It is the expectation of every farmer that his crops would bear fruit. A plant that does not bear fruit is not fit for the garden, neither is it fit for anything. In time, the farmer will run out of patience with the plant and will count it as unworthy for his farm and will cut it off, and replace it with a plant that will bear fruit. Every year, cocoa farmers purge their farms of unproductive cocoa trees, cutting them down and replacing them with productive cocoa trees. The joy of the farmer is to see his cocoa trees blossom and bear fruit in their season; and with joy, he goes to harvest the cocoa pods when they are ripe. Bearing fruit is much as important to God as it is to the cocoa farmer. And we know this because Jesus Christ emphasized bearing fruit in his teachings to such an extent that it cannot be overlooked by Christians.
The parable of the Sower
Jesus said that a sower went out to sow seed in his farm. Some of the seeds fell on the wayside and they were eaten by birds. Some of the seeds fell on stony places and they germinated, but because they had no root, they withered quickly when the sun scorched them. Some of the seeds fell among thorns, though they germinated and grew, the thorns also grew with them and choked them such that they could not bear fruit. And some of the seed fell on good soil and they germinated and grew to maturity and bore fruits. Luke 8:4–15; Matthew 13:1-9; Matthew 13:18–23.
According to Jesus’ explanation,
- The seed stands for the word of God.
- The seed that fell on stony places refers to those who hear the word and immediately receives it with joy, but they endure for a while, for when persecution arises on account of the word, immediately, they fall away.
- The seed that fell among thorns refers to those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word such that they do not bear fruit.
- The seed that fell on good soil stands for those who receive the word of God, and understand it and bear fruit, some hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty (Matthew 13:23).
The good soil was the only soil that was able to bear fruit. It was able to bear fruit because it received the seed. The good soil could not bear fruit on its own, independent of the seed. In the same way, fruit-bearing cannot occur without the seed, which is the word of God. First, one needs to have the word of God, and, by the word, he will be able to bear fruit. So we understand that we bear fruit from the seed, which is the word of God.
Parable of the Barren fig-tree
He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. 7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? 8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: 9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down. Luke 13:6-9
In the parable of the barren fig tree, the vineyard refers to the kingdom of God; that is Christianity. The trees in the vineyard stand for Christians. Jesus referred to unfruitful Christians as a barren fig tree planted in a vineyard, which was in danger of being cut down because the owner of the vineyard saw it to be useless. The parable of the barren fig tree confirms the allegory in John 15 that the unfruitful Christian shall eventually ruin his relationship with God permanently and he shall be removed from the body of Christ or the kingdom of God – that is apostasy.
How to Bear Fruit
Every man is a sinner by birth and also by choice; that is, you are a sinner because you inherited a sinful nature from Adam and also you have willfully disobeyed God several times. In the course of your life, the Gospel was preached to you – may be by an evangelist, or a pastor, or a Sunday school teacher, etc.
Having heard the gospel, you decided to give your life to Christ and you did so by praying the sinner’s prayer to accept Jesus into your life. That is the first act of bearing fruit. In fact, by accepting Jesus, you have borne the first and the most important fruit you needed to bear.
Having accepted Jesus, you became a child of God and Christian. And you loved the Lord. You started attending church to fellowship with other Christians and you enjoyed reading your Bible. As you read the Bible, you came to Matthew 5:28, where it is written, “…. whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Having read this word of God, you applied it; that is, you stopped deep stirring at women and lusting to have an affair with them and you stopped giving yourself over to nude fantasies that arise in your mind. Having done that, you are bearing fruit.
Another day, you got to Matthew 5:44, where it is written, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” Having read this verse, you applied it in your life by starting to love, pray, and do good to your enemies. That is bearing fruit. Another day, you got to Matthew 6:14, where it is written, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:” Having read this, you applied it by forgiving those who have hurt you, stolen what is yours, insulted you, abused you in one way or the other, etc. That is bearing fruit.
Bearing fruit is the mark of a true Christian. The good news is that the very act of receiving the gospel and accepting Jesus to become a Christian is bearing fruit. This act of bearing fruit should not stop after becoming a Christian. It should continue for a lifetime.
Martin H. Kamaidan