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Bible verses about Bearing Fruit
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Exodus 35:30-35

Perhaps it would be helpful to understand that the basic meaning of the Hebrew word translated as "wisdom" is equivalent to the English word "skill." Solomon, in Proverbs 4:7, tells us, "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom." He is really saying, "Above all things, get skill." Skill in what? Skill in living. God wants us to be skilled in living. In this case, God has filled Bezalel with wisdom, and this wisdom has to do with the responsibility that He had given to him in constructing the Tabernacle and it furnishings and utensils.

This principle becomes vital to us in regard to our place in the church of God, understanding about the Spirit of God, and understanding about God Himself and what He does in our conversion. These verses show that God Himself was personally and directly involved by means of His Spirit enhancing the natural and developed abilities of humans involved in His work. Bezalel and Aholiab already had skill, but what God did to enable them to perform a function directly for Him is that He increased their natural ability to enable them to function at a higher level than normal. A supernatural element was added to their lives.

If God did this for Bazalel and Aholiab, will He not also do it for us? Will He not give us powers greater than we have by nature? He does this by His Spirit and by stirring up the spirit in man.

If we follow the usage for "spirit" and apply it here, we see that "spirit" is an invisible and immaterial source of some sort of needed power, but in this case, it is external to mankind—supernatural. In other words, we can communicate spirit from one person to another, but that spirit will only be what any human is capable of. As we become more skilled, our ability to project or to communicate spirit to another person is also increased as well, but we reach a limit in our human ability to do this. However, God is showing that in order to do a work for Him, He will empower us to go beyond what is normally possible for a human being to do.

God gave these craftsmen supernatural power for them to operate in His behalf, to produce good fruit within the purpose of God, and therefore it was of God. However, when we see abilities that seem to be beyond the ken of a normal human being, we may not know the identity of the supernatural force or power until we begin to see its fruit: "You will know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:16).

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Holy Spirit and the Trinity (Part 4)


 

Leviticus 23:35-37

The holy days and their offerings are shadows of good things to come (Hebrews 10:1). The offerings especially are indicative of many aspects of Christ's conduct and attitudes while serving God. We are to imitate Him (I John 2:6). Understood correctly, they represent the spiritual manner in which we are to observe these days.

Numbers 28:16—29:40 lists all the offerings to be made at the feasts. One can quickly see that more offerings were required for the Feast of Tabernacles than all other festivals combined. This ought to indicate what God expects regarding our conduct during the Feast of Tabernacles. He requires that we offer ourselves as living sacrifices so that it be most fruitful spiritually. It should be both a spiritual and physical feast whose fruit is rejoicing and learning to fear God as a result of the sacrifices done with understanding and a good attitude. This cannot be forced. It is the fruit of a right approach and use.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Amos 5 and the Feast of Tabernacles


 

Ezekiel 36:25-27

This prophecy refers to the Millennium and beyond, when Satan will be bound and thus rendered ineffective in spreading his evil attitudes. At that time, God will repair the damage—first done in the Garden of Eden and in every human heart since—by replacing man's human nature with His Spirit. He will work to change man's heart from a hard, unyielding one to a soft, humble one that will be eager to hear and obey God.

Notice that Ezekiel prophesies that God's Spirit will cause people to walk in His statutes and to keep His judgments. God's Spirit provides both motivation and strength to do what is good and right. We do God's work—believing, obeying, overcoming, growing, producing fruit—not by our power and abilities but by His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6). It is readily, freely, abundantly available to those who have believed, been baptized, and received the earnest of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands.

But, as we have seen, that is not the end of the matter. We must continue to request God's presence in us, our daily Bread of Life, by His Spirit. We must ask, seek, and knock, constantly pursuing God, His Kingdom, and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). If we do this, He promises to add "all these things," our daily needs.

Jesus tells His disciples just before His arrest, "I am the vine, you are the branches: He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). If we request His presence in us each day and obey Him in faith, we will, by His power, produce astonishing spiritual growth.

