Summary: Exposition of John
Text: John 15:1-8, Title: The Vineyards of Tifton: The True Vine, Date/Place: NRBC, 7/8/13, AM
A. Opening illustration: the Piedmont Ecology class that I used to teach at BJP at NC Weslyan, Sept vines
B. I want to begin a three (or maybe four) part mini-series through this power-packed passage that Jesus gives on the vine and the branches. It is called the Vineyards of Tifton, and it will focus on the three main aspects of this teaching—the Vine, the Vinedresser, and the branches. The passage is rich, as so much of this “farewell address” has been, and so we will mine it for the truth about who these three metaphors represent, and what roles they all have in the kingdom and in our lives.
C. Background/Overview to passage: Having just taught on the coming of the Holy Spirit as the Strengthener that would come alongside the disciples and be there other Jesus, He tells them they are leaving the upper room because the evil one is coming. But the “farewell address” as we know it is not finished, in fact we have two more chapters to go (keep in mind Jesus wasn’t speaking in chapters). So they begin walking, probably out of the city toward the Garden of Gethsemane, where chapter 17 and the great “not my will, but thine” passage would take place. While passing through this way, they would have come alongside olive groves and grape vineyards that would have been the physical backdrop for the teaching presented in John 15. The spiritual backdrop is that, as we know and as He has mentioned over and over, He is going away, and the Spirit is coming. But there is much work to be done, and He wants to maintain the relationship that He has with them through the indwelling Spirit (remember He and the Father will make their home in believers through the Spirit), so Jesus knows that this relationship needs to be nurtured once He’s gone, and so He gives us John 15, and the analogy of the vine to express that. So don’t miss the point, which we will focus on more in the last of this three part series—this is how we walk with Jesus and bear fruit to the glory of God. But there is so much to learn about this teaching, it would do the Word of God a great injustice for us to proceed too quickly through it. This is God speaking! Are you ready? Did you come prepared? I also heard a great message week before last about how we approach the preaching event from a church/congregational/believer standpoint called, The Cross and Christian Preaching, and it was awesome in its application. Jim Shaddix, preaching at Brooks Hills Church in Birmingham, AL.
D. Main thought: Today we are going to look at Jesus as the vine
A. He Just Is (v. 1)
1. Jesus begins this teaching with the final of the seven famous “I AM” statements of the book of John. And although there are seven main ones, there are several more in the gospel and in other books of the NT. Read some of Tozer’s thoughts from his chapter on why it is important to think rightly about God. So for a moment or two, let’s think about Jesus. Let’s raise our thoughts about Him. He is the incomprehensible, self-existent, self-sufficient, eternal, infinite, immutable, omniscient, omnipresent, all-wise, all-powerful, absolutely faithful, absolutely good, completely just, fully merciful and infinitely gracious, holy, sovereign, majestic, most loving, most lovely King of kings and Lord of lords! He is higher than the highest thoughts that you can think. He just is! Shear, absolute reality!