Summary: A deductive exposition of the text with illustrations from the cultivation of grapevines needed to produce fruit.
Purpose: to be the Holy Spirit’s second witness calling God’s people in my care to depend on Jesus to give them fruitful spiritual lives.
Response: Individuals will be invited to pray at the altar rail following the message.
Intro: Have you known the agony of not doing the right thing?
Have you ever thought, “I ought to do this or that” only to forget all about it?
Have you ever promised yourself that you’ll never say something only to blurt it out over and over again?
Have you ever told someone, maybe even God, “I will never do that again” but you did anyway?
Have you ever thought “I can’t change – I’ll always act like this”?
Have you fallen into the trap of comparing yourself to others?
Have you ever thought, “At least I’m not like that guy down the street”?
Have you consoled yourself about your failures and shortcomings by making a list of the obviously huge sins of your parents, friends and family?
In the middle of comparing yourself to others have you ever thrown your hands up in despair and said, “I really am no good”?
What is our problem?
Left to ourselves, we cannot make all the changes we need to make. On our own we cannot keep on doing all that we should do. Let’s face it. Our lives are beyond our control. Without help, we usually will fail to do the right thing.
We’re not alone because God’s people have not CHANGED in thousands of years. Jewish prophets described the people of their time as GRAPEVINES gone wild.
Instead of producing the fruit of righteous attitudes and actions, the people produced hypocrisy, greed and all kinds of evil. Listen to the prophets’ words.
I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit (Isaiah 5:1-2 NIV).
I had planted you like a choice vine of sound and reliable stock. How then did you turn against me into a corrupt, wild vine? (Jeremiah 2:21 NIV).
Jesus can with a new message about the God’s grapevine.
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:1-8 NIV).
Lessons from a Grapevine
Grapevines would rather produce shoots and leaves than grapes. They look lush and green but ultimately they only good for making decorations. (We all tend to seek looking good to others more than really changing.)
Grapevines must be pruned radically. The gardener must be merciless. (We need God to cut off all the showy pretenses in our lives.)
Branches with no fruit must be removed so they don’t draw nutrients away from the grapes. (We all have attitudes and actions that will never make us like Jesus – they must go.)
Fruitful branches must be pruned back to produce even more grapes. (We will never stop growing. We will always need to cut out old ways of thinking and acting and replace them with Jesus’ thought and actions.)
This message from Jesus gives us hope.
God doesn’t want to leave us on our own. He wants to be the Gardner who cares for us and makes us fruitful.
God can do in us and through us what we could never do by ourselves.
He will make us more and more fruitful – giving us more and more righteous attitudes and actions.
Jesus himself will live in us and God will answer our prayers as we learn to put the Bible into practice.