The Lesson of the Vines

Thursday, September 2, 2021

15 1-3 “I am the Real Vine, and my Father is the Farmer. So he cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back, so it will take even more. So you are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.

4 “Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by joining the Vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are bound with me.

5-8 “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me, and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes when you mature as my disciples.

-John 15:1-8 The Message

Verse 1: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.

Verse 2: Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.

Verse 3: You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

Verse 1 study: Grapevine is a prolific plant. One vine bears many grapes. According to the Old Testament, grapes are recognized as Israel’s fruitfulness in doing God’s work on Earth (Psalm 80:8, Isaiah 5:1-7, Ezekiel 19:10-14). The Passover meal, the fruit of the vine, symbolized God’s goodness to his people. Christ is the vine, and he cares for the vines. The branches are followers of Christ. The fruitful branches are real followers that help produce fruit with Christ. Those who are unproductive, meaning turning their back on Christ after committing, will separate from the vine. Unproductive followers are as good as dead and will be cut off and tossed aside.

Verse 2-3 studies: Let’s look at how we can grow versus people that won’t grow. Jesus makes two distinctions of pruning. One, separating, and two, cutting back branches. Now, the one with fruit can be cut back to fill in more fruit. For more fruit to grow, God has to discipline us to build us up in faith. The branches that don’t produce any fruit are cut from the trunk. Why is that? It’s useless, and it infects the rest of the tree. People that don’t help grow for God or try to back the efforts of those trying will get cut off from his life-giving power.

Verse 4: Abide in Me, and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.

Verse 5: I am the vine, you are the branches, he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

Verse 6: If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

Verse 5 study: Fruit is not limited to soul-winning. Prayer, joy, and love are mentioned as fruits of the labor (15:7, chapters 11-12). Galatians 5:22-24 and 2 Peter 1:5-8 describe more fruit, a quality of Christian character.

Verses 5-6 studies: Abiding in Christ means:

  1. believing that he is God’s Son (1 John 4:15)
  2. receiving him as Savior and Lord (John 1:12)
  3. doing what God says (1 John 3:24)
  4. continuing to believe the gospel (1 John 2:24)
  5. relating in love to the community of believers as Christ’s body (John 15:12)

Verse 7: If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish; and it will be done for you.

Verse 8: My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and prove to be My disciples.

Verse 5-8 studies: Some people do try their best to live by what’s right. But Jesus said the best way to live a truly good life is to stick by him, like a branch attached to a vine. No other way you can have a truly good life.

Verse 8 study: God’s analogy for farming is meaningful. He gives it sunshine and rain for it to grow. That’s why it bears “much fruit.” He is always tending to the crops and is always prepared for them to blossom. It’s incredible to see God’s moment of glory to harvest what is brought to the barns ready for use. But, this is all God’s doing. When you bear fruit, you realize how the farming analogy means something in your relationship with him.

Father, thank you for today’s teaching about the vine. How the vine can grow by being pruned back to create more space for the fruit to grow. The useless ones are being cut by the trunks. I pray we are the fruit and not the trunk. Let us be humble, loving, and share God’s word with a positive attitude. In Jesus’ name. Amen!