Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I Am The Vine

God planted a new vine and he tends to it so it will be fruitful.


John 15:1-8  "I am the true grapevine, and My Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch of Mine that doesn't produce fruit, and He prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.  You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.  Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in Me.   

"Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.  Anyone who does not remain in Me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.  But if you remain in Me and My words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!  When you produce much fruit, you are My true disciples. This brings great glory to My Father.

Our God loves to create, out of nothing he likes to make the most elaborate and complex, out of the dirt he likes to make something clean, and out of the old he likes to make things new. Maybe that is why I like yard work, I like to do my part to create, it is a partnership with God to get things to grow. I do my part and leave the rest up to him.

Our creator is portrayed as someone who has planted and cultivated a vineyard. In the Old Testament God prepared the soil for his vineyard, he built up walls to keep out the wild animals and to keep people from stealing the fruit, his vine had every advantage and should have been the most productive and prosperous. (Isaiah 5:1-7, Psalm 80:8-16, Joel 1:7, Jeremiah 2:21, Ezekiel 19:10)

But after a lot of patient gardening Israel has forfeited its right to be the vine, the New Testament message is of God planting a new vine, Jesus comes along and says, "I am the true vine." Formerly God's life was poured through Israel and you must be connected with Israel to get God's blessings but that's all changed now.

God tends to the vine by looking for two different types of branches, the ones that bear fruit and those that don't, both types are holding the vine back from maximum fruit bearing. It may seem harsh but he uses his knife on both types of branches, the dead branches he cuts off and the fruitful branches get pruned.

He cuts off every branch of Mine that doesn't produce fruit

The way that John MacArthur explains it makes so much sense. If you look at the context of this metaphor it is easy to understand that the first branch that didn't bear fruit was Judas. He was close to Jesus and he played along like he was a fruitful branch but he proved to be a phony. The branches that are being cut and thrown into the fire were never Christ followers.
John 13:10-11  “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.” For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
A lot of people try to attach themselves to the vine, John calls them "Judas" branches. They attend church, they go to your small group, they sound like they belong but they are not genuine. Eventually, the fruitless branches are identified and they are removed for the sake of truth and the benefit of the real branches.

He prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more

The last words you want to hear from the doctor is "we need to operate." That is the news that the Great Physician has for you. Pruning improves your fruit production. In order for us to operate at maximum fruit-bearing capacity God needs to cut off our sins, our habits and attitudes that slow down the production of fruit.
Hebrews 12:10-11  For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
God's discipline is to bring us to being holy, sanctification is the church word for the process of being made holy and set apart for God. To live attached to the vine is a life of dependence, exercising faith and imitating the vine.
Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the nature that controlled Him will control us. Are we really prepared for what that will cost? It will cost absolutely everything in us which is not of God.
Jesus is our only connection with God, the only means that we are saved and the only hope we have of living a fruitful life for God. When we are joined to the vine, we are united with Jesus in all our interests, we have common desires, we are delighted in the things that he loves and we hate the things that he hates. We are willing to endure the same trials, contempt and persecution that he bore.

When you produce much fruit you are My true disciples

Every believer bears fruit but not all of them bear much fruit. Jesus' followers should be know by the abundance of fruit and the type of fruit. The fruit we produce is the fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. (Matthew 7:15-23, Galatians 5:22–23)
God's Pruning Tool
Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
God never changes, he is still using the same tool that he has always used to prune his vine, he uses the knife of his Word to get rid of the impurities that will hold up fruit production. He takes off the old blooms, the shoots that are going the wrong way and the parasites.

The Gardner's knife causes us much pain, sometimes we wonder why some things have to be cut away and we resist, we don't like it or understand everything that the Gardner cuts off. I have to wonder if I really need so much attention from the gardener. I must trust that he has great things in store.

I need to be a part of the true vine, the world grows their vines that I need to avoid, Their vine may be their bank account, their education, fame, talents or relationships. Many people plant a vine of religion and rules. None of these can bear fruit! The Vine is Jesus and you need to be attached.