INTRODUCTION: Having cheered and comforted his
timid disciples in John 14, The LORD now presses on in certain great truths they will need. He begins by urging them the absolute
necessity of close union and communion with Himself, by means of the illustration of a vine and its branches.
July 20th, 2003, Sunday Morning
"The Vine and its Branches"
An illustration of the connection between God and You
OPENING: John 15:1-11
John 15:1-2: These verses lay the foundation of the simple, solid truth of man's relationship with God
- Whether you have good or bad days, your relationship with God does not change
- Christ refers Himself to the disciples as many things:
- John 15:1: "I am the true vine..."
- John 10:9: "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."
- John 10:11: "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep."
- John 14:6: "I am the way, the truth, and the life:"
- John 11:25: "I am the resurrection, and the life..."
- John 9:5: "I am the light of the world."
- John 6:35: "I am the bread of life..."
- Exodus 3:6: And, of course, with Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit being one, "I am the God of thy father,
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob"
- Exodus 3:14: God ultimately sums up all of what He (and His Son) is by telling Moses
that He is the Great "I AM", when Moses asked Him His name
- Jesus is the fulfillment of that the Old Testament pointed to:
- MANNA: When the liberated Israelites walked in the wilderness, they were given manna, direct from Heaven, to eat
(Exodus 16:15)--and Jesus is the "Bread of Life"
- TABERNACLE: Where the people worshiped is also an analogy to the body of Christ; when Jesus told the Pharisees,
"Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." (John 2:19)--crucify Christ and three days later
He will be risen
- John 15:1: Jesus calls Himself the "True Vine" which can be applied to many contexts
- Psalm 80:8: Jesus was a descendent of King David who was a descendent of one of my Israelite families
liberated from Egypt. Therefore, it makes sense for the scripture to read, "Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt..."
- Hosea 10:1: Israel was the vine that was the source of blessings to nations around it that supported her
(Genesis 12:2-3 and Genesis 18:18) until Jesus came to be. Now Jesus is the vine for all of us.
- The reason we are able to encounter all the good and the bad is because of the strength supplied by Jesus Christ, our Vine
- The union between Christ and believers (the saved) is very close
- Secret of the branches (us) of the vine (Christ): strength, vigor, beauty, fertility
- In ourselves, believers (branches of the vine) have no strength or spiritual power
JESUS IS THE VINE, GOD IS THE VINEDRESSER ("husbandman"--John 15:1)
- While Christ is the Life, it is God who works through us to give us strength and guide us to the completion of each of
our personal, daily missions.
- John 15:2 and 1 Corinthians 3:9: God tends to his vineyard (mankind) by weeding (pulling) out those branches that do not
grow for His use and prunes those that do bear fruit (believe in and work for Him)
- Why prune if the branches are bearing fruit?
- For safety--so you may work and interact without harming the sheep (fellow believers) around you
- Health of the tree--to make you more dependent on God and less on yourself and the world to support you
- Esthetics--to ultimately covert you to the image of His Son--that you would act like Him and others would see Him in you
through your treatment of others
- Because even we believers fall behind and sin from time to time. Therefore
God must adjust our attitude in a number of analogous ways: through cutting of branches or re-planting, etc.
- The saved can never be lost again so the worst God will do to you, a branch, is prune you--you can never been pulled out
of the garden
- Matthew 15:13: The lost (not saved) are referred to as the plants God did not plant
- While the lost will be uprooted, God cares for both the fruitful and unfruitful and will work to save as many "lost plants"
as possible because God doesn't want to see the wicked punished but saved (Ezekiel 33:11)
- TESTIMONY of plants needing time to grow and bear fruit:
- On 14 Aug 74, Pastor Branson was saved. However, before then, he grew up (lost) with the focus of partying through
college with the goal of his parents paying for it all. However, upon becoming saved, he only SLOWLY began finding interest
and participating in church. It wasn't an instant, quantum moment of change--it took months to begin "bearing fruit" for God
- Isaiah 60:21: God plants and cares for us that He may be glorified to all
GOD HAS A SPECIFIC PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE AND IS--RIGHT NOW--WORKING TO COMPLETE THAT PLAN
- Philippians 2:13: God works within us--we have no strength to do anything, ourselves
- Philippians 1:6: God will never leave for forget us--He will work us to the very final day
- Hebrews 13:21: And with your strength and accomplishments/successes, God is glorified
- Matthew 8:29: The Father does the work to make us what we're supposed to be; God knew us and
planned our life for us to ultimately end up as the image of His Son, Jesus, before we were even born!
He's accomplishing His will for our life
- APPLICATION: God prunes you to make you "perfect"
- Trials and tribulations are instruments God uses to strength our endurance and patience which will ultimately make
us more holy
- Isaiah 53:3-10: God wouldn't ask of us to endure what He, Himself, would not. Therefore His Son's
crucifixion is the example of how God feels our pain and loss--He does relate
- Hebrews 12:10: We suffer loss and/or are chastened by God not to be hurt but to be made stronger
Luke 1:78: The Lord is not a harsh taskmaster; he is not out to make us quit or destroy us but to
ultimately make us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ
We don't know what this new week will bring us but we, the saved, do know for certain we are not foundering in
darkness of where to go or what to do because we have God's grace, guidance and direction
Do not focus on the temporary things of this world that can instantly disappear--like money and power
- MONEY: Is good but does not provide happiness. Kobe Bryant was once considered the "squeaky clean" role model
basketball player for children. But now his image is forever tarnished with the admission of adultery and federal charges
- POWER: In the fourth month of the Iraqi war, President Bush's approval ratings have dropped from mid-70% to mid-50%
Are you a plant that was planted by God in His garden (saved)? Thank God daily because He doesn't forget about
you for one second