The True Vine Jn 15: 1-10 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
We will study Jesus Christ, the true vine, today and learn some things about him and about ourselves that will help us understand why he used this type to teach us about bearing fruit.
The vine is nothing – Jn 15:1 – look carefully at Ezek 15:1-5. You can’t take any wood from it to do any work. You can’t make a pin from it for hanging things. It is cast into the fire for fuel. It is meet for no work. Isn’t strange that Jesus, the Son of God, would compare himself to a vine? Well, not really. In Jn 5:30 he said, “I can of mine own self do nothing.”Phil 2:7 says that he made himself of no reputation. Speaking prophetically through David in Ps 22:6 he said, “I am a worm and no man.” He had no form nor comeliness [Is 53:2]. And following his crucifixion, he went to hell [Acts 2:27; Ezek 15:4].
Therefore, the branches are nothing – Jn 15:5 – Jesus said, “… for without me ye can do nothing.” We must be constantly reminded that we are nothing. Paul knew that he was nothing [2 Cor 12:11] and that he had nothing to glory of [1 Cor 9:16]. We need to be careful to remember that we are nothing [Gal 6:3]. Otherwise, we are deceived.
The Father is the only one who is something – Jn 15:1 – he is the husbandman. The fruit is for him. He is the one who cares for the vine. He is the one who takes away branches. He is the one who purges it. He is the one who is glorified by the fruit of it. If it weren’t for the Father, there would be no vine or branches [Jn 3:16].
The Father desires fruit – Jn 15:2, 8 – Jesus is his vine and we are his branches. The sole purpose of the vine and the branches is to bear fruit. In the capacity of branches, we serve no other purpose. That’s what the Father wants. And the fruit is not “our” fruit; it’s his. Our fruit, the fruit of our flesh and efforts, would be evil, compared to his fruit [Matt 7:16-20]. His fruit, produced on his vine, is good. Notice that we don’t make the fruit or produce the fruit; we simply “bear” it. The vine and the husbandman do all the work. We just yield to their work.
We bear fruit through:
- Purging – Jn 15:2 – this is the husbandman’s process of pruning.
- Being clean – Jn 15:3 – a clean vine is a vine that is not carrying any disabling diseases. It is free from viruses and fungal and bacterial pathogens. The word of God cleans us.
- Abiding – Jn 15:4-7 – to abide means to remain constant in some relationship. So, to abide in Jesus is to remain in constant, unbroken fellowship with him. Picture the vine and the branches. The branches must remain connected to the vine to bear fruit. That’s why Jesus said, “… for without me ye can do nothing.” As soon as we think we are something, we cut off the supply of the vine to our branch. We are totally and absolutely dependent upon the vine to bear fruit.
- Obeying – Jn 15:7, 9-10 – it is impossible to bear fruit without the words of God abiding in us and it is impossible to bear fruit without obeying those words.
- Praying – Jn 15:7 – prayer is what keeps us in communion with the Lord so that he can bear his fruit in us. Harley Keck said, “I have found that I can get much more done through prayer than I can through action.”
- Loving – Jn 15:9-10 – love is like the sap that flows through the vine and branches. The root picks up nutrients and moisture and delivers them through the vine into the branches and from the branches into the fruit. Paul said that without charity our work is absolutely worthless [1 Cor 13:1-3]. We are motivated to do God’s will as a result of God’s love in us.
Conclusion: the reason for our fruitlessness these days is not due to the fact that we are weak in our work; it is due to the fact that we are weak in our relationship to the vine. We need purging; God is trying to remove stuff that we don’t want him to remove. We need to be cleaned by the word, but we are spending so little time in it. We need to abide constantly in the Lord, but we are so preoccupied with so many other things. We need to obey his words, but we prefer our own way. We need to spend much more time in earnest prayer, but we say we are too busy. And we need to love God and spend time in the love of God, but we have become lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God [2 Tim 3:4]. We must drop to our knees and confess to the Lord where we have wronged him in these things. We must submit to his purging and willingly let go of those things that hinder his ability to bear fruit in our lives.