The Vine and the Branches (9-20-14)
Going Deeper is a weekend devotion intended to help you go deeper into a scripture you spent time in during the week. We pray this is simply another way for you to dig into God’s word. May your affections for Him be stirred and your soul sanctified for all He has prepared for you.
Grab your bible and let’s go deeper into John 15:5
John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing
Here we see an important insight on Christian Growth. Jesus refers to himself as the Vine and us as the branches.
A branch GROWS in two different ways:
- It GROWS OUT = The Fruit that is produced in our lives
- It GROWS IN = The deepening of our roots into the vine (into Christ)
What we must understand is that Growth out is only the result of a life that is being TRANSFORMED by the power of Christ as a result of a closer, deeper, more treasured relationship “IN” Christ!
The Reality is: We as branches don’t GROW fruit, The Vine (Christ) grows fruit through the branch.
So, when the bible talks about Spiritual Growth, it is really talking about Growing deeper “into” Christ.
When Jesus says, “if a man abides (remains) in me and I in him,” he is saying, true growth is the deepening of our connection to the vine. It is falling more deeply in love with Jesus! It is enjoying him more fully as our treasure!
THE question is: How do we do this?
How do you have a deeper more treasured relationship with Jesus?
How do I constantly grow “INTO” him?
One of the big answers is right here in this verse:
John 15: 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches (plural)
I want to point out that Jesus is talking the church here not an individual.
“We” are the branches.
Be honest, when we think of this text most often we are only thinking about ourselves… “I am the branch & I need to be connected to the vine!”
The key to you and I going deep in Jesus, to STAYING or REMIANING in him is…each other.
We are not designed to do the Christian life alone. There are no Nomads in the Army of the Lord!
God saved us into an eternal community. We are not meant to do this life alone and we are not able to grow in a lasting way alone. We need each other!
If I try to do it alone, I will wander from the vine and long to abide in other things for my identity, my joy, my life!
The question you must answer today is: Who are you doing life with?
Who have you invited into your life to walk with you? This is someone who doesn’t have you ask how you are doing. They know you. They know your spouse. They know your struggles, your schedule and your temptations.
Their Main purpose in your life at this level is to constantly Re-orient you to Jesus!
When we have this kind of community we have:
- an example in those we are walking with
- encouragement along the way
- a fuller understanding of the Gospel as I see it lived out in others
- support, prayer and help
- true accountability
If you want to grow this year: Grow deeper into Jesus and see Jesus change you form the inside out. To produce real and lasting fruit in your life, you need to be walking in true Christian community. You want to make sure you have people all around you who you truly invite in to help you stay connected to HIM and growing into HIM.
Finally, “Jesus says, those who abide in him will bear much fruit”
Jesus mentions Fruit 8 times in this chapter alone! And there is a progression from “fruit”, to “more fruitful”, to “Much Fruit”.
What is this fruit?
When the word of God talks about Fruit it is almost always talking about character!
It is the Character God desires to produce in us.
The Bible defines the Fruit that God the Spirit produces in us in Galatians 5 as: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Our Growing into Christ in the context of true Community produces FRUIT in our lives.
It produces a life of Selfless Love.
Ephesians 4:15-16 … we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Think about a life that is full of: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
What Jesus is saying is:
I am the key to that! I am the true source for this kind of life…
How can a selfish person become selfless?
How can mean person become kind?
How can a whiner become a person filled with joy?
How can an addict discover self-control?
How can a worrier become filled with peace?
How can a controller become patient?
What Jesus is saying is: I will produce this FRUIT in you when you abide in me!
The Fruit God will produce in you is a sacrificial LOVE for others.
This is a love that is not your own doing but the fruit of the Spirit of God who is at work in and through them.
Remember: anything else you cling to will let you down. A branch cannot attach itself to anything else to produce fruit. Only when the branch abides in the vine, (JESUS CHRIST) does it produce fruit. Don’t forget: Apart from him you can do NOTHING!
By His grace and for His glory,
Soldiers for Jesus MC