Summary: Remaining and having the opportunity to bear good fruit are the promises we have because Christ is the True Vine.
“The True Vine” – I AM series
February 23, 2003
Purpose: Remaining and the opportunity to bear good fruit are the promises we have because Christ is the True Vine.
Have you known the agony of not doing the right thing?
Have you ever thought, “I ought to do this or that” only to forget all about it?
Have you ever promised yourself that you’ll never say something or do something only to
blurt it out or do it anyway?
Have you ever thought “I can’t change – I’ll always act like this”?
Have you fallen into the trap of comparing yourself to others?
Have you ever thought, “At least I’m not like that guy down the street”?
Have you consoled yourself about your failures and shortcomings by making a list of the
obviously huge sins of others.
In the middle of comparing yourself to others have you ever thrown your hands up in
despair and said, “I really am no good”?
What is our problem?
Left to ourselves, we cannot make all the changes we need to make. On our own we cannot keep on doing all that we should do. Let’s face it. Our lives are beyond our control. Without help, we usually will fail to do the right thing.
But we are not alone…God’s people have not CHANGED in thousands of years. In fact, the Jewish prophets described the people of their time as GRAPEVINES gone wild…
Isaiah said… “I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a wine-press as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit (Isaiah 5:1-2 NIV).”
Jeremiah passed along God’s word to the people when he wrote, “I had planted you like a choice vine of sound and reliable stock. How then did you turn against me into a corrupt, wild vine?” (Jeremiah 2:21 NIV).
But Jesus came with a new message about the God’s grapevine…"I am the true vine, and my Father
is the gardener…(John 15:1-8) But what can we learn about a grapevine?
LESSONS FROM A GRAPEVINE
Growing up we had a grapevine that belonged to a neighbor right along our property line. And in watching him, I learned some things about grapes and grapevines…
Grapevines would rather produce shoots and leaves than grapes. They end up looking lush
and green, but ultimately they only good for making decorations.
Grapevines must be pruned radically. The gardener must be merciless, cutting them back
each year as far as he possibly can.
Branches with no fruit must be removed so they don’t draw nutrients away from the grapes.
And fruitful branches must be pruned back to produce even more in the following year.
What we learn about grapevines and how that message from Jesus pertains to us, gives us hope.
It tells us that God doesn’t want to leave us on our own. He wants to be the Gardner who
cares for us and makes us fruitful.
It tells us that God can do in us and through us what we could never do by ourselves.
It tells us that He will make us more and more fruitful – giving us more and more righteous
attitudes and actions.
It tells us that Jesus himself will live in us and God will answer our prayers as we learn to
put the Bible into practice.
You see, this is what our passage is about this morning…God as the great gardener, and Christ as the most excellent vine, want us to remain in the vineyard and to produce good fruit. Remaining and bearing are the two interwoven themes we’re going to look at a little closer.
These two themes "are" closely related because it is only when we abide in Christ that we can truly bear fruit. If we do not abide in Christ we cannot bear fruit and therefore, according to Jesus’ words, we will be cut out off from the vine.
REAMIN (ABIDE) IN CHRIST
Remain (abide) in me, and I in you. Did you know that the word “remain” or "abide" occurs no less than six times in this chapter. In answering the question, “How do we make this “remaining” process happen, this passage provides clues from Jesus himself.”
1. Feed ourselves with the words of Jesus:
Again: "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall
be done for you." The words of Jesus are life. They are the sap that flows from the root up into the branches.
PSALM 1 says…