The Fulfillment of the Tabernacle and the Offerings in the Writings of John, by Witness Lee

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With the vine we also have the glorification of the Father through the expression of the riches of the divine life in fruit-bearing. Fruit-bearing is not the result of a deliberate practice; instead, fruit-bearing is organically natural.

The Gospel of John is unique in that it is concerned with divine things. By “divine things” we primarily mean God with His life, nature, and expression, which is His glory. Whereas the first three Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—charge us to preach the gospel, we do not have such a charge in the Gospel of John. In this Gospel preaching is replaced by fruit-bearing. In 15:8 the Lord Jesus says, “In this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit.” In fruit-bearing the Father’s life is expressed; hence, in fruit-bearing He is glorified.

Among today’s Christians, preaching the gospel in order to win souls is emphasized. It is true that we may win souls through the preaching of the gospel. However, we may not bear much fruit. Preaching the gospel may be merely an activity, a practice, or a movement. Life, on the contrary, is a matter of living, not a matter of activity or of a movement.

In the Gospel of John the preaching of the gospel is not an activity; it is a living. This living may be illustrated by a tree bearing fruit. When a tree brings forth fruit, the tree does not engage in any deliberate activity. Fruit-bearing is simply the issue of the tree’s living. There is no need to give a command to a peach tree to produce peaches. It would be foolish to say, “Peach tree, you must be faithful and diligent to produce peaches.” A peach tree produces fruit simply because it is a living organism. Only artificial fruit can be produced as a result of making requirements. If you need a thousand artificial peaches, you may require workers to produce them in a day. But it is unnecessary to require a living peach tree to bear fruit, and it would be useless to tell it to produce fruit overnight.

The Lord does not want us to produce artificial fruit. The Lord’s desire is that we bear fruit in the way of life. Concerning this, the Lord needs a genuine recovery. The Lord does not want a gospel-preaching movement. He wants genuine fruit-bearing.

I would not say that there is nothing of life in today’s gospel campaigns or movements. Nevertheless, the amount of life is limited. Of course, the Lord is merciful. Whenever His word is preached and whenever people call on His name, He will extend His mercy. For this reason, many are saved in gospel campaigns. However, this does not necessarily indicate that such a campaign or movement is truly according to the Lord’s way of life. What the Lord wants is that we have a living that results in fruit-bearing.

In John 15:1 the Lord says that He is the true vine and that the Father is the Husbandman. As the Husbandman, the Father cares for the vine. He waters the vine, cultivates the soil, and protects the vine from everything that would damage it. As John 15 indicates, the vine is not for a movement; the vine is for fruit-bearing.

The fruit-bearing of the vine is the glorification of the Father. The propagation or multiplication of the divine life through the vine is the glorification of the Father, that is, His expression. The Lord says that if we bear much fruit, the Father will be glorified (15:8). Hence, our fruit-bearing is the glorification of the Triune God.

Our fruit-bearing is the expression of the Triune God from within. Today the Triune God is within us as our life and nature. The expression of the life and nature of the Triune God from within us is glory. Therefore, when the divine life with its nature is expressed through us in fruit-bearing, the Father is glorified.

We may also use electricity as an illustration of glory. When the switch in a room is off, electricity is still present, but there is no expression of electricity in the shining of light. We may say that light equals glory. When the switch is turned on, electricity is expressed, and this expression is light, which is glory. Thus, the shining of light is the glorification of electricity.

The principle is the same with the glorification of the Father in fruit-bearing. We have the divine life within us, and now this life needs to be expressed. When the divine life is expressed in fruit-bearing, that expression is the glorification of this life.

As we shall see in forthcoming messages, in John 17 the Lord Jesus prayed concerning the glory which the Father had given Him and which He had given to His disciples. The glory given by the Father to the Son and by the Son to the disciples is the divine life with the divine nature for God’s expression. The Father has given His life and nature to the Son so that the Son may express the Father’s glory. This is the glory given by the Father to the Son. The Son has given us this divine life with its divine nature so that we also may express God in glory. In this message we are emphasizing the fact that in John 15 this expression of the divine life, this glorification of the Father, is in fruit-bearing. Fruit-bearing is a matter of our daily living. Day by day we need to live a life that bears fruit, and in this way we glorify the Father.

According to John 15, what does it mean to glorify the Father? To glorify the Father is to express the riches of the divine life in fruit-bearing. Concerning this matter, we need to see that every life is after its own kind. An apple tree will produce apples and a peach tree will produce peaches because both an apple tree and a peach tree are after their own kind. There is no need to instruct an apple tree not to bear peaches or to warn a peach tree not to bear apples. A peach tree simply bears peaches, and an apple tree simply bears apples. This fruit-bearing comes from the life within the trees. The principle is the same with the fruit-bearing in John 15. The Lord’s way in fruit-bearing is the way of the propagation of life, the multiplication of life. As the divine life is multiplied, propagated, this life is expressed. Therefore, the fruit-bearing of the vine is the expression, the glorification, of the divine life in the vine.

If we see the vision concerning the spreading of the vine and the fruit-bearing of the vine, we shall realize that there is no need for us to strive in ourselves to preach the gospel. There is no need for our own activity. Instead of natural or religious activity, we simply need to live the divine life, and we shall bear fruit. As we live this life, those around us will realize that we are persons living the divine life. As a result, they will be attracted, convinced, and subdued. This life will shine upon them, and eventually the Lord Jesus will be imparted to them. In this way they will become fruit produced by our living.

The proper way, the way ordained by God, for new believers to be produced is through the imparting of life. Fruit-bearing, therefore, is a matter of imparting divine life to others so that they may be born of God. The more we express the divine life in fruit-bearing, the more the Father will be glorified.

(The Fulfillment of the Tabernacle and the Offerings in the Writings of John, Chapter 46, by Witness Lee)