Summary: In God's vineyard we all get cut, and as Christians to bear fruit we sometimes have to make cuts that prune us and cultivate us in order to become more productive christians
You know it seems like Jesus always knew how to put things into perspective, He would teach and use words and examples of things used in everyday life so that people would better understand what He was talking to them about, and the way Jesus taught certainly got folks to thinking. You know what I mean? Jesus put things in a way that allowed people to wrestle with themselves in a way that allowed them to come to their own conclusions about themselves.
Now sometimes it seemed the disciples didn’t quite get it when Jesus would teach this way, and they would have rather had Jesus speak literally and straightforward about everything instead of metaphorically
Now in our scripture today it seems that Jesus was speaking metaphorically and he was using a living daily example that everyone in Judea could relate to. He was talking about vineyards, now just about everyone knew about vineyards, they knew about grapevines just like people in Mississippi know about cotton, cows & pine trees. Even if they had never worked in a vineyard they knew enough about the fruit of the vine to get the message that Jesus was delivering, and that message was that the vine would be pruned and trimmed in order to make it more productive and that every branch would be cut. Jesus is teaching about fruitfulness in regular day-to-day terms with examples that anyone can relate to and these teachings can still resonate with us today.
Let’s look at what it means to be Gods vineyard, and ask ourselves today if during the pruning would I make the cut and remain attached.
It’s pretty obvious that to remain in the vineyard attached to the vine that we must be bearing fruit for the Kingdom. But what does our fruit look like? It’s pretty easy to identify pear trees, apple trees, peach trees, and plum trees, right? Sure it is we know what they are because we see the fruit that they bear. The same holds true for a Christian, we can tell someone is a Christian by the fruit they bear. A Christian would not bear fruit of hate, confusion or discontent , a Christian would bear fruit that showed love, and kindness as a matter of fact the fruit we bear as followers of Christ should resemble what is found in Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
So a fruitful Christian would bear fruit that had all of these qualities wrapped up in one, basically we would try and be like Jesus.
Sometimes I think that we confuse what helps us become fruitful as the fruit itself. You see church attendance, biblical knowledge and stewardship in and of themselves are not fruit but it’s hard to produce good fruit without them. The bottom line is this, the fruit we bear is evident in the way we treat other people.
Have you ever known someone that everyone thinks is a super religious person? They bring their Bible to church every Sunday. As a matter of fact every time you see them they have their bible with them. Anytime you ask for a prayer or a scripture reading they are always the first to stand and they have such beautiful and eloquent prayers. It seems like the subject of religion is always on their mind, in fact almost to a fault. They almost can’t even carry on a conversation without mentioning religion. But when it comes to people that are down in society—the poor, the homeless, the divorced, the alcaholics and drug addicts. They become relentless in their criticism, no mercy or compassion. Judgment and nothing else. After a while despite all these outward appearances of religion and despite everyone calling them a religious person, you have to ask yourself a question. Does this person really bear the fruits of the Christian life?
So you see the issue isn’t how much knowledge you have or how religious you are, the issue is, how you treat other people. If you are in Christ you are part of the true vine and people will see the fruits of your life by your love, compassion and attitude toward others, as a matter of fact your fruit will look a lot like Jesus.
In the scripture today we see that dead and unproductive branches are cut away and burned in the fire and that even branches that bear fruit are pruned so that they may produce more fruit. We all need this in our lives, we need it as Christians and we need it as a church. We all know that all the branches on the vine take nourishment from it even the branches that produce nothing use nourishment that could go toward the producing branches and provide more nutrients for producing fruit. So the vine dresser cuts those unproductive branches away, and prunes the productive branches and they become even more productive. There are two kinds of branches in Gods vineyard those that produce fruit and those that don’t, those that do get trimmed and those that don’t get cut off.