Paul Washer – Do you bear fruit?

Paul washer

  • But, there’s some problems, in some aspects of the reformed movement, not so much in reformed theology, but, in modern day reformed guys. They almost seem to boast in the fact of sin defeating them. They think they’re super spiritual, and (that they) understand the weighty matter of holiness, because they say, „Wretched man that I am, and I’m just a sinner.” I’ll tell you something, some of that language is wrong. If you are truly a Christian, you have the teachings of Christ, the providence of the Father, and the Spirit of God working in your life. And my friend, there ought to be victory over sin.  
  • Yes, we will struggle with sin. And, yes, at times it will be 3 steps forward and 4 steps back. It is a real raging battle. But, if over the course of your life you are not seeing victory over sin, it is a good indication that you do not know God and God does not know you.
  • The Father prunes the branches of the vine to make His Son look beautiful. Some of you will be removed in this; You’ll be set free from your parents, and set free form their authority, and you’ll simply walk away form the church. Oh, you may go join another church, where you can easily be unbeliever and still participate in religious things, but, He’ll take you out of a genuine church, the true church. He’ll put you in something false, to get you away. I know that’s frightening, but it is true.
  • Are you a fruitful vine? Then tell me, point to your fruit. Just think in your mind: How am I fruitful? Do you know, some evangelicals can only say this: Well, I go to church on Sunday. If you find it difficult to find fruit, you should find it very easy to be afraid.
  • How many of you can live the beatitudes in your own power? Or husbands: How many of you can live 1 Corinthians 13 with your wife? Ephesians 5? Alright, so we’re all in agreement, that the simplest command of the New Testament are absolutely  impossible.Here’s the problem: A lot of people recognize that because of their understanding of conversion and because of their understanding of their own failure. But, in looking at that, what do they do? Just curl up and say it’s impossible. What does the New Testament command us to do? To recognize the impossibility and run to Christ for strength.
  • If I hear one more time about the apostle Paul’s great intellect… That’s ridiculous! Is there any time in the New Testament, where Paul the apostle talks about his great intellect? NO!!! So, why are we identifying  all these great works of Paul with his intellect? When Paul says that he was seeking to do- not that he was seeking to be the ignorant of the things of God- he is making it clear he is trying to free himself from just intellectual endeavor. And he could speak a lot better than he actually spoke. But, he spoke in such a way that man’s confidence would not be in his (Paul’s) intellectual powers, but in the power of God.

TEXT: John 15:1- “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

I was brought here to teach on how to be more Godly, to be more Christ like, to stand with greater assurance before the throne of God. But, I will say this: There are people here, who, although you would not say this with your mouth, with your life you demonstrate it- you care very little for these types of things. They really do not matter much to you. If that angers you, then let me ask you a question. How much time during the day do you think about yourself? How much time during the day do you think about things that are temporal? Your physical strength, or your beauty, or your clothing, or your relationships? Or the joys and pleasures of this world? How much time do you spend thinking about that?

And then, how much time do you think about cultivating godliness?  About becoming more chaste, more innocent, more Christ like?  How are you working and laboring toward a greater assurance of your salvation? You see, even now while I’m speaking, you’ll put your head down and not listen to a word I’m saying.

I want you to know, that to sit under the word of God is an extremely dangerous thing. For the same sun that melts butter, hardens clay. Beware of sensuality. Beware of the things of this world. Beware of your own heart. Ask yourself: Is there really – I mean, come on- is there any evidence whatsoever that you have been born again? 

Are you here today because it’s Sunday? Are you here today because it is appropriate in your family to be here? Are you here today because you’re forced, coerced? People who have truly been regenerated by the Spirit of God find it a pleasure to come to the house of God. And, although at times, we recognize that even those who love the Lord might endure boring sermons, still we come, because we want to hear a word from God. But then, when the regenerate heart leaves the church, that regenerate heart does not leave behind the desire. But, what God has done in that life is reflected throughout the week. If I followed you around with a camera and videoed your life, how much time would I see you preoccupied with you? Preoccupied with the temporal, preoccupied with the things that do not last? Vanity, mirrors, makeup, and muscles. Cars and homes, and certain brands of clothing.

If I followed you around and looked inside your heart, how many thoughts about yourself, how many thoughts in your heart, wondering what other people think about you, and trying to do all in your power to attract them and to gain their attention, rather than seeking to attract the view of God?

