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Summary: The final message in a series on the "I am" discourses of Jesus from the book of John.

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The Great I Am – I am the Vine

July 18, 2004

John 15:1-8

Sunday AM

Setting: Jesus is w/ His disciples on the way to the Gethsemene. Somewhere along the way, they likely came across a vineyard which served as the perfect setting for another important lesson from the Messiah.

Note: Jesus wants His followers for generations to come to know exactly how to live an overflowing life – remember, Jesus was preparing to commission them into His service and He wanted them to understand what God would do to make it happen. He wants His disciples to be fruitful followers in all aspects of life.

Insert: A fully developing follower of Jesus – diagram

I The Participants – The Vineyard vs. 1, 5

A The Vine (Jesus)

Note: He is the source of life and fruitfulness. A branch can neither exist nor bear fruit apart from the vine. The vine was the sacred root of the vineyard

Point: You can’t accomplish the will of God on your own – your life is for a divine purpose, but you’ll never know or accomplish apart from Jesus.

B The Vinedresser (God the Father)

Note: The vinedresser’s task is to coax from his plants the greatest harvest possible.

C The Branches (People)

Note: The branch and not the root are the focus of the vinedresser b/c the branches produce the fruit. Branches are tied to a trellis to allow the air to circulate while exposing the branches to the sun. The vinedresser lovingly cultivates every branch that it might produce fruit.

II The Purpose – Bear Fruit

Verse: I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain. Jn. 15:16

Verse: By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit. Jn. 15:8

Note: Practically speaking, fruit represents good works including thoughts, actions, and attitudes that value and honor God.

A Inner Fruit

Note: When you allow God to nurture in you Christ-like qualities.

Verse: The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, meekness, and self-control. Gal. 5:22-23

B Outer Fruit

Note: When you allow Christ to work through you to bring Him glory and to impact others for the Kingdom of God. This occurs when your life begins to fulfill the Great Commission – and you are used of God to impact your world for Him.

Verse: God is able to make grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Cr. 9:8

III The Process – Nurturing vs. 2-3

Notice: As a child of God – either your life produces good fruit or no fruit. And depending on your fruitfulness, will determine how God will tend to your life.

A Bears No Fruit (Lifts Up)

Word: airo – take or lift up (not cut off or remove)

Used in Mt. 14;20 – the disciples took up 12 baskets of food.

Used in Jn. 1:29 – John the Baptist called Jesus the one who takes away sin.

Story: B. Wilkerson w/ vineyard owner – Owner explained that new branches have a natural tendency to trail down and grow along the ground, but are unable to produce fruit b/c leaves get coated w/ dust, mud, and mildew stagnating fruitfulness – the branches becomes sick and useless. But a vinedresser would never cut off the new growth b/c it is much too valuable and its potential too abundant. The keeper walks through the vineyard w/ water to clean off, lift up, and attach to the trellis to expose to the sunlight so that the branch thrives.

Trans: For the Christian, sin is like dirt covering our branches stagnating fruitfulness – air and light can’t get in and we languish in unfruitfulness. So the Father has to bring us through a gentle and loving process to clean us up to cultivate us.

Question: What does God do w/ wayward, unfruitful believers? He takes whatever means necessary to cultivate them to fruitfulness. (see Hebrews 12:5-6)

Verse: You have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons: My son, don’t take the Lord’s discipline lightly, or faint when you’re reproved by Him; for the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and punishes every son whom He receives.

1 He Reproves (Rebukes)

Note: A rebuke is a verbal warning where God makes Himself heard through:

• A prick of our conscience

• A timely word of encouragement from a person

• A verse or passage of Scripture

• A word of truth from a sermon or Bible study.

• A word of conviction from the Holy Spirit

Note: If we have open ears to hear God and open hearts to respond, then we will be turned back toward God, but if not, then the discipline intensifies.

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