THE TRUE VINE AND THE BRANCHES
Study Text: John 15:1-16
1 I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser.
Joh 15:2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away. And every one that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bring forth more fruit.
Joh 15:3 Now you are clean through the Word which I have spoken to you.
Joh 15:4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
Joh 15:5 I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
Joh 15:6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered. And they gather and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
Joh 15:7 If you abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you.
Joh 15:8 In this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, so you shall be My disciples.
Joh 15:9 As the Father has loved Me, so I have loved you; continue in My love.
Joh 15:10 If you keep My commandments, you shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.
Joh 15:11 I have spoken these things to you so that My joy might remain in you and your joy might be full.
Joh 15:12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
Joh 15:13 No one has greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Joh 15:14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
Joh 15:15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master does. But I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.
Joh 15:16 You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatever you shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it to you.
- Jesus is pictured for us as the True Vine and His disciples as the branches
- If His deciples were to carry on the work of the Lord, then they needed to know how to produce tthe right kind of fruit in their lives.
- God is still working through the followers of Jesus Christ to accomplish His work and will in the world today.
- Many of us may sit idle and wonder how we are supposed to do the work of the Lord and how we can produce fruits in our own lives.
- Well, the answer is found in these verses. Because this passage is all about being becoming a genuine Disciple and about how to bear fruit for the glory of the Lord.
- Let's take some time to view this portrait of Jesus: The True Vine and see how we can become more like Him.
- We shall discuss this study under three sub-headings:
1. The Personality of the True Vine
2. The Purpose of the True Vine
3. The Promise of the True Vine
I. V. 1-3 THE PERSONALITY OF THE TRUE VINE
A. The Genuineness Of The True Vine - Jesus and Jesus alone possesses life within Himself, John 14:6. All other vines are counterfeit. He alone is the true source of everlasting, abundant life.
B. The Gardener Of The True Vine - The word "husbandman" refers to the vine dresser, the gardener, the one who has the responsibility of caring for the vineyard. Jesus says that the Heavenly Father is the Gardener.
- The key phrase in verse 2 is "in me". This lets us know that we are dealing with genuine believers. Jesus is n't speaking about those who profess Christ and yet have never possessed Him, He is not talking about wheat and tares, but only wheat.
- The Gardener is involved in everything that has to do with the Vine. This verse zeros in on three specific duties the Gardener in regard to the Vine.
1. Protection - That is, the Gardener provides tender watch care and protection for the Vineyard. - Aren't you glad that the Lord sees it all? I praise the Lord for the sure knowledge that nothing passes the gaze of my heavenly Father - Pro. 15:3
2. Purifying - The Gardener uses three primary methods of purifying his vineyard.
a. He Challenges The Branch - "Taketh away" means to lift up or to raise higher. That is, the Gardener will take the unfruitful branch and lift it from to dirt into which it has fallen giving it a better chance to be productive.
- On a personal level, this means that when we get to a place in our Christian lives where we are unfruitful and barren, the Lord will have to reach into our lives, disturbing our slumber and He will lift us up in an effort to challenge us and shock us to growth.
- There are times when the Lord can only accomplish this through chastisement. Which, if responded to with repentance, will help us to be fruitful for His glory. If, however, we choose to go on in our sins, there is a sin unto death, 1 John 5:16.
- Has the Lord been challenging areas of your life? If so, do not run from His challenge.
-- Instead of running from God, turn and run to Him. After all, His chastisement is always a proof of His love, Rev. 3:19, and of your relationship to Him, Heb. 12:8)
b. He Cleanses The Branch - That is, the Gardener removes things from the branch that sap it vitality and strength.
- Things like sucker branches, useless buds, misdirected shoots, spots, discolored leaves, etc. Anything that consumes life but produces no fruit must go!
- So it is in the life of the believer. When we allow things into our lives that hinder our walk with the Lord, then we are in danger of a pruning.
- "Pruning" by its very name sounds painful, and it isn't always easy to cut the junk from our lives, but if we do not do, the Lord surely will! Notice the advice given in Hebrews 12:1.
- How is this pruning accomplished? By the Word of God - v. 3.
1. Like a mirror, the Word of God reveals problems - James 1:23-24.
2. Like a knife, the Word of God cuts to the heart - Heb. 4:12.
- The question is this, has the Lord been speaking to you through His Word? If so, have you been heeding the call from the Lord?
- If not, then I challenge you to allow the Lord to prune your life with His Word. If that is not accomplished, then he will take further and far more drastic measures.
II. V. 2-8 THE PURPOSE OF THE TRUE VINE
A. V. 2 There Is A Distinct Purpose - The Vine has but one purpose: to produce fruit. The Vine exists for that purpose alone.
- Without the fruit, the vine and all of its efforts are wasted. The True Vine has a singular purpose and that is to bear fruit to the glory of the Lord.
B. V. 8 There Is A Distinguished Purpose - The reason the Vine desires to produce fruit is so that the vine dresser might receive the honor. When fruit is yielded in a vineyard, the Vine, the branches, the soil, even the fruit does not get the credit.
- All the glory passes on to the Gardener. So it is with the Lord Jesus. Everything He did and does was and is to glorify His Father.
- This ought to be the burning desire of every child of God. That is, to so live our lives that every waking minute is bringing glory to the Father in Heaven, 1 Cor. 10:31.
- There is something wrong in any life when there is no desire to bring glory and honour to the God who loves us, sustains us and cares for us along the way.
C. There Is A Delegated Purpose - Notice this truth. The Vine itself does not bear fruit! Its fruit are the branches. The branches have the obligation of bearing the fruit.
- The Vine supplies its life to the branches and they take that life and use it to bear fruit. Here is a word to the branches about our fruit bearing.
