January 2024 | Conversion: Persecutor Turns Promoter

Be Fruitful
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Be Fruitful

Dr. John K. Mathew

There are many references about the vine in the Scriptures. In the book of Genesis, we read that “Noah proceeded to plant a vineyard”.

In the book of Judges, Jotham speaks of various trees in a metaphor criticizing the appointment of Abimelech as king over Israel. In this metaphor, he identifies the vine with a noble character. In Judges 9:7, Jotham says, “Listen to me, citizens of Shechem, so that God may listen to you. One day all the trees in the forest went out to anoint a king from among them. They said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king.’ But the olive tree answered, ‘Should I give up my oil by which both gods and men are honored, to hold sway over the trees?’ Next the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come and be our king.’ But the fig tree replied, ‘Should I give up my fruit, so good and sweet to hold sway over the trees?’ Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come and be our king.’ But the vine answered, ‘Should I give up my wine, which cheers both gods and men, to hold sway over the trees?’’

Of all the trees, only the vine cheers both gods and men. How does this vine cheer God? God does not drink wine.”

A parable answer is given in the book of Genesis. When Jacob blesses his sons with regard to Judah, he says, “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the rulers’ staff from between his feet, until he comes to where it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his. He will either tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the closest branch; he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ, the lion of the tribe of Judah, accomplished this prophecy on the cross as He shed His blood for the remission of the sin of mankind. He grafted us, as ordinary people, nothing better than donkeys, to the choicest vine. This grafting was done on the cross. We are now branches of the true vine. Lord Jesus Christ said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing.”

God intends us to remain in Him and produce fruit. Apostle Paul narrates the fruit of the Spirit to be, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22). These nine graces are the petals of a flower. Fruit characterizes three things:

First, fruit is an evidence of death. The Lord Jesus Christ said, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:24). The fruit that we yield declares that we are dead for Christ and for the cause of Calvary.

Second, the fruit affords identification. In Mathew 7:17, Jesus says, “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thrown bushes or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit”.

Third, fruit is the source of propagation. Pollination takes place in most of the trees through its flowers and fruits. Therefore, no fruit means no propagation.

Christianity is contagious. It is spread by us, the branches. Moreover the Master wants us to produce more fruit. So He prunes the branches. The Apostle Paul asks, “For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined, then you are illegitimate children, not sons” (Hebrews 12:8). Therefore we must endure the Lord’s discipline. It is better to be disciplined by the Lord because He cuts off every branch that bears no fruit. He has authority to do that. He is the true vine and we are the branches.

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