The True Vine
Jesus was the master at teaching from culture. He taught messages from fishing, shepherding, and many from agriculture, as it was the primary occupation at the time. One day, He and His disciples were walking past a vineyard and He taught them one of the most important messages in the Bible. Let’s take a look at it in John 15:1-8:
“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 bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 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. 5 “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. 6 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. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
Jesus knew that there were many vines available to the disciples, as there are today. We can tap into the vines of money, fame, recognition, sex, drugs, alcohol, gaining material possessions, and more. We can be connected to the vines of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. There are many vines calling to us to provide what they have, but there is only one true vine and that’s Jesus.
Jesus is the true vine, we are the branches connected to the vine. In other words, Jesus provides the spiritual sap we need to live the godly life. As He provides that spiritual sap, we begin to bear spiritual fruit. We see those listed in Galatians 5:22-23:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (or patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
Going back to John 15, we also see that God the Father is the vinedresser. The vinedresser is the one who looks at the branches to see if they are healthy or not. If they aren’t healthy – they are producing the fleshly fruit we see in Galatians 5:19-21:
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like…”
We see a lot of this fruit in our culture today. These are unhealthy branches and the vinedresser will try to cultivate them to produce good fruit, but at some point, if they don’t, He will cut them off and throw them into the fire. This is a picture of God pursuing man to connect to the true vine, Jesus, in order to produce good fruit. Those people who rebel against God and choose not to connect to Jesus will one day be cut off from God and thrown into the fires of hell. It’s not God’s choice that they go to hell, it’s their choice. At any point, up to death, they can make that choice to receive God’s free and easy gift of grace and connect to Jesus, as the saving vine. God wants all to be good branches, connected to the true vine, and producing good fruit.
Those who do make the choice to connect to Jesus and who begin to produce good fruit will be pruned by the vinedresser. Pruning is painful, but necessary. At times, God needs to prune some bad habits or thinking, in order to produce a better quality of fruit. Sometimes He will even prune some good things out of your life, in order to bring something better. In either case, by allowing yourself to be pruned, you will produce more and better quality fruit, which glorifies God.
If you are not connected to the true vine and want to find out more, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are already connected to the true vine, continue to stay connected by meditating over scripture and discussing it with other believers, praying, and worshiping. Get connected with a portion of the body (church) and start serving in your community. If you are looking for a church to connect with and are in the Phoenix, AZ area, come join us at AZ Vineyard. Our address and service time are on the front page at azvineyard.com.