Summary: As the true vine, Jesus gives us: 1. The essential connection (vs. 1-2 & 4-6). 2. The essential cleansing (vs. 2-3). 3. An essential command (vs. 4). 4. An extraordinary commitment (vs. 7). 5. An excellent conclusion (vs. 8).
Jesus Is the True Vine
Series: The Great I Am
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - March 2, 2014
*Jesus Christ is the great I AM, Lord God Jehovah of the Old Testament. In Exodus 3, the pre-incarnate Christ is the One who spoke to Moses from the burning bush and said His name is "I AM."
*Almost 1,500 years later God the Son humbled Himself to become a man. And as He ministered among His people, Jesus gave us at least 8 "I AM" statements in the Gospel of John:
-"I am the bread of life."
-"I am the light of the world."
-"I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.''
-"I am the door."
-"I am the good shepherd."
-"I am the resurrection and the life."
-"I am the way, the truth and the life."
-And "I am the vine."
*Jesus spoke these "I AM" statements as more evidence that He is the Almighty God of the Old Testament, one with the Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit of God. Today we will finish this series by focusing on the Lord's "I AM" statement in John 15:1-8.
*Jesus said, "I am the true vine." -- What does this mean for us?
1. First: As the true vine, Jesus is our essential connection.
*Listen to the Lord again in vs. 1&2:
1. "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
2. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit."
*Then in vs. 4-6, Jesus said:
4. "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
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."
*The Lord is our essential connection to life. Jesus Christ is our only possible connection to eternal, abundant life! Jesus tells His followers, "I am the vine, you are the branches." And William Barclay helps us understand why it is so important for the branches to be connected to the vine. You see, by themselves the grapevine branches are basically good for nothing. Their wood is too soft for any constructive purpose. At certain times of the year, Jewish law required the people to bring offerings of wood to the Temple. That wood was to be used for the altar fires. But they were not allowed to bring wood from grapevine branches. The only thing that could be done with the cut-off vine branches was to make a bonfire and destroy them. (1)
*That is a picture of life without Jesus. In the long run, we can do nothing worth doing without Jesus, we have nothing worth having without Jesus, and there is no true life in our souls without Jesus. So Jesus Christ is our essential connection to life!
*This connection reminded one Christian friend about people on life support in the hospital, and she told me: "Jesus is our life support." Jesus Christ is our real life support! He is our only source for eternal, abundant life.
*As the true vine, the Lord is our essential connection.
2. And He provides for our essential cleansing.
*Everybody needs the kind of spiritual cleansing we see in today's Scripture. God's Word tells us it involves both purifying and pruning. Jesus talked about these things in vs. 2&3, where He said this to His disciples:
2. "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He (i.e. the Heavenly Father) takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
3. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you."
*There is a whole lot we can understand about salvation in these verses.
 First, it comes through a person: Jesus Christ.
*The only way to be saved is to have a close, personal relationship with Jesus. When we place our trust in Him, we become connected like branches are connected to a vine.
 Salvation comes through a person, and it is provided through the Word of God.
*Again, as Jesus said in vs. 3: "You (i.e. You who are My followers. You who know Me and trust in Me) are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you."
*The Word of God tells us the truth about our sins and salvation: That we must be saved, that we must be born again spiritually, that our sins must be forgiven and washed away, and that we will be saved by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ.