Herein is My Father Glorified, that Ye Bear Much Fruit:
So Shall Ye Be My Disciples--John 15:8
And are those who do not bear much
fruit not disciples? They may be, but in a backward and immature
stage. Of those who bear much fruit, Christ says: "These
are My disciples, such as I would have them be--these are true
disciples." Just as we say of someone in whom the idea of
manliness is realized: That is a man! So our Lord tells who are
disciples after His heart, worthy of the name: Those who bear
much fruit. We find this double sense of the word disciple
in the Gospel. Sometimes it is applied to all who accepted Christ's
teaching. At other times it includes only the inner circle of
those who followed Christ wholly, and gave themselves to His training
for service. The difference has existed throughout all ages. There
have always been a smaller number of God's people who have sought
to serve Him with their whole heart, while the majority have been
content with a very small measure of the knowledge of His grace
And what is the difference between
this smaller inner circle and the many who do not seek admission
to it? We find it in the words: much fruit. With many Christians
the thought of personal safety, which at their first awakening
was a legitimate one, remains to the end the one aim of their
religion. The idea of service and fruit is always a secondary
and very subordinate one. The honest longing for much fruit does
not trouble them. Souls that have heard the call to live wholly
for their Lord, to give their life for Him as He gave His for
them, can never be satisfied with this. Their cry is to bear as
much fruit as they possibly can, as much as their Lord ever can
desire or give in them.
Bear much fruit: so shall ye
be My disciples--Let me beg every reader to consider these
words most seriously. Be not content with the thought of gradually
doing a little more or better work. In this way it may never come.
Take the words, much fruit, as the revelation of your heavenly
Vine of what you must be, of what you can be. Accept fully the
impossibility, the utter folly of attempting it in your strength.
Let the words call you to look anew upon the Vine, an undertaking
to live out its heavenly fullness in you. Let them waken in you
once again the faith and the confession: "I am a branch of
the true Vine; I can bear much fruit to His glory, and the glory
of the Father."
We need not judge others. But we
see in God's Word everywhere two classes of disciples. Let there
be no hesitation as to where we take our place. Let us ask Him
to reveal to us how He ask and claims a life wholly given up to
Him, to be as full of His Spirit as He can make us. Let our desire
be nothing less than perfect cleansing, unbroken abiding, closest
communion, abundant fruitfulness--true branches of the true Vine.
The world is perishing, the church
is failing, Christ's cause is suffering, Christ is grieving on
account of the lack of wholehearted Christians, bearing much fruit.
Though you scarce see what it implies or how it is to come, say
to Him that you are His branch to bear much fruit; that you are
ready to be His disciple in His own meaning of the word.
My disciples. Blessed Lord,
much fruit is the proof that Thou the true Vine hast in me a true
branch, a disciple wholly at Thy disposal. Give me, I pray Thee,
the childlike consciousness that my fruit is pleasing to Thee,
what Thou countest much fruit.
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