26 June 2014 by Adeline Lum CM-
On 6th of June, Pr Peter Tanchi shared in the DUMC LEAD Conference about the secret to a fruitful life.
What is the meaning of bearing fruit? The meaning of fruit could be deeds (Titus 3:14) or character (Gal 5:22,23). But Pr Peter Tanchi focused more on character because who we are is more important than what we do.
Why do we need to bear fruit?
This is because by bearing much fruit, we prove to be a genuine disciple of Christ. (John 15:8, Matt 7:20-21) The Bible did not say that good works would save us but genuine faith would have evidence (in the form of fruit) because genuine faith is never dead and alone. (John 15:16) The heart of God is for His children to bear fruit.
This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:8 NIV)
What makes us bear fruit?
We can bear fruit by the grace of God. Pr Peter asked if we were to organize a winning team, what kind of members would you choose?
While we would choose the cream of the crop, God has chosen us not because He believes in us. But because of Christ, God can use ordinary people to be extraordinary. Because of Christ, we have rock solid Christ-confidence, instead of self-confidence.
In fact, we are called to be God’s handiwork or poima in Greek, which means masterpiece. (Eph 2:8-10) When a painter calls an artwork as a masterpiece, it means one and only creation, without duplication. Every one of us is a masterpiece in God’s eyes.
And according to Eph 2:8-10, we are created to do good works.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph 2:8-9 NIV)
What type of fruit-bearer are we?
According to John 15, Pr Peter shared that there are four types of people. Despite out potential to bear fruit (in the form of good works), we have people who are fruitless, people bearing little fruit, and bearing much fruit.
Which fruit-bearer are you?
People who are fruitless are contented to be in the vine, with little or no desire to bear fruit in Christ. But we are God’s masterpiece, saved for the purpose to bear much fruit.
Pr Peter shared that a fruitless Christian in particular is shown by a joyless life. A fruitful Christian should live a joyful life! (Gal 5:22 NIV)
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. (Gal 5:22-23).
He shared how his children always received comments of his family being abnormally happy. But that is God’s intention for a family in Christ. The words and promises of God are true! It’s not about us but Him walking in and through us.
Who are the Vine, Gardener and Branch?
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser (gardener). Every branch in me that bears not fruit he takes away: and every branch that bears fruit, he prunes it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now you are clean through the word, which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing. (John 15:1-4 KJV)
In Jesus’ last night with his disciples, Jesus took them to the garden to tell them this precious lesson of abiding in Him. One lesson is clear: Jesus Christ is the vine, God is the vinedresser or gardener, and we are the branches.
What does the Gardener do?
The gardener only has one main job and that is He will always intervene in our lives to bear more fruit. Every branch that does not bear fruit, he takes away, also called as airos. (John 15:2) This is the same word used in picking up bread after feeding 5000 people, and picking up stones. (John 8:5, Matt 14:20) In other words, the gardener does not take away the branches, but he lift it up and prune it.
If you were to ask vineyard owners, the reason they lift up a branch is because a long and heavy branch tends to fall down to the mud, exposing them to fungus. To prevent that, the owner would lift the drooping branch up or strengthen it to bear fruit.
Now, for pruning purposes, Pr Peter shared that God uses different pruning equipment in your life. If you were gentle and obedient, He would use smaller pruning equipment. But if you were stubborn, God would use bigger pruning equipment, which would cause more pain. Every time God prunes us for fruitfulness, we experience pain.
Now, some of us are disappointed, upset, and angry with God when He prunes us. But He wants us to be fruitful.
…because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son. (Hebrews 12:6)
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)
What enters your mind when you are undergoing trials and hard times? Do you think of a loving Father and a Gardener, or do you think God is someone angry? If we were to think of God as someone angry, we will not be fruitful in our life.
Let us look at how God pruned Joseph into becoming the prime minister of Egypt today (Gen 41:40-46), which is akin to becoming a prime minister of United States. Imagine yourself as Joseph.
Joseph was betrayed by his brothers and sold as a slave (Gen 37:18-24; Gen 37:25-28). Then, he is betrayed by employer (Gen 39:7-20) and unjustly imprisoned. (Gen 39:7-20) Sure Joseph rose to become a jail warden but he was quickly forgotten. (Gen 39:21-23, Gen 40:23)
Looking at the circumstances, it is easy to not trust that God is not involved in our lives. But do you know that God uses our troubles and trials in our life to prune us? If you want to be fruitful for God, you need to learn to trust Him. Look at your circumstances based on God. Don’t look at God based on your circumstances.
What do We do as Branches?
So, now that we are clear of God’s job to prune us through trials and troubles, what is our job? What does it mean to abide in God? John 15:5 shows us that abiding in Christ is the only strategy to live a fruitful life.
I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing. (John 15:5 KJV)
Abiding in God does not mean we do nothing on our part. But abides, which is in present tense is imperative and ongoing. Abides means to do our part and practice remembering God daily in everything we do.
But sometimes, Pr Peter shared that we get so worried about the things in life that we fail to abide in Christ and bear fruits. We have so many ‘leaves’ or unnecessary worries that zap all the energy from the branch that we fail to concentrate the energy in bearing fruits. Chop off all the leaves, so that we can focus our energy in bearing the fruit of Christ! Once you learn to abide in our Christ, everything changes.
Hence, in conclusion, our job as a believer is really to abide continuously in Jesus Christ (our true vine). And when we submit and obey to God—our Gardener who actively prunes us—we will always bear much fruits in Him. Do not see pruning as an action made out of anger, but really an action done out of love of a Father for a child.
The secret to a fruitful life is to abide in Christ!
About Speaker: Pr Peter Tanchi is the founding and senior pastor of Christ’s Commission Fellowship (CCF Philippines). Peter is passionate about the importance of discipleship at home and in the workplace. He regularly conducts seminars on marriage and parenting, and on growing healthy churches. He is a self-supporting pastor to this day through God’s blessing on his family business, which is being managed by his sons. Joyfully married to Deonna, they have five children and thirteen grandchildren.
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Note: This article is written from the perspective and interpretation of the writer, to condense and accentuate the ideas of the pastor in a more understandable and readable way.
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