You see, there are some here today and you are unconverted. You will go to hell. You will. And you will be surprised on that great day, when you will hear, „Depart from me, you worker of iniquity. I never knew you.” What He’s basically saying in that passage is: Depart from Me, those of you who claim to have something to do with me and you lived as though I never gave you a law to obey. You took nothing in serious, of all the weighty matters I laid before you every Sunday. You were sensual, worldly, carnal. You were not mine. It’s a dreadful thing to say. I’m aware of that. That’s why I’m saying it calmly. But, it’s true. I will teach on how to be Godly, but there’s some of you here today and you simply don’t care. You don’t care to be Godly. And  if you argue with me, I will say, „Show me the evidence. Show me how much time you spend in front of the mirror and how much time you spend in front of the Word of God. Show me how much time you spend, trying to attract human relationships, and spend no time to beautify yourself before the Lord, that you might attract Him. Be very careful.”

Some of you are just biding the time until this Lord’s Day is over, so you can go on to things that are more pleasurable to you. Be afraid. These are weighty matters. And one of the worst things that you could ever adopt is to take on to yourself a very presentable religion, that gives you just enough morality to gain a reputation, but, there’s no love in your heart for Christ.  Be terrified. (7:15)

Notes from sermon continue below the video.

Published on Nov 1, 2012 The reason for every trial, every hardship, every rough wind in your life, is to show you your inability, your weakness, and to chase you back to God. Uploaded by illbehonest

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

Do you see what it’s saying here? He doesn’t say: Everyone who denies me verbally. He doesn’t say: Everyone who stands against me publicly is going to be removed or taken away. No. He is talking about those who confess Him as Lord. Those who pretend to be branches, united to the vine. He said, „But, the evidence that they truly belong to me is- „they bear fruit”. Let me ask you this question: Do you bear fruit? Why do I say it with such emphasis? Because one day, you will be turned out and sent to hell, and the last thing you will hear is, „You did not bear fruit!”

Do you bear fruit? Answer that question now. Because if you do not, what does it say about you? He, that is God, will take you away. What does it mean „God will take you away?” You’re a person. Maybe your father is Christian, maybe your mother is Christian, Maybe you’re even distinguished in the church. But you, your heart is dark. It desires the world. You may profess to be a branch. You may even be somewhat moral. But what will happen to you on that great day? What does it mean to be taken away? Look at verse 6-  If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 

It is very common in evangelicalism today to say that God does not throw anyone in hell. I want you to know that is a direct contradiction of the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, who warned His disciples, „Do not fear the Roman legions.” That’s what He told His disciples. Now, I want you to know, if ever there was something to be feared, it was the Roman legion. Not just because they were so well trained, but, because they were vicious. They were brutes, they delighted in killing people. If there was something, if you were a Jew in Palestine, during the reign of Caesar, one of the things that you would most certainly fear would be the Roman soldier, the legions- vile, cruel, killing, mauling, raping, abusing. Jesus said, „Don’t fear them, because they can only kill your body.” Then Jesus said, „I’m gonna tell you who you should fear.” You know who He was referring to? The Father- that God could not only kill your body, but then, afterwards, He could throw you in hell.

Do you realize that one day, when you die, it is God killing your body? And when you are put in hell, it is God who throws you there. People tell me that you do not see manifestations of the judgment of God in this world, today. I beg to differ with them. Do you know that death is not natural? It’s not. People say, „It’s as natural as birth and death.” No. I’m sorry. Birth is natural, death is not. Death is supernatural. It is a judgment of the living God. So, you do not think that the wrath of God is displayed on our planet? It is displayed every day, as hundreds of thousands of people are killed and thrown into hell. And some of you will join them, if you are not careful. I know it’s a hard word. But, it is true.

The church, or what is called the church is filled up with so many unconverted people. And I fear, especially for you young people, for my own children. You see, it’s so dangerous to be raised in a family, not with perfect mother and father, but with sincere mother and father who seek after Christ. It’s dangerous to go to a church, that may not be the most spectacular in the world, but it is a true church. It’s terrifying to have all that laid at your feet and to turn form it. I desire that many of you will be afraid. That you would tremble, that you would be scared over your situation. That you would wake up. Awake, oh sleeper. Please, you’re in a terrible state. (14:00)

Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.

So far we have studied that Jesus is the true vine. That apart from Him there is no true spiritual life. There are a lot of ofuntains out there, but God refers to them as false cisterns, broken cisterns. They are fountains that can produce no life. It is Christ alone, all spiritual life flows form Him. Another thing that we have already considered is this- that the Father is the vinedresser.

