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.

John 15:6 (NIV)

When I first became a Christian I remember fretting over Jesus’ parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-23). Specifically, the seed that fell among the thorns. The seed that fell among thorns represents “someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22 NIV). Ironic, isn’t it? Although it may be ironic it’s not uncommon for a Believer to read something that has been said in the Bible and be concerned about what they think it means.

When Jesus is talking about the branches here in John the branches that are thrown away do not include people who have been saved. The branches that Jesus is referring to are the people who have rejected the message of God. If you have been saved then you are saved for all of eternity. However, salvation requires more than just saying a prayer. The Bible tells us “if you acknowledge and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord [recognizing His power, authority, and majesty as God], and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9 AMP). When we believe in our hearts and are saved we become a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Fruit is used as a metaphor in the Bible. One way that fruit is used is to describe the results of the things that people do. Allow me to suggest that sometimes we might get confused about fruit in the Bible and how it’s discussed. For example, in Matthew 7 Jesus is warning us about false teachers. He tells us that we’ll know them by their fruit.

By their fruit, you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire (Matthew 7:16-19 NIV).

Jesus isn’t talking about people who are saved. He’s talking about people who may claim to be saved but are teaching false doctrine. Let’s look at another example of Jesus talking about fruit. In Luke Jesus tells us “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Luke 6:45 NIV). He tells us this after first having told us “‘No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit'” (Luke 6:43 NIV). He tells us the same thing that He said in Matthew, “‘Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers'” (Luke 6:44 NIV).

When we read about Jesus talking about fruit here in Matthew and Luke we might think that the subject is different. It’s not. Jesus is talking about the same thing in Matthew 7 and Luke 6. False prophets. The fruit, trees, evil men and the mouth speaking evil because the heart is full of it are all referring to false prophets. The account in Matthew is Matthew’s account and the one in Luke is, you guessed it, Luke’s account of the same teaching.

Let’s go back to John 15. Jesus teaches us what it means to be a branch grafted into Him as the vine in the first 15 verses. He says something in verse 16 that you need to grab hold of and not let go.

You 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. John 15:16 (NIV)

Do you see what He tells us? He chose us that we might go and bear fruit that will last. If you are saved then our Lord and Savior chose you to be saved. Therefore, you will bear good fruit and you are a good tree because you are in Him and He is in you. Of course, He also tells us that we can ask for anything in His name and God will give it to us. What a fantastic reassurance of who we are in Christ as well as an amazing promise!

Now, you might be thinking about other fruit. The fruit of the Spirit. What is the fruit of the Spirit?

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)

What does Paul tell us about the acts of the flesh and those of the Spirit? He tells us “They are in conflict with each other” (Galatians 5:17 NIV). Paul also tells us that those who are saved “have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24 NIV). Paul then reminds us “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25 NIV).

The difference between the fruit of the Spirit and the fruit that Jesus tells us about is that anyone, saved or not, can show characteristics of love, joy, peace, etc. just as anyone can show evidence of living by the flesh. We do have a choice, as Believers, to do wrong things. We are Saints, but we are not without sin. Paul was reminding the Christian people of Galatia that they had a choice on how to live. They could give into the flesh and reap from it or they could choose to be led by the Spirit and reap those benefits.

Jesus was teaching us how to identify a false teacher. I believe this can also be extended to the world, in general. After all, isn’t the message of the world contrary to that of God? I believe Romans 8:28 which tells me “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (NIV). I also believe that we shouldn’t put God to the test (Luke 4:12). I believe that Jesus chose me ahead of time to bear fruit that will last. I don’t believe that fruit is bad fruit.

Therefore, I believe that, as one who is saved by the grace of God that the fruit I will bear, even if it looks bad to me, will ultimately be good fruit that lasts.

Do you know God? God knows you and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so that we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.