7 Comments

What Vine are you Abiding In? (Part 2)

What Vine are you Abiding In? (Part 2)

Please take some time and read What Vine are you Abiding In? (Part 1). In Part 1, we looked at the context and background for our passage John 15:1-11 and Jesus’ teaching regarding the vine and the branches. We also had to face the tough question: “What vine are you abiding in? Jesus, the true vine? Or one that is untrue?

Now, in Part 2, we’ll ask another tough question: “What fruit are you bearing?”

BEARING FRUIT

Let’s jump back into our passage from John 15:

John 15:4 “…As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

So, what kind of fruit are you bearing? Are you bearing any fruit at all? Surely you are bearing fruit…its either good fruit or its bad fruit.

The purpose of the branch is to bear fruit. It is completely useless if it does not bear fruit. Notice how, from Part 1, the branches are pruned, cut off, and taken away, but the vine is never pruned or cutoff. There is no other purpose for the branch than to bear fruit. In order to bear fruit the branch must be fully connected to the vine. The branch gets all its sustenance from the vine. All the water and nutrients come from the roots to the vine to the branches in order to bear fruit. If the branch is disconnected or partially connected, it will NOT bear fruit…and we know what happens to that branch.

Jesus mentions “FRUIT” 6 times in this passage, do you think he is serious about it?

BAD FRUIT

Are you abiding in one of these unTRUE vines? One of these FALSE vines described earlier which makes you bear BAD FRUIT? False fruit? What does bad fruit look like? Let’s consider several passages from the Apostle Paul:

Romans 1:28-32

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Any of these sound familiar? Recognize any of those fruits in your life? How about these:

Colossians 3:5-10

5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Any of these sound familiar? Recognize any of those fruits in your life? How about these:

Galatians 5:16-21

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

That is some BAD FRUIT. Rotten, horrible, decaying, corrupt, and deadly fruit. We all saw this sinful rotten fruit in our lives before we were saved, how about now? Anything lingering that shouldn’t?

Do you really want to be bearing the sinful fruit of the world? Do you really want to be bearing the fruit of Satan?

GOOD FRUIT

Now, let’s talk about some good news, those branches that are truly connected to the vine and are abiding in the vine will bear GOOD fruit. When you have the Holy Spirit in you, you will be free from this bad fruit. These vines get their nutrients and water from the vine and the fruit will grow. Your fruit may be meager and weak…maybe just one little sickly grape. Will you be able to spend your life like this? No, God will prune you. But even that meager fruit bearing branch will get the attention of the Father and he will move you to be more fruitful. He will work in you and on you.

Give me some examples of GOOD FRUIT…

Best verse is of course Galatians 5:22, which is the continuation of the verses on Bad Fruit above…the fruit of the Spirit:

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Does any of this sound familiar? Can others see these in our lives? Do we exhibit these to our family, spouses, children, co-workers?

How about 1 Corinthians 13:

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Finally:

Colossians 3:12-17

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Now, pay special attention to this:

John MacArthur asks a great question: “Can we put fruit on?” He describes the Christian who reads Galatians 5:22-23 and decides to work hard to bear fruit. He spends all week working to love everyone…then he spends next week trying to be joyful…then the next being patient…you get the idea. None of his efforts will be lasting or real. John 15:4-6 you CANNOT bear fruit on your own…you can do NOTHING without Christ.

You can do nothing without abiding in the vine. You can’t put your fruit on…and run around like the Fruit of the loom guys in big puffy fruit suits. Putting on fruit isn’t real, isn’t Biblical, doesn’t fool our friends, and it certainly doesn’t fool God. Jesus isn’t saying, “abide in me by working really hard to bear fruit. Let’s look at verses 15:4-5 again.

John 15:4-5

4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Now, let’s couple that with verses 10 & 12 to for more detail:

John 15:10 & 12

“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my father’s commandments and abide in his love…this is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

Do you keep his commandments in order to abide? Or do you keep his commandments because you abide? Do you love one another in order to abide? Or do you love one another because you abide? You love one another because you abide…keeping his commandments is subject to your abiding. You can’t keep his commandments on your own.

So, how do you bear fruit? How do you bring forth godliness and holiness and Christ-likeness? You simply abide in Christ and GOD will bear the fruit through you. Stay near Christ, rest in him, abide in him and you will naturally be fruitful.

Again, this is very important:

You don’t bear fruit by doing things…doing things (being obedient and doing good works) is the Fruit! The fruit is what you are doing…you only do things because God works in your through the work of the Holy Spirit in you. Obedience to God is the fruit from abiding, not the act of abiding. I want to say that again. Obedience is the fruit from abiding, not the act of abiding. Abiding is resting in Christ fully.

Praise God it isn’t about me or you! Praise God you don’t have to work at being fruitful, you just have to be IN HIM…and He’ll bear the fruit through you and in spite of you!

Part 3 found here.

About abidingthroughgrace

Married with kids, work as CEO of Engineering Firm, I am Reformed in faith and Baptistic in flavor, I hold to the 5 Solas, TULIP, and currently studying Systematic and Practical Theology at Reformed Baptist Seminary.

7 comments on “What Vine are you Abiding In? (Part 2)

  1. For some reason the website won’t let me “like” this post, so I’ll say it here: LOVE this post. Would that we all could hear more of this from our pulpits!

  2. This was a good point:
    “If the branch is disconnected or partially connected, it will NOT bear fruit…and we know what happens to that branch.”

    Partial or half-hearted devotion to Christ is no devotion at all. What a sobering reminder.

    And this was a great question/point:

    “John MacArthur asks a great question: ‘Can we put fruit on?'”

    As well as this:

    “You don’t bear fruit by doing things…doing things (being obedient and doing good works) is the Fruit! The fruit is what you are doing…you only do things because God works in your through the work of the Holy Spirit in you. Obedience to God is the fruit from abiding, not the act of abiding.”

    Don’t so many of us do this or think this way from time to time? It’s our human nature and it’s the driving force that keeps false religions and cults teeming with devotees.

    Good stuff, ATG. This (and part one) read like sermons. Perhaps you should consider studying for the pastorate. Oh wait. . . 
    ;o)

  3. Kay & Pilgrim, thank you for the kind words. I can’t wait for part 3 to close it up with awesome passages about Jesus.

  4. Great post! Such a foundational concept, yet so little understood by so many professing Christians. Seems “good works” are so often mistaken for “good fruit”. The two are not the same. Nor is good works sufficient evidence of good fruit.

  5. I just had the chance to sit down and read through these two posts, atg. Well done! Practical holiness and the outworking of the sanctification of the believer are the topics of much intramural debate, and confusion within the church.

    I heartily recommend J.C. Ryle’s treatment of this subject, his eminently readable tome, “Holiness” available for purchase, or free online.

    It’s glorious that in Christ believers have been freed from the penalty and power of sin, and oh how I long for the day when the Lord frees us from even the presence of sin!

    Maranatha, Lord Jesus!

    In Him,
    CD

  6. Thank you for the kind words, CD. I have read Holiness as well and greatly recommend it to the readers…it is wonderful.

    -atg

  7. I added part 3, the conclusion, today…it can be found here:

    http://defendingcontending.com/2011/10/22/what-vine-are-you-abiding-in-part-3/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: