Summary: On Labor Day many of us receive a day off from work to relax and reflex back on our labors. How would Jesus rate the fruits of our labor?
The Fruits of Our Labor
This Labor Day holiday, we need to take a look at the labors of our lives and see what importance Jesus places on labor. When we think of labor we naturally think about the many hours that we put in at our place of work. The fruit of this labor sets the standards of our lifestyle. Jesus was more concern about another kind of fruit.
Jesus knew His time on earth with His disciples was short and He still had some important teachings that they needed to hear. Jesus ate the Passover meal, the Last Supper, with His disciples. He told Judas to do what he had to do and told Peter that he would deny Him three times. The disciples must have been feeling really down by this time. They were about to lose their Messiah. Jesus had one more important lesson for them and for us. He said, "Come now; let us leave." He leads them to a garden on the way to the Mount of Olives. During their walk they pass a grape vineyard and Jesus stops. The eleven disciples gather around Him and Jesus begins to speak.
1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.
2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.
4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
Are you producing fruit and if so how much? We have four baskets set on the table with fruit. Today we are going to learn how much fruit we produce and how to produce much fruit.
I don’t know how much you know about grapes vines, so let me give you a little gardening lesson. The part that is called the vine is the thick woody part that comes up from the roots. If this was a tree we would call it the trunk. The vine is the lifeblood to the grapevine. All the nourishment travels from the roots through the vine and then to the branches. The branches are the offshoots that bear the grapes. Not all branches will produce fruit. The branches will have to be pruned. The branches of a grapevine will produce an abundance of leaves. With so many leaves, sunlight cannot get to the clusters of grapes and the clusters will not mature. So the branches has to be pruned by cutting off most of the leaves allowing the grapes to grow and mature. The more you prune the branches the larger the yield of fruit.
Now that you know how to produce much grapes, what is Jesus trying to teach us?
In verse one Jesus says that He is the vine. Those who have accepted Him as their Savior and Lord are the branches. All nourishment comes through Him. There are several passages in the Bible that tells us that we can do nothing except through Jesus Christ. Without the Vine (Jesus) we cannot survive. Unless we have accepted Jesus as our Savior we are dead. Those who have not accepted Christ are not branches on the vine. Only those who have accepted Jesus Christ are branches on the true vine. Verses one and two tell us that God, our Father, is the gardener. He cuts off every branch that bears no fruit.
Let’s look into the first basket. There isn’t any fruit in it. What happened? God cut this branch off because it wasn’t producing fruit. Some scholars teach that this branch that produces no fruit refers to the unbelievers, but this cannot be so. First of all unbelievers cannot be a part of the vine. Only believers abide in Christ. Other scholars teach that these Christians that produces no fruit loses their salvation and we know this is not true because of Ephesians 2:8-9.