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Bearing Fruit

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We receive no life unless we stay in constant contact with Christ.

OPEN YOUR BIBLES WITH ME TO JOHN 15:1-8.


INTRODUCTION

ILLUSTRATION

Glance up at the last part of John 14. Verse 31 closes with, “Arise, let us go hence!” This suggests that the next two chapters may have been spoken as Jesus and the disciples journeyed from the upper room, through the Kidron Valley, past the temple, and on to the Garden of Gethsemane.Picture Jesus and the disciples as they walk through the Kidron Valley they were surrounded by massive vineyards. Jesus remembers just a short while ago, how confused the disciples where when he cast Judas from the upper room. He knows he will be leaving them very soon and they needed more training. He knows that if they were going to carry on with His ministry, they must continue to rely on Him. Right at that very moment they were walking by the front of the temple. Jesus glances up and there it was. A golden vine that symbolized Israel’s power!

 


READ JOHN 15:1-8

BODY

This is the seventh and last of the “I AM” statements Christ recorded in the Gospel of John.

I want to look at four different terms used in this text:

I.         THE VINE

1a   I am the true vine,

5a   I am the vine,

A.      There is three different vines found in Scripture:

·         Past vine – was the nation of Israel. (Ps. 80:8-19; Is. 5:1-7; Jer. 2:21; Ezek. 19:1014; Hosea 10:1)

1.       God “transplanted” Israel into Canaan and gave the nation everything it needed to succeed

·         But instead of practicing justice, it practices oppression

·         But instead of righteousness, it produced unrighteousness

·         Isaiah complains that Israel was turning into a wild vineyard

·         Jeremiah complains that the vine had turned into a degenerate plant

·         Hosea cries out about Israel being an empty vine

·         God had to deal with Israel and chasten it, but even that did not produce lasting results.

READ MATT. 21:33-46

33   “Hear another parable: There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country.

 34  Now when vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit.

35   And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another.

36   Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them.

37   Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’

38   But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’

39   So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him.

40   “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?”

41   They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.”

42   Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:

    ‘The stone which the builders rejected

     Has become the chief cornerstone.

     This was the Lord’s doing,

     And it is marvelous in our eyes’ ?

43   “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.

44   And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”

45   Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them.

46     But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitudes, because they took Him for a prophet.

·         God sent His own Son to the vineyard, and they cast Him out and killed Him


·         Future vine – the vine of the earth (Rev. 14:14-20)

1.       This refers to the world system that is ripening for God’s judgement

·         Believers are branches in “the vine of the heaven,” and depend on Jesus for their care and satisfaction

·         Non-believers are branches in “the vine of earth,” and depend on the world for their care and satisfaction.

·         This vine will be cut down and destroyed when Jesus Christ returns

·         Present vine – is our Lord Jesus Christ, and it includes the branches

1.       Jesus, is “the true Vine,” which fulfilled what God had intended for Israel to do

·          Jesus used the vine in his teaching to the disciples because he knew they were familiar with this concept

·          It is important that the branches are attached to “the true Vine,” because there are a lot of replicas or substitutes

2.       It is almost impossible to break off a mature branch without injuring the vine itself

·          Our union with Christ is

·          A living union, so we bear fruit

·          A loving union, so we may enjoy Him

·          A last union, so we need not be afraid


II.      THE BRANCHES

5b   you are the branches.

A.      By itself, a branch is weak and useless

·         It is good for either bearing or burning, but not building

READ EZEKIEL 15

1     Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:

2     “Son of man, how is the wood of the vine better than any other wood, the vine branch which is among the trees of the forest?

3     Is wood taken from it to make any object? Or can men make a peg from it to hang any vessel on? 

4     Instead, it is thrown into the fire for fuel; the fire devours both ends of it, and its middle is burned. Is it useful for any work?

5     Indeed, when it was whole, no object could be made from it. How much less will it be useful for any work when the fire has devoured it, and it is burned?

6     “Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so I will give up the inhabitants of Jerusalem; 

7     and I will set My face against them. They will go out from one fire, but another fire shall devour them. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I set My face against them. 

8     Thus I will make the land desolate, because they have persisted in unfaithfulness,’ says the Lord God.”

·         Because Israel rejected God, He acted in judgment

·         After Jerusalem was destroyed and the people exiled, (vv. 6-8) says it remained as worthless as the charred vine wood

B.      The vine can not produce its own life

1.        It must draw life from the vine

·          It is our communion with Christ through the Spirit that makes it possible for us to produce fruit


ILLUSTRATION

2.        | ·         This reminds me of when my youngest daughter brought home a carnation and instead of putting it in water, she just laid it on the counter. ·         Needless to say, it did not last long with out being placed in water with nutrients, or grafted to another plant. |

This union and communion can be found several places in scripture

·          The body and its members (1Cor. 12)

·          The bride and the Bridegroom (Eph. 5)

·          The sheep and the Shepherd (John 10)

3.        A member of the body cut off from the body will die

·          A marriage creates the union, but it takes daily love and devotion to maintain the communion

