John 15:1-6; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 2:21; Ezekiel 19:10; Hosea 10:1-2; Luke 13:5-8
In our study today, our Lord Jesus Christ talks so much about fruitfulness; bearing fruit, purging to bring forth much fruit and abiding (Vs. 2-5). As the branches are attached to the vine so that they can bear fruit, so we are to be attached, connected and linked up with Him so that we can keep on growing to bear much fruit. Any branch that does not bear fruit is cut off, withers and is burnt. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” (John 15:1,6). Be reminded that at this time, Jesus Christ was only talking with His own disciples, since Judas Iscariot had gone out as he did not have the same heart with the rest of the disciples. These disciples have known the Lord, are truly converted citizens of the Kingdom, with their names written in the Book of Life; they are called out of the world, and now belong totally and completely unto the Lord. These last few days, that is the week of the Passion, before the Betrayal and Crucifixion, the Lord Jesus Christ kept Himself indoors with these, and was talking to them about the necessity of continuing to bear fruits and abiding in the Lord.
The disciples, as Israelites who knew about vines and vineyards, and that these vines were expected to bring forth fruit, understood the message. In the Old Testament, the children of Israel were referred to as the Vineyard of the Lord, but they were not bearing fruit, so God said they had become degenerate vines. The expectation from a vineyard is fruitfulness, but in the case of the nation of Israel, they were bearing wild grapes: And there are consequences for not bearing the right kind of fruits (Isaiah 5:1-7). This was the knowledge that Jesus was transferring to His own disciples, that if anyone bears fruit, favour, grace, mercy and the goodness of God will be their portion and the relationship will continue. If they do not bear fruit, His Father as the Husbandman and Vinedresser will take away the branches that are not bearing fruits. “Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?” (Jeremiah 2:21).The Lord expected that they would bring forth fruit, heavenly fruits that would differentiate them from every other nation, but they became as bad, and even worse than the nations around them, degenerate vine. Jesus was telling His disciples in this inner circle and closed door meeting that He had kept them and fed them with the truth ad they should not repeat the same error and backsliding of the nation of Israel who became degenerate, reprobate hardened and uncircumcised in hearts, and rejected from the sight of the Lord. When they were responding to the love of God, they were great, higher and more righteous than all the nations around them, but when they became barren, they were consumed by fire of judgement (Ezekiel 19:10-12).
“Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images” (Hosea 10:1). The fruit of the grace and love of God was no more there nor the fruit of the ministry of the Prophets, only fruit unto self; no more thinking about God, but now living a self-centred, self-consuming life, and their heart was divided. Christ came and began to reveal the way of truth and called them to repentance. The nation of Israel had another opportunity to become a choice, favoured and fruitful vine. He spoke to them, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5). He spoke to them as the High Priest, Prophet, King, the Lamb of God and a Teacher come from Heaven for three years. He came seeking for fruits from the vine but found none (Luke 13:6-9), hence talking to His trusted, obedient disciples, as a holy nation and a righteous priesthood was now to come, He said, I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. He said all others were false, including the Pharisees and Scribes, and the disciples were to look up to Him. All attached and connected with Christ and bearing fruit He would purge, prune and cleanse for more grace to bear more fruits.
POINT 1: THE PURGING AND PRUNING OF ATTACHED BRANCHES FOR MORE FRUITFULNESS
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman” (John 15:1). Jesus made it clear that His Father was the one taking care. He planned our salvation, maintains it, and makes the link with His Son Jesus to be continual. The grace, goodness, witness, righteousness, care, compassion and cleansing that every child of God enjoys are all from the Father as the Husbandman. He has kept them with Him and every branch that does not bear fruit He takes away and every branch (whether new or old, man or woman) that bears fruit He purges that it might bring forth more fruit. More fruit in your life in Jesus name.
What kind of fruit is He talking about?
The Production of Moral Fruits – Matthew 3:7-8; Romans 6:18-19,22; Galatians 5:22-24
He is talking about our morals, character, behaviour and holiness, appropriate fruits expected from those who have truly repented. “Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance” (Matthew 3:8). “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Romans 6:22). At new birth you turn away from sin, and unto the Lord, then you begin to bear the fruit of repentance and of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). The fruit of love – for God and people; joy – making others joyful, not just selfish joy; peace – in your heart and flowing to other people; long-suffering – not quick-tempered but enduring and slow to anger; gentleness – in attitude to others, not cruel, wicked nor oppressive; goodness – not selfish; faith, faithfulness; meekness – lowliness and humility, temperance – self-control, not controlled by alcohol, drugs and dangerous things.
The Purging for more Fruits – John 15:2; Isaiah 6:5-8; Malachi 3:3,4; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8
“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit” (John 15:2).Have you got to the limit of productivity, progress and fruit bearing in your life? The Lord purges us that we might bring forth more fruit. Prophet Isaiah had been ministering from Chapter 1 but in Chapter 6, had to have his Adamic nature purged (Isaiah 6:5-7) and he was then given a new ministry, “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” (Isaiah 6:8). Something from heaven will touch your mouth, mind, heart, and spirit and He will purge you. You become more holy, gracious and righteous in Jesus Name (Isaiah 6:7). The purpose of purging is that you become closer, cleaner, holier and more righteous unto Him (Malachi 3:3). When He purges us, then we will offer service like in the olden days unto the Lord. “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). Search your life and ministry for any old leaven and purge yourself of them.
