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Fruits of the Spirit 01- Intro - On the Vine

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Reading: John 15:1-7
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. John 15:4 (NIV)

I.   God wants us to bear Fruit

     A.  Fruitless branches Removed

           1.  God isn’t interested in pretty, or strong, or leafy or flowery branches

           2.  Notice who’s doing the pruning: The Father

                 a.  It’s not our job, not mine, not yours, not even Jesus’

           3.  Only fruitless branches get cut off

                 a.  This is a comfort for those of us who are beginning to bear even some scrawny fruit.

                 b.  Farmers remove fruitless branches for the sake of the fruitful ones — the fruitless branches are parasitic.

     B.  Fruitful branches get Pruned

           1.  Hmm. This doesn’t sound painless, does it.

           2.  Prune = clean in vv 2&3

                 a.  God’s word* does the pruning/cleaning

           3.  Even fruitful branches might need cutting back

                 a.  Humility, remember, is a good thing

                 b.  Besides too much fruit might damage the branch - or make the other branches jealous or depressed.

     C.  It’s all about Bearing fruit

           1.  We’re connected to God to produce something

                 a.  In fact, if we’re not producing something we’re probably not connected to God.

                 b.  There’s no way to come into God’s presence and not be changed.

           2.  The fruit is produced by the vine through the branches.

                 a.  Gal. 5:22-23

                 b.  Fruit of the Spirit not for the Spirit

                       (1)      it is the fruit the Spirit produces in us/ through us.

II.  To bear fruit we have to stay Connected

     A.  Branches Cannot produce fruit on their own

           1.  We resist this basic truth all the time

                 a.  We think God wants something from us that we have to do on our own without his help or involvement.

                 b.  We come to Him with it and give it to him as some sort of trophy to our spiritual achievement.

                 c.  God isn’t impressed.

           2.  This is what the pharisees tried to do all the time:

                 a.  Present their own “I did it all by myself” holiness to God.

                 b.  Jesus called them painted death pits.

     B.  Only connected branches produce fruit

           1.  The parable of the apple.

           2.  So how do we stay connected: prayer? Bible reading? Yes, but let’s look at vv 9-17

                 a.  By loving each other (v.12)

     C.  Pruned branches produce quality fruit

           1.  Sooner or later we all have to face the limitation that we can’t do everything worth doing - not even everything we want.

                 a.  It seems that God can only get through to some of us about this with a big saw.

                 b.  Pruning is about removing some possibilities for the sake of others - removing too many possibilities so that some can flourish.

           2.  Even the painful pruning process itself can help produce fruit that will serve others:

                 a.  Those who have gone through a certain kind of pain in life are often the best equipped to help others going through that same experience.

                 b.  Even knowing how painful pruning can feel can be a help to those who are getting some major pruning done.

III. What Good fruit looks like

     A.  The fruit isn’t for the Branches!

           1.  The branches are nourished by the vine to produce fruit for others.

           2.  This doesn’t mean that we don’t or shouldn’t receive nourishment from other branches.

           3.  The fruit isn’t meant primarily for the branch that produced it.

     B.  All the fruit is Serving size

           1.  The fruits of the Spirit we read about in Galatians 3: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness self-control — all of them are fruit we bear for others to benefit from.

           2.  Not that we don’t benefit too from being loving, joyful, peaceful, etc.

           3.  The point of bearing the fruit of love is that others are loved, of bearing joy that others spirits are lifted, of bearing peace that others are set at ease, of patience that the others are accepted despite their limitations and quirks, etc.

     C.  Good fruit that won’t Go Bad

           1.  Nothing seems to last in this world

                 a.  By the time you get the car paid off its already time to start thinking about replacing it.

           2.  Nothing we do seems to make much difference - “What difference will it make 20 years from now.”

           3.  This fruit will last — and its nourishing effects will last (v.16)

                 a.  Jesus chooses his disciples to bear fruit that will last. And it has! We’re still benefitting from the fruit those first followers bore.

                 b.  You and I are here today probably because someone, probably a parent or other family member, or a friend made a difference in our lives.

                 c.  You too, brothers and sisters, have been grafted into Jesus to bear lasting fruit.

                       (1)      God will produce that fruit in you

                       (2)      All you need to do is stay connected and let the fruit mature.

The Bottom Line:

Stay Connected to Jesus to Produce the fruit He wants.

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