Why are we Christians?

The Doctor's Life Support for 27 June

‘I am the true vine … This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.’

John 15: 1, 8

We are in Christ in order to produce fruit. Jesus repeats this concept seven times in eight verses, so must want us to be very clear about it. But what exactly does he mean? As a young man, a certain general practitioner had been active in his medical school Christian Union. As he realised that open allegiance to Jesus could be unpopular, he argued that evangelism was not his gift. He said, ‘I’ll major on the fruit of the Spirit instead – on love, joy, peace and patience.’ He now presents as a very kind doctor, but is not recognisable as one who belongs to Jesus Christ. (Galatians 5: 24) John 15 suggests that bearing fruit is not something we do by ourselves but is an effect from outside. It comes from abiding in Jesus, who said, ‘I chose you and appoint you to go and bear fruit.’ (v 16) Fruit-bearing shows us to be his disciples. (v 8) The way we live and speak will show that we are devoted to Jesus. This is, after all, the purpose of creation, ‘to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.’ (Ephesians 1: 10) The last section of John 15 makes it clear that many will react against an uncompromising allegiance to Jesus Christ. People are not persecuted for being loving, joyful or patient. We desperately need the Holy Spirit to keep us living God’s way, according to his truth, and testifying openly to others about our Lord, Jesus the Christ. (v 27) Why do so many leave their first open devotion to the Lord Jesus for a socially acceptable, sterile Christianity? Let us all beware lest we fail to remain in Christ, not testifying about him. God can discard even doctors!

Written by Bernard V Palmer from the UK

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