Faithlife Sermons

The True Vine

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John 15:1–4 ESV
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 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. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 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.
John 15:1–17 ESV
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 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. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 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. 5 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. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
jn 15 1-4

Jesus is the SOURCE of ENDURING and FRUITFUL LIFE.

Jesus is the SOURCE of ENDURING and FRUITFUL LIFE.

In the OT, Israel was God’s chosen Vine.
They were to be His source of life and to spread His influence throughout the Nations through their obeying of Him and representing Him.
But rather than bearing healthy, God-glorifying fruit, they bore sore, useless fruit that God was forced to destroy.
Isaiah 5:1–5 ESV
1 Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. 2 He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. 3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. 4 What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done in it? When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes? 5 And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.
So in that light, Jesus is the TRUE VINE, what God intended for Israel was accomplished in Jesus.

The Analogy of Grape Vine, Branches, and Gardeners.

You may not be familiar we a vine and branches.
The vine/trunk of the plant is connected to the root system and provides the strength, stability and nourishment for the plant.
Coming off the vine are shoots/branches on which the fruit is produced.
A branch cannot produce fruit if it is not connected to the vine.
This is Jesus’s point.
Jesus is the life source of us as branches.
We do not exists without Him
We do not continue to live with out Him
We do not bear fruit without Him.
Jesus is integral to enduring and fruitful life.
Any other source of life (any other vine) will produce a fruit that is useless.
Our only hope is to stay connected to the VINE, Jesus.

God DIVIDES and God PRUNES

Not only does Jesus introduce himself as the vine, He introduces the Father as the vinedresser, or gardener.
He is the caretaker of the garden and His role is essential to our understanding of what Jesus is saying about Himself in this passage.
CONTEXT:
Jesus and the disciples have just left the upper room
Judas has left to meet with the Jewish leaders.
Jesus is soon to be arrested and be brought to the cross.
He is sharing some of His last words with them
He wants them to know the distinctness of genuine faith (we will get here in a second) ↓↓
AND He wants them to understand the reality and purpose of struggle.
The Gardener:
There are 2 types of branches connected to the Vine.

DIVIDES

IMPORTANT POINT- connected to the vine doesn’t mean they are Christians necessarily. Don’t let the analogy go too far.
IMPORTANT POINT- connected to the vine doesn’t mean they are Christians necessarily. Don’t let the analogy go too far.
The
The fruitless branch in this analogy is a person who professes to know Jesus, but the fruit in their life does not evidence genuine faith.
Considering the context, the disciples are about to see one of their own, who has followed Jesus closely along with them, turn Jesus over to the authorities.
This is the fruition of (depart from me…)
Jesus is giving the disciples a framework for what they are about to see.

PRUNES- A Word about trials, suffering, pain and discipline

Jesus was speaking to the disciples hours before He would be arrested, beaten, sentenced to death, hung on a cross, and killed.
The years to follow would be full of persecution, suffering, and struggle.
We often, mistakenly, think becoming a Christian makes the road ahead smooth, but that was never the promise.
Those who bear fruit will be pruned.
The suffering and trials we face are opportunities for God to train us, teach us, mold us, and shape us.
They challenge are faith, stretch our trusting, and shake our idols.
Suffering and trials are used by God to lead us more and more fruitfulness as we are forced to abide in the vine through all life throws our way.

ABIDING with Jesus is proof of GENUINE FAITH.

The true test of genuine faith in Christ is whether or not you abide with Jesus
He is the caretaker of the garden and His role is essential to our understanding of what Jesus is saying about Himself in this passage.
Abide means to remain, stay, continue with, make your home with...
This is a tough passage
Branches that do not bear fruit
There are 2 types of branches connected to the Vine.
IMPORTANT POINT- connected to the vine doesn’t mean they are Christians necessarily. Don’t let the analogy go too far.
Abiding with Jesus means to remain in Jesus, to stay/continue with Jesus.
Branches that do bear fruit
There is some debate about these, especially the first.
THIS IS A BIG DEAL
the words “in me”
I preached a whole series on this back in the winter.
Genuine faith in Christ will make a difference in your life.
If you are here today and
I have heard it said too many times to count “I got saved at ____ age, but _____.”
Jesus is saying there is a difference between Judas and the other disciples.
From the outside Judas didn’t look too different from the other disciples, but in the end the truth of his heart was laid bare.
Jesus is saying there is a difference between someone who is genuinely connected to the VINE and someone who is not.
This is a warning to the moms, dads, and grandmas out there who’s kids might have gotten saved at 9, 10 or whatever, but the faith they profess and the faith they live seem to be at odds.
Jesus gives us some things to look for in genuine, abiding faith.