Staff
Ask and It Will Be Given


 

Hosea 14:6

A tree with a trunk 63 feet around and 70 feet tall could have branches that extend well over 100 feet side to side (see Hosea 14:5). What a great shade tree! In its shadow, one would be cool in the summer and protected from wind and rain in winter.

At this point, the comparison switches again. God says Israel will be beautiful as the olive tree. It is not that the cedar is an ugly tree, far from it. However, unlike the North American cedar tree, which is upright and narrow, the cedar of Lebanon is more sprawling, giving it a rangy appearance. The Bible often uses the olive tree, however, as a symbol of peace, prosperity, and beauty. It, too, is an evergreen, and in the same way, the Christian walk is not a part-time endeavor.

The olive tree is fruit bearing, while the cedar is not. Many professing Christians of this world talk a lot, but they produce little, if any, real fruit. They will tell you how good they are, how much they give to their church, how much they help the poor and downtrodden—then they will lie, cheat, and bury their neighbor in business!

Matthew 7:15-20 warns us of false prophets, saying that we will know the good from the bad by their fruits. This is true, not just of ministers, but of all people. In our walk through life, we will produce good fruit as we grow in God's ways and overcome. If we do not, Matthew 7:19 says we will be cast into the fire—the opposite result of being in God's Kingdom.

Mike Ford
Be There!


 

Matthew 3:8

"Bear[ing] fruits worthy of repentance" implies a process. Just as a tree does not produce fruit overnight, a Christian does not fully repent overnight. It is a lifelong process of making changes, and over time we will produce the fruit of the Spirit more consistently than the works of the flesh.

Martin G. Collins
Basic Doctrines: Repentance


 

Matthew 7:16-20

Once regenerated by the Holy Spirit from the Father, we must continually be led by it, bearing spiritual fruit throughout our lives. If we are producing the fruit of the Spirit, which exhibit a sound mind, we know it is working in us. The Spirit is the mind and essence of the divine nature, and through it God carries out His will. It empowers the mind to comprehend spiritual matters, producing conversion. It gives us the strength, will and faith to overcome our sins.

Martin G. Collins
The Holy Spirit


 

Matthew 12:33-37

We can determine which side somebody is on by the fruits of his life. If a person is on Christ's side, then he will produce Christ-like fruit. But if he is on Satan's side, he will produce Satan's fruit. It is fairly easy to tell.

The Pharisees hear all this—and they ask for a sign. Jesus must have wanted to throw up His hands and go home! He has just told them, "Judge by fruits, not by a sign." What is a sign going to prove? He responds, "You've totally missed My point! You have ignored the example of My life and the truth of My words. Look at My fruits. Since you didn't see them, it shows Me that you've chosen the wrong side."

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Parables of Matthew 13 (Part 2): Leaven


 

Matthew 12:34

The tongue utters only what is already in the heart (Matthew 12:34). Acts of sin besides what the tongue commits proceed from the same evil heart (Matthew 15:17-20). Matthew 7:16-18 confirms the impossibility of changing an evil heart, as it can never produce good fruit. God must completely replace it with a wholly different nature for it to produce good fruit! Before being changed, it can produce only evil fruit.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Seven): The Sin and Trespass Offerings


 

Matthew 13:3-8

When the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God is preached in all the world as a witness (Matthew 24:14), the ears that hear it are not always receptive of this priceless knowledge. In the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:3-8, 19-23; Mark 4:3-9, 14-26; Luke 8:4-8, 11-15), Jesus reveals why, using three component elements: the sower, the seed, and the soils.

This parable describes what happens after the seed is sown, the different types of soils on which it falls, and the resultant effects. The parable's focus is not on the sower as much as on the various soils. Nevertheless, the sower—Jesus Christ (Matthew 13:37)—is not incidental, for without Him there could be no sowing and thus no possibility of fruit being produced.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Sower


 

Matthew 13:3-8

A farmer places seed in the ground so it will sprout and bear fruit. Some seeds fall on hard ground that the plow has not turned. Here, the seed cannot sink into the soil, and the birds easily find and devour it.

