If we are such fruit-bearing believers in the Christian virtues, the second category of fruit will be borne by us. This second category of fruit is mentioned in John 15. The Lord said that He is the vine tree and we are the branches (v. 5). The branches of the vine tree do not merely bear the fruit of the Christian virtues. The fruit borne by the branches in John 15 denotes the saved persons regenerated with the divine life through the dispensing of the branches (v. 16b). This is proved by the requirement that the bearer of this fruit should “go forth” (v. 16a). To bear ethical and moral virtues as fruit does not require us to go forth. But to bear the fruit of persons regenerated through our dispensing of the divine life requires us to go forth to contact and reach people. We Christians should bear both the fruit of virtues and the fruit of regenerated persons.
If a fruit tree in an orchard does not bear any fruit, the farmer will want to cut it down. There is no beauty in a fruit tree that does not bear fruit. How would a branch of a vine look without any grapes on it? A branch with clusters of grapes on it looks beautiful. We need to bear not only the fruit of virtues as the beauties of the divine life but also the fruit of solid persons.
If you are not a person that bears the first category of fruit, the fruit of virtues, you will not be prevailing in the gospel regardless of what way you use. Your preaching can only be prevailing when you bear the fruit of virtues. You must be a person that lives by the divine power within you, walking by and with a Holy Person, the Holy Spirit. You must be a person living by Christ as your life and walking with the Holy Spirit as your companion to bear much fruit of virtues. Then when you speak Christ in the preaching of the gospel, the second category of fruit will be there, the fruit of persons. If you live in the flesh and the natural life during the day, you will be a “flat tire” in the evening and will not have the standing before God’s enemy to preach the gospel. If you are a Christian that lives by Christ and walks with the Spirit, you will be full of virtues, full of beauties. Then when you go to touch sinners, all the demons will be afraid of you. This is why the gospel in the mouths of the apostles was prevailing. The word of the apostles was weighty. The same word spoken by us may be light and vain. Thus, we have to be persons bearing the fruit of the Christian virtues, which are the very expression of the divine attributes. Then we are qualified and empowered to speak Christ. The word out of our mouths will be a power to save people. The preaching of the gospel depends upon the person rather than the way. If you are not the right person, it does not matter what way you take. That way will be empty.
We all need to rise up to have a new start. We need to forget the past, look to the Lord, and tell Him, “Lord, I am here. I want to have a new start. I want to forget about everything in the past, even the past history of my Christian life and church life. Lord, I realize that You are the divine power within me, energizing me all day long. Lord, as the Spirit You are my companion living with me. I want to live by You and to walk with You. I want to forget about everything related to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, involving matters of right or wrong and yes or no. I want to have a clean, purified, and absolutely new start with You.” We need such a divine beginning. In simplicity we should take Christ as our divine power, energizing within us, and take Him as the life- giving Spirit, the very companion with whom we should walk all day. Then we will bear the fruit of virtues, expressing the divine attributes to be empowered, energized, and qualified to speak Christ as the gospel to others. Our speaking will be powerful and weighty. Week after week we will see the fruit of solid persons added to the fruit of our virtues. We will bear not only the fruit of the attributes of God as our virtues but also the fruit of saved, solid persons added to our virtues. We will be full of fruit in two categories: the category of virtues and the category of solid persons. We need the fruit in these two categories to afford us a rich, bountiful entrance into the coming kingdom. Many students in a school graduate, but only a few graduate with a prize or a reward. If we are faithful to bear these two kinds of fruit in this age, we will have a new church life, and we will enjoy the Lord as our reward in the coming kingdom age.
(Our Urgent Need - Spirit and Life, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)