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Wednesday, November 23 2022

Contributor: Ngozi Roberts

INTRODUCTION
For the past few weeks, we have been studying the benefits of being in God’s Plan for our lives and come to understand that it brings fulfilment to us. We learnt that we are able to live an ordered life when we are living in accordance to God’s plan and last week we considered divine intervention as one of the benefits that we will enjoy when we work and live in harmony with Gods plan. We understood why we needed divine intervention, its characteristics and also had a peep into the lives of those in the bible that experienced divine intervention.
Today we are going to continue in our study of the benefits of being in Gods plan for our lives and we will be discussing

Fruitfulness. In general when one is successful it can be said that person is fruitful. In Christendom, the way we place value on success is different from the way it is done in the world. Usually, people tend to place a lot of value on every success we achieve as if it were to be by their own strength that they achieved that success. However, Paul said in 1Corinthians 15:10 that

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me."

So we see Pauls fruitfulness being attributed to Gods’ Grace. This is why it is very important for us to understand Gods idea of success or fruitfulness. We are all destined to be great, fruitful and succeed in life as Christians. We are made aware of this fact early in the scriptures in Genesis 12: 1-2 when he called Abraham:

12 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

So being the descendants of Abraham, we are all destined to be great, fruitful, and successful in life as children of God. As we go through this study, I pray that the Lord will open our eyes of understanding to find the missing link to our fruitfulness in Jesus’ name.

Text: John 15:5-8
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish,
and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

One of the benefits of Gods plan for our lives is Fruitfulness. In other words, when we are working in accordance with the Plan of God, we will be fruitful. Let us break it down a bit.

Fruit - fulness
Fruit meaning – In God’s kingdom fruit has been used to describe an effect, or outcome or result of somethings. For example in Psalms 128 it says that “You will eat the fruit of your labour; blessings and prosperity will be yours. It means the outcome of our labour is the fruit which we will eat. This is likened to the regular meaning of fruits that come from trees like oranges or apples. So, if a farmer labours to plant an orange tree for example, he will eventually harvest the fruit to eat which is oranges.

Fullness - Simply put, the online dictionary says it is the state of being filled to capacity. This is simple enough.

Therefore, when we put them together, we can say that Fruitfulness is the state of being filled to capacity with fruit. It now depends on the type of fruit you are labouring for. So you will be filled to the brim or capacity with whatever kind of fruit that resulted from your planting or sowing.

John 15:5 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing

Remember we are talking about being in Gods plan. As children of God who are working in according to Gods plan, God is saying in this scripture that we ought to attach ourselves to Him. He brings an analogy of the plant called the Vine. There are actually different types but generally A vine is a plant that its stems requires support. It either climbs up a tree or sprawls over the ground. The most common plants that come to mind are grapes and tomatoes.

How can you differentiate the Vine from the branch?
From research I found out that the vine is the source of life for the branches. It provides the water and nutrients by which the grapes are produced. Without the vine, no fruit could ever result. So the vine and branches contain the same substance, the same life. There is one plant. The function of the vine is to pump life to the branches and the function of the branch is to produce the fruit of the vine.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

Therefore, Jesus is letting us to know that we are the branches. As long as we are attached in him, we will receive all that is need of us to be able to fulfil our purpose in this kingdom. So there is a condition to this promise just like almost all the promises of God in the scriptures. Now there is a flip side in the next verse

6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

But this is not our mission. We all want to fulfil purpose or be fruitful. Therefore, must fulfil all the conditions required of us which is to Remain in Christ. So what then can we do to remain as a branch?

To remain in Christ
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth
The scriptures made us to understand that God should be the beginning of everything in life in this kingdom. Without God being at the beginning of our purpose in life, there is no way we can succeed. Note that everyone of us is destined for greatness /fruitfulness. The fact that some of us have not attained our desired greatness is because we have not understood the steps to greatness.

These steps are highlighted in Deuteronomy 28:1-2
And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: 2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.

So from the above scripture, I understand that to remain in Christ and be fruitful and obtain these promises:
• to be set thee on high above all nations of the earth
• to be blessed and overtaken by blessings

That if I want to remain in Christ, I must fulfil these conditions:
• hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD
• to observe all his commandments
• do all his commandments

A typical example is Abraham our father. – Genesis 12:1-4
12 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee :2And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. 4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran

Promise: (fruitfulness)
And I will make of thee a great nation, and

  • I will bless thee,
  • and make thy name great;
  • and thou shalt be a blessing:
  • And I will bless them that bless thee,
  • and curse him that curseth thee: and
  • in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed

Condition: (action)

  • Get thee out of thy country, and
  • from thy kindred, and
  • from thy father's house,
  • unto a land that I will shew thee

Now did Abraham fulfil these conditions? Yes. Did God fulfil his promise? Yes!
Genesis 17:6 "And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee."

