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3 elements: The Vine, the branches, and the fruit. Jesus has just warned His followers that He is leaving, but that He will send His Spirit in His place. He will be up in heaven, but will send down a life line, a way to remain connected. The Vine!
A. The Vine.
vv. 1, 4a, 5a, 7a
Jesus again claims to be God.
John's first verse says:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us...
He claimed to know Abraham, and that got people riled up, saying, "You aren't old enough to know him!
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life:
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world:
Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
I am the good shepherd:
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection...
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:
And now in our text He says I am the vine!
It's a picture of a grape vine.
Past vine = Israel.
What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?
He's speaking of Israel's idolatry, turning away from Him. And He says in essence, "You can't do enough for some people."
Future vine = Gentile nations which reject God in the end times. We could be part of the formation of this coming together now!
... Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.
When these grapes are squeezed, it is blood that comes out.
"Battle Hymn" says He treads the grapes of wrath.
Present vine = the Great I AM! The TRUE Vine.
As believers, we are invited to abide in Him, the true vine. Unbelievers attach themselves to the vine of this earth, choosing to connect themselves to temporal things which do not satisfy and take you nowhere but down. But we find all we need in Jesus, the True Vine! It's a living relationship, a loving relationship, and a lasting relationship!
B. The Branches.
v. 5 If you are saved, then you are a branch. And you should be attached to the Vine. Evidently it is possible to be saved and to detach from the Vine, or else we wouldn't have the command to 'abide' in the Vine, and remain connected.
And a branch is worth next to nothing unless it is attached to the vine. It can detach, and still be a branch, but a dead one, and relatively useless.
ill.--the Kuna Indians could use branches to build huts, but they weren't valuable, burned down often [volatile], and certainly could no longer bear fruit.
The world can use you if you detach from Christ, but don't be fooled into thinking you have any real value, or will produce anything truly good. Rather, you are a volatile, detrimental testimony.
v. 6 This is not talking about hell. It's an illustration of the worthlessness of a disconnected branch. It has no life, no vitality, no joy, power, or spiritual energy. And so, it won't be productive.
God has every right to inspect His branches for fruit. He planted us, gave us life, and left us here for a purpose!
Abide = live with, tarry with, dwell with. [technical definition]
It's all about remaining connected in the proper orientation to our source...
"If I am willing to be to Christ what Christ was to His Father, then Christ will be to me what the Father was to Him!"
Consciously do these 3 things: [practical definition]
1. Rely on His strength.
Wake up each day with the realization you can do nothing/be nothing without Him.
v. 5b It's not 'you can do MORE with me but LESS without me.' It is with me you can do NOTHING! [zero, zilch, nada!]
You may be able to build a little something from a human point of view, but you will do nothing of eternal value, and then why did your existence matter?
"But I have a lot of God-given talent!" Without abiding in Christ, do you know what your talent means? Nothing.
[experience / intellect / money / good works]
ill.--ever walked/ran on a treadmill? [clothes hanger] It's a trip to nowhere! You put forth a lot of energy, but make no forward progress.