Summary: We have life in our connection to Jesus. In that life we bear fruit that he produces in us for the benefit of others.
1. Harmonica Story: A young American engineer was sent to Ireland for a year. When he left, his fiancé gave him a harmonica. She said, "I want you to learn to play this: it will help to keep your mind off those Irish girls."
He wrote to her often and told he her that he was practicing his harmonica every night. After a year she met him at the airport, he grabbed her to kiss her and she pushed back and said, "Wait before you kiss me, I want to hear you play the harmonica."
The girl knew that the man’s love would be reflected in what he did. If he’d done what he’d promised – she’d know it by his actions.
2. John 15.1-11
3. God has used several symbols to represent his people and his relationship to his people – olive tree – indestructible quality (we are grafted into this metaphor through the actions of Yeshua (Jesus) and our faith in him – Romans 11); also the Vineyard –
7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts
is the house of Israel,
and the men of Judah
I. The True Vine – Yeshua (Jesus)
If I had been making up this parable/illustration, I would have had God as the vine and Yeshua as the “Branch” (a Messianic title) and the Disciples as the fruit – but that is not what He did – Yeshua (Jesus) is the Vine; WE are the branches; and the Father is the vineyard owner/dresser of the vine; which produces fruit
A. As the Vine Yeshua (Jesus) is the Source of:
1. Life – attached to roots, source of nourishment/water
a. God always turns water to wine through the vine
b. Yeshua turned water to wine miraculously in Cana
c. Dionysius was said to have turned water to wine on his birthday (annually)
a. Through the branches – connected to the vine – connected to the roots
b. No fruit = no connection or blockage of sin
c. SOME fruit brings cleaning/pruning to produce more – painful process for us
B. As the Vinedresser the Father
1. Cleans the vine – by the word Yeshua speaks (v. 3)
2. Lifts the vine/takes away (v. 2)
3. Four possible meanings:
• Lift up/pick up as Simon lifting the cross of Yeshua (Jesus)
• Lift up figuratively as eyes or voice (John 4.35)
• Lift to carry away
• Lift to remove
4. Unproductive is thrown away (v. 6)
a. Baptism of fire (Luke 3.16)
b. Lake of fire (Revelation 2.10)
c. Gehenna (Mark 9.48)
d. Coming judgment – Luke 12.49-50
“I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!
5. God is honored by our fruit production – v. 8
II. The True Branches – The Disciples
A. The Necessity of Being Connected to the Vine (Yeshua) – 15.4-6
A missionary in Africa lived in in a facility which had a small generator to supply current for his church and his small house. Some natives from an outlying mission came to visit the pastor. They noticed the electric light hanging from the ceiling of his living room. They watched wide-eyed as he turned the little switch and the light went on. One of the visitors asked if he could have one of the bulbs. The missionary, thinking he wanted it for a sort of trinket, gave him one of the extra bulbs.
On his next visit to the outlying mission, the missionary stopped at the hut of the man who had asked for the bulb. Imagine his surprise when he saw the bulb hanging from an ordinary string. He explained that one needed to have electricity and a wire to bring the current to the bulb.
We may share an understanding smile at the innocence of the African native, (P) but we may not be much better. In our text for today, Jesus tells a story about the importance of our connection to the true source of life and the true source of power.
B. There Is No Life Apart from Him
1. Enamored with many things that are alluring but disappointing -- There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. Proverbs 16.25
2. An example
The spending habits of the American public illustrate our priorities. One survey taken a few years back showed the American mentality. We spent 16 billion dollars for amusements, 2 billion for travel, 325 million for pet food, 304 million for chewing gum, and 76 million for lipstick. During the same period, the total given for foreign missions by all Protestant churches of the United States was said to be only 145 million dollars—less than half of what Americans spent on chewing gum. If these figures are only reasonably accurate, isn’t it evident to you and me that people are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God? (Contributed to Sermon Central by James O. Davis)