Here is a look at Jesus the True Vine in John 15.
When Jesus was speaking to His disciples, He told them, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:1-2) but the disciples must have wondered what this meant? One of the symbols of ancient Israel was that of a vine…and a fruitful vine, but Israel failed to produce the fruit that she was called to and was a fruitless vine, so Jesus reminds them that every branch that doesn’t produce is taken away and pruned but it’s done not to kill the branch but in order to produce more fruit. We cut back our rose bushes in the fall so that they will produce more roses in the spring, and to the naked eye, it looks like I’m destroying it, but by pruning it, it produces more, even though it might seem painful to the rosebush.
Does God prune us?
In what ways?
Is it painful?
Have you produced more fruit after being pruned? Give an example.
When Jesus was speaking about pruning the branch, He said “Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (John 15:3-4), so part of the way the disciples were made clean was because of the word that Jesus spoke to them. They had received Jesus words and believed Him, so by believing, they were saved and thus, cleansed. A branch that doesn’t produce fruit needs a little help because, as Jesus said, “the branch cannot bear fruit by itself” any more than a branch can produce an apple that’s detached from the tree.
How does the words Jesus speak make us clean?
What did Jesus’ mean by saying “abide in Me?”
How can we abide in Christ?
Can we produce anything outside of Jesus (John 15:5)?
If we begin to understand that unless we are abiding in Christ, Who is the True Vine, we cannot produce any thing good, we’ll simply be producing wax fruit. It might look good to the eye, but when someone tastes of the fruit, they’ll see it’s not real so Jesus reminds all of us, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). The point is apart from Christ, we cannot do anything at all…or we can do nothing, and nothing is not a little something…it is as Paul asks, “What do you have that you did not receive from God (1st Cor 4:7), and I came up with a big, fat zero!
Can you tell the difference between wax and real fruit?
What about the nice little lady next door who does a lot of good but is not saved? Isn’t that fruit real?
Why does Jesus use the analogy of His being the vine and we being the branch?
Who can we be “in Him” or in Christ?
When Jesus is speaking to His disciples, He tells them “If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned” (John 15:6), and many people think this refers to hell, but other Bible scholars believe it refers to unproductive Christians who are not abiding in Christ and thus, cannot produce any fruit (John 15:5). Does this refer to the judgement of unbelievers or to those who have failed to produce fruit and God may take them home early. It seems out of place for Jesus to warn His own disciples, whom He had just said were “clean” (John 15:3), that they would end up in the fire if they failed to abide in Christ and bear fruit.
Do you think the branches gathered and “thrown into the fire” is about believers who fall away or those who professChrist but have not really been saved?
Is the “if” as in “If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned” (John 15:6), a conditional clause or “if you don’t abide in Me you’re thrown into the fire?”
Jesus continues in His conversation with His disciples, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7), and so this is the third time Jesus had told the disciples to “abide in” Him, so abiding in Christ must be of critical importance to us, otherwise Jesus would never have repeated it three times, but here, Jesus promises that if we abide in Him, we can ask whatever we will and it will be done for us, but that doesn’t mean we can pray for anything we want, because a child who get anything they want might end up asking to play with a carving knife, and God loves us too much to let us hurt ourselves, but I think Jesus is saying that whatever we wish, we receive, if it is within the will of God for our lives.
What does the word “abide” mean to you?
Is this chapter written only to the disciples or written to us and them or to lost people?
In the final passage we’ll cover, Jesus says “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:8), but what was the “by this?” It may have pointed back to the verse that if you abide in Christ you (and I) will produce fruit and when we do produce fruit, we “prove to be (His) disciple.” The fruit shows we’re attached or abiding in the vine because fruit cannot be produced if it’s not attached to the vine or branch of the tree, and neither can we produce any lasting works or fruit without abiding in Christ, because remember, He said, “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5), and nothing still adds up to zero!
How is God glorified by our fruit?
How does fruit prove we are Jesus’ disciples (Eph 2:10)?
Why does He say we can bear “much fruit?”
What does this fruit look like in shoe leather?
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also host of Spiritual Fitness and Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.