Summary: The call to abide in Jesus Christ and the fruit of our response.

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John 15:1-8

It’s All About Relationship

If there’s one passage of scripture that you memorize and make your own this year, let it be from today’s gospel.

Jesus is saying to you…

Each one of you here today…

Sitting in these pews and to each of our shut-ins, who will be listening to this message…

As he said to His disciples…

“Abide in me as I abide in you.”

Let’s say those words together…

“Abide in me as I abide in you.”

Jesus message for us today, is the same as it was to His disciples.

It’s all about relationship.

“Abide in me as I abide in you.”

Jesus gives us an illustration that we can visualize.

Most of us have probably eaten grapes.

In Jesus’ day, it would have been most certain, as grapes were a major part of the Jewish diet.

Once again, here is Jesus, using something ordinary, grapes, to explain something extraordinary.

Jesus says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower.”

God planted Jesus’ seed.

God nurtured Jesus as the vine.

God tended Jesus’ life as He grew from an infant to an adult and received the power of the Holy Spirit at His baptism.

Jesus’ seed was planted in fertile soil.

Jesus’ life bore much fruit.

Jesus vine was deeply rooted.

Its stem was made strong.

Jesus was able to resist the temptation of the evil one because of the strength of the vine that He was, always in relationship with the Father.

Listen carefully to Jesus’ words.

Jesus does not say “I am the Father.”

Jesus says, “I am the vine. My Father is the vinegrower.”

Jesus is in relationship with God, the Father.

It is because of this relationship, that Jesus was able to perform many miracles of healing.

Listen again, carefully to this scripture.

“He” meaning God, “removes every branch in me” meaning Jesus, “that bears no fruit.”

What this scripture is saying is that even Jesus was pruned by God.

Listen carefully to the next sentence. Jesus is speaking: “Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit.”

Near the end of Jesus’ ministry, remember that all who came to Him were healed.

We received many illustrations of single healings in Jesus’ early ministry.

But at the peak of Jesus’ ministry, Jesus healed the entire crowd.

Now, Jesus is going a step further.

With us….

You and I.

Ordinary people.

We become part of this relationship of the vine and the vine grower.

You and I…

We are the branches.

Remember how strong and secure the vine is….

Planted in fertile soil.

Listen carefully to Jesus’ words….

“I am the vine, you are the branches.

Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit.”

Think about this relationship.

God is the vine grower.

Just as God removed the dead, lifeless branches of Jesus,

He will remove the sin stained, dead branches of us…

the dead branches that produce no fruit….

the complaining….

complaining bears no fruit…

a spirit of unforgiveness…

unforgiveness bears no fruit…

a spirit of lust….

lust bears no fruit.

a spirit of addictions to drugs, alcohol, gambling, foul language, fornication, adultery, stealing….

addictions bear no fruit.

God prunes selfishness from us and self centeredness because those traits bear no fruit…

Here’s the big one for many, many, many people…

God prunes impatience from us, because impatience bears no fruit.

How many car accidents are caused by impatient drivers?

How much anxiety do Americans exhibit because of a need to “have it all now”?

There is a lot to teach a child by having them wait until after dinner to receive a piece of candy.

How impatient we are standing in long lines at the grocery store, the bank, or in traffic jams.

Patience is a hard lesson to learn, but once learned, it removes the spirit of anxiety, and if not removed, anxiety leads to diseases of the stomach, intestine, colon, nerves, brain, and other systems in our body.

The fruits of the spirit are love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, long suffering, and self control.

We receive these fruits because God prunes the opposite off of our dead branches.

God prunes hate, fighting, impatience, ugliness, harshness, mean ness, complaining, and out of control behavior.

God removes those branches which bear no fruit so that the rest of the branch can produce lots of fruit.

Last fall, I went up to my mentor’s son’s house to pick grapes in his vineyard.

Now I had imagined a big basket, and I’d be picking grapes off the vines and putting them into baskets.

Was I fooled.

First of all, when I got there, my eyes scanned the back yard as far as I could see.

Rows and rows and rows and rows and rows and rows and rows and rows of grape vines.

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