Jesus the Vine

Jesus told us that He is the true vine.  John 15:1-8 “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 bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.   You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.  Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.  By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”  Jesus uses the analogy of a vine to help us understand our relationship with Him and God the Father.  Jesus said that the Father is the vinedresser, Jesus is the vine, and we each are branches in the vine.

The purpose of a grape vine is to produce grapes as fruit.  You and I, as branches in Jesus the vine, are expected to produce fruit.  Jesus said “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away.”  What fruit are we expected to produce?  Since one purpose of fruit on a tree or vine is to reproduce the plant, it would seem natural that fruit would include sharing the gospel with non-believers that they may become Christians.  It should be our desire to tell others about God and Jesus.  But that is not the only fruit that the Bible describes.  Consider what is written in Romans 6:20-22 “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.  What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.  But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.”  The fruit of the world is unrighteousness and our fruit as children of God is holiness and righteousness.  Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”  We, as branches in Jesus the vine, should naturally bear the fruit of the Spirit.  I believe that our good works are fruit.  Titus 3:8b “Those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works.”

If we don’t bear fruit, Jesus said that we will be taken away.  Jesus also used a parable of a fig tree to illustrate this point.  Luke 13:6-9 “He also spoke this parable: ‘A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.  Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’  But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it.  And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’’”  Without fruit, you and I will be rejected.

Jesus wants us to bear much fruit.  Jesus said “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”  “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”  I can imagine a grape vine with only a few grapes, or a fig tree with only a couple of figs.  That’s not what God wants from us; He expects much fruit because He is glorified by much fruit.  If you and I are producing some fruit in our lives He prunes us that we will bear more fruit.  Jesus said “Every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”  When one prunes a grape vine or a fig tree, parts of the vine or tree are cut off.  Maybe parts that are dead are cut off.  Maybe parts that are not producing fruit are cut off.  In a sense, this hurts the vine or tree because a cutting occurs.  But the keeper of the vineyard does the pruning so that there will be more fruit.   Jesus does not describe what our pruning might be.  Perhaps our pruning from God is discipline or chastening.  Hebrews 12:7-11 “If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?  But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.  Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?  For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.  Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”  Events can come into our lives to prune us, to cause us to repent, to change our priorities in life, to cause us to produce more fruit for God.  These events may be painful, but He is glorified that we bear much fruit.

We must abide in Jesus.  He said “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”  “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”  What does it mean to abide in Jesus?  We are to be in Christ Jesus.  Consider 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” 1 John 2:3-6 “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.  He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.  He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”  Walking according to the Spirit instead of walking according to the flesh demonstrates that we abide in Jesus.

My encouragement to you is to abide in Jesus.  Seek to bear much fruit for God.  Understand that God will prune you that you bear more fruit.