The Only Way to Bear Fruit

Jim Cymbala

Fruit in the Bible can mean a lot of things; it can mean fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, meekness, kindness; but it can also mean fruit of ministry. As we see in the New Testament, certain men from Cyprus and Cyrene went to Antioch, and the hand of the Lord was with them, and multitudes turned to the Lord (see Acts 11:19-26).

How did they do that with most of the New Testament unwritten still, no public buildings available for preaching, with Caesar Caligula or Caesar Nero who claimed to be a god on the throne? How did they do this with no complaining about the culture or the environment and how hard it was with all these pagan gods? They just got on with the work.

A long time ago when I was making excuses for a lack of fruit, God hit me upside the head and brought me down to some important realities. The only way to bear fruit is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Most people have heard of the famous D. L. Moody, one of the greatest evangelists of the 19th century who was also responsible for founding the Moody Bible Institute. Four years before he died, Moody wrote a letter without any capitals or punctuation. Words were misspelled. The guy would have been laughed out of the building today with our emphasis on slickness and presentation. However, he bore fruit. People heard him and turned to the Lord. 

As scripture says, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:7-8, ESV).

The work of God is carried on by faith! “The just shall live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, KJV). We just have to share the Word because when we do that, the Spirit comes in and then change is possible.

Don’t blend that pure, good news in with legalism, church culture, our own cleverness or ‘creative’ additions as a way to express our own egos. We’re going to have to give an answer one day for the quality of our work (see 2 Corinthians 13:5-7). Who’s going to be measuring us? Not our peers! We will be measured by the Word of God.

We are called to be ambassadors, and ambassadors only convey the message that they’ve been told to deliver. No more, no less.

Jim Cymbala began the Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson.