Summary: All Christians must stay connected to Christ and submit to spiritual pruning in order to bear spiritual fruit.
Who Is This Jesus?
14. He is the Vine, We are the Branches
Main idea: All Christians must stay connected to Christ and submit to spiritual pruning in order to bear spiritual fruit.
Q: What sound does a grape make when an elephant steps on it?
A: None. It just lets out a little wine.
Q: What’s large and purple and lives in the ocean?
A: Moby Grape.
Q: How can you tell the difference between a grape and an elephant if you’re color blind?
A: Dance on it for a while. If you don’t get any wine, it’s an elephant.
OK I know those were bad! But today we’re going to talk about grapes, grapevines, and pruning. Why? Because we’re looking at John 15 and in this passage Christ says he is the vine and we are the branches. His main point is that…
All Christians must stay connected to Christ and submit to spiritual pruning in order to bear spiritual fruit.
John 15:1-8 (NLT)
1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3You have already been pruned for greater fruitfulness by the message I have given you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful apart from me.
5"Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6Anyone who parts from me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7But if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted! 8My true disciples produce much fruit. This brings great glory to my Father.
How does a grapevine grow? Apart from watching the movie “a Walk in the clouds” a few times, I don’t have that much experience with grape vines, so I did some research this week. For any of the rest of you who’ve never grown a grapevine, here’s a few basic concepts that will be instrumental in helping us apply this rich teaching of Jesus.
The anatomy of a grapevine.
TRUNK – the main vertical part.
CORDON or ARM – the horizontal growth, usually attached to wires for support.
CANE or BRANCH – the vertical growth off of the cordon or arm.
BUD – the small nodules which will develop into fruit bearing branches.
What do we learn about our spiritual lives through the grapevine?
1. I must stay connected to Christ to bear spiritual fruit.
…a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful apart from me. (v. 4)
…Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. (v. 5)
• Apart from Jesus Christ – what can we do? NOTHING. Nothing of eternal value that is. We prove by our actions that we can do all sorts of meaningless and fruitless activities without Him. But if we want to bear fruit in our lives that blesses God and blesses other people – we’ve GOT to stay connected to Him.
• This may seem obvious – but sometimes the most obvious lessons are the ones we overlook. As an individual I’ve got to be connected to Christ for my life to have any spiritual fruit growing. As a church we’ve GOT to be connected to him in order to hope to develop spiritual fruit that will change the spiritual landscape.
• How do we stay connected: Abiding in his word and prayer.
• God wants to make us fruitful – but it is our responsibility to stay connected to him and not wander off on our own.
TRANS: But not only do we need to stay connected to Jesus to bear spiritual fruit…
2. I must submit to spiritual pruning in order to bear spiritual fruit.
Again, since I didn’t know much about the subject, I did some research this week and here is some of what I found out about pruning grapevines.
• Pruning is necessary for fruit bearing.
A vine that is not pruned will grow out of control. It will be long, tangled, and bushy. But the vine will not have enough energy left to produce fruit since all its energy is spent in developing size and foliage.
APPLICATION: Do you ever have the feeling that in your life you’re doing more and more and accomplishing less and less? Maybe we need to learn something from this lesson of the vine. When we just keep running and doing more and more – we will hamper our fruitfulness. All our energy will go into maintaining our activities (keeping the plates spinning) – so that we won’t have energy to develop fruit that will really make a difference in the kingdom of God.