THE FATHER GLORIFIED IN FRUIT BEARING, #716
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples (JOH 15:8).
The very purpose of Gods creation was for His glory. This text is an appeal to press upon our hearts that the glory of the Father was ever before the Lord Jesus Christ. The glory of the Father was the sole purpose of creating man. We have fallen from that condition in Adam, but if we are to be reconciled with God we must be placed back into the image of God, that our heart and soul desire is to again accomplish the purpose of our creation, and that is, for His glory.
As Jesus is approaching the cross and preparing to step into the wrath of the Father to appease His wrath upon our sins, we read in JOH 12:27-28, "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again." Christ had a soul and a body. He had feelings and affections. He could be insulted. He was human like you and I are. Death was just as real for Him as it would be for you and me.
The sole purpose of our Saviour being on earth was to glorify His Father in the salvation of His church. Our Saviour would have us examine our lives whether we live for the glory of the Father or whether we bring reproach upon Him by our profession as Christians. Have our hearts been renewed? Do we love our neighbor? Do we have a forgiving spirit? Can Christ be seen in our actions, our attitudes and our desires for our fellow man? Christ was willing to leave His throne in glory, to come down and become a human being and be placed under His Fathers wrath that you and I might be reconciled to God.
God the Father, in the plan of salvation, is beautifully described in ISA 5:1-2, "Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes." We read throughout the Old Testament how people were stoned for blaspheming Gods name or committing any capital sin. Here we read that He gathered out the stones. There wasnt a stone left to throw. When you rightly understand the gospel, then you understand what it is to have a forgiving spirit, then you understand that you do not have a stone to throw at any human being regardless of what they have done. You understand your own heart and you understand the price Christ had to pay for your sins. Our Saviour came to tread that winepress alone. His blood was pressed out of the pores of His skin in the Garden of Gethsemane as He stepped under the Fathers wrath in our behalf.
In verse 4 God asks, "What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?" He so loved the world that He gave us His own Son, that whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. The Son left His throne in glory and came down to express His love by denying Himself, by becoming our substitute, by taking and appeasing the wrath of the Father.
Verse 7 says, "For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry." How is it possible that you and I should yet harbor bitterness in our hearts against a fellowman in the light of the love of the Lord Jesus Christ? How many people profess to be Christians and still are oppressors of Gods people? They still cause them to cry unto the Lord. What a delusion, to claim salvation and to have never been renewed in the spirit of your mind.
Unless we abide in Christ, unless we have that Spirit of Christs unconditional surrender to the will of the Father, we cannot live to His glory. JOH 15:5 says, "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."
The Vine and its branches teaches a different lesson than the body and its Head, which teaches the indissolvable union between Christ and His people. Christ is the Head of the church, and the church is referred to as His Body. You cannot separate the Head from the Body. The teaching of the Vine and its branches teaches the relationship between Christ and His people in this life with regard to the Christian responsibility in the fruit we bear. It is talking about the evidence we show, the outworking of grace in the soul, which is the proof that we have the Spirit of Christ in us. If you have Christ formed in you, that light will reflect and become the light of the world. You and I are not as the moon, which has no light in itself. Gods people are as the sun or other stars. They have light in themselves. That light is Christ in you the hope of glory. It is like a light on a hill. It can be seen from a long distance.
To abide in Christ is to continue in the joyful recognition of the merit of His humble obedience unto death, even the death of the cross. If you and I abide in Christ, then we see that joyfully we recognize His humble obedience unto death, which we have imputed to us.
2CO 10:5-6 says, "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." This is a measuring stick. When we start to measure whether this is too big a sacrifice, then we measure it with that obedience of Christ and how He obeyed regardless of cost. We are quick to recognize anything that might be against the will of God, and we are immediately willing to cut it off. Anything we do in the form of good works that is not Christ-centered it is nothing but dead works.
There can be no such thing as abiding in Christ with a spirit of self-sufficiency. We must recognize our own emptiness before we can draw from His fullness. JOH 15:4 says, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me." If you cut a branch off of a vine, that branch will wither and die. Outside of Christ we are but a dry branch. Anything that is pleasing to the Father is only as He beholds us in Christ. It is only as He sees Christ formed in you that you can do anything acceptable to God.
The Lord Jesus had cautioned His disciples of the consequence of not abiding in Him in JOH 15:6. "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." Some commentators say that He is speaking to His disciples, that they are elect, that they are secure and it does not really mean that He will cast them off. However, DEU 29:29 says, "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law." We must govern our lives by His revealed will. We cannot take what Christ says about being cut off for not abiding in Him, and say that in His secret will, He would never do that, because we do not know His secret will. This instills a Godly fear and a holy reverence for His revealed will.
