HOW CHRISTIANS BEAR FRUIT
Psalm 84 and John 15 are connected. Psalm 84 uses animals to signify Christians, showing how we are like the sparrow and the swallow, worthless and useless. Real Christians are just like this in the eyes of the world, having no attractive form or beauty and without ability or education. They are small and worthless. However, all those who come to the altar have to be small. Without being small, one cannot come to the altar. John 15 uses a plant to symbolize Christians, showing that we are just like the branches of a vine, which are not fit for use as lumber. Thus, they appear to be useless. Also, the period of time during which they blossom is so short that their flowers are hardly seen. As branches of the vine, we have no other use except to bear fruit.
Therefore, Christians are useless in the eyes of the world. They have no other use besides the overflowing of life. Although Christians are very small and worthless in the eyes of the world, they can lay their young like the swallow in Psalm 84. They can propagate the spiritual life. Christians who have experienced the cross are like this. They seem to be useless, yet they can produce other Christians. It is just like the branches of the vine in John 15. Every branch that does not bear fruit shall be taken away, but those that bear fruit express the life of the vine.
EXPERIENCING THE CROSS BY BEING JOINED TO THE LORD’S RESURRECTION POWER
Psalm 84:4 speaks about dwelling in the house of God to fellowship with Him. John 15 speaks of abiding in the Lord to fellowship with Him. The Lord, Christ, is the house of God. Hence, to dwell in the Lord is to dwell in the house of God. Psalm 84 speaks about the altar, that is, the experience of the cross. John 15 says that the branches have to abide in the vine, emphasizing our union with the Lord. These are the two ends of our spiritual experience, which is the most precious experience in the Christian life. Union with the Lord cannot be separated from the experience of the cross. True union with the Lord requires a real experience of the cross. If we want to have the real experience of the cross, we must be joined to the Lord in His resurrection power.
To know the power of resurrection, we need to love the experience of the cross. In the New Testament God does not look at a person’s children in the flesh. Rather, God looks at a Christian’s spiritual children. On the spiritual side, if a Christian does not have any children, this means that he is barren. This is a most shameful thing. Psalm 1 says that a person who fears God is like a tree that yields its fruit in its season (v. 3). Revelation 22 also says that in the New Jerusalem the tree of life yields its fruit each month (v. 2). What God regards as important is fruit-bearing, that is, the multiplication of life. John 15 shows us that our abiding in the Lord and the Lord’s abiding in us is for fruit-bearing. If we do not bear fruit, then we surely have a problem. We may feel that we are all right and that our prayers are effective. However, if we do not have fruit, this indicates that there is something wrong with us. The Lord said to Peter, “Do you love Me?…Feed My sheep” (John 21:17). In the Song of Songs, the Lord also told His pursuer, “Pasture your young goats / By the shepherds’ tents” (1:8). Everyone who loves the Lord has young goats under his shepherding.
A person who wants to bear fruit must on the one hand have fellowship with the Lord to be filled with the Lord’s life by receiving His abundant life. On the other hand, he must have the experience of the cross and be broken so that he can flow out the Lord’s life. Without being broken, he cannot have the overflow of life. This is a principle. Some people have much prayer and fellowship with the Lord, yet they have no fruit. This is because they have not been broken. Paul told the Galatians, “My children, with whom I travail again in birth until Christ is formed in you ” (Gal. 4:19). If a person is not broken, he cannot have any fruit. A person who has been broken is like water, having no form of his own. No matter where he is, he can adjust. Wherever he is, he can flow in and also flow out life.
(Being Apt to Teach and Holding the Mystery of the Faith, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)