Summary: John 15’s teaching of the need to be connected to Christ
“Weeding the Garden”
Intro: What would you think of a farmer like that one in the skit? Sometimes farmers can be pretty stupid. I know I’ve done some foolish things in planting a garden. My gardens haven’t always done very well. This year I got very little out of it. Last year I planted both squash and cantaloupe, and it cross-bred giving me “squasheloupes”. All it takes is one trip out to Ron Smithson’s patch to show me what a poor farmer I am. Did you ever stop to think that the Christian life is a lot like planting a garden.
We see the idea of the Christian life being tied to a garden in John 15.
Read 15:1-17 -- Pray
Background: We have just read in John 13 & 14 the events of the last supper. Very possibly at this time Jesus is traveling with his disciples, going from the Kidron Valley to the Mount of Olives, where he will pray and be betrayed. They may have looked up at the temple wall and seen the large gold vine, the symbol of Israel, displayed so prominently on the wall. And Jesus gives them some lessons about relationships. He teaches them about their relationships to Christ, to each other, and to the world. This morning we will talk about the first: our relationship to Christ.
I. God’s Plan is that We Bear Fruit.
Vs. 16 - we are appointed to go and bear fruit.
The Jew was very familiar with grape arbors, and that is the idea presented here of the vine. Really the analogy could carry over for our culture of a fruit tree.
Sometimes we focus on being a pretty tree, or having a nice sign or a little picket fence around our tree. Sometimes we focus on being a big tree. But what God really wants is FRUIT. The analogy here is to the Christian life. Our lives are to bring forth fruit. This comes through an internal heart change.
Peter tells women in 1 Pet. 3:3 - Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
You might ask me: what is this fruit?
Is it the fruit of the Spirit?
Gal. 5:22 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Or maybe is it the fruit of the light - Eph. 5:9 - for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth
Or maybe is it the idea of winning other souls for Christ - Ps. 126:6 - He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. Pr. 11:30 - He that winneth souls is wise.
Or maybe is it the idea of a righteous life - Phil. 1:11 - filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ--to the glory and praise of God.
And the answer is YES - all of the above. The idea here is that our lives should be filled with fruit that brings praise to our God. If God would look at our lives this morning, what would he see? Would he see a tree loaded with good fruit, or would he see branches with no fruit, or would he see scrawny, gnarly fruit?
So, how does this fruit come in our lives? I’m glad you asked. This passage has the answer. First it starts by being connected to the right kind of vine. Matt. 7 tells us a bad tree cannot bring forth good fruit. Verse one here tells us “I am the true vine.” This is the idea of being the original vine, the genuine vine, not an imitation. I was out at the florist the other day and was looking at some beautiful mums. In talking about them, the florist said they’ll never bloom again: they are hothouse mums. They have to bee hardy mums to bloom again. Jesus said he was a good, true vine. He was a vine that could produce good fruit.
Good fruit comes from what we have in our hearts. Luke 6:45 - 45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
Verse 5 gives us the key for fruitful lives. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit. Abiding in Christ is the key for fruitfulness. Verse 7 tells us If you remain in me and my words remain in you. I think the idea expressed here is obedience. It’s not so much a question of whether you can quote a scripture verse or whether you know the truth; it’s a matter of doing that which Christ calls us to. A verse we focused on in Family Fun Adventure - from Galatians - Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.