1. The Qualifications For Bearing Fruit :
a. V. 2 The Branch Must Be Attached To The Vine - If you are not in the Vine, then there is no way for you to share in the Vine's life. This is all about a vital union between the believer and the Lord Jesus Christ, the True Vine.
- We need to recognize our standing in the Lord. If we are in the Vine, then we were in Him at Calvary and when He arose from the dead, Rom. 6.
- If that is the case, then our old man has been crucified and we have been raised to walk a new life in Jesus. If we are in Him, then we are in Him today, that is, we have already ascended to Heaven and are seated there in the Person of our blessed Savior - Eph. 2:6
b. V. 4-5 The Branch Must Abide In The Vine - That is, we must maintain a close fellowship with the Vine if He is to live through us produce His fruit in our lives.
- This is only accomplished by "abiding" in Him! How does one abide? Prayer, studying the Word, deny self, draw nigh to God!
- The closer we abide to the Vine, the more His life can flow through us to produce the fruit He desires. Is there any wonder that so many Christian lives are fruitless and barren? How would you describe your life ? Are you bearing much fruit for the Lord?
c. V. 5 The Branch Must Be Available To The Vine - Fruit bearing is a passive activity on the part of the branch. If the branch will simply abide in the Vine, then the Vine will most certainly produce its fruit.
- It is the Vine's responsibility to produce His fruit in my life. That frees us from having to work and labor to get His approval. If we will yield, He will live through your life and mine!
- When we speak of fruit, what do we mean? What will be produced in our lives when we yield? How will we know if fruit is being produced through us? There are three basic fruits the Lord bears in the lives of His children. They are:
1. Sanctification - That is, we become more like Him - Rom. 6:22; Phil. 1:11; Col. 1:10.
2. Spirituality - That is, we behave more like Him - Gal. 5:22-23.
3. Souls - That is, we are burdened like Him - Rom. 1:13.
2. The Quality Of Our Fruit
- This is not the branches' responsibility! When we are abiding in the Vine and He is reproducing His life in us, we can rest assured that the fruit that is produced is honoring to the Lord. Again, this is a liberating truth!
3. The Quantity Of Our Fruit
- Again, this is not the responsibility of the branch. Some will produce much, some will produce little. Which depends upon the will of the Vine. Our duty is to abide!
- However, it is clear from these verses that God anticipates a steady progression in the level of our fruitfulness. Notice verses 2 & 8 - no fruit, fruit, more fruit, much fruit! The closer we abide in the Vine, the more fruit He will yield through our lives.
4. V. 6 The Quagmire Of Fruitlessness - Not every branch abides in the Vine as it should. It is still attached, but it has ceased to draw life from the Vine's fulness. As a result, it is fruitless and withered. When this happens, there will be three certain results.
a. Loss Of Fellowship - Cast out - Not Abiding. The withered branch still possesses the same nature as the Vine, but it is not longer attached in the sense of life drawing fellowship.
b. Loss Of Vitality - Withered - Possessing no life! Death and dried up. This describes many Christians today! It didn't use to be this way, but now there is deadness where there used to be life.
- There is weakness where there used to be power. There is emptiness where there used to be fullness. My counsel is for you to come back and renew that long fellowship. Once again start to draw that life giving juice from the Vine and begin again to produce fruit for Him.
c. Loss Of Reward - When this life is over, there will be many who name the name of Jesus and were unfruitful. They will experience the loss of every reward, 1 Cor. 3:13-15.
- Many think they will be content just to get to Heaven, but there should be a desire to have rewards to lay at His feet. Will you hear, "Well done?" Only if you are a fruitful branch!
III. V. 7-11 THE PROMISE OF THE TRUE VINE
- Those who abide in the True Vine can rest assured of certain precious and sure promises!
A. V. 7 An Unhindered Prayer Life - (John 14:13-14) Why? When we are abiding as we should be, and when we are drawing our life from Him, then His will will be our will.
- That is, every time we pray and every thing we pray for will fit perfectly with His will and He will grant our requests.
B. V. 9 An Unending Love - Jesus loves all men always, but those who are abiding in Him have entered into a special, ever-deepening relationship with Him. This is the promise of the Vine to the branches!
C. V. 11 An Uncommon Joy - Joy is not happiness, which depends upon happenings, but it is a deep settled inner pleasure.
- It is the deep settled assurance and confidence in our relationship with the Father and with His Christ that fills the heart with "joy unspeakable and full of glory", and that ignites the heart to serve God.
Note these truths about joy:
1. Joy is Divine in nature - It originates with God and is only given by God. It is absolutely unaffected by earthly or material things.
2. Joy is not dependent upon happiness - God's joy abides at all times, even the most difficult!
3. Joy is the product of faith - When one is assured of one's standing in Christ, joy is the result!
4. Joy in the Lord produces faithfulness to the Lord - Neh. 8:10, His joy is our strength and that which gives us courage for the battles.
- Jesus is the True Vine. His desire is to live through your life so that you might bear fruit unto the Heavenly Father. As we close, there are a couple of questions that need to be asked right now.
1. Are you "in the Vine"? Have you ever been saved and grafted into Jesus?
2. Are you "abiding in the Vine"? Are you drawing your strength from Him so that He is able to produce His fruit through you life?"
3. Are you bearing His fruit today?
- Where do you stand with Jesus today? If God has revealed areas in your life that need to be pruned back or other wise dealt with today, then I challenge you to come to Jesus and let Him take care of you need.
- If you have never been saved, please come and let me show you how you can be placed into the Vine and become a child of God. Is there a need? If so, Jesus is the supply! You can come because the Lord has called you!