Abiding in the Vine!
Scripture reading for November 4th: John 13-17
Several years ago, I planted two grape vines in my back yard along the fence. I had used these potted vines as a sermon illustration of Jesus’ teaching in John 15. I studied grapes and found that they were one of the most widely grown crops in the world. There are many different varieties and colors and people love to eat them fresh, as juice, or as wine. They also need cultivation and tending to be the most fruitful and healthy. Dead and diseased branches need trimmed off and the vines trained to grow in the arbor. The branches are not good for anything but producing fruit. They will not make lumber but are only good for burning.
Jesus used this agricultural example to teach his disciples about their need to stay attached to Him! Jesus was the true vine and the disciples were branches. If they would just “abide” in Him and allow His Word to “abide” in them, they would produce much fruit. (John 15:7) Abiding branches ask the Father for what they need, and He answers! We must stay attached and draw our nutrients from the vine and its roots. A branch that doesn’t remain attached is good for nothing but the fire!
Jesus also went on to say that His Father was the gardener who tended the vine. (John 15:1) The gardener’s job was to keep the vine healthy and producing fruit. Jesus’ Word was the means of pruning His branches. All fruitless branches were pruned off to keep from wasting precious nutrients. Fruitful branches were pruned to maximize fruit production. (John 15:8) Branches that produce no fruit are good for nothing but the fire.
To illustrate the need to abide, I took two branches off my four year old grape vine. I put the branches in water and brought them to church. One branch had 12 clusters of grapes and a second branch had none! After just one hour, the branches were already wilting.
We must stay attached to the vine and also bear fruit. This takes a relationship with God through His Word and prayer! He wants fruit that will last for eternity! What a privilege to bear precious fruit for eternal life! Are you securely attached and producing?