[this post was contributed by Alex Rover]
How would you illustrate these two verses?
“Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be my disciples.” (John 15:8 AKJV)
“so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (Romans 12:5 NIV)
Perhaps this image of National Geographic comes close:
What you are looking at is a tree in full blossom. But it’s not your average tree. Notice the different colors and patterns. Indeed, we each have different gifts of the Spirit, depending on which part of the Body of Christ we are. (1 Cor 12:27) Likewise the tree shown above has flowering branches grouped together by similar color. Simply beautiful!
What you might not know is that this tree grows 40 kinds of fruit! How is that possible? Take a look at this amazing video while bearing in mind that ultimately our Father is the gardener. (John 15:1)
It is made possible by a process called grafting, as explained in the video,
“and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree” (Romans 11:17 NASB)
“But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one” (Ephesians 2:13-14 NASB)
This colorful tree is not Jew, nor Greek, it’s something new all together! Such a unique tree has never been seen before!
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28 NIV)
As a beautiful, diverse fruit-bearing tree in a desolate world, we manifest that we are disciples of Christ by remaining in him. (Micah 7:13)
“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.” (John 15:5 NIV)
“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.” (John 6:56 NIV)
Let us be determined to remain in Christ as partakers of the promise in him, bearing more and more fruit as the Father prunes his tree to greater beauty. There is no doubt that the Bride has made herself ready for the day when her joy will be made complete! (Revelation 19:7-9; John 3:29)
That’s quiet, no spell check sorry
It may be a bit off topic, but I am noticing a quite desperation among older jws. I believe this to be the sign of the lack of a true connection to Jehovah as I now know the only way to have a real connection is through the new covenant. So my point is, are the brotherhood actually starving spiritually without this arrangement? Is this a recognised syndrome ? As a person in the truth gets older and the performance level drops, are they suffering a deep conscience conflict, as that is all there is without the indwelling spirit. I… Read more »
Wild Olive, About the “quiet desperation” you observe. The longer you are associated with the WT, the more you will see that things don’t quite live up to their initial billing. Consider: New bible students are told of the new system, the “spiritual paradise” in the organization, and so on. Just like “born again Christians” you might meet, who have this impossibly idealistic view that “Jesus loves me, everything is beautiful”, new witnesses can have that same “everything is beautiful” perception about the organization. As time passes, the realization hits them that “everything is NOT beautiful”. When that happens, they… Read more »
How we can bear more and more fruit reminded me of Matthew 13 and the parable of the sower, and how we respond to the seed message of the Gospel of the Kingdom. We need to understand the Gospel message and take it to others. Another scripture is 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” Although we haven’t taken up that position in the Kingdom yet, we are working towards that… Read more »
This article ties in nicely with the recent one about the role of women. Consider the verse, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” If you omit the male vs. female part, aren’t Christians supposed to ignore racial and national distinctions? Are they not supposed to ignore the financial status of other Christians (the modern counterpart to the free vs. slave aspect)? Yes. So if Christians are “all one” in this manner, why would we not take the “male and female” part? But… Read more »
There is enough evidence in the Bible to support the general practice of males taking the lead in the congregation. The examples of Abigail and Deborah, though, prove there are circumstances when a woman can and should stand up to protect her household when her husband fails to do so or when God has appointed a female to judge rather than a male. In the days of Josiah the prophetess Huldah was consulted but again this was an event outside the usual. After his resurrection Jesus appeared first to women and sent them with instructions to be given to his… Read more »
While not the subject of Alex’s most enlightening illustration, yours was a fine synopsis of the narratives nonetheless. I find no fault in your reasoning.
Indeed, religious men bear a great responsibility before God. Some will be elevated alongside their fellow female victors in glory, while many more will suffer humiliation when they realise that Christ only shares his throne with those who have been raised up, not those who are still here.
Deborah, you make some very good points. I would not suggest that women should have headship, but there is a difference between ceding headship and ceding everything. A woman cannot be a helper and complement to man if the man never listens. I especially appreciated your line, “Let Christian men have their day.” This is a reminder that the arrangements that exist in the congregation and in the world at large are temporary. This day will end, and a new one will arise, in which the world will be governed by righteousness and love, a far different world than what… Read more »
When Jesus chose the 12, the Jewish Law was still in force (Gal.4:4 d), under which, men and women were not spiritual equals. “Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness FOR EVERYONE who believes.” (Rom.10:4) “By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.” (Heb.8:13) That Law passed away… “disappeared” (Christ fulfilled it, when he presented his ransom in heaven -Heb.9:24; 1Cor.5:7 c; Rev.5:9-10 to inaugurate a unisex priesthood… a temple “not made with hands” -1Cor.3:16) as demonstrated at Pentecost. This is… Read more »
Nicely illustrated, I never knew such a tree existed, I’ll use that next time I can use those scriptures. Thanks Alex
When I saw this tree, I immediately thought about the Scripture at Acts 10:34, “…God is not partial, but in every nation the man who fears Him and works righteousness, is acceptable to Him.” All the beautiful colors in this tree, all harmoniously blended together enhancing the beauty of the tree itself. Love the picture!
This is a wonderful illustration, provided not so much by Alex, but by Christ himself and the Apostle Paul. The tree grafting process is very old as a standard agricultural measure, and being fruitful often involves attaching a fruitful twig or even bud to an established rootstock. In citrus, orange shoots are grafted onto sour lemon rootstocks to produce abundant sweet fruit. Typical of his teaching by well-understood, simple illustrations, Jesus spoke of “other sheep” becoming “one flock, one shepherd.” Paul follows with these words about the wild olive being grafted in – the Gentiles being added to the congregation.… Read more »
beautiful article I wish this could be a WT study for the b/s to see that we all can bare fruit if we are grafted into the vine of Christ. The fruitage of the spirit.
Romans 11:22 “Consider, therefore, God’s kindness and severity. There is severity toward those who fell, but toward you there is God’s kindness, provided you remain in his kindness; otherwise you too will be lopped off.” Compare Luke 8:13 “Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.”
Paul provides a good reminder that God can be both kind and severe.