The Pruning for Marvelous Fruits – Deuteronomy 30:6; Matthew 3:12; 2 Timothy 2:21-22; Philippians 3:7-8
In the pruning, anything, though not sinful or evil, but that is useless, not productive and that retards your progress in your attitude, manner, and behaviour, the Lord wants to prune away in your life. “And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live” (Deuteronomy 30:6). The extra flesh there is not poisonous, but if left, collects bacteria and that will retard growth and fruitfulness. (Matthew 3:12) Chaff is not evil but has no food value nor nutrients; all that constitute chaff in your life – talkativeness, interaction with the world, its policies and system – will be taken away and you will live the abundant and shinning life in Jesus name. “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21). “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ” (Philippians 3:7). Are there some irrelevant, worthless and useless things that you habitually do that hinder your progress in the Lord? He will take them away in Jesus name.
POINT 2: THE PERIL AND PERDITION OF APOSTATE BACKSLIDERS FOR THEIR FRUITLESSNESS
“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away” (John 15:2a). These were people born again, connected with Christ, not those who had never repented, nor heard the gospel, but the problem with them was that they were fruitless. The fruit of repentance, holiness and righteousness were nowhere to be found in their lives. “ If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:6). They were in Christ but now they slid back. There are people that teach eternal grace no matter what you do, but Jesus says do not listen to such people. Let us look at them –
The Profession of False Believers – Titus 1:16; 2 Timothy 3:5-7; James 2:17,20,26
There are people who say they belong to Christ and are are loud in their testimony, but their character and behaviour are ungodly and sinful; they are false professors. “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:16).They are ever learning of salvation, repentance, Christ the Saviour, Sanctifier and Baptizer in the Holy Ghost, but no corresponding fruit and grace to do what they are learning is not there (2 Timothy 3:7)
The Peril of Fruitless Branches – John 15:2; Jeremiah 6:16-19; Luke 6:46,49; Hebrews 6:7,8
“……he taketh away…” (John 15:2a). It is the Lord, the Vinedresser Himself that takes away all the fruitless branches in the Vine. “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein” (Jeremiah 6:16). You are born again, connected with Christ and on your way to heaven, then ask for the old way, the word of God, and not the modern day and useless form of Christianity, that doesn’t show any good behaviour and evidence of being born again. Look for the old path of repentance, salvation, righteousness, holiness and walk in it.
The Perdition of Forsaken Backsliders – John 15:6; Matthew 3:9,10; 7:16-19; 13:40-42; Hebrews 10:26-31; Jude 12-13; Revelations 20:10-15
Understand that when somebody backslides, the Spirit of God will be pleading with him to come back so that he can be restored, but if he persists, the goodness of God will not flow into him anymore and he is forsaken. If you are a backslider, you can repent and come back to the Lord, and He will receive you in Jesus Name. If you are really born again, you will not bring forth fruit of lying, fighting, stealing, adultery, deception, immorality; your life is totally transformed (Matthew 7:18). “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity” (Matthew 13:41). There are some who just delight in being offensive even without any provocation; they sin wilfully and presumptuously, just to get at the leaders; if they do not repent judgement is coming upon them. “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26). This is the final, ultimate, irretrievably, irrevocable and eternal death (Revelations 20:14). Thank God, you will not be there. By the grace, goodness, and enablement of God upon your life, you will bear fruits, and the Lord confirms this upon your life in Jesus Name.
POINT 3: THE PREPARATION AND PRESERVATION OF ABIDING BELIEVERS FOR MUCH FRUITFULNESS.
“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3).
As you look at these verses 3-5, you will see
Purity through Cleansing by Christ – John 15:3; Psalms 24:3,4; Ephesians 5:25-27; 1 John 1:5-7
We need that purity and cleansing to get to heaven. “He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully” (Psalms 24:4). He that has clean hands, that is salvation, and a pure heart, that is sanctification; these are the people that are going to heaven. God wants us clean and pure, and the water of the word of God that we are hearing will keep you clean and pure in Jesus Name. The Blood of Christ will cleanse you completely.
The Priority of Continuing in Christ – John 15:4; 8:31; Acts 27:22-24,31
The secret of bearing more, marvelous and manifold fruits is that we continue with and abide in Christ. You will continue, and not be separated from Him. There are people that misunderstood the promise of God; they say that God has promised and whatever happens even if you do not abide in Christ, you will still be alright. That is fallacy. “Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved” (Acts 27:31). As you look at verses 22-24 you will see God’s promise that no life would be lost, but then they were to abide in the ship. The promises of God have conditions.“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;” (John 8:31). You will abide and the Lord will keep you in Jesus Name.
The Proof of Consecration to Christ – John 15:5
With God all things are possible for you, and you can do all things and will do all things; you will abide, and the grace of God will be multiplied in your life in Jesus Name.
The Lord is talking about bearing fruits; we have come to Christ, are converted by Christ, connected with Christ, continuing in Christ, and consecrated to Christ, and thank God, we shall be fruit-bearing branches all through our life in Jesus Name. More grace, goodness and favour are available today, and the Lord wants you to get closer and nearer to Him, and He will supply the strength and grace to bear more fruits in your life in Jesus name.