Grow Fruit Part 4: Reproduction Fruit

Reproduction fruit is all about making disciples. Discipleship is caught, not taught. Skip the classes and seminars and simply demonstrate what Jesus has already taught you. 

Grow Fruit Part 4: Reproduction Fruit

Jesus said:
John 15:5 (NLT) & John 15:5 (MSG)
 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.” “When you're joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant.”

A disciple of Jesus is to produce fruit. This fruit grows abundantly as we keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26). Recall what it means to love one’s self. To love one’s self is to partner with the Holy Spirit to bring about the Father’s will for your life. The Spirit grows internal fruit, the virtues of Christlikeness within. As internal fruit is grown our lives become characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control resulting in our possession of the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5-11).

Because we are being transformed into the very image of Jesus, the Spirit empowers us to grow external fruit. The scripture speaks of supernatural gifts bestowed upon believers to encourage the faith in people (1 Corinthians 12:7), supernatural abilities for the common good. We also have acquired certain abilities through natural means. When you use of gifts and abilities to bless others, we are producing fruit. External fruit is the result of your good works.

Last time we explored Proclamation Fruit. Followers of Jesus are expected to sow the good news of the gospel. The gospel is the seed in Jesus parable of the Sower. (Luke 8:5-15). A Christian is expected to develop a voice for speaking the truth in love, the gospel, to all the anyone’s they come in contact with. When the seed takes root, and an anyone is born again into the family of God, that’s proclamation fruit.

Today we will consider Reproduction fruit. As you grow deep in your knowledge and experience of God, as you grow up maturing in your faith, you are also expected to reproduce. When I teach on the Normative Christian Experience, the general path of spiritual development, I tell my students that there are 3 identifiable stages of development after a person, who have acknowledged their sin predicament, believed that Jesus made reconciliation to God the Father for their sins, in gratitude, committed themselves to be a disciple of Jesus and finally asking the Father to accept their faith. Once we are born again the 3 stages are characterized as a Child-like Faith, an Adolescent like faith, and an Adult like faith. There is a more detailed explanation of this on our website under the articles tab. In Articles on the website look for Normative Christian Experience Map 1, 2, and 3. There is a stick figure representation and then an explanation of the map below.

As in life, a characteristic of an adult is their ability to reproduce, to protect, provide, teach and impart to little ones their wisdom.
Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Reproduction fruit is grown when you disciple another believer. To disciple someone is to show them the ropes of the Christian life. That person who has a child-like faith needs to become familiar with their new faith. That person who has an adolescent like faith needs to be encouraged during this time of inner struggle. Oddly enough regardless of the stage of your spiritual development, anyone can disciple another person simply by sharing what they have come to know about how to live the Christian life. But especially those who are experiencing an adult-like faith—you are expected to disciple other believers.

Jesus gave every one of His followers, those who have asked God to save them on His account, to make disciples.

Matt 28:18-20 (MSG & NIV)
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me….” “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life…” “…go and make disciples…” marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you.” … teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…”

When you are doing what Jesus has told you to do—the result will be Reproduction Fruit. If you are a Christian, you are expected to produce Reproduction fruit by teaching others the very things that Jesus has taught you.

Pastor Tyler Edwards made a great observation in an article he wrote for Relevant Magazine: Tyler writes:

Many people come to Jesus thinking it is enough to believe, to stand on the sidelines and root for Him. Jesus isn’t looking for cheerleaders. He is seeking men and women who will follow Him whatever the cost. He is looking for radical devotion, unreasonable commitment, and undivided dedication.

Jesus isn’t looking for converts. He’s looking for disciples.
We all start as converts. Too often we stop there. We make Christianity all about what we believe. Converts aren’t bad or wrong. They are like babies. There’s nothing wrong with being a baby. The problem comes when that doesn’t change. When a baby acts like a baby, it’s cute. When a 35-year-old does, it’s sad. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”

Radical Devotion, Unreasonable Commitment, and Undivided dedication, those words fit in nicely with what it means to be a Christian regardless of your stage of spiritual growth. Christians are authorized and commissioned, and I must add, expected to make disciples.

Making disciples and discipline others basically is accomplished as you engage in the following activities:

helping unbelievers come to saving faith in Jesus, that’s proclamation fruit.

helping believers grow in their faith, grow in becoming more like Jesus, grow in sharing Jesus, that’s reproduction fruit.

helping believers know how to make more disciples of Jesus. When the person you are disciplining begins to reproduce, believe the harvest will be abundant. I believe that when we are brought to account with our management and stewardship of the provisions and opportunities God graces our lives with, a down line of disciples is going to count as a rich reward.

I came across a list of 15 reasons why Christians don’t do what Jesus empowered them to do. 15 excuses for disobedience.

Because they themselves have never been discipled.

Because they don't know-how.

Because they're more focused on themselves.

Because they're comfortable and lazy.

Because they're too busy with other non-important things.

Because they've let fear trump obedience.

Because they've let complacency set in.

It's not because they cannot, but because they choose not to

Because they're consumer-driven not commission-driven.

Because they think it's the pastors' responsibility.

Because they think to make disciples = preaching sermons and/or teaching classes.

Because they feel under-qualified.

Because they think they have to become a "leader" first.

Because they think they have to be a Bible scholar.

Because many professing Christians are false converts.

Toss those excuses on the fire of repentance and get busy making disciples.

I have made a mistake that I would like to correct. I have often conducted what I call discipleship classes. To organize a group to teach disciples is really not the kind of intimate and organic method of accomplishing what Jesus has commanded Christians to do.

In 2000 I wrote my dissertation and in it, I said that for psychological therapy to truly be effective the therapist must allow the client into their lives and do life together. Needless to say, this was not well received. A therapist can’t possibly bring her multitude of clients into her life. It is impossible with the caseload a good therapist has to deal with. But it is a perfect model for discipleship.

You don’t have to teach a class or attend a class, you simply ask God to give you the opportunity to proclaim the good news of the gospel and then when anyone comes to faith, hang out with them, show them how a disciple lives, they will have questions, some you’ll be able to answer, some will cause you to look for answers, that’s all ok. You don’t have to be a Bible scholar, or even all that knowledgeable about every book in the Bible. All you have to do is demonstrate the things that Jesus has taught you. You are going to pour into anyone’s life to help them grow deep, grow up and grow fruit.  

Discipleship is not an academic pursuit. Please forgive me for making it seem like such with all the various ways I’ve tried to get you to attend groups with the expectation of being discipled. Discipleship is caught not taught. There is a growing push for younger folks to skip college and go to a vocational school and learn to be a plumber, an electrician, a longshoreman, a heavy machine operator. There is some book learning, but most of the learning comes in the form of being an apprentice to a journeyman or a contractor. You learn by observation and doing under the watchful eye of someone more experienced who is teaching you the ropes, showing you how to do the job. That’s the real model for making disciples.

Jesus said: “instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you.” … teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…” What you have learned as you grow deep, grow up and grow fruit is what you are required to share with those believers who need your experience to start off their spiritual journey in the way they should go.

Since you are already commanded and empowered to produce reproduction fruit, go ahead and do it. Ask God to bring someone into your life that you get to sow the seed of the gospel into and then help them to grow in the faith. It’s your time to go make a disciple, it’s your time to reproduce.


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