What is the fruit of our disciple-making efforts? Are we bearing fruit? Are we bearing good fruit? Are we bearing much fruit?
In my study today, I ran across a passage from which I have preached. One verse began to echo in my mind:
Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 7:19, HCSB)
What is the fruit of our disciple-making efforts for Jesus? The logical answer would be disciples of Jesus. Are they disciples, or do they just look like they are disciples? My disciple-making efforts will be judged by my fruit, by the disciples I make. Are they “good fruit?” Do they look and act like Jesus? Are they bearing good fruit as well?
Not only will a disciple-maker produce good fruit, but a disciple-maker will produce much fruit. Here is one of several verses that makes that plain:
I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. (John 15:5, HCSB)
The bottom line is that the fruit of a fig tree is not figs but another fig tree. For more on that, check out What Is the Fruit of a Sunday School Class or Small Group? The same is true for disciple-making. The fruit of a disciple is not good works, spiritual disciples, service, etc. The fruit of a disciple-maker is another disciple.
Since the fruit of a disciple-maker is another disciple, then how does “much fruit” apply? In one word, “multiplication.” When a disciple-maker bears “good fruit,” that fruit is a disciple that makes another disciple. Thus, “good fruit” disciple-making results in the multiplication of “much fruit” disciples.
Discipleship is not just about head knowledge. It is multiplication. Who are we investing in who are becoming like Jesus and are investing in others who are becoming like Jesus?
There are scary phrases in both of the verses quoted above: “cut down and thrown into the fire” or “do nothing without Me.” How will our Lord Jesus Christ measure our discipleship efforts? Will He find “good fruit” and “much fruit?” What adjustments do you need to make in your disciple-making? Follow Him. Be His disciple. Make disciples!