Some seeds fall on stony places, where there is little or no soil for the roots to take in sufficient nourishment for the plant. Initially, they appear to grow quicker because, with less soil to grow through, it does not take them as long to reach the surface. When the sun grows hot, however, the sprouts wither away, the result of insufficient root systems.

The seeds that fall among thorns—in a part of the field where the thorns and shrubs had been sloppily cleared but not removed—are crowded, shaded, and choked by debris.

The seeds that fall on fertile and rich soil produce a crop that varies in its yield. It is common to produce a hundred, sixty, or thirty grains for each one that is sown. Some strains of wheat will produce a crop twelve or fifteen hundred times the original amount of seed sown.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Sower


 

Matthew 13:3-9

In the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:3-9, 19-23; also Mark 4:3-9, 14-20; Luke 8:4-8, 11-15), Jesus reveals why those who hear the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God are not always receptive in the same way. People who are called have their minds opened, the Holy Spirit enabling them to take it to heart, yet many see its surface value but do not internalize it. The parable illustrates the church's relationship to the different groups of people with which it comes in contact.

Jesus uses three components—the sower, the seed and the soils—to indicate the differences. His story shows the fate of the sown seed, the different types of soils on which it fell, and the resulting effects. Though Jesus names it "the parable of the sower" (Matthew 13:18), the subject matter sheds particular light on the diverse soils. Nevertheless, the sower does not play a minor role in the parable, since without Him no sowing would occur, without which there would be no possibility of fruit. However, the sower represents a group, as well as Jesus Himself (Matthew 13:37). The language suggests any typical sower, so God's ministers may be considered sowers of the gospel as well. The Parable of the Sower is essential because it introduces and anticipates the whole series of parables in Matthew 13.

Martin G. Collins
Parables of Matthew 13 (Part Two): The Parable of the Sower


 

Matthew 13:3-8

A farmer places seed in the ground so it will sprout and bear fruit. Some seeds fall on unplowed, unturned, hard ground. This type of soil does not allow the seed to sink in, and the birds easily find and devour the seed.

Stony ground, having little or no soil, has insufficient nourishment for seeds to root and grow into a healthy plant. Initially, they appear to grow quicker because, with less soil to establish a root system, they expend their energy in producing the stem and leaves. When the sun grows hot (representing the light of God's truth exposing them, or trials and persecution testing them), however, the sprouts wither away, the result of inadequate root systems.

Fertile and rich soil provides nutrients for the seeds to produce a crop that varies in its yield. It is common for crops to produce a hundred, sixty, or thirty grains for each one sown. For example, some strains of wheat will produce a crop twelve or fifteen hundred times the original amount of seed sown.

Martin G. Collins
Parables of Matthew 13 (Part Two): The Parable of the Sower


 

Matthew 13:4-9

Jesus describes quite a number of variables here, and we could add such things as weather, insects, viruses, molds, parasites, soil quality, and seed quality.

What happens when we plant an apple seed? In due time, the seed grows into a mature tree, which produces far more than just one apple. In all likelihood, it will produce many bushels of apples for many years. The apples fall to the ground or are carried away from their point of origin—sometimes very far away in the stomach of a bird or a horse. New seeds are then deposited on the ground, and the "spreading" cycle begins anew to be repeated almost endlessly. Of course, there are some impediments to this process, but where the factors are right, both apple trees and their fruit can increase greatly.

Suppose someone plants a choice morsel of gossip into another's ear. If that sin falls on fertile "ground" (a person with all the "right" proclivities for carrying it to others without regard to consequences), who knows how much destruction can be caused! If that person tells ten others, and these in turn tell ten more, in three cycles one thousand people are involved in this sin! It is entirely possible that not even one person in that thousand would see himself as a cog in the process of spreading potential destruction!

Paul confirms this in II Timothy 2:16-17. "But shun profane and vain babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer." The New English Bible translates that last sentence as, "The infection of their teaching will spread like a gangrene." Conduct like this will bear bad fruit because human nature provides very few impediments to sin. Human nature can produce nothing else, as Paul writes in Romans 8:6, "For to be carnally minded is death." To add to the tragedy, human nature almost always drags others into its curse along the way to death.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Little Things Count!


 

Matthew 13:22

The cares of this world can make the growing, the producing of spiritual fruit, almost impossible. So, what will we lack if we fail to follow Jesus' advice? Love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faithfulness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). We cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24), and if we attempt to straddle the fence, we will be unfruitful.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Christian and the World (Part 8)


 

Matthew 13:24-30

This parable exposes the problem of evil intermingled with good within congregations, just as the same mix confronts nations, communities, and homes. No matter how society tries to legislate or separate out lawbreakers from the rest of society, the seeds of sin and crime find a place to grow. God's church is similarly affected by Satan's constant attacks. The genuine and the counterfeit wheat are always together in the church.

The servants' perplexity about the sowing of the tares shows that the presence of sin is often a mystery to people (II Thessalonians 2:7-10). God cannot be blamed for them because He does not sow evil—Satan does (James 1:13). By this parable, Jesus prophesies that the church of God on earth would be imperfect. The spiritual church has members with the Holy Spirit who are dedicated and loyal, yet have personal defects. It also has within it unconverted people who may recognize the truth but are there only to enjoy association with God's people. Jesus' intent is to enlighten and warn the saints of this fact, not to expose the tares at this time (Acts 20:29-32). God will root out the bad seed when the good seed has matured.

"The good seed," "the wheat," and "the sons of the kingdom" refer to baptized members of God's church in whom the Holy Spirit dwells—the saints, the elect, the righteous (Matthew 13:43). In the previous parable, the seed represents "the word of the kingdom" (verse 19), but here, the good seed is the product of that word received, understood, and obeyed. The Son of Man, as the Sower or Owner, sows only good seed, those who are righteous due to walking worthy of God—living His way of life, and becoming the "children of the kingdom" (I John 2:6; II John 6; I Thessalonians 2:10-15).

It is God's will that Jesus Christ the Redeemer sow His redeemed ones in this world of sin and misery for the purpose of training and testing them to become true witnesses for Him in preparation for the Kingdom. Therefore, He has placed Christians where He wants them. Jesus tells Peter in Luke 22:31 that he was wheat, and as such, he was to be sifted by Satan. All of God's saints should heed this warning to watch and pray that the field of our heart not be sown with tares by the enemy. God has bought us with a price and given us His Spirit, making us new creations in Him and heirs of His Family and eternal life. He expects us to bear fruit in our corner of the field of this world in which He has sowed us.

Martin G. Collins
Parables of Matthew 13 (Part Three): The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares


 

Matthew 21:18-19

Why would a fig tree fail to bear fruit? This gets to the heart of the matter of why Jesus thought it necessary to curse the tree, since both records of this incident give the tree's lack of fruit as the reason for Jesus' action against it.

A website called GardeningKnowHow.com features an article titled "Why a Fig Tree Is Not Producing Fruit" by Heather Rhoades. She provides several reasons:

The most common reason for a fig tree not producing fruit is simply its age. Trees, like animals, need to reach a certain maturity before they can produce offspring. Fruit is how a fig tree creates seeds. If the fig tree is not old enough to produce seeds, it will also not produce fruit.

Typically, a fig tree will not fruit until it reaches 2 years old, but it can take some trees as long as six years to reach the right maturity. . . .