Now He returns to console them by expressing one of the choice fruits they shall find by abiding in Him. One of the choice fruits of abiding in Christ is found in our prayer life. Do you want a fruitful prayer life? Do you want to be able to call upon the Lord and for Him to say, "Here I am"? Do you want to walk in way where you can feel the presence and nearness of the Lord and know that whatever you ask you will receive? JOH 15:7 says, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." That is a precious promise. It is conditional on our abiding in Him and His words abiding in us.
This does not, as some seem to presume, give you a blank check, so to speak, making God our bell boy, that He has to do everything we tell Him. This promise has distinct limitations. 1JO 5:14 says, "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us." If His words abide in us, we will not ask anything against His will. I come before the Lord and ask, "What is your will in this? What must I do today? Give me a clear direction." When I do this, He hears me and answers me. I have had the Lord answer me while I was yet speaking. I do not tell the Lord what to do. I ask Him what He wants me to do.
Such a promise is preconditioned upon "casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ," as we saw in 2CO 10:5-6. Any prayer not brought in that spirit of unconditional submission to Gods will is clearly defined under JAM 4:3. "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." When we start telling the Lord what to do, we are seeking our will, not His. The Father is glorified in our unconditional, Christlike surrender to His will.
Christs words abiding in you reveal what you are feeding upon. LUK 4:3-4 says, "And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." Satan was tempting Christ to do something outside of the will of His Father. We do not come in prayer seeking what would gratify our desires. If I have a trial that the Lord has laid upon me, and I keep coming to the Lord and ask Him to take away this trial, He is not going to answer that. However, we must come to Him and say, "Lord, show me Your purpose in this trial and give me submission under it." I had that happen one time. I laid flat on my face and asked, "Lord, what is your will?" A trial that had been going on for months ended that day. The Lord accomplished His purpose in that trial, and that purpose is that we empty ourselves and that Christ is all in all. He gives us perfect peace in the circumstances. He does not always change the circumstances, but the trial is over.
When you are living by every word of God, what would you ask for when Jesus says, "Ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."? Such a one will bring "into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." That is how we frame our petition to the Lord, what would the Lords will be in this matter?
ROM 12:2 tells us, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." We must be transformed from being rebels to unconditional surrender to the will of God.
Consequently one who abides in Christ will only ask for that which is according to Gods will. 1JO 5:14-15 says, "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."
Salvation is to be reconciled with the Father through the atoning of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is when the Lord Jesus Christ is formed in you and when your every thought is brought into captivity. What fruit are you going to bear that will glorify God except Christ be in you?
The fruit of the branch is not anything external that is fastened onto the branch, it is the product of the internal life. The grapes, the branches and the vine are seen externally, but their sustenance is from the root. If you cut them off from the root they will wither and die. If you and I are doing anything to earn salvation, if we run at the crack of the whip of the law, do you think the Lord is glorified with that type of gospel? The Lord has no pleasure in anything you do that is not motivated by love. Hell will be full of those who only run to God because they are scared of the consequences of sin. The Lord wants those who from the heart serve Him because they love Him.
God and the sinner were separated by sin. From both sides we need reconciliation. Look what God did from His side in 2CO 5:19. "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." The offended party, which is God, comes to you and me and says, I have made a way for reconciliation. I have given my own Son.
Verse 20 says, "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christs stead, be ye reconciled to God." Are we reconciled when our hearts still have enmity against God? Reconciliation must take place in our hearts that we are brought into subjection and back into His service.
There is no salvation in experiences. The Apostle Paul tells of the experiences the Israelites had in Egypt in 1CO 10:3-4. "And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." They had experiences that you and I know nothing of. They saw the sea close in on the Egyptians and saw them dead on the bank. They saw a rock produce water. Christ followed them in their journey, yet they perished in unbelief. In the face of all that God had done, they still bore wild grapes. They refused to obey, and they perished in the wilderness in the face of all their experiences. The Lord wants us to be reconciled. He wants our rebellion to be broken, that bitter hatred we have by nature against God and His will.
Any fruit that originates in the flesh is nothing but dead works, however the fruit spoken of in our text is precisely that which is produced by the Vine. ROM 8:9 says, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." That is a solemn reality. The world has thousands of denominations because they all have their own private interpretations of the Bible, and we are forbidden to add any private interpretations to the Word of God.
