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                          "THE GOSPEL OF JOHN"

                   Fruit-Bearing Discipleship (15:8)

INTRODUCTION

1. What does the Lord desire of His disciples...?
   a. Surely He desires their heart (faith) - He 11:6; Jn 8:24
   b. But He also desires their hands (works) - Lk 6:46

2. Works are an important part of our discipleship...
   a. We are created in Christ for this very purpose - Ep 2:10
   b. By them we glorify God - Mt 5:16; Jn 15:8

[Good works are an indication of "bearing fruit" as disciples of Christ.
As we focus our attention on the theme of "Fruit-Bearing Discipleship",
let me reiterate that...]

I. BEARING FRUIT IS NECESSARY TO BEING A DISCIPLE

   A. AS TAUGHT BY JESUS...
      1. Glorifying God by bearing fruit is a mark of discipleship - Jn
         15:8
      2. Disciples have been "appointed" to bear fruit - Jn 15:16

   B. OTHERWISE WE ARE CUT OFF...
      1. From Christ, the true vine, and His Father as the vine dresser
         - Jn 15:1
      2. As branches that no longer bear fruit - Jn 15:2
      3. Whose end is to burned - Jn 15:6; cf. He 6:7-8

[The end of unfruitful disciples is dreadful to contemplate.  Like the
Hebrew writer (He 6:9), I wish to be more confident of better things
regarding our discipleship.  We can be, by remembering that...]

II. BEARING FRUIT IS CONTINGENT ON ABIDING IN CHRIST

   A. AS TAUGHT BY JESUS...
      1. We must abide in Him, as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself
         - Jn 15:4
      2. Abiding in him, we bear much fruit; without Him we can do
         nothing - Jn 15:5
      3. As confessed by Paul in Php 4:13; 2Co 3:5

   B. HOW WE CAN ABIDE IN CHRIST...
      1. First, by putting Him on in baptism - Ga 3:27
      2. Then, by abiding in His love through keeping His commandments
         - Jn 15:9-10; cf. 14:15,21-23

[To be a disciple, we must bear fruit.  To bear fruit, we must abide in
Christ.  To abide in Christ, we must keep His commandments.  But what
kind of fruits will disciples bear...?]

III. BEARING FRUIT IS MANIFESTED IN VARIOUS WAYS

   A. WINNING SOULS TO CHRIST...
      1. As expressed by Paul in his desire to go to Rome - Ro 1:13
      2. Disciples creating more disciples is a natural indication of
         bearing fruit - cf. Mt 28:19-20

   B. SHARING WITH THOSE IN NEED...
      1. As explained by Paul in describing the contribution to poor
         saints - Ro 15:25-28
      2. Which was evidence of God's grace at work in the givers - cf.
         2Co 8:1-2; 9:12-14

   C. DEVELOPING CHRIST-LIKE CHARACTER...
      1. Indicating that one is walking in the Spirit - Ga 5:16,22-23
      2. Evidence that is diligent in growing the true knowledge of
         Jesus - 2Pe 1:5-8

   D. PRAISING GOD AND GIVING THANKS...
      1. The fruit of our lips in praise and prayer are spiritual
         sacrifices - He 13:15
      2. Which we are to offer continually - He 13:15

[As we bear fruit in these different ways, we not only glorify God and
prove to be fruitful disciples, we also experience the "abundant" life
of which Jesus speaks (Jn 10:10)...]

IV. BEARING FRUIT LEADS TO THE FULFILLED LIFE

   A. WINNING SOULS PRODUCES JOY...
      1. As Paul found to be case with the Thessalonians - 1Th 2:19-20
      2. As John realized with his "children" - 3Jn 4
      -- One reason many Christians do not live a life of joy is that
         they never bear fruit in leading others to Christ!

   B. SHARING WITH OTHERS PRODUCES HAPPINESS...
      1. Those who give are "blessed" - Ac 20:35
      2. The word "blessed" can be translated "happy"
      -- If Christians are so materialistic and selfish that they do not
         share, they will never know the blessedness of giving!

   C. DEVELOPING CHRIST-LIKE CHARACTER PRODUCES ASSURANCE...
      1. Growing in the true knowledge of Christ ensures an "abundant
         entrance" into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord - 2Pe 1:8-11
      2. Developing a Christ-like love gives assurance of one's
         discipleship and salvation - Jn 13:34-35; 1Jn 3:14,18-19
      -- Many Christians have no assurance; and no wonder, if their
         character remains unchanged as evidenced by little love for the
         brethren!

   D. PRAISING GOD AND GIVING THANKS PRODUCES PEACE...
      1. Prayer is the antidote for anxiety - Php 4:6
      2. For in response to prayer God will guard our hearts through His
         peace - Php 4:7
      -- Failing to bear much fruit in regards to prayer, Christians
         will be filled with anxious lives, not abundant living!

CONCLUSION

1. Why is "Fruit-Bearing Discipleship" so important...?
   a. It is necessary to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ
   b. It is necessary to be a fulfilled disciple of Jesus Christ

2. If you desire to be both a faithful and fulfilled disciple of
   Jesus...
   a. Abide in Him by keeping His commands
   b. Produce fruit that glorifies His Father

   "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you
   will be My disciples." (Jn 15:8)

If you are not yet a disciple of Jesus, then let His own words lead you
to become one - Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15-16
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