But I owe a great deal to God. He gave me this great boon: that through me many heathen should be reborn in God, and that afterwards they should be confirmed as Christians...
- Patrick, Confession, Irish, 5th century
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain...”
- John 15.16
What is the purpose of discipleship? That is, if we are followers of Jesus, why? What is Jesus looking for in us as evidence that our claim to believe in Him is valid? Is there a reason for our being disciples that is more than just what we see in it for ourselves – forgiveness, eternal life, and so forth?
Jesus has chosen us for Himself and made us a people for His own possession, so that we might bear fruit for Him and proclaim the many excellencies of Him Who has called us out of darkness into His glorious light (Jn. 15.16; 1 Pt. 2.9, 10). He has given us His Spirit, and with Him, power from on high, so that we might be His witnesses (Acts 1.8). And we have the assurance that, if we are faithful to abide in Him, He will bring forth abundant fruit through us.
So, is this what we see? If abundant fruit is an important mark of discipleship, should we not be seeking such fruit in and through our own lives? Should we not be working out our salvation so that such fruit is increasginly in evidence?
Patrick believed every word of it, and he yielded himself entirely to the Lord, and spent 60 years sowing up and down Ireland, trusting the Lord to use his witness to bring many to Christ. Which He did. Jesus has chosen us so that we would bear fruit, and so that the fruit He gives to us, like Patrick’s, might abide and become solid in following Jesus.
The fruit Jesus is seeking from us is not just the sowing of His Word among the lost; we are created in Christ Jesus unto all manner of good works, which are the fruit of His growing presence in our lives (2 Cor. 3.12-18).
Jesus calls us not merely to believe in Him, but to abide in Him (Jn. 15.4, 5). If we abide in Him – seek and commune with Him in prayer and His Word, and walk in His Spirit rather than in our own flesh – we can expect that He will bring forth in us the fruit of the Spirit, the tokens of love, gifts and abilities for ministry, and the marks of increasing holiness.
He will enable us to be His witnesses and to bear His fruit in every area of our lives.
Today it is unusual to find Christians who are outspoken about their faith in the Lord, who talk regularly with their friends, neighbors, and colleagues about the joys of salvation and the hope of the Gospel. In many ways, it is difficult to find Christians who, when they are dispersed among unbelievers in neighborhoods, schools, and places of employment, stand out as distinctly Christ-like in any way.
We cannot hope to bear fruit for Christ if we are not willing to sow the Word, first to our own soul, and then among the lost. Jesus came to abide in His Father, sow His Word, and seek and save the lost (Matt. 13.37; Lk. 19.10). How about us? Are we abiding in Christ? Seeking the fruit He intends of us, and the lost to whom He sends us daily? Are we eager to bear fruit for Jesus and witness to Jesus, or are we careful not to do so, in case we might inconvenience ourselves or offend someone?
The Lord stands ready to bring abundant fruit from our abiding with Him. But then, that might just be the problem: Are we truly abiding in the Lord?
1. As you understand it, what are the keys to bearing abundant fruit for the Lord?
2. How do you expect to bear fruit for the Lord today?
Psalm 1.1, 2 (St. Thomas: I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord)
How blessed are they that shun
sin’s vain and wicked ways.
For them has Christ salvation won;
He loves them all their days.
God’s Word is their delight;
they prosper in its truth.
In it they dwell both day and night
to flourish and bear fruit.
Lord, what will it take to make me a more fruitful witness for You? Where shall I begin? Help me today to…
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T. M. Moore
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Da Paor, p. 103.