I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. John 15:1-8 KJV --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/pastor-lucy-paynter/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/pastor-lucy-paynter/support
<span;> Trees are immeasurably important to humans and nature. For centuries, we have used them for building materials, fuel, food and many other uses. It’s because of their extensive presence in our lives that they tend to figure so much into our religions, myths and even figures of speech. If we were living in Palestine, in the first century, the issue of comparing people with vines and vineyards is something we would be very familiar with. Vineyards were a familiar sight and Hebrew prophets quite often likened Israel to a vine. Hosea likened Israel to luxuriant vine that yields its fruit. God, through the prophet Jeremiah asked Israel why, after planting them as a choice vine from the purest stock they turned degenerate and became a wild vine? Speaking through Ezekiel, God told the inhabitants of Jerusalem that He would give them up like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest is given to the fire for fuel. The idea and the symbolic meaning of the vine and vineyard was so prevalent in the first century that even Jesus made use of it.
<span;> In John 15:1-7 Jesus says “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
<span;> Jesus used the picture of the vine because it was a common thing in Israel. He referred to himself as the true vine to signify that salvation would come only through being rooted in him and not in Israel as a tribe. You see, this picture emphasizes the need for our complete dependence upon Jesus. It calls on us to seek constant connection with Jesus in the same way that the branch must remain attached on the vine for nourishment. For any fruit-bearing tree to be fruitful, it must be tended to and this involves extensive pruning. Pruning helps get rid of deadwood which could harbor disease. that could infect the rest of the crop. It’s a painful process, yes, but it disciplines the life of the believer and conditions us for a fruitful activity. Besides, isn’t it easier to be bled than it is to be left alone to wither?
<span;> You see, the Word of the Lord is a cleansing agent. It comes to condemn sin, to promote growth and inspire holiness in us. Jesus, by calling upon us to remain or abide in him should inspire us to pursue a mutual relationship with him. And while we do have the choice about the decisions we make, we must also possess the will to abide in him. We must be willing to expose ourselves to Him and to remain consciously in contact with Him for we cannot bear fruits by ourselves.
<span;> We are indispensably linked to Jesus and any attempt to lead a life of faith outside of Him will definitely prove unproductive.
<span;>We ought to understand that the branches that bear fruit are purged of what faults their productivity so that they can bring forth even more fruit.
<span;>The only thing that Jesus asks of us here is to abide in Him.
<span;> this way, much like the branch that remains attached to the vine bears fruit without any additional strife, the fruit that will come forth from us will be a natural thing.
<span;>A fruit that is not forced.
<span;>all we have to do is to remain connected to the vine, our Lord Jesus. Unless we’re abiding in the Lord, all those activities that are not guided by the Word of the Lord will be nothing more than worthless expenditures of energy.
<span;> To realize true progression and true growth, our journey must begin with receiving Christ. then be grafted into the vine. become part of Him. take nourishment from him. let His Word cleanse us so that you can bear fruit. apart from Christ, any service not directed by the Holy Spirit will be worthless. And it really is possible to abide in Christ absolutely. For if it wasn’t so, Jesus wouldn’t have brought up that prospect. Verse 7 brings out the aspect of prayer. He makes a very concrete promise to those who abide in Him. A promise tied to a single condition; that we only abide in Him. It is only Christ who can enable us to adequately fulfill Gods purpose for our lives because He’s the only mediator between God who is the vinedresser, and us, the branches.
<span;> God, as the vinedresser, is the only one who can do the work that completes our inner desire, intention, and purpose. When we remain connected to Christ, He enables us to develop the same desires and purpose as God’s. And with Christ, the vine, as our source of life, we will be able to develop an attitude of reception and rest. We are not exempt from the pruning process for our guarantee is in the process and our fruit bearing.
<span;>This is a very well balanced dichotomy of rewards (fruits) and purification (fire). We must, therefore, be willing to be cleansed of sin and a guilty conscience until we are made acceptable to God.