Ripe Green Grapes growing in a Vineyard on a Sunny Day.

Introduction

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. In it, he likened himself to the vine, his disciples to branches, and God the Father to the Gardener that maintains the entire vineyard. Let’s read from John 15:1-8.

1. Jesus is the only true Vine

Read John 14:6; 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, philosophies, the cult, and the occult that have no life in them can be likened to a false vine.

(C) Jesus likened himself to the true vine because he alone has the life that people attempt to find in all of these empty religions and philosophies.

2. You and Me are Branches

Read John 15:2-3 Ephesians 5:9

(A) Jesus likened the disciples to branches. Two types of branches. Ones that are fruitful and fruitless.

(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 gardener will cut off fruitless branches.

(C) God prunes the fruitful branches so that they will be more fruitful. Pruning implies the removal of hindrances to the believer’s spiritual growth.

3. We are to remain in Christ

Read Psalm 119:11; John 15:4-8

(A) Branches can’t bear fruit apart from the vine. Likewise, Christians can’t grow for God’s glory unless they remain in Christ.

(B) In order to remain in Christ, 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.

Implications

Jesus said there are rewards for remaining in him as well as consequences for not remaining in him. I want to consider both the rewards and the consequences as I bring this message to its closing.

The Judgement Declared

Jesus’ words make it unmistakably clear that the norms “once in the vine, always in the vine” or “once saved, always saved” are false teaching. 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 be thrown into the everlasting fire of hell, (…such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire, and burned…)

The Rewards Promised

God rewards us in this life and in the life to come when we remain connected to the true vine the Lord Jesus Christ. Answers to prayers are one such way Jesus rewards us in this life, (…ask whatever you wish…). 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.


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