The teaching on the spiritual growth of “much fruit” is so profoundly ephemeral that we all must “put ourselves in remembrance of these things.” The following is not mindless repetition, but rather a stirring up of our minds for the vision ahead. The Spirit of truth knows our foibles of memory. Thus, He teaches us a new concept, laying it upon a sure foundation of rock.
To comprehend why we are here on this planet, we must know of our Creator’s purpose. His purpose is to reproduce Himself in human beings. He is Agape Love, and His will is to fulfill His purpose. He has a plan to accomplish this multiplication of Himself.
It is through this knowledge that light is shed on His plan. He has chosen His apostles, teachers, and prophets to expound on His plan to accomplish His purpose. And He is now revealing His plan to any who have an ear to hear and eyes to see.
The apostle John records Christ’s last major discourse in chapters fourteen through seventeen of the gospel of John. These teachings are for those chosen by Him to be used to fulfill God’s purpose. Christ calls this bearing “much fruit.” He likens the elect to being branches of Himself, the Vine.
To bear “much fruit,” we must abide in Christ and Christ in us. To abide we must obey Christ’s New Commandments. Bearing much spiritual fruit is called many things in scripture: the “manifestation of the sons of God,” “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” 100 fold fruit bearing found in Matthew 13; the remnant; the elect; the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.” They all lead to the fulfillment of His purpose—the reproduction of Agape Love in us.
Knowledge of the New Commandments
Christ gave several new commands to His elect. The New Commandments are not to be confused with the Ten Commandments. They go far beyond the Ten Commandments in spiritual depth. The Ten Commandments are a schoolmaster to bring us to the awareness of sin and our need for a Savior and His Spirit within our new heart. But Christ came to magnify the law. With His Spirit in us, we now are equipped to reproduce His love. And we do this by keeping His New Commandments. They are for His elect, His first fruits who will be exactly like the Seed/Son. They will be the first in this last generation to fully bear much fruit. I.e., the remnant in our day will bear the same spiritual fruit as the early apostles and Christ Himself. He said as much: “Greater works shall you do…”
These New Commandments serve as landmarks on the road to immortality. As we by faith in Him begin to first understand them and then obey them, we grow up spiritually, and His Spirit manifests Himself in us. For example, Christ commands His elect, “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me.” This is a commandment. He explained it by saying, “I and My Father are one.” The elect will see the oneness of God and will believe Him (John 14: 11).
He commanded, “Abide in Me.” This means stay and remain in Him, like the branches stay in the Vine and do not detach themselves. Abiding in Him means staying in His teachings, purging out all of the false doctrines and concepts that challenges the truth of God. If we stay in the false doctrines about God, we cannot abide in Him and He in us. But if we keep this commandment, we will bear much fruit, which is 100 fold spiritual fruit bearing.
Here are some of Christ’s New Commandments: 1. Abide in Me; 2. Believe that the Father is in Me; 3. Don’t judge others; 4. Forgive; 5. Give; 6. Love your enemies and each other; 7. Pray for others; 8. Do good to your persecutors; 9. Turn other cheek; 10. Seek first Kingdom of God; 11. Don’t think about tomorrow or earthly things; 12. Lay up treasures in heaven—Mt. 6: 20; 13. Resist not evil; 14. Be merciful like He is merciful.
Keeping the New Commandments Grows Love in Us
Keeping His commands exercises the Spirit of Love within us. God’s nature of divine agape love grows within our hearts. All of His commands are facets of agape love. These new commands set the parameters. When they are obeyed from the heart, our actions show that God is in us of a truth. For only God can obey them.
Christ commands us many times. Each command reveals another aspect of His nature of agape love. He commands us to “forgive.” When we forgive those who have hurt and betrayed us, agape love grows within our hearts. Only God can forgive like this, and He is manifested in us when we obey His command to forgive. We are His offspring; He forgave, now we forgive. Each seed bears its own kind.
We can only forgive like this when we fully appreciate Christ’s forgiveness toward us. We love Him first because He first loved us, and gave Himself for us. We first forgive God for allowing the hurt and sufferings to take place in our lives. Then we forgive the one who hurt us. And through this crucible, the fire of God’s love melts our cold hearts, and what is left is a diamond crystal of agape love.
The addition of manifested agape love radiating out of our hearts happens when we obey Christ’s New Commandments. This is how we grow spiritually. This is how God’s purpose is fulfilled. This is how the love-from-above flows down into us and through us to the world. And this understanding leads to the abiding, when the Holy Spirit takes up residence in us and remains in us, or abides in us.
Kenneth Wayne Hancock