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THE NEED TO CONNECT
JOHN 15:1-11

Logan Hensley
April 11, 2010


Lets look at some pictures, think about what all these pictures have in common?

Ok what did all these pictures have in common?  The answer is that they all need each other to fulfill their purpose.

Lets turn to John 15:1-11 and we will see another example that Jesus uses to show how there is a need for two things to come together!

Lets start.  

"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.  You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.  I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.  Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.  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.  These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full."

LETS PRAY!!!!

From my perspective is the most powerful parables Jesus uses. But in order for us to fully understand it we need to break it down.

The First thing we need to understand is  the Purpose of The Vine.

Verse 1:  "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.”

Jesus describes himself as the True Vine. We also see that Jesus shows us that Father is the Vinedresser, or caretaker of the Vine. The caretaker plants the vine and then takes care of it. The Vine doesn’t do what it wants, it does what it was planted to do.

In John 4:34 Jesus says, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.” Jesus is all about doing the Will of The Father.

God the Father by His love for us, Planted his Son on Earth to be a sacrifice for our Sins. By Jesus’ Death and resurrection we may have life and only have it by Him. If we choose to accept Jesus, He is faithful to engraft us in the True Vine of Life. The purpose of the Vine is to Give life.

Now Jesus states in Verse 1, “I am the True Vine”

In the book of John this is the last of the 7 “I am” statements that Jesus says.

Jesus saying “I am” means Him and only Him. There are no substitutes to the vine, Only Jesus. He is the True Vine.

The True Vine is the supplier of everything the branches need. The Vine supplies all the nourishment to make the branches full, fat and strong. The Vine is also the foundation, the unmovable center in which the branches can cling to.  It supplies life, then supplies everything to sustain it.  But so much of us try to find our needs met elsewhere. When we try to find our needs met in the world, we eventually will realize that the world can’t sustain us. The world continues to try to imitate a life giving vine, but what it really is, is a invasive weed that wants to take you over our lives and lead us to death. For the Father is the caretaker of the Jesus, the True Vine, And Satan is the caretaker of the weed which is this World.

Jesus is enough for all of our needs! Are you experiencing that? Are you letting Jesus fulfill you?

The Vines Purposes cant be fulfilled unless it has branches. This Union resembles two things that need each other to fulfill what they are made for. The Vine can’t bear fruit without branches and the branches cannot bear fruit without being connected to the vine.

After knowing the purpose of Vine, it can now help us understand The Purpose of The Branches

The first and most important purpose of the branch is to be connected to the Vine.

Verses 4 and 5, Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing”

Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches. In verse 4 we read that we need to abide in Him. what does it mean to abide? In verse 4 the word abide means to remain, to be continually connected, a never ending process. Furthermore abide means to keep in fellowship with Christ so that His life can work in and through us to produce fruit. This takes knowing the word of God and confession of Sin so nothing is hindering your communion with God. The need for us to abide in Christ is great. Jesus says in verse 5 that a part from him we can do nothing. The branches are weak and fragile and are nothing without the vine. And we just like those branches We are weak, we are broken, and we are nothing without Jesus.

The Vine nourishes the branches and holds nothing back for itself. Jesus is the only way we will be nourished and sustained for life. He holds nothing back to those who are connected to Him.

We need to realize our deep need for Jesus. When we understand that we are just branches, the better we will relate to the Lord; for we will know our own weaknesses and confess our need for His strength.

A few days ago I saw a movie, and it was about a young boy who had cancer. And this boy wrote letters to God, and these letters were his prayers. Through writing these letters the boy had peace about his sickness and showed joy through it all. This sickness that the boy had, took a toll on the family. The hurt that they were experiencing was unimaginable. I thought to myself how could you go through something like this and have peace. I came back to the realization that the only way to survive, to go through the pain of this life, is to abide in Christ, Just as that boy did.

We are just branches, and the winds and storms of life are going to come and try to separate us from the True Vine. On our own we will be blown away. That’s why you need to cling so much more to Jesus, to be connected to him. Abide.

What things can you do to abide in Christ?

Right now I’m going to have someone come up and tell what steps they’ve taken to abide in Christ.

(Alex shares...)

One thing is to be connecting with God be reading the bible! Your own personal devotions are going to be the driving force behind you abiding in Christ, which is going to allow you to know His commandments. Another thing is just surrendering all your life to the Lord. Letting Jesus fill every part of you!

The only way the Branch will survive is if all of the life giving nutrients that the vine has, gets to every part of the branch! This is the same to our relationship with Christ. The only way will experience the life that is in Jesus Christ, is if we continually give Him all of us to fill.

Now how can you tell that you’re abiding in Christ?

This passage gives us some good signs of a life abiding in Christ. There isn’t a special feeling but there are evidences that are clear and unmistakable.

At the end of Verse 2 we read, “every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit” and also in Verse 5 it says, “he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit”

The first thing we see is that when we abide in Christ we produce Fruit.

Also in Verse 2 we read that, “The father prunes so we will bear more fruit." So another evidence is that we experience The Fathers Pruning in our life.

So often we pray “God, I want to be more affective for you, I want to bear fruit, Help me do that.” We pray that without wanting to accept the pruning process.

In Verse 7 we read, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

Another evidence is Answered Prayer. As our prayers reflect our hearts desire For God and Gods will we will experience answered prayer.

Verse 9 "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.” also later in Verses 12 and 13 we read "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” As we abide in Christ another evidence is a deepening of Love For Christ and other believers

The last thing we see in this passage is in Verse 11, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”As you continue to abide in Christ you will be full of Joy. 

Lets move to the other purpose of the Branch.  It is to bear fruit!

Now the Vine cannot bear fruit on its own, it uses branches to bear the fruit. This is the same for us. Jesus, The almighty, all powerful could do all fruit bearing on His own, but by His love for us, he choses to depend on us as his branches to bear fruit.

Lets read verse 8. “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” In this context Jesus is talking about His 12 disciples but this metaphor encompasses all believers down through the generations. The Father is Glorified when we bear fruit.

What ways can we bear fruit?

One way is, As we grow in Holiness and obedience.  Romans 6:22:  "But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.” we experience the fruit of sanctification as we grow in Holiness and obedience.

Paul in Romans 15:28 considers Christian giving as fruit of a dedicated life abiding in Christ.  “Therefore, When I have finished this, and have put my seal on this fruit of theirs, I will go on by way of you to Spain referring to the financial gift given for the Jerusalem Church.

Also the fruit of the spirit is a kind of Christian character that glorifies God and makes Christ real to others.

We can also bear fruit by winning others to Christ.

God has called us In Matthew 28:19 to Go Make disciples of all Nations. God chooses to use us to spread this Name through out the world. It’s not that God cant do it on his own, its that he chooses to be dependent on us to that work of proclaiming his name.

How is God going to reach Merced? He’s going to do it through us.

God wants to use to us to bear fruit, and much fruit. We are the branches it’s our purpose to bear fruit.

But there are two types of branches.

Branches that bear fruit and Branches that don’t bear fruit.

Verse 2 states that Every branch that doesn’t bear fruit he takes away.  And Verse 6 says,  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.”

If we are not bearing fruit, we are not abiding.  This is not saying that the believer will lose salvation, But Just as an unfruitful branch is useless, so an unfruitful believer is useless.

Are we so selfish, that we keep to ourselves the very gift we don’t deserve and very gift we are called to give to others.

Sharing the Gospel is not a duty, it’s a privilege. The amount of Joy you will experience in sharing the Gospel and closeness to God youll experience is beyond what we can imagine.

Another person is going to come up and share what they’ve experienced as they steped out to share the Gospel.

(J.D. shares...)

I have been blessed with the opportunity to have been a part of God using me to win people to Himself.  Every time I have experienced someone coming to know the Lord, I am humbled and blown away.  Being a part of something so far beyond me is amazing.  I experience so much Joy and closeness from those experiences that I weep at the opportunity God gives us.  All it takes is for us to abide.

So there are two types of Branches.

Ones that bear much fruit….

And

Ones that don’t bear fruit…

Which one are you?

Now as the Vine and the branch come together to bear fruit. We must understand

The purpose of the Fruit.

As believers our lives are all about God and giving Him Glory. But producing fruit takes time and cultivation, and a good crop doesn’t happen overnight. So as are abiding and bearing fruit, the Fruit is for his Glory. For we must remember that the branches do not eat the fruit; others do.

We are not producing fruit to please ourselves but to serve others. The Branches bear fruit, which proclaims the excellence of the Vine. The fruit we bear is too give The Father the Glory and to show the wonders of His Son.

Abiding in Christ demands worship, meditation on God’s word, prayer, sacrifice and service, and as we experience these things we experience the fullness of Joy.

Abiding in Christ is our deepest need, and as we let Jesus fill us with all the nutrients that we need, we evermore need to bow down to him, and give thanks that in Him we have life.

Lets pray