Summary: What are the implications for us as Christians when Jesus presents Himself as the True Vine? The message explores this truth as we endeavour to encourage believers to produce the fruit of righteousness.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
Christians are saved to serve. The question could legitimately be asked of each Christian, “What are you doing for Christ’s sake?” The Master saved you that He might be glorified in you. This is made evident during the High Priestly prayer of the Master. Jesus prayed, “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them” [JOHN 17:6-10]. Indeed, we may be confident that He will be glorified in His saints and marvelled at among all who have believed at His return [see 2 THESSALONIANS 1:10]. What is important for believers to note is that at His return He will be “glorified in His saints”; and even now He is being glorified in all who believe.
This raises the question of how the Saviour is being glorified in believers at this time. According to the Word, God is glorified through answering the prayer of His people when they ask according to His will [JOHN 14:13]. Believers glorify the Son of God when they are united in heart and soul [ROMANS 15:6]. When our actions reflect the righteousness of God, we glorify Him [1 CORINTHIANS 6:20]. God is glorified through generosity toward His people and through submission to His will [2 CORINTHIANS 9:13]. Christians glorify God through conscientious exercise of the gifts He has entrusted for the building up of His holy people [1 PETER 4:10, 11].
In the text before us, we see that the Father is glorified as we “bear much fruit.” Whenever you have heard a message referring to this passage, it is likely that the preacher spoke of the fruit sought as souls saved. To be certain, the fruit resulting from the preached message is transformed lives; however, Jesus makes no mention of winning the lost in the passage before us! I do not want anyone to draw the conclusion that soul winning is optional, that testifying to the grace of God is something that we can do if we feel like it or ignore if it is inconvenient. Witnessing to the grace of God is expected behaviour from each believer. Candidly, you are testifying in one way or another by how you live, what you tolerate and how you speak. According to this text, however, Christ the Master says that the Father is glorified as His people abide in Him, asking and receiving according to His will. Vitally connected to Christ the Lord, we will of necessity bear fruit. After all, He is “the True Vine.”
LOOKING FOR FRUIT — “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit… Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”