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Summary: True joy comes from being in Christ

The Joy of the Christian Life

John 15:1-11

August 16, 1998

Morning Service


A. The great vine of Hampton Court: There is a grapevine under glass, estimated to be over 1,000 years old, it has only one root - 2ft thick, some of the branches are over 200ft long, it produces tons of grapes each year, some of the smaller branches are over 200 ft from the main stem - they still produce large quantities of fruit - they are still joined with the vine, thus the life of the vine flows to all of the branches,

B. Barb’s grape vines - Large thing of vines, we made gape jelly and grape juice, one of the largest sections had something wrong, it never grew any fruit, Problem = disease in the branches, friend came over - trimmed and prunned the branches, not much was left of the large vine, my siste said it was a lost cause, they left the small vines, the next year they looked a little better but had very little fruit, another year passes and the vine was better still but had little fruit, the last year they owned the house the vine was large and full and had the best fruit - why? because they helped the vine become productive

C. Common Bond: Both of these stories are about vines, they both seem to be about the same thing fruitfulness, they both get their life from the same source the vine,



I. The true vine

A. The role of Jesus

1. The vine imagery: Grapevines are very prolific, Israel associated vines with their faithfulness to God, their fruitfulness in God’s plan for the earth, they were the vine that was well planted and well cared for by God, there was a specific problem - prophetic images = good vines with rotten fruit, Israel looked good but they weren’t fruitful,

2. Jesus is the new and true vine: Jesus is the fulfilment of God’s purpose and plan for humanity and His people, Jesus becomes the source of unity for all believers, it is Christ that becomes the source of life for all people, he is the true vine

B. The role of the Father: The role of the Father is twofold

1. God is the gardener: The NKJV calls God the vinedresser, he works with the vine to make it productive, this takes loving care from the vine dresser, the goal is to make the vine the best it can be with the best fruit it can have

2. The pruning process: The first task in productivity is to prune the unfruitful branches, wild vines are unproductive, they take vital nutrients from the better parts of the vine, thus that which bears no fruit is removed, the second task is to make the good parts of the vine more productive, this increases the fruitfulness

C. Nature of abiding

1. Jesus speaks of a cleansing: Jesus tells the disciples that they are clean, they have been made this way by His words, this is the basic point of salvation, it is here that they are joined with Jesus in the vine, at salvation we also are part of the vine

2. What does it mean to abide?:NIV - remain, still communicates the basic message, Greek term - meno: To dwell or to lodge, to remain in one place, the word is in the form of a command and is a must for Christians, Jesus is calling us to stay in contact with Him, it is this contact that brings fullness to life, the tense also indicates that it is an ongoing act, not just a one time thing, just as with the Spirit - a one time filling does not set us for life

3. Call for fruit: Jesus calls for us to be fruitful, just as a branch has no fruit without the vine, a severed branch can survive and even produce foliage - it can not produce fruit, the branches have a living dependance on th vine, we are to have a living dependance on Jesus Christ, we must remain or abide in Jesus to produce fruit

II. The nature of the vine

A. The positives of remaining

1. We will bear much fruit: Jesus states that we will become fruitful for God is if we remain in Him, we will be connected with the vine that produces good fruit, this is pleasing to God the Father, it also allows us to live the Christian life more deeply, it becomes a part of us, What kind of fruit will we bear? John 15 talks of several kinds of “fruit”, the chapter speaks of answered prayer, joy and love, John may also be refering to the act of infusing others to the vine - soul winning, even another possibility is that he is pointing us to bearing fruit of the Spirit, the most likely is that he is directing us to all of the above, this passage seems to be all inclusive

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