Another common reason that a fig tree is not producing figs is because of too much nitrogen. This commonly happens when you are using a fertilizer that is too high in nitrogen. Nitrogen causes the plant to have lush growth in leaves and branches, but very little if any fruit. . . .

If a fig tree is suffering from water stress caused by either too little or too much water, this can cause it to stop producing figs or never start producing, if it is a younger tree. Water stress will send the tree into a survival mode and the fig tree will simply not have the energy needed to invest in making fruit. . . .

These are the most common reasons that fig trees will not make fig fruit. There are many other less common reasons that are mostly tied to the nutrients in the soil.

Even if the tree was suffering from one of these problems, why curse the fig tree? We can hardly fault the tree, since it was merely growing in accordance with the instructions God had placed in its DNA at creation.

Dan Elmore
The Cursed Tree


 

Matthew 21:18-19

The various commentaries provide a wealth of additional information to help us better understand this event, as the Bible leaves out a great deal that its authors expected their contemporary readers to know. With many years and thousands of miles of geography between us and the area of Jerusalem in AD 31, it behooves us to seek out expert help in this matter. With these added pieces of information, we can understand that Jesus' cursing of the fig tree was reasonable and an example for us.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible explains that the tree that Jesus cursed was a peculiar fig tree among the many that could be found in the vicinity of the Mount of Olives. There were so many fig trees in that area that it was known as Bethpage—"House of Figs." This particular tree was unique because of the abundance of leaves—an indication of abundant fruit—but it had none. It was all show.

Adam Clarke's commentary on Mark 11:13 points out that the phrase "the time of figs was not yet" would be better translated to emphasize that the time for gathering figs had not yet come. Clarke cites a similar phrase in Psalm 1:3 as support. He also indicates that the climate in the area of Jerusalem was such that figs could be found throughout the year, especially in March and April, making it not unreasonable to expect to find fruit then. However, figs are not usually harvested until after Passover—all the more reason to expect to find some on this tree.

Clarke further contends that this fig tree was supposed to represent the state of the Jewish people—"that they professed the true religion and considered themselves the special people of God—but were only hypocrites having nothing of religion but the profession—an abundance of leaves but no fruit." Thus, he continues, "Jesus' cursing of the fig tree was intended as a warning of what was to come in the absence of repentance; the total destruction and final ruin of the Jewish state at the hands of the Romans."

Clarke concludes that Jesus did not curse the fig tree out of resentment for disappointing Him by not having any fruit, but to emphasize to His disciples just how devastating God's wrath would be on the Jews, "who had now nearly filled up the measure of their iniquity." Further, it is an object lesson to everyone that God expects us to bear the fruit of righteousness, showing us the consequences of failing in that task.

Matthew Henry echoes this last lesson in his comment on Mark 11:13:

Christ was willing to make an example of it, not to the trees, but to the men, of that generation, and therefore cursed it with that curse which is the reverse of the first blessing, Be fruitful; he said unto it, Never let any man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever!

These relevant facts inform us it was not a case that Jesus was annoyed and cursed the fig tree out of anger or disappointment as many have supposed. In fact, it was not an unreasonable act at all. No, the cursing of the fig tree turns out to be an act of God performed as a witness—like all the object lessons Jesus performed throughout His ministry. It was a stern warning to all who would fail to bear the fruit of righteousness, including—perhaps especially—us today!

The apostle Paul writes in I Corinthians 10:11, "Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come." Jesus was following this principle in giving us an illustration of His words in Matthew 7:19, "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire" (see also John 15:6). The cursing of the fig tree is a pointed exhortation from our Savior not to be found fruitless at His appearing because the dreaded Lake of Fire awaits those who taste of "the heavenly gift" of God and failing to grow, fall away (see Hebrews 6:4-6; Revelation 20:15; 21:8).

Basil, a fourth-century theologian, wrote in part, "A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. . . ." The deeds—the fruit—that God wants to see are the expressions of His Spirit working in us as we interact with others (Galatians 5:22-23). As Christ Himself instructs us, "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples" (John 15:8).

