Boletim dos Obreiros

The Autumn of Life

“I am the vine … He who abides in Me, and I in him,
bears much fruit”

(John 15:5)

March is the beginning of autumn. It is the season of the year in which fruit is harvested. In this way it marks the end of the marvellous process of nature, which begins with planting the seed, goes though the growing of the plants, reaches the beautiful panorama of the multi-coloured flowering and culminates with the fruit. Miracle of God! Blessings for man!

What matters in the autumn is the good result of the effort applied in the productive process of nature. Literature has created an adequate metaphor when adopting the expression “THE AUTUMN OF LIFE” for the first period of old age. It is the phase of experience of life when what matters most is the “FRUITS” produced!

More than once the Lord Jesus used the expression “fruit” metaphorically, to emphasize the importance of a good final result (Matt. 3:8-10; 7:16-20; 12:33). In John 15 He used it to teach the importance of the “fruit” we must produce.

1. The Lord gives three “CONDITIONS” for a fruitful life in this chapter:

  • PURIFICATION (vv. 2,3) – The constant purification of the dirt of sin is essential (Eph. 5:25-27). The Lord has no fellowship with a “dirty saint”. We are purified as regards the law from all sin, “once for all” (Heb. 10:11-12); it is necessary, however, during all earthly life, for sins to be daily confessed to the Father, for an uninterrupted fellowship with Him and with the Son (1John 1:10).
  • PERMANENCE (v. 4) – To abide in Christ is not to have a known un-confessed and un-sentenced sin, and no interest in which He does not participate. He who takes to Him all burdens, and reveals all wisdom, life and strength of His also abides in Him. It is not a constant awareness of these things and of Him, but it means that nothing in life has permission to separate us from Him. It is the authentic experience of “fellowship” with Him (1John 1:3-7; 1Cor. 10:16).
  • OBEDIENCE (vv. 10-12) – True obedience implies complete “submission” to what He teaches and commands, that is, in the faithful practice of His Word.

2. The Lord identifies four DEGREES of production of “fruit”:

  • NO FRUIT (v. 2) – In this verse we find the expression “does not bear fruit”. It is tremendously frustrating to reach the “autumn of life” in such circumstances! The Lord does not which this to happen to us.
  • BEARS FRUIT (v. 2) – It is like a tree which, in autumn, presents some fruit, but is far from satisfying the expectancy of the farmer, be it because of the “quantity” or the “quality” produced..
  • MORE FRUIT (v. 2) – Something good has happened, but it is still short of the expectation of the farmer.
  • MUCH FRUIT (vv. 5, 8) – There we do indeed see the result that corresponds with the expectation of the farmer. When, in the autumn of life, we present “much fruit” the Father is pleased and is glorified in us!

3. Three distinct ASPECTS of fruit:

  • The CONVERTED (Rom. 1:13) – We must try hard to reach it in abundance.
  • CHRISTIAN CHARACTER (Gal. 5:22-23) – There it is identified as the “fruit of the Spirit”. We must display the aspects defined there as fruit of the Spirit, matchless evidence of our good Christian character.
  • CHRISTIAN CONDUCT (Rom. 6:21-22) - It is identified there as “fruit to holiness”, which is the display of the fruits of righteousness, “righteousness” being understood as the “standard of God” for our life..

4. Three ATTITUDES essential for production of much fruit: (15:5):

  • TO ADMIT THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE LORD – “I Am” - This expression is the name of God “Jehovah”, the Eternal Lord who redeems and provides for the redeemed. He is the Sovereign Creator, Sovereign Redeemer and the Sovereign Provider. It is essential that we recognize His ample, total and permanent Sovereignty, so that, in the autumn of life, we may present much fruit for the Glory of the Father.
  • TO ASSUME HIM IN OUR LIFE - "Who abides in Me " – This means to seek Him, enthrone Him and obey Him.
  • TO GIVE HIM ROOM TO WORK IN US AND THROUGH US - "And I in him” - The Lord only takes up the space we give Him. It is essential for Him to take up all our being, for only He has the PROJECT for our life, the necessary RESOURCES for us to be productive and the RESULTS to be reached.

May we present, in the AUTUMN OF LIFE, much fruit that glorifies God!