Updated: Dec 26, 2022
Disciples ought to bear fruit
John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Jesus tells his disciples that ‘I am the vine, and you are the branches’ This describes the relationship between Christ and his church in way to help us to understand it. You could say the picture of the vine and the branches is a model but one that reflects the spiritual reality very clearly.
Romans 5:5 tells us that the love of Christ is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is like liquid love in our hearts and produces the fruit of the Spirit which is the character of Christ. In other words, the liquid love of the Holy Spirit is like the sap that nourishes the branches and leads to the fruit of the vine growing on us the branches. This liquid love is constantly being poured into the believer’s heart.
God the Father is the gardener, farmer or vinedresser and lovingly tends his vine and branches.
J15:2 Every branch in me that bears not fruit he takes away: and every branch that bears fruit, he purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Perhaps the best way to interpret the word fruit (Greek karpos) here is as a return or yield for what has been put in (in this case the Holy Spirit into the believer).
The branches that not bearing fruit are ‘taken away’ (Greek airo), but this means to be lifted to catch the sunlight better and get another chance to produce fruit. The grapes that are ready are then harvested, the love that has filled us brings the character and the good deeds of Christ which we then share with those in need. This consumption of the fruit by our good deeds stimulates the branch to produce more fruit.
3 Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
The word clean (Greek katharos) means literally honed or fine-tuned for a specific purpose. There are two aspects to this cleansing, firstly a removal of all external hindrances to fruit production in our behaviour, and secondly, an internal honing with removal of all hindrances and development of all good qualities in our hearts. There is some overlap in the two processes. Jesus tells his disciples that they are now ready to produce fruit.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me.
The word for abide (Greek meno) means to stay and this root gives us words including remain, maintenance, and even mansion. This is cause and effect, if we abide in the Vine then we can bear fruit. The abundant life flows from Christ in the form of the liquid love from the Holy Spirit. We must be fully connected to the vine and receive his nourishment as we pray, study the word, and fellowship with the Holy Spirit. The fuller our connection to the vine the more fruit can be produced. If we lose our ongoing connection to the Vine our branch cannot produce any fruit.
5 I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.
This verse emphasises the fact that if we are not abiding in Christ, we cannot produce any yield, or fruit nor a dividend to the Lord. The more we are connected to Christ the more fruit we will produce.
6 If a man abides not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
If we are not connected to the Vine our branch has no life and is only useful as firewood.
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you.
Jesus tells his followers that if we focus our lives in on him, so that all his words and sayings are flowing in our hearts and minds, whatever we ask for will be done for us as our flow of words and deeds line up with his.
Prayer: Lord teach us how to abide in the Vine with a full connection to your flow of love into our hearts. Teach us to bear fruit for you. Amen