This is what the Christian life is all about: growing and producing fruit that glorifies God. Thanks to that fig tree on the way to Jerusalem, we have a vivid example to keep us on the straight and narrow path to the Kingdom of God.

Dan Elmore
The Cursed Tree


 

Luke 7:47

One who knows he has been forgiven much feels more obliged to the payer of his debt than the one who thinks his indebtedness small. He feels obliged to live the way the payer of his debt tells him he should. Those most conscious of forgiveness will bear the most fruit in godly love.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Passover, Obligation, and Love


 

Luke 7:47

The person who knows he has been forgiven much feels more strongly obliged to the one who paid his debt than one who thinks his indebtedness and forgiveness are of little consequence. The one forgiven much feels obligated to live the way his Redeemer tells him he should.

Jesus is telling us that those most conscious of forgiveness will be the most fruitful of love. The depth, fervor, and growth of our Christianity depends perhaps more largely on the clarity of our consciousness of this contrast than upon anything else.

One can be very gifted yet not grow as much as one less gifted but more aware of his obligation to Christ. The latter will simply be more motivated. On the other hand, some come along like the apostle Paul, who was both greatly gifted and constantly conscious of his obligation to Christ.

John W. Ritenbaugh
An Unpayable Debt and Obligation


 

Luke 12:47-48

The evil servants fail in their responsibility because they are not looking faithfully to Christ and hopefully toward the Kingdom. The penalty tells us that Jesus is speaking about Christians who are not ready either because they ignore their calling or because they neglect to produce fruit worthy of repentance (Matthew 3:8). Faithless Christians will be judged more strictly than those who, though wicked, do not understand about the coming of the Son of Man. Professing Christians with knowledge of God's revelation will have to answer for their lack of response to God.

Their punishment seems severe until we realize that the servant who knew his master's will represents those who sin arrogantly or presumptuously (Psalm 19:12-13). Even though the servant who was ignorant of his master's will sins unwittingly, it was his business to know his master's will. In either case, each holds personal responsibility for his actions and therefore comes under judgment. All have some knowledge of God (Romans 1:20-23), and He judges according to the individual's level of responsibility.

The parable finishes with the warning that knowledge and privilege always bring responsibility. Sin is doubly sinful to the person who knows better (Numbers 15:27-31). We who know better would like God to find us with our work completed upon His return, just as Jesus was able to say to His Father, "I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do" (John 17:4-5). It would be wonderful for God to find us glorifying Him and at peace with our brethren when Christ comes.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Faithful and Evil Servants


 

Luke 13:6

We need to connect this parable to what precedes it and with Jesus' calling of the Jews to repentance. Christ gives it to illustrate God's dealings with Israel and their wickedness despite all His kindness. The "certain man" who owned the vineyard is God, and the vineyard is Israel (Isaiah 5:1-7). The fig tree represents the individual Israelite, especially the Jew in this case. The coming of the owner for fruit is God's desire for His people to produce good works. Finally, the barrenness of the tree portrays the wickedness of the people, who produced nothing of benefit to others (Micah 7:1; Matthew 21:19). The vineyard acts as a beneficial enclosure, symbolizing God's people isolated from other nations and especially honored with the light of supernatural revelation through the prophets and all the influences of divine grace. The Israelites, however, did not recognize this blessed condition.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Barren Fig Tree


 

Luke 13:7

The keeper represents Jesus as Intercessor, pleading to God to spare His people. The "certain man"—the Father—had one purpose when he planted his fig tree in the vineyard: to gather fruit at the appointed time. After all the care, time, and money he had spent on it, he anxiously looked forward to fruit, but he is disappointed. After three years, he is positive the tree is barren, so he orders it cut down, perhaps to plant something in its place.