The fruit spoken of in our text is revealed in Christlike affections, dispositions and graces. The fruit of the Spirit is revealed in our labor of love. Are our affections set on the things of this life, on our own honor, those things that please and magnify self? If they are, we are not in Christ. Our labor of love should be that we want to take the gospel to every human being.
Jesus said ye shall know them by their fruits. See the striking contrast between the fruit of the Spirit and that of the carnal mind. GAL 5:19-26 says, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christs have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another."
The fruits are so totally in contrast to one another. One is all of the flesh; the other is all of the Spirit. If your heart is filled with wrath, emulations and strife, it is of the flesh. The first fruit of the Spirit is love, which can be defined as, "I prefer you ahead of me." Charity means that we look at other people in their best possible light. The flesh has to be slain. Everything that would make me bigger than you has to be cut down. Can you separate your walk of life from your profession? No, unless I hear your heels speaking, by your walk of life, I do not even want to hear your profession. If your walk of life does not correspond, it is nothing but blasphemy.
We need to examine our hearts to see what manner of fruit we bear. This is personal. This identifies whether or not we have salvation. Jesus said in MAT 7:16-21. "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." If that Spirit of Christ is in you, you cannot have a heart filled with hatred. You cannot have envy and promote yourself above the next man. If you have a heart filled with envy, hatred, bitterness and malice you cannot reflect the love of Christ. These are so totally opposed, one to the other.
The Lord Jesus never came to me or anyone else and said, Give me an account of your calling and conversion. If I cannot see it, keep your mouth shut. If your fruits reveal it you are always talking about the love of Christ. That is what your heart is filled with. The Apostle Paul said in PHI 4:8. "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
You can find fault with anyone. The command is, See if you can find something good to talk about. Is there something you can say about the other person that will lift him up? If you think on these things, then the peace of God will dwell with you. Then we will understand the words of HOS 14:8, "From me is thy fruit found." We will understand that that spirit of love is the gift of grace.
Therefore every branch in the True Vine can say with the Apostle Paul in 1CO 15:10, "But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." The Apostle Paul made no boast of his loving spirit. He was willing to persecute the church and kill its members, so he did not look down on others who were persecuting him. He understood the attitude they had. He was delivered from that same attitude by the grace of God. If God by His grace has given us that love of Christ, then we need to be so patient and loving to minister to those who are yet outside of Christ, and to convince them, if we may, by the grace of God, of their wrong spirit.
If we have any of the fruits of meekness and gentleness, it is only derived from our abiding in Christ. Thus the saints are filled with the fruits of righteousness by which the Father is glorified as they abide in Christ. PHI 1:9-11 says, "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God." God is glorified in us by the fruits of righteousness that are in us by Christ.
If there be any love by which the Father is glorified, it is the love of Christ dwelling in you. 2CO 5:14 says, "For the love of Christ constraineth [moves upon our heart irresistibly] us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead." Can we yet have patience for those who are outside of Christ? Can we reflect that love of Christ and constrain them to understand?
If there be any joy from which the Father receives glory, it is that which we read of in JOH 15:10-12. "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Fathers commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." If I see a spiritual brother in a fault, what do I do? Do I run to tell the world, or do I do like the Lord Jesus? He covered our sins with His lifes blood. We go to our brother in accordance with Matthew 18 and we talk to him alone and we show him his fault and we try to win him back.
Christ was obedient unto death. Can you and I humble ourselves unto the death of self, death to the world, death to our honor, death to everything of the flesh? That is where we belong. We must follow the footsteps of Christ. Even though we suffer wrongfully, we do not retaliate. We respond with love.
If there be any true peace which passes all understanding whereby the Father is glorified it is that peace Jesus spoke of in JOH 14:27. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." He is talking about two forms of peace. The one form of peace is the peace we have with God through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The other form of peace is that peace that He had while on the cross and He could say, Father forgive them, they dont know what they are doing. In all circumstances we can have perfect peace in our heart with that Spirit of Christ.
Oh how thoroughly this was realized by the Apostle Paul when he wrote ROM 15:2-7. "Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God."
In HEB 12:2 we read, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Can you and I look to the reward of that perfect peace? Under no circumstances will you ever have cause to be perplexed or to be dissatisfied. We see that God put us where we are. We have perfect peace in our station.
ROM 15:5-7 says, "Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God." Have that same attitude toward one another that Christ has toward His church.
See how beautifully the Word of God explains what it is to abide in Christ that we might bear fruit to the glory of the Father as we see in GAL 2:20. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
We see how to do this in HEB 12:3. "For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." As we behold the faith of the Son of God, we follow His footsteps. Amen.
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