One of the greatest evidences that you have truly been converted is relentless, consistent, manifestation of the providence of God in your life. I can honestly say that sometimes I feel like a prisoner in this sense. I know that God, as my Father hems me in. I know, that yes, I could do certain things, but, I would never get away with them. I know that He is constantly guarding my life, watching me- doing works of providence, bringing trials in my life, bringing disciplines into my life, teaching, instructing, working. With the greatest degree of patience and love, but also with a very firm hand. I cannot run wild like a dog in a yard. I know He will come after me.

Are you a person though, who can run wild in the world, walk in the world without circumspection? Can you do what unbelievers do? Can you delight in their delight? Can you walk as they walk? Can you join them in their fun, and then put on a religious mask on Sunday morning? Can you do that? That’s evidence that the Father is not a vinedresser for you. He’s not a Father for you. Cause if you go without discipline, being able to participate in the dark works of the world, it is evidence that you  are an illegitimate child, and not a son or a daughter. Young lady, listen to me. Young ladies go to hell too.

So we learn that the Father is a vine dresser and that, as Jesus said in verse 3, ‘He said, „You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.'” Which means this: There are certain elements to God’s working in our life. There’s the working of the Son. Through His teaching, through studying of the Word, memorizing, applying His teaching, we become clean and we become a vessel that can be fruitful. We become a clean branch, a branch that can bear healthy fruit. But, also, we have the Father working, taking the teachings of Christ and applying them to our lives, through the experiences that He has orchestrated in our lives, such as trials, and even discipline. And then, we also have the third person of the trinity, who is at work in all of this.

The branch metaphor is very important. Why? Here, the branch must be connected to the vine, primarily for one reason- so that the life producing sap of the vine might flow through the branch. That life producing sap is the Holy Spirit. You say, „Christ is dwelling in me.” Well, so is the Father. If the Father is in heaven and Christ is seated at the right hand, how is it that the Father and the Son are dwelling in you? It is through the work of the Holy Spirit. As a mater of fact, all of God’s works on this planet are being carried out by the Holy Spirit of the living God.

And so, here we have the trinity. The Son is teaching you. The Father is applying that teaching and the Holy Spirit is empowering you. Now we all know, the book of Galatians sets out for us that the Christian life is a struggle, and will always be a struggle. But, there’s some problems in some aspects of the reformed movement, not so much in reformed theology, but, in modern day reformed guys. They almost seem to boast in the fact of sin defeating them. They think they’re super spiritual and understand the weighty matter of holiness, because they say, „Wretched man that I am, and I’m just a sinner.” I’ll tell you something, some of that language is wrong. If you are truly a Christian, you have the teachings of Christ, the providence of the Father, and the Spirit of God working in your life. And my friend, there ought to be victory over sin.  

Yes, we will struggle with sin. And, yes, at times it will be 3 steps forward and 4 steps back. It is a real raging battle. But, if over the course of your life you are not seeing victory over sin, it is a good indication that you do not know God and God does not know you. Remember what He says? „I will clean them from all their filthiness and all their idols. If I were to describe my Christian life, if I were to look back on my Christian life, the last 30 years, that passage applies more than any other passage. I can see God cleansing me from my filthiness and idols. And He will continue to do so, until the day that I die, because glorification is when we reach perfection. But, make no mistake about it, you can become transformed. I have met many a saint, in their 70’s and 80’s and 90’s that glowed with holiness. And the Bible gives us many great promises that we can change. (21:00)

You see, He who began a good work in us will finish it. And there will be victory over sin. Do you have victory over sin? Let me put it this way. The Christian life is not: You get saved, and you go linearly upwards. But, it’s not a flat line either. Flat line means you’re dead. It means you’ve never been regenerated. At some times in my life you may see me progressing greatly and say, ‘Ah, there’s the evidence.” At other times in my life, you may see me stalemate for a while, you may even see me decrease in the things I’ve gained. It’s possible. But, over the full course of my life, if I’m Christian, you will see a consistent rising. At any given moment, you can see a dip. But, through the full course of the Christian life, you will see progress in the things of God. Since you were converted, can people see progress in the things of God? Can you honestly tell me that you are growing in grace? That He who justified you is now sanctifying you?