Abiding in Jesus leads to:

1) FRUITFULNESS (vv. 2,4-5,8)

John 15:2 ESV
2 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.
Galatians 5:2 ESV
2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you.
John 15:4–5 ESV
4 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. 5 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.
gal
John 15:8 ESV
8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
gal
Abiding with Jesus will show in fruitfulness.
Abiding with Jesus will show in fruitfulness.
you may be asking “what does he mean by fruit?”
He isn’t talking strictly about outward moral conformity (going to church, being a good person, avoiding the really bad stuff…)
He is concerned with our inner fruit, our spiritual fruit

This fruit is nothing less than the outcome of persevering dependence on the vine, driven by faith, embracing all of the believer’s life and the product of his witness.

Paul speaks more to this kind of fruit in
Galatians 5:16 ESV
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Galatians 5:22–25 ESV
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
gal 5 22
The word Paul uses here is not FRUITS it is singular.
Believers in Jesus, genuine believers, will be growing in these qualities in their life.
You can pick and choose. You might be a pretty patient person by nature, but if you live in a perpetual state of negativity and joylessness, then is the Spirit living in you?
The fruit in our life will point to our connection to the VINE.

2) INTIMACY (vv. 6-7, 16)

Abiding with Jesus will lead to a growing and enduring intimacy with Jesus.
John 15:6–7 ESV
6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Vs 6 points to separation — “thrown away”, brokenness — “withered”, and to judgement — “burned”
When you break a limb off of a tree it doesn’t take long to see how that separation leads to destruction.
“withers” “thrown away” “burned”
as opposed to
Vs points to understanding “words abide in you”, and intimate faith “ask what you wish”
Those who abide with Christ will share an intimacy with Christ where His Words will be sweet to their ears
They will share a relationship of trust and faith where prayer becomes an outworking of their trust in His ability to answer and His desire to listen.
John 15:16 ESV
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
Abiding with Jesus is not something we can do, but something that is done in us.
You can’t earn the position that Jesus speaks of here, but you can receive it.
This passage is a beautiful promise and a glorious invitation.
If you know Jesus, then you have been chosen to bear much fruit and enjoy a deep connection to Him.
If you don’t know Jesus then the fact that you are here today is indication that He is pursuing your heart and inviting you to know Him and be connect to the vine.

3) LOVING OBEDIENCE (vv. 9-10)

John 15:9–10 ESV
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
I love what Jesus says here.
As my Father has loved me, I have loved you with that same sort of love, eternal, word-defining kind of love.
Make your HOME in that love and let that love overflow into obedience to my commands.
He is not saying “Listen to me or I will strike you dead or make bad things happen in your life.”
He is saying let your affection for me and the love I have shown you be the motive of your obedience.
Now when we don’t obey, God may use circumstances in our life to lovingly correct us.
Abiding in Jesus means that His commands aren’t burdensome, but are received and obeyed out of love and admiration.
John 15:11 ESV
11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

4) SACRIFICIAL LOVE (vv. 12-13, 17)

John 15:12–13 ESV
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
The most tangible command we can follow comes out in the way we love others.
When we abide in Jesus, when we are connected to the VINE, love for others should flow naturally from our lives.
Racism, anger, bitterness, bigotry, envy, jealousy, strife, slander, gossip, harsh words, and malice are all things that should not flow from a heart that has been changed by Jesus.
John 15:17 ESV
17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

Are you connected to the vine?

Jesus is concerned with your joy.
It is my prayer as I get up here every week, that we would find true, lasting joy in Jesus
The Bread of Life
The Light of the World
The Gate of the sheepfold
The Good and perfect shepherd
The resurrection and the life
The way the Truth and the Life
And the one, true Vine
You cannot acquire joy through anything this earth has to offer or any human being can manufacture.
You cannot earn it or work hard enough for it.
True, lasting, eternal, soul-satisfying joy is found only in Jesus.
Come to Him, rest in Him, ABIDE in Him.
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