Friday, April 15, 2011

Chosen to Bear Fruit

15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit-fruit that will last-and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17This is my command: Love each other.
~John 15:15 -17

I struggle frequently, as I'm sure many Christians do, with the questions, "What is it that Christ has planned for me and what should I be doing to contribute to His plan?" In this passage, Christ answers these questions for the disciples during the last supper. Jesus has three messages: 1) He chose us as friends; 2) He wants us to bear fruit; and 3) Love each other.

Friendship with Christ: It is important to always keep in mind that Christ has chosen us, not the other way around. Yes, we must accept the sacrifice and grace that He gave on the cross, but as a free gift and not something that is earned. If we see Christ as only a master that we must serve and not also as a friend that we can love and enjoy, we can lose sight of this free gift that was given out of unconditional love.

Bear fruit: The image of the vine and the branches is often used to symbolize how we must depend on Jesus to accomplish His plans. Just as a grape vine feeds and provides vital nutrients to its branches so they can produce fruit, Jesus (the vine) has given us (the branches) everything we need to grow (bear fruit) for His kingdom. We bear fruit when we share God's word and exemplify His teaching in our actions and deeds. Again, He chose us, and this is important, as the fruit cannot produce the vine. No matter how many good deeds we perform, we cannot earn our own salvation nor produce it in others.

Love each other: Why does Jesus care if we love each other? The answer is His love for us and His desire that we share eternity in heaven. Jesus was the perfect model of love, one that He commands us to emulate. In Luke 10:26, when Jesus was asked how to gain eternal life, he replied, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind;' and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" We are commanded to love God AND our neighbor. The Lord desires that we not only love Him unconditionally, but that we also love unconditionally those whom He loves-which is everyone.

Recall the last long conversation you had with a friend.
1. What qualities in that friendship can you bring to your relationship with Jesus?
2. Can you "bear the fruit" that Jesus desires if your objective is to earn a reward?
3. Do others approach you when they are in need? Why do you believe this is or is not the case?

About the Author
Brendan St John and his wife, Jessica, started attending CCPC in 1999. His favorite experiences with Canyon Creek are the Wind Festival and Small Group Ministry. They have three children, Adelaide (11), Tristan (8), and Spencer (6).

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