God has ordained that you bear fruit or be pruned

hOne of the reasons we learned for this work that God is doing, because God loves His Son, God seeks to exalt His Son, God seeks the pleasure and delight of His Son. And that pleasure and delight is a pure bride. God does not desire that the vine, His Son, be united with all sorts of twisted, unfruitful, and dead branches. He does not. For that reason, some of you who are born again, like me, and like the pastors, you will go through discipline. God will deal with you in so many different ways. There will be times in which you grow greatly in grace, by simply carrying you with His power. And, there will be other times in which He makes you grow by scourging you. And so, He will make the vine beautiful.

Others of you, in order to make the vine beautiful, He will remove you. He will remove you. Now, how will He do that? In some cases, in the New Testament, He did it by killing you. Literally, He’s had enoughHe took out Ananias and Sapphira just like that. Why? They were making the vine look really bad. Some of you will be removed in this; You’ll be set free from your parents, and set free form their authority, and you’ll simply walk away form the church. Oh, you may go join another church, where you can easily be unbeliever and still participate in religious things, but, He’ll take you out of a genuine church, the true church. He’ll put you in something false, to get you away. I know that’s frightening, but it is true. He does it all the time.

God is doing all these things so that we will be fruitful. God has ordained that you bear fruit. Fruit has to do with everything that has to do with the life of Christ. In a sense, a Godly character are the fruit of the Spirit, Christ living His life through us. Fruit is Christ carrying out His ministry for us. Is there any sense in your life, when people look at you of other worldliness? Does anyone get a heavenly flavor around you, when they watch you, when they listen to you talk? Are they in any way touched by eternity because your view is set on eternity? Is anyone impacted in a biblical manner when they come into contact with you. Are people helped, progressed in their faith, are others convicted when they come into contact with you?

Are you a fruitful vine? Then tell me, point to your fruit. Just think in your mind: How am I fruitful? Do you know, some evangelicals can only say this: Well, I go to church on Sunday. If you find it difficult to find fruit, you should find it very easy to be afraid. (28:00)

1. I am the vine – That is not subjective. It is not dependent upon something else, on another person or circumstance. He’s stating a fact. This is important. Sometimes believers get confused and they take facts for promises. This is not a promise. He is the vine. No matter what else happens, Jesus IS the vine. So what’s important about that? What He then says about you.

2. You are the branch  and you will bear fruit- He’s not saying that as a genuine believer, you now have to do something to become a branch. You are one. Now this flies in the face of modern day evangelicalism. That says, basically, that you can become a Christian, yet, bear no fruit at all. And if you want that higher life, then you need to start discipleship and all these other things. And then, you become a fruitful branch. That’s not the idea being portrayed here. Jesus is saying, „I am the vine. If you are truly my disciple,” that means, you’ve truly been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, you’ve been made a new creature, you have also truly been united with the vine, „You are a branch.” You are going to bear fruit, you are going to do it. That’s why He can say, „You will know them by their fruit.”

Because there’s never a question in the New Testament: Can this person be a branch and never produce fruit? There’s just no question about it. No, He cannot. That’s why He says, some will produce fruit a hundred fold, others 60 fold, and others 30 fold. The least Christian, mentioned in that parable is bearing fruit 30 fold. DO YOU BEAR FRUIT?

3. If you do not bear fruit – If you do not bear fruit at all, then it indicates that all you are is a broken dead branch, that just seems to be connected to the dead vine. Some of you have always been withered. You’ve never really been green for Christ. You’ve never really bore fruit. You see, if you are a Christian, you are a branch. And, if you are a branch, you will bear fruit. Now. it is true that discipleship is important, and cultivating a relationship with Christ. But, we cultivate our relationship with God that we might bear more fruit. We’re not saying that we have to do it, or we have no fruit and still be Christian.

 4. The branch metaphor – is absolutely spectacular, and I just wanna say this: A physical branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it’s connected to the vine. It is absurd to think that a branch can produce fruit apart from being connected to the vine. Let’s follow the metaphor. The believer, also cannot bear fruit by himself.  It is the believer’s real, spiritual, ongoing experimental relationship with Christ, through which the life of being fruit producing, Holy Spirit life of Christ works within him. You can’t do anything apart from the life of Christ in you. To think you can is absolutely absurd. But, this is also wonderful. If you cannot do anything, apart form the life of Christ in you, then you can do anything according to the life of Christ in you. The power is not in man, it’s in God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not, to be. I know, that there is nothing impossible in me, if Christ dwells in me. It’s again, going back to the reformed movement. We need to start talking a lot more about the positive, and about the promises, and the power, and everything that’s been given to us as our inheritance.

