[He cuts off every branch that doesn’t bear fruit]
As I was looking at the Cherry tree, late May, I couldn’t help but notice that quite a significant sized branch had no leaves whatsoever. Immediately my mind went to John 15:2. It wasn’t long after my discovery that our upstairs neighbor did some pruning, entirely removing that dead branch.
Scripture tells us that Jesus is the true vine and that God the Father is the keeper of the vineyard. He cuts off every branch in Jesus that doesn’t bear any fruit. (John 15:1-26)
The Fruit of the Spirit
The fruit of the Spirit is what results when a person communes with the Holy Spirit. There are nine godly qualities that should result. They are as follows:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” –Galatians 5:22-23
How can someone be a Follower of Jesus, yet not bear fruit?
The simple answer is that this person is likely a Christian by profession only. They may call themselves a believer, follower, or Christian, but by the lack of evidence in their lives, their claim won’t hold up. Eventually it will become clear that they aren’t connected to the vine (Jesus) at all.
Jesus said, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind. (Luke 10:27 ) A person who loves God will be fully immersed in Him in an enduring way. (We call this abiding in God.) Not only this, they will be doers of what they’ve learned. This “doing” is evidence that they’re faith is alive and growing.
A Good Tree Doesn’t Bear Bad Fruit
In the book of Matthew we learn that we will know false prophets by their fruits. Their deeds will tell the true story. A good tree doesn’t bear bad fruit, and a bad tree doesn’t bear good fruit. (Matthew 7:15) This doesn’t mean that believers won’t make mistakes, but a person who produces consistently bad fruit, and doesn’t take correction, likely isn’t what they claim to be.
The Fruitless Deeds of Darkness
Test and prove what pleases the Lord. Have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. –Ephesians 5:10
To test and prove anything, we have to renew our minds. (This is a changed mindset.) Therefore we study Scripture and adjust accordingly. Without study, and the help of the Holy Spirit, we could never discern the will of God. (Romans 12:2 )
How are Branches Severed from Jesus?
There are several ways that a fruitless person could be severed (or separated from Jesus.) Some will fall away naturally because the root never went deep, so troubles or persecutions may cause them to fall away (Matthew 13:18-23 ); others may be excommunicated or will remove themselves from the church; temptation may pull some away, or their lives may even be cut short.
Did you know that excommunication is a mercy? It is when it’s truly justifiable. There are also procedures to be followed before someone is put out of the church. See link below for more info.
A Bad Apple Ruins the Whole Bunch
When a person’s behavior has become so openly scandalous, as was the case in the Corinthian church, Paul the Apostle wrote that this person is to be handed over to Satan so that the sinful self will be destroyed and the soul saved. It also prevents the rest of the church from becoming corrupt. An openly bad apple whose behavior isn’t addressed sets the wrong example. (1 Corinthians 5:6-13)
Paul’s letter paraphrased in modern day English…
“I’ll tell you what I would do. Even though I’m not there in person, consider me right there with you, because I can fully see what’s going on. I’m telling you that this is wrong. You must not simply look the other way and hope it goes away on its own. Bring it out in the open and deal with it in the authority of Jesus our Master. Assemble the community—I’ll be present in spirit with you and our Master Jesus will be present in power. Hold this man’s conduct up to public scrutiny. Let him defend it if he can! But if he can’t, then out with him! It will be totally devastating to him, of course, and embarrassing to you. But better devastation and embarrassment than damnation. You want him on his feet and forgiven before the Master on the Day of Judgment.” –1 Corinthians 5:3-5 (The message)
God Prunes every Branch that Does Bear Fruit so that it Will Be even More Fruitful!
The good news is that God always finishes what He’s started. So if we are truly part of Him, were guaranteed to bear fruit. He even multiples our fruit as He multiplied the fishes and the loaves. (Matthew 24:13-21)
In conclusion, Winter pruning encourages vigorous growth, whereas Summer pruning doesn’t. The reason is that a tree has a lot of energy in the Springtime when everything bursts to life, whereas growth slows in the later Summer months.
No wonder we grow in leaps and bounds during the harshest seasons! This is when God prunes us to become more fruitful. Isn’t He so faithful!? ❤
“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. 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. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. –John 15:5-8
“He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. -John 15:2