Interesting! So after twenty four good years, God still reiterated and elaborated the same promise and Galatians 3:29 confirms this –
"And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

So the moment we said ‘Yes’ to Christ. The moment we accepted Christ as our Lord an personal saviour, at that point, we are surely testifying to the fulfilment of this promise.
It’s comforting to know that it does not matter how long it takes, Gods promises will surely come to pass!
Therefore, the first foundation to being a branch of Christ is to be born again. If you want to succeed in the kingdom of God, your first step is to encounter the God of the Bible. The day you encounter Christ is the day the clock of your destiny begins. John 3:3 says
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

And verse 15 says:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life

That is the life of God, a life of purpose, fulfilled vision, why, because we have to be relevant even after this life as the testimony God has given us is eternal life.
So you have to receive and encounter God in Christ to be a branch

Secondly, you have to encounter the Holy Spirit. It is in building a relationship with the Holy Spirit that the guidance to your purpose will be found. That empowerment you need to remain as a branch will be released unto you. Jesus introduce the ministry of the Holy Spirit in
John14: 16

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
As branches we have the Holy Spirit to guide us in all truth as He is dwelling in us!

Thirdly, to remain as a branch we must encounter the Word of God. The logos of God. The principles and mysteries embedded in the word of God. Matthew 13:11 says

11He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

The Word of God is the instrument of transformation. We will be transformed through enlightenment. Our minds will have the opportunity to change towards the mind of Christ. Romans 12:2 tells us that 2 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. Therefore, to become a branch, we must strive to get the knowledge and the ways of God.
Another case in point is Moses. In Exodus 33:13, Moses first asked for the ways of God to be shown to Him -

13 Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.

Then after God had answered him, Moses asked for the God’s Glory in verse 18 -18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.
So first strive to know God’s ways before His Glory. It is when we act upon the ways of God that you have learnt from his word that you will start experiencing the manifestation of His Glory and not the other way round.
In the process of encountering the word of God, you strive to get knowledge which is the access to information but it is not enough. When you get the information, ensure that you have a godly understanding of the underlying principles that comes with the information and then finally act on it by applying wisdom. This is the experiential application of the knowledge you have received. In doing this diligently, you are gradually rooting yourself as a branch ready to bear fruit.

Fruitfulness
7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:7-8

In Matthew 21:18- 20 Jesus was hungry and went to a fig tree to pluck a fruit to eat but found nothing! Jesus was unhappy and therefore caused it and the fig tree withered.
18Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. 19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. 20 And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!

This is exactly how God feels when we do not bear fruit. It is the desire of God that we bear fruit. When we engage in the mysteries of the kingdom that we understand; the mysteries apportioned to bring result that we desire, we see ourselves exhibiting some peculiar ways and experiencing some results that are of higher dimension that is far from the norm. Then we know that we are bearing fruit.
Jesus told us another story, a parable of the talent in Matthew 25:20-30 the Master was not happy with the servant that did not yield any fruit, what did the Master do? In verse 30 30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
What then are the criteria for fruitfulness

1. Humility – Psalm 51:17 - 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
When we put on humility, meekness, broken and contrite heart, God will embrace us. The fact that we are humble enough to receive his food, learn at his feet, we will surely be filled up and bear fruit. Remember, in the beginning we established that the work of the Vine is to feed an nourish the branch. Note that even if we get the knowledge, wisdom or understanding that we talked about, they will be useless in a proud heart. The proud heart is like the heart of stone, there is no way it can yield any fruit. When there is pride and arrogance, the word of God cannot pass through the life of that person. He said to Abram, get thee out…” and he obeyed.

2. Total Trust and Confidence – Gen 12:1 - Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
In the economy of God, He does not give you details of the instruction of where you are going. The mission is “Follow me”. When he was selecting his disciples, He would simple say “follow me” and they did. The time he told Peter to follow him and went further to tell him, he will make him fisher of men. To a Fisherman, what does that even mean! It does not make sense! Yet Peter followed him. Same way the other disciples followed in trust without asking questions and followed Him.
What about Abraham, he trusted God and obey in confidence. He was 75 years when he was promised this greatness, yet here he was 99 years still being promised, am sure if it were to be some of us, we would have compromised but Abraham was still faithful and still trusted God till the end and you and I are the end product of his obedience and trust.

3. Encounter with the Spirit of revelation - At this stage you do not stop at the gaining of knowledge but become an expression of the knowledge. As a result of your brokenness, you are able to do as He guides with ease. Because you trust Him, He uses you to manifest His will. It is like having Intercourse with Him. You see yourself experiencing the word e.g.

Psalm 23: 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me

You are experiencing a life changing tribulation in your place of work or family but you are not bothered because you have the scriptures reassurance.

CONCLUSION
I will leave us with the mantle scripture
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:5-8

Shalom!

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 01:13 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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