"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." ~ John 15:1-5
In the Book of John, Jesus says “I AM” seven times. Seven is the number of completeness, of spiritual perfection. They are:
- I AM the bread of life (John 6:35); I AM the light of the world (John 8:12).
- I AM the door (John 10:7-9); I AM the good shepherd (John 10:11).
- I AM the resurrection and the life (John 11:25); I AM the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
- I AM the true vine (John 15:1,5).
A preacher could draw a sermon from each of those. A teacher could put together a class for Sunday school or for some type of devotional meeting. But today let us focus on just one of those, the True Vine, and how being connected to the True Vine produces a fruitful vineyard.
What Does "True Vine" Mean in the Bible?
The grapevine is a productive plant. A solitary plant can bear numerous grapes. In the Old Testament, grapes represented Israel’s productivity (fruitfulness) in tackling God’s job on earth (Psalm 80:8; Isaiah 5:1-7). During the Passover meal, God’s goodness and righteousness were represented by what the vine had produced, the fruit.
In the first 16 verses of the Book of John, we can see the content, the condition, and the consequences, of a fruitful vineyard.
In verses 1-5, we have the content of a fruitful vineyard:
How Does True Vine Relate to the Church?
Christ is that vine. God is the planter who focuses and tends to the branches of the vine to make them productive. The branches are all the people who profess to be followers and believers of Christ. The productive branches, the branches that bear fruit, are the genuine believers who by their living association with Christ produce a lot of fruit.
Yet, the individuals who become inefficient, those individuals who abandon following Christ after making a shallow profession, will be isolated or cut off from the plant. Inefficient or unproductive believers are just about as useless as a dead branch on a tree and will be cut off and thrown away.
Jesus makes a qualification between two sorts of pruning: isolating and scaling back branches. Productive branches are scaled back to advance development. All in all, God will at times teach us to fortify our character and faith.
In any case, branches that do not prove to be fruitful are cut off at the base, since they are useless, they frequently contaminate the remainder of the tree. The individuals who will not prove to be fruitful for God or who attempt to impede the endeavors of God’s believers will be cut off from the heavenly progression of life.
Fruit is not restricted to just only soul winning. Answered prayer, joy, and love are referenced as fruit (15:7,11,12). Different qualities of the Christian character are portrayed as fruit in Galatians 5:22-24 and 2 Peter 1:5-8.
God provides what we need. God purges, he prunes, and he promotes. What is produced is fruit, more fruit, and much fruit.
In verses 6-14, we see the conditions of a fruitful branch:
How Does True Vine Relate to Christian Life?
The Christian is to abide in and obey Christ.
A Christian believes Jesus is God’s Son. “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God” (1 John 4:15).
A Christian receives Christ as Savior and Lord. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (John 1:12).”
A Christian will do what God directs. “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us” (1 John 3:34).
A Christian will continue in the faith. “Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father” (1 John 2:24).
A Christian will relate with other believers. “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12).
There are so many Christians who attempt to do what is good, to be honest, and to make wise decisions. However, Jesus says the best way to carry on with a genuinely decent life is to remain connected to him, like a branch connected to the plant, the vine. Aside from him, our endeavors are unfruitful.
God is glorified when a plant, or branch, bears “much fruit.” For every day he sent the sun and the rain to make the crops develop. God continually sustained each minuscule plant and set it up to bloom and to blossom.
What a snapshot of magnificence for the Lord of the harvest when the harvest is brought into the silos or barns, protected, and prepared for use.
This cultivating, or farming comparison shows how God is glorified when individuals come into the correct relationship with him and start to bear “much fruit” in their lives.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).
At the point when things are working out positively, we feel thrilled. But when difficulties come, we surrender to sadness. In any case, genuine euphoria, true joy, rises above these influxes of situations.
Joy comes from a steady and consistent relationship with Jesus. When our lives are interwoven with his, he will help us stroll through misfortune without sinking into incapacitating and crippling lows and oversee affluence without moving into beguiling or tricky highs.
The joy of living with Christ day by day keeps us prudent regardless of how high or low our conditions.
We are to cherish each other as Christ loved us. He loved and cherished us enough to give his own life for us. We might not need to die for somebody, yet there are alternate approaches to exercise sacrificial love: helping, empowering, giving, listening.
Consider somebody who needs this sort of love and give all the love and affection that you can, then at that point, attempt to give somewhat more.
In verses 15-16, there are the consequences of a fruitful life:
What Should We Know about the 'True Vine'?
Jesus could call us slaves because he is our Lord and Master, however, we are called friends. We have been chosen and ordained. What consolation there is to know that we picked to be his friends. And we are to go and bring forth fruit and our fruit should remain.
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ(2 Peter 1:5-8).
We are not called to produce fruit but to bear fruit, to bring forth fruit. Christ will make the increase. The first choice was made by Christ, to love us, to die for us, and to offer us life eternal.
The next decision is ours, to acknowledge him as our Savior or to dismiss his offer. Without the decision that he made; we would have no decision to make at all.
For further reading:
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Chris Swanson answered the call into the ministry over 20 years ago. He has served as a Sunday School teacher, a youth director along with his wife, a music director, an associate pastor, and an interim pastor. Chris is a retired Navy Chief Hospital Corpsman with over 30 years of combined active and reserve service. During his service, he received numerous awards and citations. Chris holds a Doctor of Ministry, an M.B.A., and a B.S. in health administration. Chris and his wife Vicki of 24 years reside in Madison, Alabama. If you are interested in having Chris deliver God's Word at your place of worship, you can reach him here.