Summary: How can I produce the good works essential to the Christian life?
Text: John 15:1-6
Text idea: Christ teaches His disciples that they must depend on Him constantly in order to produce the fruit expected of all who are spiritually alive.
Sermon idea: We must produce acceptable good works and can only do so through Jesus Christ.
Interrogative: How can I produce the good works essential to the Christian life?
Transition: Good fruit only comes from a good tree
I. You Must Be Clean In Order to Produce Fruit
a. Explaining the text
i. What does He mean by calling Himself a vine?
ii. What is “fruit”?
1. Fruit = acceptable good works
a. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? (Mat 7:16)
b. Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. (Mat 12:33)
iii. What is this “purging”
1. The word is an agent of sanctification
a. Hear it and do it
b. Internalize it – His word in us
2. Trials serve to purify the individual or church
a. Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. (Psa 119:67)
b. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. (Psa 119:71)
b. A vineyard in the summer is full of lush green leaves. Without pruning those vines will never produce the fruit that they could if only they were pruned. Likewise, if we aren’t pruned our energies go into vain leaves.
c. Impure people do not produce good fruit
i. Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. (Jam 3:12)
1. Can you imagine going to a fountain for a drink and the water going from fresh to salty?!
ii. Spiritual impurities defile the entirety of the Christian life. God will not accept the unholy.
d. Applying purity – What will constrict the life-giving flow coming from the true vine?
ii. Not examining one’s self in the mirror of the word
Transition: Is purity enough? Can a pure person produce good fruit?
II. You Must Remain in Christ In Order to Produce Fruit
a. What it is to abide
i. To obtain our nourishment from Him
1. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. (Joh 6:56)
ii. Living the only way possible – Through Jesus
1. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (Joh 17:3)
iii. Must be volitional – we are commanded to abide
iv. Yet we can do nothing without Him
1. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (Phi 2:13)
1. Not just when life lets you down
2. Not just for the hope of Heaven
3. We have no life in ourselves – only divine persons have self-existence
b. Illustrate – Bring in a branch; all life in it residual from source of life…tree. Will soon dry up and be good for nothing but to be burned
c. Good deeds outside of Christ are not fruit
i. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. (Rom 6:20)
ii. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. (Rom 7:18)
iii. Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (Gal 3:3)
1. Should I expect this branch to produce fruit even though removed from the tree
d. How do I abide in Christ?
i. By a conscious choice
ii. By keeping His commandments
iii. By maintaining good works
1. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:10)
Transition: What if I fail to produce fruit?
III. You Must Be Fruitful If You Are Spiritually Alive
a. Without acceptable good works you are not saved
i. Fruit bearing not commanded – assumed
ii. Abiding is commanded
b. Judas an example of not remaining in the vine
c. All who die while spiritually dead will endure the second death
d. You have no life in yourself.
i. Branch doesn’t bear fruit for itself.
ii. Ultimate reason for fruitfulness – God’s glory vs.8