Summary: Are we growing, producing fruit? Maybe its time to check our connection to the VINE
I am the Vine John 15:1-8
JN 15:5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
The illustration is self-explanatory. God the Father is the Vinedresser, the One who cultivates the vineyard in order to produce an abundant harvest. Jesus is the VINE, the thick trunk that runs along the arbor. We are the Branches - those smaller vines growing out of the main vine.
Where is the Holy Spirit in this illustration? His presence is in the vine. Jesus had already promised the Holy Spirit to the disciples. In Acts 1:8 he is the power from on high. In the Vine, the Holy Spirit is the power of God the Father coming to the branches helping them to bear fruit. In the vineyard illustration, the Holy Spirit is what comes through the vine and is IN the branches, which produces the fruit
We as the Branches are called to bear FRUIT
We will be pruned so that we can bear more fruit
We, in Christ, over our lifetime should bear much fruit.
Which kind of branch are you? Which kind of branch do you want to be? Are our lives nothing like Christ? Somewhat like Christ? Pretty-much like Christ? Or a mirror-image of Christ? Let’s see how the Vinedresser works in each of these situations:
1. If we are bearing NO FRUIT, what does that mean?
One of two things:
Either we are not attached to the Vine at all, or our attachment to the Vine has in some way been blocked, so that the sap isn’t flowing into us. It may be that there is someone here this morning who has no attachment to Christ - you have never received Him into your life as your personal Savior and Lord. I would urge you to get attached to Him this morning by faith (Jn. 1:12) Because the branches that remain unattached, the Gardener takes away, or as Jesus said in vs. 6, "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire and they are burned."
But it may be that you ARE attached to Christ, but you have been going through a period of "fruitlessness," because something has blocked your flow of God’s Spirit.
What blocks our fellowship with Christ?
When we continue in flagrant sin and refuse to repent, the Gardener has to pick us up off the ground, clean us off, remove the blockage, and put us back on the trellis.
IF we are in Christ and not bearing fruit we have to see what is blocking the flow. Much like when there is a problem of circulation we may need a bypass, a stint, or our arteries cleaned out. The same in our spiritual condition, what is blocking the Spirit’s work in us? Now it would not necessarily be a good thing to have a bypass, because that is only avoiding dealing with the problem. A stint? Well maybe. But definitely a cleaning out, a purging of sin in our life. (Heb. 12:1)
2. If we are bearing SOME fruit, God wants us to bear MORE fruit.
How does He accomplish this?
By PRUNING us.
How does he prune us?
He may move us
He may have us change jobs
He may even change our neighbors
He moves us out of our comfort zones.
He may even humble us, like he did Jonah, to bring us to someone else.
But the pruning is also like refining us. Bringing us closer to him. Helping us cut away the things that will hinder us. 1 Cor 3:1ff
Using fire to refine us, discipline to strengthen us.
because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
When God prunes us we can either grow from it or complain. Paul saw his gain in the worldly as loss before God, and his loss in the worldly as gain before the Lord.
Attitude of little boy and the boat.
He Prunes us to Grow.
So where are we in relation to the Vine?
Are we connected? If not, we must give ourselves over to Christ