Summary: Exposition of John
Text: John 15:1-8, Title: The Vineyards of Tifton 2: The Vinedresser, Date/Place: NRBC, 7/14/13, AM
A. Opening illustration:
B. Background to passage: part two in three part series about the vine, vinedresser, and branches. Jesus speaks about the Father’s role in spiritual fruit production and growth—the vinedresser, gardener, husbandman. He is the beginning and the end. And this is very important to how we perceive our own spiritual growth
C. Main thought:
A. He is the Overseer
1. In the cultural and biblical context, the vinedresser is one who oversees the entire process of the operation of the vineyard so that fruit is produced. Summer, fall, winter, and spring, he is found in the garden, inspecting and tending to the needs of the vines. Isaiah depicts him as spading, clearing, planting; others speak of fertilizing, tilling, and watering; Jesus mentions pruning and removing. The vinedresser with great care takes care of it all. From start to finish He take care of the vines, trellises, and branches to ensure that there is fruit.
2. Pro 16:9, 33, 20:24, 21:1, Jer 10:23, Isa 46:10, Dan 4:35,
3. Illustration: Providence: God cooperates, governs, directs all things and all their actions and their properties to act the way they do to bring about and accomplish His purposes. I once knew a young man who played second base on our travel baseball team who was convinced that a certain young lady would be his bride, and yet she was not so convinced. He wrestled with whether or not he/they could miss the will of God for their lives if she didn’t figure it out?
4. Isn’t it a comfort to know that God is overseeing every part of His world from the hairs on your head to the sparrow that might fall from a tree that no one will ever know about. From the toppling of world regimes to the toppling of your bank account, God is large and in charge. No one can restrain His hand, nor thwart His will. You say, “Pastor, how does that work? Don’t I make decisions?” Doesn’t the vine grow around the limbs or the trellis or the towers crevices? Yes, but the Lord somehow works in every decision, even down to the will of man, to accomplish His plan, but in a way that does not violate that will. We must be careful how far we take every metaphor or illustration, because we are not able to capture all the intricacies of an infinite God in a finite example. They are all limited, and have a particular point. The point is not to explain every detail of God’s sovereignty, but to note it. He IS over all, rest assured.
B. He is the Remover
1. The next thing that Jesus says about the Father’s involvement in our spiritual fruit production is that He removes. The Vinedresser keeps the vines and trellises clean. So he goes through in the springtime looking for branches that are only superficially attached to the vine. There will be branches that have fresh shoots and flower clusters, and then there will be branches with nothing. They have an external attachment to the vine, but no true life of the vine pulsating in them, so no fruit is produced. And so he would walk down rows and take them off, dropping them on the ground awaiting the hired hands to come by and gather them up and haul them off to the fire pit.
3. Illustration: I love to see my garden after the plants have grown up enough to use the tiller, and I work all afternoon, get all the weeds out, and it is clean. Judas is the perfect example of one with an outward attachment to the church, “Fruitfulness is the infallible mark of true Christianity; the alternative is dead wood.” –D. A. Carson, “All true believers, those who abide in Christ and He in them, will bear spiritual fruit, there is no such thing as a fruitless Christian…true branches, through whom the life of the vine flows, cannot ultimately fail to produce fruit” –MacArthur,
4. There have always been, and always will be, people that are associated with the church that are not true believers. The may be members. They may come regularly. They may serve in positions. They may come to additional functions of the church. Remember the lives of the Pharisees. There are plenty of people who are here on Sundays, and put on well, whose lives do not reflect the lifeblood of Christ abiding in them transforming them into His image. At home and work you are mean and grouchy; you won’t forgive and hang on to grudges; your life looks just like your unbelieving coworkers and neighbors except for your Sunday routine—you treat your spouse the same, spend your money the same, pray for the same things, to make your life better. You desires are not really for Him, no longing for Him, worship is a chore and a burden, bible reading is a bore, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, love for His glory don’t show up. Where is the fruit? A fruitless life leads to hell!