5. Apart from Christ we can do nothing – This becomes especially clear to us, when we look at what we’re called to do. The impossibility of the Christian life becomes clearer and clearer, as we begin to understand just what the Christian life ought to be. For example: How many of you can live the beatitudes in your own power? Or husbands: How many of you can live 1 Corinthians 13 with your wife? Ephesians 5? Alright, so we’re all in agreement, that the simplest command of the New Testament are absolutely  impossible.

Here’s the problem: A lot of people recognize that because of their understanding of conversion and because of their understanding of their own failure. But, in looking at that, what do they do? Just curl up and say it’s impossible. What does the New Testament command us to do? To recognize the impossibility and run to Christ for strength. Our weakness is the thing that is supposed to drive us to Jesus Christ. Do you see that? Instead of weakness, the devil getting in the middle of it and lying to you about it, telling you that your weakness and your sin ought to cause you to pull yourself from Christ and go hide in a corner. Every sin, every weakness, every failure in your life, the moment you recognize it, stop moping, stop believing a lie. The moment your ecognize that sin and that weakness, run straight to Christ. Cause then you’re believing Him when you do things like that.

Christian ministry, as described by Richard Baxter

I want you to listen to the Christian ministry, as described by Richard Baxter:

We are seeking to uphold the world. I’ve been saving it from the curse of God, I’ve been working to perfect all of creationI have been working to attain the ends of Christ’s death. I have been working to save myself and others from damnation. I have been fighting and overcoming the devil all day. I have been demolishing his kingdom, I have been setting up the kingdom of Christ. And I have been working to attain and help others into the kingdom of glory.

That’s how Richard Baxter described the Christian life. Is there anything in there that’s possible for man or a woman? What is the Christian ministry? Seeking to uphold the ministry, to advance the kingdom of heaven, fight the devil in hand to hand combat. Is any of it possible? Absolutely not. But, in the power of the Holy Spirit- Yes.

You can watch the Lord of the Rings or you can live it. There are people dying, children starving, oppression everywhere, wicked governments, bondage, slavery, everything  you can imagine, thousands of babies being murdered in the wombs of their mothers. I fight dragons. (45:00).

If I hear one more time about the apostle Paul’s great intellect… That’s ridiculous! Is there any time in the New Testament, where Paul the apostle talks about his great intellect? NO!!! So, why are we identifying  all these great works of Paul with his intellect? When Paul says that he was seeking to do- not that he was seeking to be the ignorant of the things of God- he is making it clear he is trying to free himself from just intellectual endeavor. And he could speak a lot better than he actually spoke. But, he spoke in such a way that man’s confidence would not be in his (Paul’s) intellectual powers, but in the power of God.

2 Corinthians 12;10 „Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses.” Let me ask you a question: Are you well content with weaknesses? This is something I struggle with, because you can read this passage and not have any struggle without even understanding what’s being said. I know, most people are angry and bitter in their heart because they are self centered and because of unmet expectations, either from other, or from God. They want life to be a certain way and when it’s not, they get mad. But, to be content with weaknesses, to be content with defects, problems, trials, even afflictions in our own bodies. To be content with that, and even insults, distresses, with persecutions, difficulties for Christ’s sake. WHY IS HE CONTENT with IT? He says, „For when I am weak, I am strong.” The very things Paul the apostle says, are the useful instruments to weaken him, so that he may be strong (these) are the subjects of most prayer meetings, to avoid.

Most prayer meetings are about avoiding these things, if they’re going on- to get out of them.   And Paul said, „I’m content in the middle of them because I learned something.” When he is beyond all hope in himself, then it turns him to the Lord Jesus Christ, drawing on His strength. Then he is truly, truly strong.

Your problem, you say, is you’re too small. „I don’t have the wisdom, I don’t have… I don’t have…. I don’t have. God sees all that as advantageous. God tells Gideon, „We’ve got to call an army.” It doesn’t matter what size army you can muster, you can’t defeat the Midianites. But I can, and when I do, I don’t want you getting the credit for it. But, you know what’s the terrible thing? Even though God did every conceivable, possible thing, for the people to see that it was of God alone, and Gideon had nothing to do with it, they still made Gideon a god. We do the same thing.

It really is only His power. It really is.

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