The parable of the sower, (Matt. 13: 18-23), includes an alarming and critical category of failed seeds; the first is taken by the enemy from the path; the second has no root and quickly falls away when rocks of trouble or persecution come; the third produces no fruit because of the worries of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth. This seed germinated and grew with roots, but bore no fruit, which is no better than the dead seeds, perhaps worse.
By their fruit…you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (Matt. 7:16-20). Paul recognized that believers were to bear fruit. “So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.” (Rom. 7:4).
How is this fruit produced? Jesus said, I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:1-8). By remaining in our Messiah with his words remaining in us we are told that we will be fruitful.
What is this fruit?
– It is the evidence of being a follower of Yeshua, (Jesus’s Hebrew name).
– It is the fruit of righteousness.
…so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. (Phil. 1: 10-11).
– It is the fruit of light.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. (Eph. 5: 8-11).
– It is the fruit of the Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Gal. 5: 22-23).
– It is the fruit of wisdom.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. (James 3: 17-18).
When I visited Israel, I saw many olive groves and each tree, some hundreds of years old, consisted of a stump with very few limbs, but numerous small branches loaded with buds and/or fruit. The trees are not pretty with foliage, but they are productive and loaded with fruit. I think this is a picture of God’s people.