The kids in our weekly children's church lately have been studying the Fruit of the Spirit. However, this past Sunday, we had "church together" with the kids in the sanctuary. It was interactive to some degree, and we even had samples of fruit to eat throughout the course of delivering the message. I told our folks that fully understanding the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 requires that we also understand John 15 in connection with it, as well as other parts of scripture. In essence, we held a "fruit talk". Jesus shares something with us in this passage that relates directly to "Spirit fruit".
John 15:1-8 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
And if this were not enough, Jesus reiterates the crucial importance of fruit-bearing again in verse 16. Here, the goal is that we will bear "fruit that lasts". I have to wonder if, when Paul wrote to the Galatian church, that he knows what Jesus had originally said to his disciples regarding the subject of fruit? He had spent numerous hours with the apostles, learning about Christ's teachings that happened in advance of his own conversion. Although I cannot prove it, it stands to reason that he understood the truth and teaching of John 15 before writing to the Galatians.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance [patience], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
What does it mean to bear fruit in our lives - lasting fruit - fruit that glorifies the Father? Does fruit have any connection in accomplishing what Jesus' stated purposes are? I believe so. The gospel of John also states these purposes. Here are at least two:
John 1:4 In Him was life, and that life was the light of men...
John 10:10b "I have come that they may have life, and that in abundance..." [Jesus speaking]
When Paul wrote to the Ephesian church, I suppose that he also had this in mind when he said this: "For the fruit of the light [Spirit} consists in all righteousness, goodness, and truth."
Now here is where the seeds come in. Seeds come from mature fruit. Fruit has to develop - it has to stay connected to the vine in order to be sustained and to grow. The seeds will eventually develop within the fruit. Not only that, the seeds are what carry the capacity, the potential, for life reproduced. The Fruit of the Spirit is not meant for just ourselves - it requires (works best) in relationship. I have no need for kindness or gentleness unless I am around other people. Love is not meant to just be received - it is meant to be given. Scripture and life both demonstrate this! Even peace can be left as a deposit. Jesus said; Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. [John 14] Yes... Jesus had the Fruit of the Spirit, too!
The Fruit of the Spirit, left as a deposit in our relationships with other people, should leave a sense of life in other people - Spirit life. A lot of the fruit we get in the stores today has been modified to be seedless. Seedless grapes. Seedless watermelon. Even bananas have been re-engineered to become seedless for our everyday consumption. The question in relation to our topic is this: Should our Fruit of the Spirit be seedless? NO - it should have life in it! Abundant life, full life, Spirit life.
John 20:31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. I believe that when Paul mentions the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians, his purpose for writing is quite similar. When it comes to the Fruit of the Spirit, we don’t want seedless fruit. No, we want to bear fruit that has the potential to help promote and give life, the life that brings light to men, women, boys and girls. The Fruit of the Spirit, if mature enough, can plant a seed in the lives of others that eventually reproduces life anew - spiritual life! The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of Jesus. His Spirit, living in us, is suppose to reproduce life, and to produce fruit that lasts.
May we be asking Jesus by His Spirit to so mature His Spirit fruit in us, that it goes to seed. I don't just believe in joy; I believe in supernatural joy. I don't just believe in kindness; I believe in supernatural kindness. I don't just believe in faithfulness; I believe in a supernatural faithfulness so astounding, that it causes the world to take notice. May the world take notice of the fruit you bear, lasting fruit, fruit that truly glorifies the Father! Against such, there can't possibly be any law.