"Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away" (John 15:2)
The next great word we have is "fruit". The Vine, the Husbandman, the branch, the fruit. What does or Lord have to say to us of fruit? Simply this - that fruit is the one thing the branch is for. And, if it does not bear fruit, the husbandman takes it away. The vine is the glory of the husbandman. The branch is the glory of the vine. The fruit is the glory of the branch. If the branch does not bring forth fruit, there is no glory or worth in it. It is an offense and a hindrance, and the husbandman take it away. The one reason for the existence of a branch - the one mark of being a true branch of the heavenly Vine, the one condition of being allowed by the divine Husbandman to share the life of the Vine - is the bearing of fruit.
Ad what is fruit? Something that the branch bears, not for itself, but for its owner. It is something that is to be gathered, and taken away. The branch does indeed receive sap from the vine for its own life, by which it grows thicker and stronger. But, this supply for its own maintenance is entirely subordinate to its fulfillment of the purpose of its existence - bearing fruit. It is because Christians do not understand or accept this truth that they so often fail in their efforts and prayers to live the branch life. They often desire it very earnestly. They read and meditate and pray, and yet they fail, and wonder why.
The reason is simple: they do not know that fruit bearing is the one thing they have been saved for. Just as entirely as Christ became the true Vine in order to bear fruit of life, you have been made a branch so as to bear fruit for the salvation of men.
The Vine and the branch are equally under the unchangeable law of fruit bearing as the one reason for their being. Christ and the believer, the heavenly Vine and the branch, both have their place in the world for one exclusive purpose - to carry God's saving love to men. Hence, the solemn word, "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away."
Let us especially beware of one great mistake. Many Christians think their own salvation is the first thing. They think their earthly life and prosperity - with the care of their family - is second. And, what time and interest is left may then be devoted to fruit bearing - to the saving of men. No wonder that, in most cases, very little time or interest can be found. No, Christian, the one object with which you have been made a member of Christ's body is that the Head may have you to carry out His saving work. The one object God had in making you a branch is that Christ may bring life to men through you. Your personal salvation, your business and care for your family, are entirely subordinate to this. Your first aim in life - your first aim every day - should be to know how Christ desires to carry out His purpose in you.
Let us begin to think as God thinks. Let us accept Christ's teachings and respond to it. The one object of my being a branch - the one mark of my being a true branch, the one condition of my abiding and growing strong - is that I bear the fruit of the heavenly Vine for dying men to eat and live. And the one thing which I can be most perfectly assured of is that, with Christ as my Vine, and the Father as my Husbandman, I can indeed be a fruitful branch.
Our Father, You come seeking fruit. Teach us to realize how truly this is the one object of our existence, and of our union to Christ. Make it the one desire of our hearts to be branches, so filled with the Spirit of the Vine, as to bring forth fruit abundantly. Amen