Lessons From the Vineyard

John 15:1-17
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes[a] to make it bear more fruit. 3 You have already been cleansed[b] by the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become[c] my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants[d] any longer, because the servant[e] does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

 

  • We are made to be attached to the Jesus vine, he is not attached to us–not as we will, but as he wills
  • We will be healthiest and happiest when we are firmly attached to the Vine and enlivened by his Holy Spirit coursing through our branch
  • We produce fruit through him and for him–not for our own glory, and not by ourselves
  • We are one with him and all others attached to him–we ought to be united and in agreement if we are living in the same Spirit
  • We remain in him by keeping his commandment to love one another as he has loved us–impossible without the help of the Holy Spirit–we only have to will it and ask for it and God will give us this Spirit (Matthew 7:11 says, “ If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”)
  • God the Father is the vinegrower–there is no other game in town–we get to take part in this great project to build up his kingdom of love–we are either a part of the Vine he wants to grow and reproduce or one of the weeds he wants to uproot and cast into the fire–we must make a choice
  • If we don’t use the gifts and talents we were given and bear no fruit, we will be cut off and die
  • If we do bear fruit, we will be pruned (made to suffer) so that we will bear more fruit–suffering can be evidence you are doing something right…
  • If we remain in Jesus, we can only produce good fruit–an oak will not produce a banana–a fruit off of the Jesus vine will produce one like Jesus–Matthew 7:18-20 teaches us, “ A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Thus you will know them by their fruits.”
  • Jesus cannot be a mere man in teaching this–he must be God, as the Church teaches, a loon with delusions of grandeur, or a liar, as C.S. Lewis points out in Mere Christianity
  • Some of our grapes may get crushed, but what God does with the fruit we produce is not up to us.  He uses it in the way he sees fit, which is always the most loving thing he could do, even if it doesn’t make sense to us.
  • If we are united to and one with the vine which is Jesus who is God and thus eternally alive, we will also live forever with him and any others also united with him.

Let us remember who we are and Who we work for!

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