15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
1. In Christ we become the branches
God has always been interested in seeing fruit come from His garden.
So Jesus steps on to the scene and makes the claim that He is the true vine. What a shocking statement that must have been to Jewish ears!! Jesus is the representation of God to the nations and His vessel of salvation. He has taken Israel’s place as God’s true planting. Israel was not fruitful vine. God has always been eager to see fruit come from His garden…and the true vine produces branches.
2. God prunes or cuts off branches, it is our choice.
He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. (NIV)
The gardener (the Father) cuts off branches that do not bear fruit, and prunes the branches that bear fruit, so that there will be even more fruit.
This is what one vineyard owner wrote on his website:
During the cold winter months, gardeners pore over seed catalogues and dream of the frost-free days ahead when they can sharpen up the secaturs and head outside to prune the roses. However, in the vineyard it’s a different story. As the vines lay dormant in their winter sleep, pruning begins as early as December. The viticulturalist…faces the bitter cold (to participate in the) vital pruning process.
Pruning, which is quite simply the cutting back of dead wood and superfluous plant growth, is the single most important step in vineyard management. Pruning saves a cultivated vine from self-destruction. Left alone, it would simply reproduce until it killed itself. The seemingly aggressive act of pruning allows the vine to maintain a healthy vigour and achieve its best crop potential.
Later in the summer they write: We’re currently in the initial stages of canopy management, reducing and establishing the potential crop load and opening the canopy to allow for better sun exposure as the fruit matures later in the season. The shoot growth has been phenomenal and we’re accelerating our pace thinning and controlling excess shoots and suckers. There’s a lot of sucker growth at the bottom of the vines that must be removed and it’s also important that that we remove unwanted fruiting shoots that could cause shading. We’re also cultivating the ground to stimulate growth. This is the time when vines are growing the quickest and are in their most aggressive growth stage. In this heat you can practically watch them develop – they’ve been growing two inches a day!
Wow…the gardener prunes the branches to protect itself from self-destruction and to produce aggressive growth. The Father does this for us.
The Greek word for ‘pruned’ here is kathairo and is similar to the word ‘clean’ in verse 3: (NIV) You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. The Greek word for ‘clean’ is katharos. There seems to be a relationship with being clean and being pruned.
3. Pruned branches produce fruit, mainly for others . (disciples)
Definition of disciple. 1 : one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another: such as. a Christianity
Have you thought much about your purpose in God’s vineyard?
What’s the goal of our life: comfort or bearing fruit? Let’s look at verse 8 again: This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. God is more interested in you producing fruit, than your comfort. That is why He prunes us! And pruning hurts!! It’s not comfortable! The goal of our life should be bringing glory to the Father by bearing fruit.
Do you need more proof…let’s look at
What exactly is this fruit that we are to bear? I believe that there are at least two kinds of fruit: inward and outward.
Inward fruit has to do with our character and becoming more like Christ.
(NIV) 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. God wants to produce these into your character and that takes pruning!
Outward fruit has to do with sharing Christ with others…
(NIV) All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth.
We are called to bear fruit! Listen to what God says about fruit bearing in the NT:
(NIV) Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.
(NIV) Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.
Conclusion: Let’s not forget Jesus claim to be the true vine.
1. The vine produces branches
2. The gardener prunes branches
This gives us a great opportunity to discuss how we should live with one another. You see, as Christians, we are not each other’s enemy. We each have special fruit that we can produce. Some of us may make purple grapes, while others make green ones. Some may make those tiny, delicious champagne grapes, and others produce giant, juicy red ones. Yet if we work against one another, we twist our tendrils around one another, preventing some from growing. If they are not making grapes the way we are, then we think they must be doing it wrong. So we try to grow over them, blocking their sunlight, choking them off.