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The Way of the Vine (2)

Footsteps of the Rabbi 40 day discoery  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The Way of the Vine

Remain in Christ and experience his purpose, his love, and his friendship even in persecution.


When I was a boy, I lived in the Central Valley of California. It was truly the land of fruits and nuts. We lived for a time in a rented home on a farmstead in a grove of plum trees. But I remember the smells of the summer - plums, oranges, peaches, and grapes everywhere. I learned a lot by watching a Japanese-American (not sure of the name), who worked the land. He would happily go to work with three boys trailing along behind him. He taught us how to do some pretty cool things - like catching lizards, finding and eating water chestnuts, and how to divert irrigation flows. It was fun to walk barefoot down the hot rows of sandy earth and then feel the cool rush of the water coming down to water the crops.
We learned something about viniculture too. Sun-Maid raisins are processed in the area. In those days, the freshly cut grapes would be laid out to become raisins in the outdoors. It was a marvel to see and also a wonder to smell the fruits.
What I remember less is the work of pruning. It is arguably the most important part of the process, but it doesn’t get much press or publicity. Harvest gets all the glory, but it is set up by the pruning.
Today, as we look at we want to learn the secrets of the vine so that we can bear much fruit.

1. Remain in Christ and Bear Fruit (1-8)

John 15:1–8 NIV
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 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. “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. 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. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
We must remain in Christ. to bear fruit.
Have you observed the difference between plants that have been pruned (2) and those that have not? Have you observed a pruning effect within your own life? How has that affected you?
meno - to remain in Christ.
What is the link between answered prayers and remaining in Christ? (7, 16)
The remaining is mutual. We remain in Christ and he remains in us.
When we remain in Christ, fruit is a by-product. Keep in mind that the active word here is “remain”.
The NIV Application Commentary: John The Vine and the Branches (15:1–17)

Discipleship is not just a matter of acknowledging who Jesus is; it is having Jesus spiritually connected to our inner lives.

Psalm 80:7–9 NIV
7 Restore us, God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved. 8 You transplanted a vine from Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. 9 You cleared the ground for it, and it took root and filled the land.
The NIV Application Commentary: John The Vine and the Branches (15:1–17)

Discipleship is not just a matter of acknowledging who Jesus is; it is having Jesus spiritually connected to our inner lives.

What are the ways that the Father showed his love for Jesus? How does this serve as a model for the ways that we should love one another? Look up “love” in a concordance and share your results here.
The NIV Application Commentary: John The Vine and the Branches (15:1–17)

Discipleship is not just a matter of acknowledging who Jesus is; it is having Jesus spiritually connected to our inner lives.

Discipleship is not just a matter of acknowledging who Jesus is; it is having Jesus spiritually connected to our inner lives.
Read and and record some insights into how to endure the persecution Jesus talks about in .
Gary M. Burge, John, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2000), 418.Jesus Christ is the vine and we are the branches.
The vineyard theme runs throughout the OT. The Vines were the Jews, the chosen people of God and they were planted in the land of Israel.
Jesus Christ is the vine and we are the branches.
Jesus is saying that place and position are not the real identity of God’s people. The real identity is in a person - Jesus Christ.
2 Kinds of Pruning:
Dead branches are cut off and burned.
Fruitful branches are pruned so that they can bear much fruit.
Friends, this is the way of suffering. Something that people from all times and all places work to avoid. But it is part of the reality of life after the fall. Suffering comes to us.
We’ll look at suffering that comes from the hand of our enemy in a few moments, but there is another kind of pruning that comes from a loving Father.
It lets sun into the fruit-bearing branches. It limits the life-giving sap to the fruit.
So what does pruning look like?
It is different for each person. But think of the things that keep you from bearing fruit in your life. Are there things that you need to allow the gardener to prune? He doesn’t need your permission, but he loves it when we don’t fight the process.
What is in your life that doesn’t produce fruit?
Just as we cannot bear fruit on our own, neither can we prune ourselves by our own strength and will. Invite the Father to be the gardener and remove those things.

2. Remain in Christ’s Love and Love One Another (9-17)

John 15:9–17 NIV
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 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. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. 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. 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. This is my command: Love each other.
the center of this discourse is bracketed by the command to love (12, and 17).
1 John 4:11–12 NIV
11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
Friendship is spoken of Abraham and Moses. This friendship speaks of the highest relationship possible between God and a human being. This friendship isn’t ours to create, it is Christ who initiates the friendship.
Those who remain in Christ and in his love are those who share in a deep friendship where the will of God is known and experienced. (by the Holy Spirit).
IL: God Friended Me - TV show. acts of service and demonstrations of love.
Answered Prayer: (7, 16)
It is no wonder then that people in such a relationship deeply understand the will of the Father. They are the ones whose prayers are answered. It is not so much based on the friendship, but the friendship gives insights into the will of God.
People who don’t remain in Christ have requests that don’t reflect the will of God. And those prayers aren’t answered.
Do your prayer requests reflect your will or the will of the Father?

3. Remain in Christ and Expect Persecution (18-25)

John 15:18–25 NIV
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’
If you are friends with God, you won’t be friends with the world.
Matthew 5:10–12 NIV
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
1 Peter 4:12–19 NIV
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
response to persecution:
recognize that it is a privilege.
rejoice in it with pride
continue to do good.
Don’t be surprised (


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