by Jeffery W. Hamilton
Text John 15:1-8
I. We know that Jesus’ words in John 15 concerning the vine and branches are dealing with individual Christians and not denominations.
A. Jesus is the vine, each one of us are branches off that vine, and God is the vinedresser.
B. But don’t get so caught up in identifying who is being talked about and forget what is being talked about.
C. Grapevines can grow on their own, but they don’t do as well as they do when maintained.
1. A grapevine allowed to grow wild will produce fruit, but it is a poorer quality that one that is regularly pruned.
2. Grapes grow on one-year old branches. Older branches will produce more shoots for grape-producing branches. The problem is if the vine isn’t pruned, it will cycle through a year of mostly leaves followed by a year of grapes, but those grapes will be poor because there are too many.
3. Pruning keeps the balance between grapes being produced and branches for next year’s crop without either becoming too heavy.
D. Simply put, grapes do best when they are severely pruned every year.
II. God prunes the vine
A. A branch which doesn’t bear fruit isn’t worth keeping, so it is removed.
1. Removal in order to teach - I Timothy 1:18-20
2. Pruned back in hopes of restoring - I Corinthians 5:4-5
B. A branch which is bearing is cut back to cause it to bear more fruit.
1. Trials which produce fruit - James 1:2-4; Romans 5:3-5
2. Hard times and difficulties are necessary for the health and productivity of the branches.
a. I’ve repeatedly seen so-so Christians suddenly blossom into productivity when faced with difficulties.
b. When everything appeared to be going smoothly, they sat back. But a hardship came and they suddenly realized there was no one else to do the work.
C. We need fruit worthy of the change in our lives - Matthew 3:8
III. What fruit is being sought
A. Bearing fruit is much more than just sitting in the pew on Sundays
B. Filled with the fruits of righteousness - Philippians 1:9-11
1. Righteousness gained after trials - Hebrews 12:11
C. The change in behavior is fruit - Galatians 5:22-23
1. Ephesians 5:9 - The fruit of the Spirit
2. II Peter 1:2-8 - Abounding in these things you remain fruitful
D. Helping the poor saints - Romans 15:26-28
1. II Corinthians 9:9-10 - the result of our righteousness
2. Helping support the spreading of the gospel - Philippians 4:16-18
E. Maintaining good works - Titus 3:14
1. Such gives glory to God - Matthew 5:16
2. Done by the teaching of the gospel, constantly producing fruit - Colossians 1:5-6
3. Fruitful in every good work - Colossians 1:9-12
F. Giving praise to God - Hebrews 13:15
G. Winning souls to Christ
1. There is a harvest ready - John 4:35-36
2. A wise soul is a tree of life to others - Proverbs 11:30
3. Teaching is a way to produce fruit - Romans 1:13
IV. Fruitful only by remaining in Christ - John 15:4-6
A. Only by keeping Christ’s commandments - John 15:10
B. Sin makes us unfruitful - Ephesians 5:11
C. Some serving only themselves - Jude 12
D. Caught up in the cares of this world - Matthew 13:22
V. Israel lost its position because it became unfruitful - Matthew 21:43
A. The unfruitful are destroyed - Matthew 3:10; 7:19
B. We have so many wanting to know what is in it for them
1. As Christ said, it is more blessed to give than to receive - Acts 20:35
2. Do you define your religion based on what you get or what you give?
C. Are you a productive branch in Christ?