Summary: In this parable of the vine and the branches Jesus talks about 4 aspects of fruit. Ultimately fruit refers to reproduction. For us it speaks of making disciples and fulfilling the Great Commission.
Introduction: Fruitfulness is God’s will for us. In this parable of the vine and the branches Jesus talks about 4 aspects of fruit. Ultimately fruit refers to reproduction. For us it speaks of making disciples and fulfilling the Great Commission. Let us examine our lives even as the gardener looks at the vine.
I No Fruit – Leads to Judgement (v 1,2,6)
i) The Father, Jesus and us: The Father is the gardener, Jesus is the true vine and we are the branches. There are false vines too that have the look of the real vine but are not the true vine. Jesus is the only true way and life.
ii) In Jesus but no fruit? Is that possible? Apparently there are some branches that have no fruit. They are grafted (Rom 11:17) in the vine but somehow are not bearing fruit. They are connected to the vine but are not receiving the nourishing sap but are not producing fruit. They are ‘officially’ in the vine but they are not abiding, not remaining and hence not fruitful. They have come to the wedding feast without the wedding garments; they are wolves in sheep clothing.
iii) Their fate: They are cut off. They lose their vital connection with the vine. They dry up and wither, they are fit only for the fire (v 6)
II Some Fruit – Leads to Pruning (v 2,3)
i) Fruitfulness is encouraged: When we bear fruit the gardener wants us to bear more fruit. Fruit is good for food, for drink, for seed that reproduces after it’s kind. Fruit is an indicator of health. Jesus was always looking for fruit (Mat 21:19, the cursed fig tree; Luk 13:6, parable of the fig tree).
ii) The process is pruning: Pruning involves cutting back extra unnecessary growth in order to direct the energies of the vine into fruit production. For the vine pruning is painful but necessary, c.f., Heb 12:11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
iii) Pruning is called cleaning: (v 3) God is father of our spirits and disciplines us by His Word. His Word cleans us.
III Much Fruit – Is the Goal (v 4,5,7,8)
i) Happens by remaining or abiding: This is more than just a physical connection it is a deep abiding that causes a flow of life giving sap from the vine to the branch.
ii) My Words remain in you: Fruitfulness comes from the Word becoming flesh in our life. Not just an intellectual doctrine but the lived out word – the word becoming flesh. A promise: ‘ask whatever you wish and it will be given you’ conditional on abiding and fruit bearing.
iii) Much fruit: 1) v 5, a natural result of abiding; 2) v 8, glorifies the Father; 3) v 8, shows that you are Jesus disciple.
IV Lasting Fruit – Is the Quality (v 16)
i) Lasting fruit is eternal: Speaks of the souls of men won for all eternity. This is our appointment our commission to go and bear fruit, make disciples.
ii) Then the Father will: If we do what God has chosen and appointed us to do then the Father will do His part: ‘give you whatever you ask in my name’. Twice mentioned and confirmed.