Summary: We can sometimes be fooled by people who claim to be Christians but really have no relationship with Christ, but Jesus revealed a way that we could identify true believers.

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Text: John 15:1 – 8


• When I was a kid I used to watch a game show called “To Tell the Truth”

• Three contestants appeared, all claiming to be the same person, and a panel of judges had to guess who was the real person by that name

• Sometimes they would fool the judges, sometimes they wouldn’t

• I saw a statistic that startled me the other day…according to some sources, it is estimated that 33% of the population of the world are Christians

• That means that one out of every three people you know would be Christians

• I don’t know about you, but with all the crime, war, and hate going on around us, I think that the actual percentage is probably much lower

• Just like those judges on “To Tell the Truth”, we can sometimes be fooled by people that say that they are Christians but really aren’t, but if you hang around them long enough, there is a sure fire way of knowing if they are for real

• There is an identifying mark of true discipleship revealed to us by Jesus in this scripture

• Judas had gone to betray Christ

• Jesus had just completed the last supper, washed the disciples feet, and was on his way to Gethsemane when He passes by a grapevine

• He uses an allegory to reveal the mark of true discipleship, comparing Judas with the other 11

I. The Picture (vv. 1, 5a)

A. The Father is the husbandman (OE for “farmer” or “gardener”)

• A farmer that planted and kept a vineyard worked hard to produce his crop

o Dug soil and cleared of stones

o Built a wall to keep out animals

o Built a lodging place to live in during harvest

o Built a watchtower and winevat

o Pruned the vines

o Hoed the ground

o Thinned and supported fruit clusters

o Irrigated the crop

• It was so much work that Deuteronomy 20:6 exempted a man from military service if he had planted a vineyard and had not enjoyed its fruit

• The Father has invested a lot of time, energy, and resources on us to help us to grow and to develop into the Christians that He wants us to become

B. Jesus is the vine (v. 1)

• Vines were usually allowed to lie along the ground or to fall over terraces, but sometimes they were raised above the ground with sticks or supported on poles

John 3:14, 15 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

• Jesus the Vine was raised up for us on the cross of Calvary

• He said He was the “true” or “genuine” vine, meaning that His way was the only way to salvation, as opposed to the religious leaders who trusted in their works or heritage

John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

• If you want eternal life, you must go to the one and only Source of life – Jesus Christ

C. True believers are the branches (v. 5)

• There is only one Vine – but from Him come many branches

Romans 12:5 “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.”

• Doesn’t matter if we are black or white, American, German, or Norwegian, educated or non-educated, rich or poor, tall or short, fat or skinny, male or female, if you are saved you are an offshoot of the same Vine that I am on – Jesus Christ

II. The Proof (vv. 2 – 5)

• THE mark of a true believer is fruit

• In Scripture fruit refers to:

o Spiritual virtues

Galatians 5:22, 23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance…”

o Good works (Colossians 1:10)

 “Fruitfulness is the result of the Son’s life being reproduced in a disciple.” – Bible Knowledge Commentary

o Praise to God (Hebrews 13:15)

 Testimonies, poems, drama, singing, playing instrument

o Giving (Romans 15:28)

o Winning souls (Romans 1:13)

 Apple trees produce apples; pear trees produce pears; “Christian” plants should produce “Christians”

• In order to bring forth fruit, the branches must:

A. be pruned (v. 2)

• Pruning means to cut off useless or undesirable parts

• This speaks of the process of sanctification, in which the believer is made more and more like Christ

2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV) “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

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