Similarly, God sought by example, miracle, teaching, and sacrifice to produce fruit in Israel—in fact, He expected it. Sometimes there were signs of encouragement, but in the end, Israel totally rejected Him (John 1:11). He came anticipating fruit from Israel and met with firm resistance. Where He looked for faith, He found disbelief. Israel, content with all the benefits of the sunshine and showers of divine benevolence, refused to produce fruit for God. As spiritual Israelites, Christians are now likewise expected to produce fruit (Romans 7:4-6; John 15:1-8; Proverbs 12:12).

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Barren Fig Tree


 

Luke 13:8

The owner's waiting signifies the delay of vengeance, to give Israel an opportunity to repent. Knowing that the vineyard's owner had every reason to be disappointed with the barren tree, the keeper intercedes for the tree's life, asking for another year. He does not plead for its indefinite existence, but for an opportunity to stimulate it into fruitfulness by imposing more dramatic measures. If it bears fruit after further treatment, then the keeper knows that the owner will be pleased to allow the tree to remain in the vineyard. The keeper asks only for the owner to postpone judgment.

In the intercessory plea of the keeper, we have an illustration of Jesus' reluctance to let Israel go. During His life, Jesus prayed for fruitless Israel to repent (Matthew 23:27; Mark 1:15; Luke 23:34). In answer, God sent the apostles to provide Israel another opportunity to repent, as they fertilized Israel with God's truth (Matthew 10:6; Luke 24:46-47; II Timothy 2:25-26).

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Barren Fig Tree


 

Luke 13:9

That the owner wants to destroy the tree but the keeper prays for its continued life for another year is not a case of the owner being full of wrath and the keeper defying him. The owner and the keeper have the same goal: to help the tree to produce fruit, if possible. Similarly, both the Father and the Son are angered by sin. Any thoughts Christ had toward Israel were also the thoughts of the Father (John 5:19; 10:30). Even though He is longsuffering, Jesus agrees with the owner of the vineyard in cutting down the tree if it refuses the offer of help (Hebrews 6:4-6; Proverbs 29:1). The Son never denies the right of the Father to destroy, and both agree in offering grace to the sinner at the best time.

Since the vineyard and the tree planted in it belong to the owner, he has a right to expect it to bear fruit—or to destroy anything barren or useless on his land. Some people falsely believe this delay means judgment will not come against them. However, the owner clearly says to cut the tree down if it ultimately does not produce fruit—a righteous decision since it would be given every opportunity to bear fruit. If a tree does not produce fruit, it wastes valuable resources and occupies needed space where a fruit-producing tree could stand (John 15:2-6). Within this parable stands a warning for anyone to whom God has revealed His truth: Do not delay producing good fruit (I Peter 4:17-19; II Peter 3:3-10)!

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Barren Fig Tree


 

John 15:1-8

Christ came to this earth as THE BRANCH and fulfilled all righteousness, qualifying to replace Satan and rule as King over all the earth. He proved His worthiness by remaining in full accord with His heavenly Father, and bearing the spiritual fruit that makes redemption and salvation possible.

Likewise, we - whether natural or grafted in (Romans 11:17-24) - are also branches attached to the solid trunk of the tree, Christ. It is only by our abiding in Him - our attachment to Him - our close relationship with Him - that we produce any growth or godly works. As Paul writes in Romans 11:16, "If the root is holy, so are the branches." Our righteousness, works, and holiness come to us only because of our connection to Him.

Jesus says that God, in love, prunes us, chastens us, tries us, so that we become more profitable (see also Hebrews 12:3-11). He will do what He must to make us yield. But if we resist and eventually sever our connection with Him, we are fit only to be burned. God has no use for dead wood.

God wants us to use this connection to His Son to "bear much fruit," just as Jesus Christ did. Doing so proves to Him, to ourselves, and to everyone else that we are true Christians, disciples of His Son, the Branch. By this, we will glorify God and secure our place in His Kingdom.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Branch


 

John 15:16

In this context, the bearing of fruit is generalized. It includes everything produced as a result of the labors of publicly preaching the gospel, their service to the church in pastoring, and their personal overcoming and growing in the image of God. They all bring honor to God by declaring the dramatic change for good that takes place as a result of being connected to the Vine and thus able to draw upon Him and His power to produce fruit.

