Summary: Jesus said - "every bracnh in ME (this means Christians) that does not bear fruit He [the Father] takes away, and every branch that bears fruit He [the Father] prunes, today lets look more closely at this.
BEARING GOOD FRUIT
Each fall I take my children to the apple orchard just down the road from my house. Last year as we were walking through the orchard, I noticed my youngest son (Ben) picking up an apple off the ground to eat. The apple was rotten and I told him not to eat it or he might get sick. He asked why the apple was bad and I explained, it was bad because it had fallen off of the branch and was not getting any of the nutrients of the tree (difficult to explain to a 5 yr. old) as such it was simply bad rotting fruit.
One of the interesting things about apple trees is that we expect the fruit to be good. The same is true with the Christian faith, like the tree, we are also called to produce good fruit.
· Bearing good fruit is the evidence of a healthy relationship with Jesus Christ. (15.8 “…you will be My disciples.”)
· If we call ourselves disciples of Christ and do not bear good fruit, we deceive ourselves.
· Jesus said – “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit He [The Father] takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He [The Father] prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (15.2)
Because of the significance of this statement of Christ, I want to take a closer look at this idea of bearing good fruit. In order to begin bearing good fruit lets understand:
1. The Symbols Of Good Fruit
2. The Steps Of Good Fruit
3. The Success Of Good Fruit
Let’s begin by looking at …
THE SYMBOLS OF GOOD FRUIT
In this parable Jesus gives us three symbols to reveal the roles that are played in bearing good fruit. Let’s begin by looking at them.
Symbol #1 – The True Vine (15.1)
· Jesus said “I Am”:
o “I am” – Reflection of Exodus 3:14
§ Story of Moses “Tell the Israelites” - “I AM has sent me to you.”
o Jesus defines Himself in the same way many other times:
Jn 6:35 – “I am the bread of life”
Jn 9:5 – “I am the light of the world”
Jn 10:7 – “I am the gate for the sheep”
Jn 10:11 – “I am the good shepherd”
· Jesus said “The True Vine” –
o Christ does not describe Himself as “A” true vine, but rather as “the” true vine.
o He distinguishes Himself from Israel which was previously described as a vine or vineyard.
§ Isaiah 5:1-7 “the vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.”
§ Jeremiah 2:21 Israel is a “choice vine”
§ Ezekiel 15 and 19 – Link Israel to the “vine”
§ But in each case Israel is described by God as a vine that has gone “wild”
§ In this sense, Christ (who was in full submission to the Father) was the true vine.
Symbol #2 – The Vinedresser
· Jesus said “My Father is the vinedresser” – (15.1)
o God is the one who cultivates and prunes the branches
o As the vinedresser God –
§ Grafts us into the vine – (15.16 You did not choose me, I choose you…) Also see Romans 11 “grafting”.
§ Removes unhealthy branches and Prunes the healthy ones in order to stimulate growth. (15.2)
Symbol #3 – The Branches
· Jesus said “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes that it may bear more fruit.” – (15.2)
o We are the branches!
§ Branches are fully dependent upon the vine and vinedresser
· Two types of branches “In Me” [in Christ] (15.2)
o All of the branches are Christians, those who were grafted into the vine. Of those branches there are two kinds:
§ Those that do not produce fruit
· So from this passage we see that some who are “in Me [Christ] may be cut off for lack of fruit.
§ Those that do produce fruit
· “…that bears fruit He prunes that it may bear more fruit.”
· See (Matthew 25:29) “ For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
We do not bear fruit on our own, but rather fruit is the byproduct of the life giving vine and the grafting and pruning of the vinedresser.
One of the wonderful things about apple orchards in the fall is their beauty! But this beauty does not come about by accident, the farmer must plant, graft, prune and protect the trees in order for them to become healthy and beautiful. The same is true with us, we do not begin producing the beautiful fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:25) apart from the vine [Christ] and the vinedresser [God the Father].