6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: This is the second of a four part look at Jesus teaching that He is the true vine. This message explores how God disciplines us when we are branches that do not bear fruit.

Recap of message one -

John 15 - Personal moment with Jesus and His disciples on the night of His betrayal.


On the heels of the Triumphant Entry

The Passover Feast

Positioning for greatness in the kingdom

Scene of confidence, power, and triumphant.

The mood shift - Jesus delivered verbal blow after blow

Begins final "I Am. . ." teaching - John 15: 1-8

Last week we set the stage.


Jesus is the Vine: the trunk out of the ground.

God is the Vinedresser: focused on producing the highest yield of fruit possible in our lives.

We are the Branches: Conduit from the trunk to the fruit.

Trellis: Surprise for later.


Not strictly evangelism and conversions.

Fruit = our external works & deeds (including evangelism and kingdom building to be sure), but much more & also inner working of the Spirit


1. Does not bear fruit (v. 2)

2. Bears fruit (v. 2)

3. Bears more fruit (v. 2)

4. Bears much fruit (v. 5)


What God does with these branches?

airo: take up, lift up.

never in Biblical or Greek literature

does it mean to "cut off"

Imagery of the vineyard provides the imagery of the vinedresser lifting up these branches that don’t bear fruit - lifting up and cleaning them off, and connecting back to the trellis.

The key point is:

If your life is not bearing fruit, God does not desire to hack you off the vine, and toss you aside. Rather, Jesus is telling us that when we are not bearing fruit God desires to intervene as the vinedresser, pick us up, clean us up, re-attach us to the trellis, and help us once again bear fruit.

This process of God’s intervention is called discipline.

That is how God restores us to bear fruit.

Through His discipline.

Discipline Detailed - Hebrews 12:3-11

So if you are not bearing fruit, God will intervene to discipline you so that you can once again bear fruit.

Let’s spend some time here in Hebrews, and see how God disciplines:

1. Rebuke (v. 5) - verbal.

Allie example - "Don’t push me young lady."

God Methods - word from another person, Scripture,

conviction in prayer, preaching.

2. Chasten - emotional anxiety or distress involved.

Allie example - "Go to your room. I’ll be up there in a minute."

God’s Methods - allowing your spirit to feel disdain for the Word, unfulfilled at church, critical of other Christians.

3. Scourge - whip.

Allie example - "Bend over."

God’s Methods - pain, Paul believed it possibly even involved illness (I Corinthians 11:27-30)

OYB - Numbers example of woman drinking bitter water.

i.e. AIDS, lung cancer, liver disease: not "plagues" from God, but natural consequences God has put in place that can serve as scourges and attempts to clean the branches for fruit bearing.

I believe that God’s discipline can involve scourging

to physically try and get our attention, and clean us up to bear fruit.

One Year Bible Reading - Lev. 25:14-22 (and further)

My hardest prayer challenge -

for people who aren¡¦t caring for themselves.

People with lung cancer who are still smoking.

People with diabetes who are severely overweight.

People who are constantly ill, or sick and never exercise, eat well, or get enough sleep.

Why? Because those physical challenges

may be from God.

Now, let me encourage you.

If you think you might be being chastened or scourged by God, I’ve got good news:

According to Hebrews, who has been chastened and scourged?

Everyone He receives.

And according to Hebrews, what does that mean God sees you as?

His child.

So here is the big question?

Do we recognize the discipline of God?

Or do we say -

"The pain and negative circumstances in my life are the results of natural consequences of fate. They’re not connected to my choices."

"If God does discipline me somehow, it would probably be a one-time deal. He’s much too forgiving to impose escalating consequences or to intentionally cause me pain just to motivate me to stop sinning."

"Let’s be honest. The enjoyment I get from my so-called sin outweighs any spiritual benefit I’d get from stopping. And anyway, my sins aren’t really hurting anybody."

"I simply can’t help myself. This problem goes back to my childhood. So why wouldn’t God extend grace rather than impose discipline?"

"Just because I sin doesn’t mean I can’t do something for God. Hey, God uses crooked sticks. We can’t all be Billy Graham, you know."

"It’s not sin. It’s just a weakness, part of my personality, something I struggle with."

Remember, Jesus prayed for our sanctification, our holiness, our perfection. It is an imperative command throughout God’s Word.

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