Verse 16 briefly touches on the quality of fruit God desires. It implies that the disciples should be rich in good works and be striving to produce fruit that endures. God wants the fruit to endure both within themselves (by taking on God's character) and in others (in conversions so that the church grows and continues).

The remainder of the verse ties answered prayer directly to the production of fruit. We are all called to participate in the work of the church, if only to pray for it. God has not called everyone to work on the front lines of evangelizing as apostles. But if God has called and chosen us, upon us falls the responsibility of producing fruit within the scope of our place in the body that we all glorify God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit


 

John 17:4

He says He had glorified the Father. Since the Son has returned to the Father in heaven, and the church is formed and joined to the Son as one organism, the church now has the responsibility to glorify the Father. How? By becoming one with Him just as the Son was—by the power of God's Spirit given to us.

Christ glorified the Father by successfully completing the work the Father gave Him to do. He qualified to be our Savior, Redeemer, and High Priest, and along the way, He preached the gospel to others. Our responsibility is to yield to Him, allowing Him to form us into His image by growing, overcoming, producing fruit, and carrying out the works of the church as He assigns them.

John W. Ritenbaugh
All in All


 

Romans 6:21-22

The context answers what the fruit in each verse symbolizes. In verse 21, the product of actions of which we are now ashamed would have been death. But because of God's calling and our subsequent repentance, our status and relationship with Him have changed—and so has what we are producing with our lives. We are now His slaves rather than sin's, producing fruit to holiness rather than shame and death. In the end God will give us everlasting life. The choice is ours. Which fruit would we rather have, shame and death or holiness and life?

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit


 

Galatians 5:16

We have a choice in this process. If we choose correctly, the fruits of that Spirit—the results of making correct choices—will begin to give evidence of the Spirit in us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 9)


 

Galatians 5:18

This verse is especially helpful in understanding the fruit of the Spirit because it directly precedes Paul's naming them: "But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law." Being led by the Spirit (Romans 8:14) is a necessary precursor to producing the fruit of the Spirit in us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit


 

Colossians 1:10

Is fruit produced instantaneously? The apostle could not use this kind of terminology if it did not truly apply. Even as fruit is not produced instantaneously on a tree, but goes through a process from the bud to the actual produce, even so with us. A process takes place by which we become what God is making us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 19)


 

Colossians 2:7

"As you have been taught" refers to what Epaphras and Tychicus had taught the Colossians. Paul wanted them "abounding in it"—growing, producing fruit, and not deviating from it.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace and Law (Part 20)


 

Hebrews 10:26-29

These verses can only be speaking of Christians because we are the only ones under the blood of Jesus Christ.

In John 15:2, Jesus Christ adds that branches (Christians) who do not bear fruit are cut from the vine. He adds in verse 6 that those who do not abide in the Son—and certainly a branch cut from the vine no longer abides in it—will be cast out as a branch and thrown into the fire.

John W. Ritenbaugh
After Pentecost, Then What?


 

1 John 1:7

"The light" is the truth. God's Word is truth (John 17:17). We have to walk in the light "as He is in the light." He lives in us, and we in Him. We are in union with Him.

John is telling us how we become clean: We become clean as we apply God's Word. It gets in us and begins to clarify and purify our thinking. But it does not become a real cleansing until it begins to be used. Then, it begins to clean up our bad habits and thinking processes. The thinking processes change according to our action, our behavior. If we keep doing the same things all the time, nothing changes. We are resisting. "Walking" denotes living. If we live as He lived, then we become cleansed. This is what holiness is. If we do that, then we will produce fruit—it is impossible not to!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 8)


 

 




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