God is the true vine. He is the source of this new life. It flows from Him.
So He says “I am the vine and YOU are the branches. Who? His disciples. Immediately the 11 there with him.But, ultimately ALL of his true disciples - you and me, we are his branches. If you're a genuine believer, youare intimately attached to the life-giving vine. We're not considered Christians because what we do, or wherewe worship, or what creed we recite. We are Christians because we are inextricably attached to Christ and Hislife flows through us.We’re attached to the vine and our purpose is to bear fruit. Now be careful how you think about that. We don’t produce fruit, that’s the vine’s job, we’re to bear it.
Non Fruit-Bearing Branches
He also says that there are other branches, ones that bear no fruit at all. Barren, dead branches that don’t produce a thing. They’re good for nothing but to cut them off and throw them in the fire. Ezek. 15:1-5:
1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, how is the wood of a vine better than that of a branch onany of the trees in the forest? 3 Is wood ever taken from it to make anything useful? Do they make pegs from it to hang things on? 4 And after it is thrown on the fire as fuel and the fire burns both ends and chars the middle,is it then useful for anything? 5 If it was not useful for anything when it was whole, how much less can it bemade into something useful when the fire has burned it and it is charred?
So, the question is:
who are these non-fruitful branches?
Are they believers who aren’t productive? Somewould say that they are Christians who just never got with the program, living their lives carnally and Godeventually just takes them out of the world.That doesn’t line up for me. Jesus said: “
No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me
.” John the Baptist said in Matt.3:10:
The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire
.” Matt.12:33: "
Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree isrecognized by its fruit
.” James tells us that “
faith without works is dead
” dead branches = no fruit. Paul tells theEphesians “
we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared inadvance for us to do
.” Created for the expressed purpose of doing good works (bearing fruit) and in the end, theworks are God’s doing all along.So, if every true believer is to bear fruit, it must be that these branches aren’t true believers. They identifythemselves with Christ, they do Christian stuff. They seem, for all the world, to be a part of us, but they aren’treal, they bear no fruit. We read about these kind of folks in I John:
went out from us, but they did not reallybelong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
To appeal back to the context, remember that Jesus had just earlier sent Judas out to do his thing. Now hewasn’t taken by surprise that Judas was a traitor, but I think he was deeply grieved to think that this one whohad spent so many intimate hours with him, this one who had received so much love from the Savior was theson of the devil. Nobody suspected it. When Jesus said that one of the 12 was a traitor, nobody pointed a finger saying that obviously it must be Judas. He looked like them, he sounded like them, he acted like them. But yet,Judas wasn’t like them. He was an unfruitful branch.