Summary: The only way that we can remain fruitful is to stay connected with Christ
March 18, 2012
Do you hear me now? All about the importance of connection. Find a Verizon commercial?
S. D. Gordon tells of a spring storm that broke a large limb on his cherry tree. Although it hung by a very slender strand, to his surprise the blossoms came anyway. Later some fruit began to grow as it did on the other branches. He noticed, however, that only those in full contact with the tree bore "much fruit," while the partially severed branch produced only a scanty supply. As believers, we must be careful about our spiritual connections, making sure we are fully abiding in Christ. The fruit we bear, whether much or little, tells the story.
1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 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. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 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. 5 "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. 6 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. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:1-8
Grapevines were frequently used in the nation of Israel. Israel had a highly agricultural society and grapes would be used to produce fruit and wine. Grapes were often symbolic of the fruitfulness of Israel fulfilling the purpose of God. The vine was symbolic of God’s work in the world. There were times in Israel’s history when they were not spiritually fruitful and were not accomplishing the work of God.
Important facts about grape vines
Good roots can produce for up to 100 years
Disease and lack of productivity can spread from dead branches that have not been removed
Vines are extremely productive and can yield 80 pounds of grapes a season
New plants are pruned for three to five years to prepare them for future production
Connection with the vine
I am the true vine
When Jesus says I am the true vine, He is saying that He is the work of God in the world. The work of God is to bring His people back to Him. The purpose of Jesus being the vine is to connect people with God the Father.
God is searching for fruit in the lives of His people; Spiritual fruit of love and obedience. Jesus provides the needed unity between God and the people. Jesus bridges the separation created by sin and gives us the opportunity to fulfill the work of God.
I am the vine and you are the branches
Jesus makes the clear declaration that He is the source of our connection with God. Jesus is the genuine vine and the true source of how we connect with the Father. Where is the fruit found on a vine? Fruit grows all along the various branches. Jesus was telling the disciples that their connection to Him was the source of their spiritual fruitfulness.
Remain in me, and I will remain in you
The Greek word for remain literally means to dwell or to stay. This conveys the implication of being in a fixed state or continuing in the same position
Correction from the vinedresser
There are two different types of branches and therefore only two kinds of believers: fruitful and unfruitful. There are two kinds of pruning: cutting that deals with unfruitfulness and cultivating that deals with increasing fruitfulness. The vinedressers would begin preparing the vines each spring by cutting back the vines to the root stock.
Cutting what does not bear fruit
The branches that are not bearing fruit are cut off. These branches are removed to keep the production of the whole vine on a pattern of growth.
Cultivating what does bear fruit
God seeks to make that which is already fruitful increasingly fruitful.
Possible areas for pruning
Reasons for unfruitfulness
Vines will lack proper fruitfulness if they are not given enough water or lack of proper nutrients will destroy the vine. The life of the believer is empowered and nourished by our connection with Him. When the love and life of Christ do not flow through our lives, we will be unproductive spiritually. Nutrients for spiritual growth are simple and easy to follow.