We Are Branches

(by Paul White)
John 15:1-8 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. Jesus may have spoken the words of the 15th chapter of John while standing beneath the gate to the entrance of Herod’s Temple. Herod had built a golden vine that stretched across the top of the gate and had instructed that the gate never close. Perhaps using the golden vine as an illustrated sermon, Jesus shared with His disciples that He was the “true” vine, in contrast with Israel, while the Father was the husbandman of the vineyard. This puts Jesus in the position above the gate, as the entrance to the Father. While Jesus is the vine, you and I are the branches on that vine. He gives us the promise that if we abide in Him, we will bring forth much fruit. This promise is so wonderful because it means that believers produce good works because of Jesus; not because of their efforts. When someone speaks of the necessity of bringing forth fruit, they may refer to your increased works; but in reality, they are speaking of more of Jesus showing forth in you. Jesus declares us clean, “through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3). This cleanliness is a permanent position due to the finished work of Christ. If Christ declares me clean then I am clean no matter what my circumstances may say. The Prodigal Son was declared a son of the Father the moment that He returned home; and the shoes and ring and robe were his proof. However, he still smelled of the pig pen, and he looked like one too! The words of forgiveness and love that were given to him from his Father provided the cleanliness of spirit that he so badly needed. If you are not producing the works of righteousness in your life, no amount of effort on your part will begin to bring forth a harvest. Instead, you should hear the words of Jesus as He speaks of His love and grace into your life. As you hear of these things, you will be abiding in His finished work, and He will bring forth beauty from your ashes. Many believers are bringing forth no fruit at all, and they are often removed before they had to be, so that they do no damage to the body of Christ (John 15:2); while others bring forth some fruit, but not much. Christ purges them so that they will produce even more for the kingdom. When you bear much fruit for the kingdom, you bring forth much glory to the Father (John 15:8). This fruit manifests itself as, “the fruit of the Spirit”, which is “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22, 23). Notice that it is the “fruit”, not the “fruits”, for these things come in equal measure by the Holy Spirit. We cannot walk in one but not in the other but we need not fear, for the Holy Spirit knows how to grow us in each one at the right pace. If you wish to see more fruit in your Christian walk then see more of Jesus! As you witness Him and His finished work, you are allowing the husbandman of the vineyard to prune away your self-dependency, leaving you only with Christ in you. RELAX…fruit grows naturally, not by screaming at the tree.

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