Summary: In Jesus’ comparison of the vineyard to the fruitful Christian life, He makes it clear who is responsible for what in the production of fruit.
Oct. 12, 2003 John 15
“In the vineyard”
1. The Vine – Jesus
The church is not the true vine. Jews believed that to be cut off from their religious institutions was just about as bad as it could get. The disciples were going to face being excommunicated from the Jewish synagogue and being rejected by the religious authorities.
This is one of Jesus’ “I am” statements. They point to His identity as God. And as God, Jesus has the capacity to provide all the resources that we could possibly need for us to grow and accomplish the will of the Father.
2. The Vinedresser – the Father
Acts (not passive)
Acts out of passion
Acts can be painful
The disciples were getting ready to go through a pruning period. They were going to have all their pride, self-confidence and self-reliance exposed and stripped away.
The vine cannot refuse (at least not consciously) the working of the vinedresser to help it bear fruit. It has no choice but to abide in the vine. We, as humans, have to accept the pruning process adn choose to abide in the Vine. Like any command of Jesus, we have the option of choosing to disobey. Our choice carries certain consequences.
Acts to produce
3. The Branches – us
Fruit is important
When the Father finds branches that are not producing fruit, He doesn’t bypass them and spend all of His time with those branches that are producing fruit. He works on fruitless branches in order to help them achieve what they were designed for.
Neither the branch spoken of in vs. 2 or vs. 6 is bearing any fruit. Because they are not bearing any fruit, the vinedresser pays special attention to them. Now, He responds to the two fruitless branches in different ways, and we’ll talk about the reason for that in the days ahead. But what I want you to see here is that it is important to the Vinedresser that every branch bear fruit. That’s why He takes the time and is willing to perform sometimes drastic actions. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to keep the whole plant healthy and producing.
Fruit is our purpose
A grapevine only has one purpose – produce grapes. It isn’t meant to provide covering for shade, fuel for fire, lumber for building, or fall foliage for beauty.
You can only have joy as you fulfill your purpose.
Fruit is permanent
+ good character (Gal. 5:22-23)
+ good works (Titus 3:14)
Fruit is a potential – four baskets
In the parable of the sower, Jesus once again illustrated that He expected that His followers would produce fruit, but that each one would produce differing levels of fruit.
“no fruit” (vs. 2) – empty basket (#1)
+ supply line has become contaminated sin
+ supply line was never connected salvation
Jesus makes it clear what our place in the vineyard is. We are not the vine – the source of life. That means that we are not self-sufficient. We are totally dependent on Jesus. We are not the vinedresser – the one who controls the vine and lovingly tends it in such a way that it will produce fruit. We are not in control of our own lives or anyone else’s. We cannot force fruit to materialize in us or in our world. We are the branches whose only real purpose for existence is to yield to the will of the Father and produce fruit to His glory.