Reflections on John 15:1-16 (part 2)

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The True Vine

“I am the true vine … I am the vine” (:1, 5)

Introduction

Unless we have holidayed abroad in some sunny climate, it is likely that we have only seen vineyards in books or on television. While here in the United Kingdom we do have fruit-bearing vines, the Scriptures refer to the one yielding grapes. Jesus points our attention to a living parable that has a message which describes Him in some way. Everything that God created are visible expressions of things in Heaven or portrays a heavenly truth. When He said, “Consider the lilies of the field” and “Consider the ravens” (Matthew 6:28 and Luke 12:24), He is telling us that there is an important truth to be found in natural things. While we cannot find God in nature, we can read messages He has installed in it. “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise” (Proverbs 6:6).

The true vine

Jesus is the true vine. This means that there must be false vines too, which means that it is possible for people to be connected to something that is not part of the planting of the Lord. The “wild vine” will bring spiritual death (2 Kings 4:39-40). It also infers that natural vines are shadows of the true.

The teaching here is remarkably simple to understand. The Father [husbandman] planted the true vine [Jesus], so that branches [us] might bear fruit. Therefore a person must be in the one that God ordained to be the Saviour if he or she is to be saved and live a fruitful life. “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6) … “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Being the true vine, He is the only one who can support and comfort us through life. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Just as Christ asked us to consider the flowers and the birds, so the apostle Paul tells us in Hebrews 3:1, “consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.” The sad fact is that people today, even believers, are considering false vines [teachers and teachings] that will eventually destroy their souls.

The growth

The true vine provides everything we need to grow and bear fruit. All our sustenance passes through Him first before it comes to us, and the fruit we bear is the product of His Spirit in us rather than our effort or labour. Since it all comes from Him, we can be absolutely assured that we have the perfected ingredients for a successful Christian life. We attempt to obey His command to teach and preach the Gospel to all people, but it is still not our doing but His. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:19-20) … “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following” (Mark 16:20). Until we come to realise that it is all Jesus, we will not be as effective as He desire, and we will continue to rob Him of His glory. It is time for the church to yield itself completely to the only one who provides what is necessary for growth. “For in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

The Lord

Maybe we have never taken the time to think about Christ’s sovereign position in our lives and in the church. We claim to know Him as our Saviour, but do we know Him as Lord? This is the basic message of the vine parable. Unless He is Lord in reality our words and songs have a dull sound to them. The flesh likes to govern its own life, but we need to consider the fact that Jesus is the true vine and we are but grafted in to Him. This means that new life is exactly what the Lord says it is, for it comes directly from and through Him alone. “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25) … “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). This means that we cannot be holy, righteous, just or fruitful unless we are in Christ.

Conclusion

We will never truly live as God intended until we acknowledge and confess that He is the true vine and the true Lord. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9) … “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).

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