·          The Shepherd brings the sheep into the flock, but the sheep must follow the shepherd in order to have protection and provision

C.      Another key word is “abide”

1.        It is used 11 times in the first 11 verses of John 15

·          It means to keep in fellowship with Christ so that His life can work in and through us to produce fruit

·          This involves the Word of God, and the confession of sin so nothing will hinder our communion with Him

·          It also involves obeying Him because we love Him

2.        How do we know if we are abiding?

·          There are evidences that are clear

·         You produce fruit (v. 2)

·         You experience the Father’s pruning so will produce more fruit (v. 2)

·         Your prayers are answered (v. 7)

·         Experience a deep love for Christ and his believers (vv. 9, 12-13)

·         Experience joy (v. 11)

3.        How do you abide?

·          It is a natural relationship between the branch and the vine, but it must be cultivated in the Christian life

·         Demands worship, meditation on God’s Word, prayer, sacrifice, and service

·         This should be a joyful experience

·         Once you’ve experienced it you won’t want to go back

4.        What is an apostate?

·          Non-believer, that acts like a believer

·          Totally abandon their beliefs.

·          (vv. 22-24) Jewish teachers believed that God had awful punishments in store for apostates, because those who had known the truth and then rejected it had no excuse.

·          Can not produce fruit

5.        What is a carnal Christian?

·         Believer, that acts like a non-believer most of the time

·         Can produce works, but not lasting fruit.


III.    THE VINEDRESSER

1b   and My Father is the vinedresser.

A.      The vinedresser is in charge of caring for the vines, and Jesus said that this is the work of His Father

1.        He “purges” or prunes the branches so they will produce more fruit

·     Notice the progressive movement from producing “fruit” to “more fruit” (v. 2) to “much fruit” (v. 5, 8)

·     Many of us pray that God will produce more fruit in us, but then don’t like the needed pruning process

2.        Pruning happens three ways:

A.      He cuts away dead wood that can breed disease and insects

·          Non-believer

·          Every person who professes to be My disciple (a branch) is not necessarily a true follower.

·          Among the disciples Judas was removed while the others had to undergo “pruning” experiences before producing fruit after Penecost.

B.      Cuts off a whole branch so the rest will be better quality

·          Believer – to stop the negative influence, He takes them home

C.      Cuts away living tissue so that the life of the vine will not be so spread out, and the quality of the fruit would be better

·          Believer – for growth

·          The disciples had been cleansed by Jesus and His message, but one, Judas, was not cleansed

·     God wants quantity and quality


ILLUSTRATION

1.       A peach tree that had all of its branches propped up·     Didn’t produce peaches bigger than a quarter·     During a storm some of the branches broke of because of the weight and wind·     It almost killed the tree2.       The pruning process is painful·     God does it in love·     If the branches could speak, they would admit that the pruning process is painful, but they rejoice in the ability to bear more fruit·     This work is a highly trained profession, and very precise·     God is never closer to you, then when He is pruning

ILLUSTRATION

1.       When we punish and correct our children·     Later when they realize it helped get them past something or to something, they are thankful2.       How does God prune?·     He uses the Word to convict and cleanse us·     He chastens us by removing something that is precious to us


IV.     THE FRUIT

8b  that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

A.      IS GETTING RESULTS GOOD?

1.        A machine or robot can produce results

·     It takes a living organism to produce fruit

·     It takes time and cultivation

B.      WHAT BECOMES OF THE FRUIT?

1.       The branches don’t eat the fruit, others do

2.       We should use our fruit to feed others through our words and works

·     Win other to Christ (Rom. 1:13)

·     We are part of a harvest (John 4:35-38)

·     Through holiness and obedience, we bear fruit (Rom. 6:22)

·     Giving from a dedicate life (Rom. 15:28)

·     The fruit of the spirit (Gal. 5:22-23)

·     Character grows out of an abiding life (Col. 1:10)

·     Praise from our hearts and lips is fruit to the glory of God (Heb. 13:15)

3.       IS THE FRUIT REAL?

·     Many of the above could be counterfeited by the flesh

·     Real spiritual fruit has in it “the seeds for more fruit”

·     Man-made results are dead and cannot reproduce themselves

8a   By this My Father is glorified,

A.      THIS IS THE END RESULT?


CONCLUSION

  • We must know the true Vine
  • We must be abiding branches
  • We must be pruned by the Vinedresser
  • We will produce fruit and glorify God
  • The secret of Jesus’ life: was his constant contact with God.


PRAYER

INVITATION

·          Now with your heads down and eyes closed, and no moving around

·          Let’s just allow God to speak with us for a minute

·          Ask the Lord, is there anything that He wants you to do today

·          As the music plays, maybe the Lord revealed:

o        You haven’t accepted Him as Savior and Lord

o        You need to forgive someone or ask for forgiveness

o        You need to get your life back on track with Him

o        You need to join this church

o        You might be called into full-time ministry

o        You need to just pray

·          There are counselors down here that could answer any questions or to just pray with you

·          Maybe you want to grab a friend, family member or spouse to come with you

·          Whatever the need, please come!

 

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