By Appointment to the King
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last…”
John 15:16 (NIV)
Of all the insignia or titles that a British company can boast in advertising its product, none is more highly cherished than the one which reads, ‘By appointment to H.M. Queen…’ Even the most eye-catching advertisement splashed around by a rival company pales into insignificance beside that simple statement which links the company to the Sovereign of the land. It sends the message that the most senior royal person in this country has specially chosen this product.
Impressive though this is, the Bible says that every Christian carries even greater credentials. When Jesus specially chooses and appoints us, it is by appointment of the King of Kings. There can be no higher endorsement than this. But for what have we been chosen and appointed?
To “bear fruit—fruit that will last,” as the above scripture says. A Christian is a fruit-bearer, by royal and divine appointment; it is one of the most solemn and sacred purposes and responsibilities of our life to ‘bear fruit’.
What is this fruit that we are to bear? The most obvious and natural explanation is that it means what the apostle Paul described as ‘the fruit of the Spirit’, that is, “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”. (Galatians 5:22-23) In other words to bear fruit is to exhibit in one’s daily life those spiritual qualities that are the natural result of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling and that reflect the very character of Jesus himself. It means being conformed to the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29) and having the same mind-set as him (Philippians 2:5). To put it in its simplest form, spiritual fruit-bearing means becoming more and more like Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
How is this going to be possible? Throughout Jesus’ great teaching about fruit-bearing in John chapter 15, the word ‘remain’ dominates, and comes to a head in verse 4 where Jesus says, “Remain in me.” We get something of the meaning of the word ‘remain’ when we realise that it has also been translated ‘continue,’ ‘dwell,’ ‘endure,’ and ‘abide’ in various translations of the Bible. Putting all this together we could say that it means something like ‘make yourself at home.’ To remain in Christ is to make him the centre of your thoughts, your plans, your hopes and your ambitions. It is to submit your mind to his mind, your will to his, and your heart to his. It is to die daily to self, and to live as Paul said he did when he wrote to the Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) When we live like that we will be reproducing the fruit of the life of Christ and will experience the fullness of God’s blessing in our life.
Let’s rejoice that Christ is at work in our lives; for he has appointed us to bear fruit and if we remain in him we will produce an abundant crop that will last.
Father, help us to realise that we have to remain attached to vine in order to produce fruit, and in your mercy prune us so that we may be even more fruitful, to your glory.
Study by Barry Robinson
Worldwide Church of God Camberwell
The Salvation Army Hall
105 Lomond Grove
Saturday 11 am
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