The vineyard

Sun, 24th Jan 2016
Gloria Edwards
John chapter 15
Summary: 

Jesus is the true vine and the true believers are the branches. We can only grow if we continue to be connected to Jesus. Here are 3 things to note within this passage which are pruning, fruit bearing and abiding.
1) Branches need to be controlled or pruned or they can get out of control. It doesn't matter how healthy it looks if it is not producing fruit then it is no good. Jesus isn't interested in a show he is interested in people who are bearing fruit. Pruning might seem like a harsh thing that God is doing but this is not punishment. He is getting rid of anything that can be destructive. He is pruning us and shaping us to be more like him. It is sin and anything that hinders the Holy Spirit in our lives. It can be painful to have bad habits or motives or wrong thoughts removed. God wants us to walk righteously in the world especially as we represent Jesus. However we can be encouraged that when God is pruning you that he has his hand close to us. He knows the things that are hurtful to us and he wants to remove them.
2) Fruit bearing: This can involve leading others to Jesus. Fruit of the Spirit includes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness and self control. A true branch will always bear fruit, there will always be a time when someone who is connected will bear fruit. If there doesn't seem to be any evidence in a Christian they need to be graciously brought to be connected to the vine.
3) Abiding: This is the most important of the three. We are called to be transformed into the image of him. He who began a good work in us is well able to complete it. We must stay connected to him. Once the vine grower has done his work all the branches need to do is abide. Our involvement is passive, apart from him we can do nothing. The command isn't to produce fruit the command is to abide. God produces the fruit as a natural occurrence as we abide in him and him in us. His very life is flowing through us. There was nothing in us of any eternal value before we were saved but now we are the branches reaching out into the world.
We as branches never prune other branches. We are not the ones to cut other branches. We can go alongside in love and gently point things out but we do not have the wisdom to prune. Pruning into the image of Christ can only be done by God not other branches. We all have our faults and it is God only wise to prune the right things. He knows exactly what areas of our lives need pruning at the right times.

Further Reading: 

John