Lesson Info:

Lesson 12 Spring Quarter
Lesson Text:  John 15:1-17
Golden Text:  John 15:5

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We are coming to the end of our spring quarter of Sunday School lessons with only one lesson remaining after this one.  Our lesson this week is going to be a very familiar lesson if you have read, watched, or listened to my recent sermons and gone over my last bible study of this season.  In our lesson this week, we are going to take a look at being a branch on the True Vine – Jesus Christ.

On the True Vine

In the opening verse of our lesson, we will see the familiar verse where Jesus states, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser (v.1).”  From this verse, there are a couple of things to touch on.

Firstly, I want to consider the True Vine by speaking about what we know about vines in general.  Vines, we know, are living as they live by the nutrients their roots take in from the soil.  From all that they take in, vines can grow extremely long and they can also grow wildly.  Some vines produce fruit, like grape vines, while others vines, like wisteria, look beautiful but can choke out trees.

With all of this in mind, vines need to be kept in check, right?  You wouldn’t want vines to grow wildly so, this is where the vinedresser steps in.  The vinedresser is there to keep the vine in check from growing wildly by diligently tending to it; he or she will constantly prune which, in the end, can be very helpful for fruit bearing vines.

So, thinking about this spiritually, Jesus likening Himself to a vine is a living vine that is constantly growing.   The Father, being the vinedresser, tends to the vine.  Jesus said that the Father, as the vinedresser, takes away the branches that don’t bear fruit from the vine; the Father prunes the vine (v.2).

So, on the true vine, we are told that there are branches that grow.  Who are the branches growing on the true vine?  The branches that grow on the true vine are those who have genuinely believed in Him.

Now, if you think about it, this means that the branches growing on the true vine are growing from the minerals pulled in from the vine roots.  Plants take in water and other minerals through their roots and what is taken in travels up the stem or through the vine.

If we remember the tree from Psalm 1 and Jeremiah 17, for example, the roots of the true vine run through the rivers of God – that is the Word of God.  What does this mean?  The branches grow from the Word of God.  These branches should, therefore, bear fruit of good sustenance; a holy and righteous sustenance.  From the fruit that these branches bear, people should eat and grow to be holy and righteous.

The Father’s Gardening Work

However, there is a question that arises because we are told that the Father prunes and takes away branches from the true vine that do not bear fruit.  So, what does it mean to be a branch growing on the true vine but then being taken away from it?  How does a branch grow from the true vine and not bear any fruit?  Also, does this mean you are losing your salvation?

Taking away branches

Well, Jesus has already told us what one must do in order to do the works of God, or in this case, bear His fruit.  Jesus said to those who had been searching for Him that in order to do the works of God, one must believe in Him whom the Father sent (John 6:28-29).  So, in order for one to bear good fruit, I would say that we must actively be in fellowship with the Lord; we must truly abide in Him.  Jesus says as much when we see Him say, “Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine … He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit (v.4).

There are many who profess to be of faith, and they do believe in Christ, but the manner in which they live, it doesn’t always show.  What do I mean by this?  Well, for example, some of us are of faith but we aren’t diligent in our prayer life or our studies.  Some of us are of faith, but aren’t always moving with the kind of love that we should be practicing.  When one lives this way, they aren’t living in a manner to bear any fruit of God.

So, what does God do?  He takes away the branch from the vine.  Does this mean that this one has lost their salvation?  Let us not think that just because God has taken away this branch that this person has lost their salvation.

When you are truly in Christ, you cannot lose your salvation.  In his letter, Peter wrote that our inheritance (salvation/heaven) does not fade away and is reserved for us; our salvation is kept by the power of God through faith (1 Pet. 1:4-5).  Jesus said it in Himself, there is nothing nor nobody that can snatch us of His nor the Father’s hands.

So, when the Father takes away the non bearing fruit branches, He’s not taking them away to be thrown away forever; He is taking them away from fruit bearing.  Does this mean that it is OK for you not to bear any fruit?  Absolutely not.  As Jesus said, if we abide in Him, then we should be doing our absolute best to bear and grow much fruit.

Completely removing wild branches

The Father’s pruning work does not just stop with the branches growing off the true vine.  Again, if you have been listening to my recent sermons and went over the last bible study of the recent season, then you know there are other trees growing amongst us that aren’t attached to the true vine.  From those trees there are branches that grow and can intersect with the branches growing from the true vine.

Now, those other branches that don’t grow from the true vine can hinder the fruit bearing branches growing from the true vine.  What does the Father do about those branches?  Jesus said plainly, “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned (v.6).”

Do you notice the difference in how Jesus spoke about the Father’s handling of those branches compared to the branches that grow from the true vine?  You see, these wild growing branches that are growing from trees of the world, are going to be treated much differently than those that are of Christ.

The wild growing branches from the bad trees are going to be cut down and thrown into the fire to burn up.  The reason that these branches are being removed is, again, because they can hinder fruit from growing on the good branches on the true vine.  Also, we should not miss the fact that this illustration speaks to what awaits those who are of wickedness and live in sin – they will be cast into outer darkness and consumed by the fire.

The Father’s love

So, again, the end goal here from the Father is that we bear fruit while we are growing from the true vine.  If you truly desire to bear good fruit, God will do everything to help you bear good fruit.  Jesus tells us that when we ask what we desire, it will be done for us (v.7).

Something that a lot of us miss when it comes to the Lord giving us the desires of our heart is that our desires should be geared towards the Lord in order for us to receive.  Pay close attention to Jesus saying that the Father will give you the desire of your heart so that He can be glorified and so that we can bear good fruit (v.8).  A lot of times, we just think that God will give us whatever we want but if our wants don’t align with us bearing good fruit, chances are high that you won’t receive what you asked from the Lord.

Our lesson begins to close out on a note of love that the Father has for the Son, and that the Son has for us, His diligent followers (vss.9-10).  Where we may be concerned about our living in the world, Jesus has shared with us that we don’t have to be concerned.  Why don’t we have to be concerned?  Because the Lord is always tending to His vine which would then mean that He is always tending to us.

Because He loves us, Jesus tells us to love each other as He has loved us (v.12).  This is something you hear me speak about all the time because love is essential to our faith!  If you aren’t moving with the love of God, there is simply no way that you can ever bear His fruit – it is impossible.

Chosen by God

Our lesson closes with Jesus saying, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that you fruit should remain (v.16).”  Then, one more time, Jesus says, “These things I command you, that you love one another (v.17).”  As Paul would say, “I would not have you be ignorant”; we are to love all of those around us with the love of God if we truly desire to bear fruit.

Now, what does it mean when Jesus says, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you [to bear fruit]?”  God, we must remember, first loved us; it was not the other way around.  God first loved us and showed us His love by sending to us His only begotten Son.  Mankind, I want you to understand, never tried to make up for its sin before the Lord reached out to us; man would have happily, and ignorantly, lived in sin.

To take away such ignorance of sin, we have been appointed – commissioned – to baptize all nations in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy (Matt. 28:19-20).  We are to let the world know the good news of Christ.  The good news – the gospel – of Christ is that while all of us have sinned and lived wickedly, we can find mercy in God’s eyes and be forgiven.  Through the Lord’s mercy, there is salvation – deliverance – from sin.

Again, when we testify of the Lord, we are bearing good fruit.  When we strive to feel the task that we have been appointed with, we are moving to be bearers of good fruit.  The good fruit is the Word of God


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