Many years ago I had the privilege of serving at a Billy Graham conference with Dr. Tom Phillips, a brilliant man
and leader who helped develop many training materials and oversaw many aspects of this powerful ministry. In one of his presentations he asked the question, “What is the fruit of an apple tree?”
Most people like me answered an apple, which is partially correct. True, the apple tree produces fruit, but why?
Dr. Phillips pointed out that the real fruit of an apple tree is another apple tree. He went on to diagram how a healthy, vibrant apple tree produces an apple that falls to the ground. Through birds, animals, or people eating the apple one or more of its seeds gets transferred into the earth. Once a seed is nourished by rainfall, sunlight, and healthy soil it grows into an apple tree, that in turn produces another apple, and the process continues.
God is in the business of producing fruit and multiplying His kingdom, and the ultimate, eternal fruit of a Christian is…
The Bible points out the fruits of the Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. But these are fruits of the SPIRIT evidenced in a Christian, not the fruits of the Christian. Clearly we need God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit in us in order to bear fruit. We can’t do it on our own.
When God’s Word and Spirit is alive and vibrant in us we will bear fruit, through prayer and authentic worship that is evidenced in our hearts, thoughts, words, lives, and service to God and the people he puts in our lives.
The fruit of a Christian is another Christian.
Jesus said in John 15:16
The tree that produced the apple probably isn’t aware of the new tree or trees that came about through its faithfulness. Like that tree, we may or may not see the eternal fruits of our life. I’m convinced God will show us someday, and it will be amazing.
The multiplying of God’s kingdom is about bearing fruit, specifically fruit that will last. In Genesis God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. In Matthew 28 Jesus told the disciples to go out to the world to make disciples (i.e. bear eternal fruit), baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything He commanded (including bearing eternal fruit). This translates into more people coming to know Jesus as Savior and Lord, more people coming knowing God the Father as their Abba Father, more people knowing the Holy Spirit as the power of God moving in and through them. Then they will bear fruit as God’s kingdom plan continues forward.
Bearing fruit is evidence of a life of worship. By God’s power we will bear fruit not only in our own lives but also in other people.
We are made to worship, which also includes bearing fruit, fruit that will last.