In Hampton Court near London, there is a grapevine under glass; it is about one thousand years old and has but one root which is at least two feet thick. Some of the branches are 200 feet long. Because of skillful cutting and pruning, the vine produces several tons of grapes each … More
Viniculture was important to the Jewish way of life. When our Lord used this illustration, He was not introducing something new. In the Old Testament, Israel is called a vine, but it’s a vine that only produced wild grapes. Christ, by contrast, is the true vine (v. 1). The Father is the owner of the vineyard, the one who takes care of it. As believers, we will be better able to relate to the Lord when we realize that we are just branches and must confess our need for His strength (vv. 2-3).
The key word is “abide” (v. 4). Christians (the branches) have a living relationship to Christ (the vine) and belong to Him (vv. 5-8). He is the vine, and we are the branches. The branch cannot produce its own life. It must draw the life from the vine. The bearing of fruit is made possible through communion with Christ. The center of this abiding relationship is the love of God (vv. 9-10). This means that we must keep in fellowship with Christ so that His life can work in and through us to produce fruit. This is accomplished through worship, meditation, prayer, and service.
Good fruit requires pruning by the vine dresser. He cuts away dead wood, and sometimes He even cuts away living tissue, to improve the fruit. Many Christians pray that God will make them more fruitful, but they do not enjoy the pruning that this requires. Sometimes He simply uses the Word to convict and cleanse us. Other times He must chasten us. Yes, pruning hurts, but it also helps. The vine dresser prunes the branches by cutting away the dead wood. The “pruners” know where to cut, how much to cut, and even at what angle to make the cut, but as the “spiritual crop” is produced we can see that He knows what He is doing. We may not enjoy it, but we need it.
Joy, the second fruit of the Spirit, is the result of abiding in Jesus (v. 11). The pruning is painful but the result is greater Joy and greater abiding.
The greatest judgment God can bring to me is to leave me alone and let me have my own way. Because God loves me He prunes me and encourages me to bear more fruit for His glory.
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John 12:12-19Jesus’ Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem
John 12:20-26Some Greeks Seek Jesus
John 12:27-36Jesus Predicts His Death
John 12:37-50Hardened Hearts and the Fear of Man
John 13:1-11Humbleness, Holiness and Happiness
John 13:12-20Happiness Comes by Serving Others
John 13:21-30Jesus Prediction of His Betrayal
John 13:31-38Christ’s Farewell Sermon to His Disciples
John 14:1-7Jesus Encourages the Troubled Disciples
John 14:8-14The Measure, Means, and Might of Prayer
John 14:15-24The Holy Spirit’s Dwelling in Believers
John 14:25-31The Disciple’s Question
John 15:1-11The Pruning Process
John 15:12-17The Commandment to Love One Another
John 15:18-27Why the World Hates Christians
John 16:1-11The Work of the Holy Spirit
John 16:12-22The Transformation of Pain to Joy
John 16:23-28Understanding God’s Word and Applying It
John 16:29-33Jesus has Overcome the World
John 17:1-13Jesus’ Prayer For His Glorification
John 17:14-19Jesus’ Prayer for His Disciples
John 17:20-26Jesus’ Prayer for Unity of Believers
John 18:1-14Jesus’ Betrayal by Judas
John 18:15-27Trial Before Annas
John 18:28-40Pilate’s Compromise
John 18:38-40Pilate’s Compromise