(Abiding in Christ and Bearing His Fruit)
Introduction: Vines and Branches, Seeds and Fruit
Reading through the Gospels, one might think that Jesus was a farmer rather than a carpenter. He so often spoke of vines, branches, seeds, and fruit, using them as analogies as he brought his good news to the world.
In the parable of the sower found in Matthew 13, he told of seeds scattered about by a farmer. The soil they landed upon determined if they would wither or flourish, and he used this story to explain his very words.
Some people would hear, receive, and thrive while others would reject his words and perish.
He compared the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed later in that same chapter. Though the tiniest of seeds, it would grow to a mighty tree where birds could make their nests. Faith also was like that mustard seed, according to Jesus. Just a small bit of it could accomplish great things, just like that tiny seed.
Jesus likened Pharisees to plants his Father would root up and discard in Matthew 15. He cursed a fig tree for being void of fruit. He spoke of harvests, vinedressers, fields, and flowers.
And Jesus spoke of fruit:
What is all this talk of fruit about? What makes a fruit good or bad? Where does this good fruit come from?
The Vine and the Branches
In Chapter 15 of John’s gospel, Jesus explains what this fruit is all about.
Take a moment to read John 15 now.
Jesus describes himself as a vine with his Father as the husbandman, or vinedresser. God the Father faithfully tends to this vine, removing and discarding any branches that are not bearing fruit while carefully pruning the good branches to increase their fruit production.
So, if God is the vinedresser and Jesus is the vine, who are the branches and what is the fruit?
Jesus tells us in verse 5: “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
Believers in Christ are the very branches attached to the life-giving vine of Jesus!
When we put our faith in Jesus and trust in his word, we enter into this very parable, becoming a branch firmly affixed to the vine and tended to by our heavenly Father so that we may bear his fruit.
Of course, we’re not talking about grapes here. The fruit Jesus speaks of, that we his followers should be growing, is the fruit of the Spirit.
The Apostle Paul defines this fruit in his letter to the Galatians. He says in Galatians 5, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
Nine attributes mark the life of believers in Christ, who through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, are being made into the image of God.
Let’s dig into Galatians and other passages as we explore these fruits of the Spirit. We’ll first take an overview look at this fruit, discussing the where, when, and how of its growth.
A chapter will then be dedicated to each of the “fruits” from Paul’s list:
Ready? Let’s dive in.
Chapter 1: Fruit of the Spirit DefinedVerse for Today
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
The Greek word for fruit used by the Apostle Paul in this passage is “karpos,” and while it is used to describe produce like grapes or figs, it is also used metaphorically to mean offspring or results.
The offspring or results of a person who believes in Christ and abides in him are the nine traits that Paul lists in this passage.
If you have ever planted a fruit tree or grown a garden, you know full well that fruit takes time to grow. A gardener will wait days, months, even years for a plant or tree to bear edible vegetation.
Likewise, this fruit of the Spirit does not appear overnight as soon as someone puts their faith in Jesus.
Paul tells us in his second letter to the Corinthians that we are, “being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18) We are not instantly transformed into his image. This is a process done by the Holy Spirit over time.
Though this fruit comes from the Spirit at work within us, we still play a part in its growth.
Before he lists the fruit of the Spirit, Paul describes the works of the flesh, sins like adultery, envy, murder, idolatry, and strife. He tells us to fight these things, putting off the sins of the flesh as we walk in the Spirit.
We grow in Christlikeness as we reject the works of the flesh. We also become more like him as we learn about him, studying the scriptures individually and corporately as a part of the church. We become more like him as we pray to God, serve others, reject sin, and abide in his word.
The fruit of the Spirit doesn’t appear instantly, but as a believer grows in their walk with the Lord, these nine attributes will grow as well and be on full display as a mark of a true believer in Christ.
Let’s take a look at each of these characteristics. We’ll find out what the scriptures say about them, how they are rooted in the character of God, and what they look like in the life of a believer.
Father God, you have called me out of darkness and into your marvelous light. Thank you for calling me to be your child.
Jesus, I have put my faith in you. I believe in your work on the cross, the way by which I can come to you and be saved. Thank you for this work of grace. I don’t deserve it.
Holy Spirit, I know that because of my faith in Jesus you have come to dwell within me. I confess that I don’t often think of you, rely on you, or even acknowledge your existence.
Lord I trust that you are at work in me, making me more like Jesus as I abide in you. Help me to put off the works of the flesh. Help me to fight the sin that tempts me. Strengthen me for this battle and equip me as I fight my sinful desires.
I want to be more like Jesus and bear his fruit in my life. As I learn about these nine characteristics, help me to grow in each and every one of them. Make them shining lights in my life to draw others to you.
Grow me in your likeness and help me bear your fruit in my life. In the name of Jesus, the vine, I pray. Amen.
Join me in a study and open discussion on the Fruits of the Spirit.