“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
(John 15:1-5 ESV)
[The following scripture passages and questions are here to guide you in your thinking. The questions are not answered. If you are truly seeking, you will sense God guiding you. You will see and understand those things which are most needful for you. And, most importantly, you will know that God cares for you.]
I am the true vine
Israel was the vine of Jehovah; but they failed [see Isaiah 5:1-7] to bring about that living unity and fellowship between God and men that has been effected in Christ. Christ is the true center of unity, the source of true vine-life, uniting the branches to Himself as one complete whole. The Preacher’s Complete Homiletical Commentary
My Father is the Vinedresser
There two types of branches in Christ:
The branch that does not bear fruit: the Heavenly Father takes away
Question: What is the goal of the Vinedresser concerning the Vine?
Question: What is the evidence that a person is a false believer?
The branch that does bear fruit: the Heavenly Father prunes that it may bear more fruit.
Question: How does pruning cause the fruitful branch to produce more fruit?
Question: Is divine pruning painful for the believer?
Question: Does divine pruning harm the believer?
Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12 ESV)
There is a pruning effect of the Word of God. Much of the believer’s pruning is done through study of the Bible. When the believer realizes he is living contrary to the Bible, he has to confess his sin and receive the Lord’s cleansing.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(1 John 1:9 ESV)
The Lord is “faithful” because He loves the believer. The Lord is “just” because the believer’s sin was paid for on the Cross. The salvation of the believer is never at stake. It is the failure to abide in the Lord, to stay in fellowship with Him, that is the issue. The confessing believer is cleansed from “all” unrighteousness. He is immediately restored to fellowship with the Lord, a state of abiding in Him. An example of this is the disobedient child whose loving father corrects and restores to fellowship. The child’s birthright and heritage is never in question.
Question: Sometimes a child must receive discipline before he turns from his disobedience. (True or False)
Question: Sometimes just a word will correct a disobedient child. (True or False)
Question: If the believer disregards Bible teaching, will there be consequences? (Yes or No)
Abide in me, and I in you.
We cannot be severed from Christ, our covenant head, when once we are truly united to Him for salvation; but we may cease to abide in Him for the supply of grace and power in ministry. Through the Bible Day by Day, F. B. Meyer
When a branch is severed from a grape vine, it can not produce grapes. The vine is the source of all that the branch requires to produce grapes. Apart from the vine, the branch is worthless. Many church members are worthless in regards to the purpose of God. They live no differently than non-church members. Not only do they not contribute to the growth and well-being of the church, they are the reason for the church’s lack of growth and the cause of disruption within it.
Question: What must a church member do to not be worthless in God’s sight and to be a blessing to the church?
Question: Define the word “abide.” Use a dictionary if you need to.
For apart from me you can do nothing.
Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil.
(Jeremiah 13:23 ESV)
The believer can not change himself. He must look to Jesus, confess his sins, and live in fellowship with Him. It is only by abiding in Jesus that we can be changed and become fruitful.
Abide in me, says the Lord, and I will be in thee strength in thy weakness, love in thy lovelessness, grace and beauty in thy uncomeliness. “From me is thy fruit found,” Hos_14:8. Through the Bible Day by Day, F. B. Meyer
Question: Where is the Lord Jesus Christ in your life? Are you abiding in Him?
Question: If you are not abiding in Him, how are you doing?
If you are not where you should be in your Christian walk, the reason is that you are not looking to Jesus, the author and the finisher of your faith. Turn back to Him. Confess your sins. Live in your renewed fellowship with Him.
If you are not a believer and are sick of the life you have, turn to Jesus. Confess to him in prayer that you are a sinner. Ask him to come into your life as your Savior and Lord. If you make such a prayer, contact me. I want to be praying for you and to help you in any way I can to know Jesus better and to have the abundant life he gives to those who trust in him.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.