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John 15:1-14
I Am The Vine
Israel in the first century was an agrarian society. Vineyards abounded, and
the concept of the vineyard maintenance was an everyday occurrence in
their lives. This was an illustration they could relate to intimately.

Vines of all kinds can and do spring up, but there is only one vine that is
wanted, the vine that will bear grapes, or fruit, is wanted. Jesus is the true
vine – all others are imitation – for only in him can we produce the fruit
acceptable to God.

In this parable, Jesus is the vine and God is the vinedresser, or farmer.

Vines need to be trimmed to produce well. Granny stems need to be
removed. Unfruitful stem need to be removed. A vine left to itself will come
to ruin. The vinedresser knows this. The trimmed branches wither and die,
and then are burned.

Jesus' illustration is simple: “I am the vine and ye are the branches: he that
abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for wihtout
me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5).

The premise is simple: Jesus is the vine – individual Christians are the
branches – God is the farmer – the fruit is the fruits of the Spirit, good
works.

Unless we abide in Christ, we cannot be acceptable to God. It is in Christ
that we bear fruit. Only in him can we bear fruit. As the branch derives its
life's substance from the vine, so Christians derive their life's substance
from Christ. Everything that gives them spiritual life, all spiritual blessings,
are found in Jesus. In his words, in his teachings, in his doctrine is found
everything that the Christian needs or wants. With his direction, the
Christian is a light unto the world, a brilliant flash of goodness and
righteousness in the darkness and ignorance that envelope this world. His
word directs the Christian to all good works. (2 John 1:9-11 KJV)

Outside of Christ, men are tossed aside and burnt with the chaff.

“And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree
which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I
indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me
is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you
with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will
throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will
burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:10-12 KJV)

Christians are called to good works. “For we are his workmanship, created
in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we
should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10; Matthew 5:13-16 KJV)

It is as Christians do good works that they are the disciples of Christ – those
who follow after him and his word. (Matthew 28:18-20 KJV)

Christians are to love Christ even as he has loved his father and loved them,
and to love one another even as Christ has loved them. Love, both in the
epistles and Gospel written by John as well as the rest of the New
Testament, was emphasized.

“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a
good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:” (1 Timothy 1:5 KJV) Charity is
love. The end purpose of the gospel of Christ is love: love for God, love for
Christ, love for brethren, and love for our fellow man. It is not a love that is
motivated by greed, or selfishness; but, comes from a good. clear
conscience. Not a faked or feigned faith, but a pure unvarnished faith.

Read the following passages and what they say of the love Christians are to
have.

(Matthew 22:35-40 KJV – see also Mark 12:30-33; Luke 10:27; 6:32-35; John
13:34-35; 14:15-21 KJV)

“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my
words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make
our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the
word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. These
things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.” (John 14:23-25
KJV)

“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another
hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt
not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt
not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly
comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as
thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling
of the law.” (Romans 13:8-10 KJV)

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy
neighbour as thyself.” (Galatians 5:14 KJV)

“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for
us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”
(Ephesians 5:2 KJV)

“But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye
yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” (1 Thessalonians 4:9 KJV)

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some
is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day
approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25 KJV)

“Let brotherly love continue.” (Hebrews 13:1 KJV)

“If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy
neighbour as thyself, ye do well:” (James 2:8 KJV)

“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit
unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a
pure heart fervently:” (1 Peter 1:22; 3:8 KJV)

“But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected:
hereby know we that we are in him.” (1 John 2:5 KJV)

“For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should
love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his
brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and
his brother's righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We
know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the
brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth
his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life
abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down
his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But
whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth
up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in
him?” (1 John 3:11-17 KJV)

“And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his
Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And
he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And
hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given
us.” (1 John 3:23-24 KJV)

(1 John 4:11-21; 5:1-3 KJV)

“And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment
unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one
another. And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the
commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk
in it.” (2 John 1:5-6 KJV)

The greatest love is the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross.

“Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of
others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being
in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made
himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was
made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he
humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the
cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name
which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should
bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory
of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:4-11 KJV)

“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in
our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet
without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a
righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would
even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we
were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by
his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were
enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more,
being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:5-10 KJV)

“We love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19 KJV)