Summary: If taught correctly these verses will encourage our security in Christ! The Believer in Christ ought to be the most secure person with their relationship with God. Sadly, it seems just the opposite. So it’s time that changes!
Every person has been put on this planet for two reasons, first, to know God and secondly, to show that God in their life! So basically, everything less is just a waist of time!
The average Christian doesn’t know the difference between union with Christ and communion with Christ: (verse 5 is key)
· When we come to Christ we are a branch – that’s union.
· When we bear fruit as a branch – that’s communion.
Now get this…salvation commences with a union, it continues with communion and it consummates with a reunion! Mark it down; communion is the hardest part of the Christian life!
LifePoint: To abide in Christ is to experience an extreme connection with God!
So let’s look at:
1. The Fruitfulness God Demands. Vs. 1,2
a. The Process.
What is a vine? Well vines have shoots, small buds, then foliage, then a flower and finally some fruit. This is Jesus.
What is a vinedresser? He works in the vineyard with only one interest in mind, he want to find fruit. He’s not interested in the foliage or the flower, only in the fruit!
“Take away” = literally to lift up. To raise an object up, holding something. Used in the Bible many times in raising a child.
So what does this mean for us? Sometimes the branches on the grape vine sage to the ground, the branches get dirty, insect infested and a lack of sunshine, etc.
So the vinedresser comes along and lifts up the sagging branches! This is exactly what God does to his children at times. If we are not walking in the Sonshine of His love, walking in sin, God is duty bound to lift us up back to the place He wants us! Lifting up may come in many different ways…through discipline, etc.
Isn’t that just like God in our lives? If we are really honest about it, we can only say that God is always good to His people!
Remember, God is determined to bring us closer and closer to the image of Christ everyday of our lives!
Romans 8:29 “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to image of His Son.”
“Predestined” = marked out, appointed, determine beforehand. May I say that God marked out our lives long before we ourselves confessed Christ as Lord.
Verse 2 is debated among scholars…if this teaches that a Christian can lose his or hers salvation, then it contradicts many other verses in the Bible:
John 10:28 “And I give them eternal life and they shall never perish neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”
John 18:9 “…Of those whom you gave Me, I have lost none.”
Romans 8:35 “Who shall separate us from the love of God.”
But let’s see this word “lift up” used in the O.T. where this word originates…
Then Jesus uses the same word again in…
Matthew 11:28,29… “Come unto Me, all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take ( same word as in vs.2) My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, you will find rest for your souls.” NLT
LifePoint: No branch is ever to be barren of fruit, but a rather a bearer of fruit!
b. The Progress.
God wants every Christian to maximize the production of fruit in their lives!
In the best vineyards in the world of yesterday and still today, the vinedresser makes or breaks the progress of the vineyard! It takes about 5 years of experience and the proper education to be qualified for this job. Today millions of dollars are at stake!
He must not only know how to cut, but how much to cut and when to cut! These are some of the secrets to the best vineyards in the world.
Vs. 2 tells us the progress. First, we get saved. Secondly, we begin to bear fruit, but God isn’t satisfied until we are bearing much fruit!
How does a vinedresser prune a branch? Two ways:
· He cuts away the fruitless part of the branch.
Key: every branch not producing fruit is sucking from the producing branches.
· Secondly, he goes to the producing branch and looks for dirt or contaminates and cares for it.
How does God prune us? First let’s look at the word.
“Prune” = literally to cleanse.
Vs. 3: “You are already clean” (Christians are already spiritually and postionally clean)
Careful…if we get the wild idea of rebelling! Tests, trials and tribulation could be a steady diet for us. This is God’s way of getting His huge pruning shears and cutting away the dead parts of our lives or cleansing the part of our lives that’s in need.