Summary: This sermon uses the classic painting "American Gothic" to illustrate how people aren’t necessarily what they seem to be.

Are You In The Vine?

John 15; 1-12

[1]I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

[2] 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.

[3] Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

[4] 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.

[5] 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.

[6] 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.

[7] If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

[8] Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

[9] As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

[10] If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

[11] These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

[12] This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

Jesus taught this lesson to His disciples near the end of His ministry.

His 12 Disciples had followed him for about 3 and ½ years.

They had seen many people come to Jesus.

Some came to be healed of diseases and handicaps.

Some came to see Him perform a miracle.

The Bible tells us in John 6:26:

Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

Some came to Jesus just to get something to eat.

Some came to see what would happen next.

It was exciting and entertaining to be near Jesus.

Some came to hear Him teach.

Some came to Jesus because they believed

He would overthrow the Romans

and restore Israel to freedom.

So…many people came to see Jesus…

But they walked away UNCHANGED!


But nobody ever fooled Jesus.

He knew who came to Him for the right reason…

And who came for the wrong reasons.

He knew what was in their hearts.

When Jesus started talking about dying…

Many people who claimed they were “followers” deserted Him.

John 6:66 says:

From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

The Apostle John saw all these people walk away from Jesus.

And what did the Holy Spirit inspire John to write?

1 JOHN 2:19 says;

19: They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

In other words…

When the exciting entertainment stopped…

When the free food stopped…

When some saw they were not going to get what they wanted…

When they realized that following Jesus was not all fun and games…


Their hearts had not been changed.

They didn’t love Jesus!

They had no desire to listen to the Words of Jesus’ teachings…


The 12 Disciples have seen many people come and go.

It must have been very disappointing.

(I know how they must have felt)

So…Jesus knows that within a few days…

He will go to Jerusalem to die on the cross.

And He wants to prepare His Disciples…

For the task of taking over the ministry.

He wants them to be prepared to deal with…

The real followers of Jesus…

And those who are not His followers.

This lesson Jesus taught His Disciples…

Is just as valuable for us.

It helps us understand the difference between…

Truly Saved people…and those who are NOT saved.

Today…I’m going to tell you the story of B.H. McKeeby.

In 1930, B.H. McKeeby

was one of the leading citizens in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

He was a dentist.

People who knew him described Doc McKeeby

as a quiet, modest, conservative man.

One day, a young artist who was known as “Gus”

came to see Dr. McKeeby.

It seems Gus wanted to paint Dr. McKeeby’s portrait.

Now, Gus was a good friend of Dr. McKeeby.

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