Life in God’s Vineyard

March 14, 2004

John 15:1-3

” I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 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. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you .”

Friends, You and I are each a branch attached to the vine that is Christ. Our Father tends the vineyard. His Word is what waters, washes, and nourishes the vineyard. Christ is speaking to us here in John 15:1-3 of our position in His eyes, how He works in our lives to bring us to where He desires us to be, and how He washes away our sins with His blood.

In John 15:1, Christ describes Himself as the true vine, His Father as the husbandsman, and our position as branches in His vineyard. The husbandsman is the farmer, the caretaker of the vines. The true vine is the strongest part of the grapevine; that part of the vine from which every other part grows; the part that actually reaches into the ground, forms the roots, and anchors the grapevine to the soil. As Christ speaks to us here, He is telling us that our Father is our caretaker, the one who tends to the vine and branches, protects it from damage, encourages its growth, harvests its fruits, and watches over it night and day. We, as believers, are the branches and are attached to Christ, the true vine. As the true vine, Christ offers us all of our sustenance and all the nourishment we need. He holds us up off the ground, keeps us from blowing away in storms, and gives us the strength to bear fruit. We are each branches on Christ’s true vine, attached to Him by our desires to follow Him, fed daily by His life-giving blood, and the living water that flows through Him.

As branches in our Father’s vineyard, we are tended to and inspected by God, daily. We are told in John 15:2 that, ” 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”. Every branch that is not bearing fruit is taken away by the farmer. Those branches that do bear fruit are pruned that they might bear even more. Christ is telling us that anyone who is not bearing fruit will be cut off from the blessings of life with Christ. Our ability to bear fruit is directly correlated with our attachment to Christ. If we have detached ourselves from Christ’s life-giving blood and His living water, we will bear no fruit and the result of our lack of fruit will be our being cut off from God’s storehouse of blessing. If we are bearing fruit, then we must be consistently drawing on Christ’s life-giving blood and His living water, through our attachment to His true vine. Our fruits are the results of His power in our lives. Thus, if we bear fruit for God, He is going to do all He can to ensure that we bear even more! When a branch is pruned, all its extraneous growths are cut off, ensuring that the plant stops putting its energy out into new outliers and starts focusing on its attachment to the main vine. When God prunes us, He removes all the little branches that grow out of our lives, that is, all those areas of our life that might draw us away from Him. This causes us to turn to Him, draw deeper from His resources, and in turn to produce even more fruit.

God’s word cleanses us, we are told in John 15:3. As John 17:17 tells us, we are “sanctified” through His Word. God’s Word is like the cleansing rain that falls on the vineyard. It washes the dirt and dust of the world off our leaves and branches. It sinks into the soil bringing with it all the nourishment and nutrients the vineyard needs. It comes to us through Christ’s true vine, brought back from the soil, through the vine and out to the branches. We can receive the nourishment of God’s Word because we have received Christ and attached ourselves to Him. All of the love and truth and wisdom of His Word is revealed to us because we have accepted Christ, have His Spirit in our hearts, and desire to hear from Him.

We are all branches hanging from a vine that is Christ Himself, attached by our decisions to follow Him, and fed daily by His life-giving blood and the living water that flows from Him. God is the One who cares for all of His branches. As His branches, we either bear fruit, furthering His Kingdom here on earth, or we do not. If the latter, we will be cut off from God’s blessings, as we have cut ourselves off from His sustenance. If we bear fruit, we can receive those blessings, but we will also be pruned. God removes the areas of our lives that draw us away from Him, that get in the way of our “fruit-bearing”. As they are pruned away our focus returns to growth, and drawing all that we need from Him, in turn bearing more fruit. God’s Word is the cleansing rain that falls on the vineyard. It washes our lives clean from the dirt of the world, carries the nourishment and nutrients we need into the soil, and is brought back to us through the vine that is Christ.

Friends, pray that your attachment to Christ is strong. Ask God to inspect your fruit-bearing capabilities and to do what He needs to do to get you into tip-top fruiting shape. Soak up His Word, as it is that life-giving power that sustains and strengthens us. I pray that you all are bearing much fruit for His Kingdom, that He is working in you to allow you to bear even more fruit, and that His Word is that which feeds your soul.

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