A sharp knife for the vine branches. --
I. THE TEXT SUGGESTS SELF-EXAMINATION. It mentions --
1. Two characters who are in some respects exceedingly alike; they are both branches, and are in the vine: and yet for all this, the end of the one shall be to be cast away, while the end of the other shall be to bring forth fruit.
a. “bearing fruit”
b. “not bearing fruit”
2. The distinction between them. The first branch brought forth no fruit; the second branch bore some fruit. We have no right to judge of our neighbors’ motives and thoughts, except so far as they may be clearly discoverable by their actions and words. The interior we must leave with God, but the exterior we may judge. "By their fruits ye shall know them." Paul has given us a list of these fruits in Gal 5:23. Say, professor, hast thou brought forth the fruit "love?" etc. It is so easy for us to wrap ourselves up in the idea that attention to religious ceremonies is the test, but it is not so, for "Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees," etc.
(from The Biblical Illustrator Copyright (c) 2002 AGES and Biblesoft, Inc.)