Jesus used the parable of the vine and vineyard, a common feature of Palestinian life that would have been familiar to the disciples in order to teach them the importance of the believer’s relationship with Christ.
Text: John 15:1-7
1. The Vine
Read John 15:1
(A) It is important that we gain a proper understanding of the title “True Vine” because there are many “false vines” in the world today.
(B) Man-made substitutions to God, such as religion and philosophies that have no life in them can be likened to false vine.
(C) Jesus likened himself to the true vine because he alone has the life that people attempt to find in these empty religions and philosophies, (John 14:6).
2. The pruning
Read John 15:2-3
(A) Jesus likened the disciples to branches. Two types of branches. Ones that are fruitful and fruitless, (Fruit: Christian character that brings glory to God through life and witness as it’s in Ephesians 5:9).
(B) We were connected to the true vine the moment we received Christ as savior, (…clean because of the word…) Believers are responsible for bearing fruit. Jesus warned that God the farmer will cut off any fruitless branches.
(C) Fruitful branches are pruned that they will be more fruitful. Pruning implies the removal of hindrances to the believer’s spiritual growth.
3. The association
Read John 15:4-7
(A) Branches can’t bear fruit apart from the vine. Likewise Christians can’t bring glory to God through life and witness unless they remain in Christ.
(B) In order to remain in Jesus, first we must treasure God’s word in our hearts and minds, making it the guide for our actions, (If you remain in me and my words in you…)
(C) Second, third and fourth – maintain the habit of constant intimate communion with Christ in order to draw strength from him, obey his commands, remain in his love and love one another, resist all sin and yield to the spirit’s direction.
Jesus said there are rewards for remaining in him as well as consequences for not remaining in him.
The reward – Remaining in Christ is the secret to answered prayer because the closer we come to Christ through meditation and study of God’s word, the more our prayers rest in line with the nature and words of Christ making them more effective.
The consequences – Jesus’ words make it unmistakably clear that the norms “once in the vine, always in the vine” or “once saved, always saved” is a false idea. It is absolutely possible for even the committed believers to ultimately abandon faith, turn their backs on Jesus, fail to remain in him, and thus to be thrown into the everlasting fire of hell.