. In Him things spring forth. He is not the same as other vines. The One at work in this vine is the Father Himself. He shows us the unity of the Father and the Son who work with the Holy Spirit to do a complete work so that we can receive a complete salvation. When that salvation has been achieved there is a change, and that new life is wrought within. The Lord Jesus does not leave work half done. He does a complete work. The important thing is that you accept Him as the true Vine and allow Him to work in you. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit will work in you and it will be a complete work. When He is at work in your life, He cuts off that which is not pleasing to Him. He will correct and prune you.

We recently hosted many visitors to the mission. We take visitors to the nursery where Mr Khomo works i.e. where seedlings are grown and grafting is done. They explain how a shoot is taken from a strong tree which grows in the open and can withstand disease and it is grafted with another shoot so that the fruit will be from the strong branch. The shoots are bandaged together so that they can grow into one shoot and then they wait to see whether it will take. After the graft has been done, the small branches that sprout below the graft area are cut off otherwise the goal will not be achieved. The desired quality will not be achieved if the shoots that should not be there are not cut away. The important thing is not quantity but quality. The correct procedure must be followed to reach the desired goal.

You may say that the reason your family does not prosper is because it is cursed. If you do as the Lord commands, things will go right. You see others prosper and wonder why you do not. It is because they are doing things as they should. Many things do not work out because we do not do things in the right way. When you are helped spiritually, you despise the one who instructs you. Such things cause you to stumble and stunt your growth. The Father is the vine dresser. He is at work. We must accept what He does and His correction.

Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

Mr Khomo is careful to ensure that those branches are cut away there because they are harmful. If we would take this and do exactly as the Lord says, it will work. Fruit must be evident. There must be fruit or repentance in God’s children. Faith without this fruit, is no faith at all. Why is there no fruit in your faith? Is it not evident that you are a child of God?

Young child, you may not know anything about God but in the Satan’s things you are already an expert. Where is your spiritual fruit? If you take note of when you committed yourself to the Lord, much fruit should be evident by now. The Lord Jesus Himself works on this vine. He cuts off the branches and prunes. Why do you produce fruit today but not tomorrow? Let us not be hard when the Lord cuts off what should not be there. Pruning shears may hurt. ‘I thought I had fruit,’ you say but the gardener says, ‘Yes, there is fruit but next year there will be even less so I have to prune now.’

The frightening thing is that the branches that have been cut off are thrown into the fire If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If our faith does not produce fruit, we will be cut off and thrown into the fire which is eternal damnation. If we do not follow and work as the Lord is working, we will be cast into eternal damnation where the fire is not quenched and the worm does not die.

If your life does not show that you fear the Lord and fear to do wrong, we should revive this in our minds. Hell is there for those who do not obey. Hell is there for those who do not want to obey and do what God’s word says. There are people who are a hindrance in God’s work. If they do not repent they will also end in hell. If your life does not bear fruit, and does not change then there is no relationship between you and the Lord. The Lord has died for our sins and if we do not want to accept that, we will end in hell.

Where is the fruit of our Christian walk? Where is life? If that vine is in the right place, there will be fruit. If it is an evil or bad tree, it will bear evil or bad fruit. If it does not receive water and sun, how can it grow? If nobody cares for it, how can it grow? Some vines are special, they are cared for, even when a strong wind comes. If you have all of that, where is the fruit? Where is the problem? You hear sermons and not only on Sundays. You have a Bible. God’s word guides you. (Do you have a Bible at home? If you have one, do you read it?) You excuse yourself - I am busy, I am too tired. You will enter hell with your excuses. You are a vine in the vineyard. You are well looked after. Where are the young people who are on fire for the Lord? No, you are busy with politics. You have no time for the Lord. Politics will be your death.

In Galatians 5:22 read about the fruit of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace and so on. These things keep people together. Where are these things in your life? If you starve the Lord of His place in your life, He will starve Himself from you. If you do not give the Lord His time and place and only worry about this world, you will reap fruit like that.

Where is the water - the Holy Spirit, who should water the vine? Is it only your body that is growing? There is no fruit in your life. Where will it end? Father, you are satisfied with your beer and your many wives but even that does not please you. You are just busy with that which surrounds you.

The Lord Jesus says that without Him you can do nothing. Without Him we will not reach any place. It does not help to follow Him at a distance or stay away from Him. When we remain close to Him, He can guide us and show us the way.

Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you

This is the truth. If we look at the many services we have attended and the words we have heard, what kind of lives shouldn’t we be living? You might not even be able to count the number of services you have heard.

If we have been one with the Lord and allowed Him to prune us, we would not be following our own lusts and desires. Young person, what burns in your heart? What fire is in you? Is it the fire of God and His Kingdom or is it your own lusts? You may be unable to sleep because all that concerns you is marriage. You constantly wonder who your marriage partner could be. That is why you are what you are. How many people will you end up having chosen? It consumes you. If you do not follow God’s will, I don’t know what will happen when you finally marry the one you have selected. We will see where you end up.

If there is total surrender to the Lord, then He can work and do what He wants to for His will to be accomplished in our lives and the Gospel can go forth.

I am the Vine, you are the branches, remain in Me. There is nothing we can do without God’s help. There must not be one moment where we have departed from God’s will.

The sun must not go down on my anger or on a grudge against my brother. There must be nothing that brings strife in that relationship with my Lord. There should be no discord between children of the Lord. If there is, it should be removed. Such things must be pruned out. These things will dampen God’s fire among us and hurt God’s word. These things will bring division amongst God’s children. The Lord says without Him we will do nothing. We need Jesus in our lives. If He was willing to leave heaven for us to be saved, we should say, ‘Lord, I will take that opportunity.’

If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

If you do not remain in the Lord, you will be like those branches that are thrown into the fire and destroyed. There is no time to live a lukewarm life without the Lord. Young men, there is no time for bondage to pornography. We do not need it in our lives. We have not been called to that. We have been called to serve the Lord with an undivided, holy life. The Lord wants us to live a life of freedom.

Without Me you can do nothing.

Let us commit ourselves wholeheartedly to Him. God wants to glorify Himself in our lives.

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

If we remain in Him and His word remains in us, promises will be fulfilled. How many of your prayers and desires have been answered? If the Lord does not answer them, where is the blockage? People desire wealth. ‘I can do anything as long as I am rich,’ they say. The Lord may not answer you because He sees it is not good for you. If we would give our whole life to Him, even that which we do not ask for, He will give to us.

You have been a believer for so many years. Where is the fruit in your life? Where is the joy in your life? If you have been grafted in the right place and pruned, you will have communion and there will be fruit in your life. There will be unity. The One who is working is our Father in Heaven.

Does anger still rule your life? Lies? Are you unable to live with others? If so, the Lord has not helped you yet. If we would allow ourselves to be grafted into the Lord Jesus to do as He wills, then we will be set free from the sinful mire that we cannot get out of.

This vine should be planted all over. The Gospel should be in every valley and on every mountain. If we are there, no one should say that they have not heard the Gospel. When last have you told people about Jesus, salvation and the forgiveness of sin? When last have you shared with your colleagues or neighbours? Without Me you can do nothing. 

Conclusion Dietmar Joosten

We thank the Lord for His word. A farmer understands this sermon well.

You may have a beautiful green tree that looks good, but the fruit is not the right standard. What do we do? We cut off branches. It is hurtful. A person talks much but there is no fruit. Do not listen to the talk, look at the fruit. Why do we cut branches? So that the light from the sun can penetrate the tree then fruit develops where there is light. That is why a vine is pruned, so that the light can enter.

Do not cry or complain when Jesus cuts something off in your life. Accept it. There can be fruit on the outside but nothing on the inside because the light does not enter deeply enough. May this word do a deep work in us.

We cultivate peppers in hothouses and we brought warmth into the hothouses and the plants grew well. But there was no fruit.

If a person is constantly carried on a tray, you will not see his/her true character so occasionally the person must be poked to see what really comes out. The climate must change. It should not always be comfortable. If everything goes our way, there will be no fruit. God changes our circumstances, so that we can bear good fruit. If the temperature is hot, you cannot take it. If it is cold, nobody notices you. God says, ‘My child, I am working in your life.’ See God at work in it.

Let us thank the Lord when things happen that we do not understand, when things are difficult or painful. Thank the Lord and realise that it is for your best. Allow the Lord to work and thank Him for the fruit that will be evident after He has worked, not yourself.

If God has spoken, it will be clear by the action you take. If the Lord has told you to remove something, cut it off and you will be helped.


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