The Value of the Vine – Part 2

What Can Be Learned from a Grape Vine?

John 15


July 2, 2017 PM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.       Introduction (John 16:12)


A.    In John chapter 15, Jesus is preparing His disciples for his soon death the next morning.

B.     He has so many things He would like them to know and understand, but there was no more time. They couldn’t take in much more (John 16:12)

C.    John Chapters 14-16 are His final teachings about the life He had called them to live, just before He is crucified

D.    These are some of THE most important things that every Christian needs to ponder and learn and live by:


1.      Like, Love one another, as much as Jesus loved us (13)

2.      Jesus was going away, but would come again (14)

3.      Jesus is the way to God, and IS God (14)

4.      The Comforter was coming (14)

5.      And now, in chapter 15, Jesus points to a vine in a vineyard and teaches His disciples about their relationship to Him


II.    Review of the Parable


A.    The Garden - Vineyard


1.      Most everyone had a garden in those days, and had to live off of their garden

2.      So this was not complicated for them to get like it is for us city-slickers

3.      The best kind of garden in those days had vineyards in them

4.      Vineyards were very important to Israel’s economy. The juices from grapes were used in so many things in their lives: for sugar, for refreshment, for medicine, for water purification…

5.      The Garden is this life


B.     The Vine


1.      It is a long slender stem of a plant that carries nutrients and water from the roots to the branches

2.      A tree trunk does the same thing, and is therefore LIKE a big vine

3.      The vine is the centre piece between the root and the branches. The mediator that bridges the ground to the branches

4.      Two different kind of vines and vineyards:


a.       Mainly GRAPE vines

b.      And FIG vines


5.      The Vine is Jesus Christ


C.    The Gardener


1.      Gardens NEVER grow on their own – only weeds and thistles, and nettles do that

2.      So, to have a garden, SOMEONE has to be the Gardener – known as the HUSBANDMAN – the one who tended to the crops

3.      Without a faithful, hardworking gardener, a fruitful garden would never happen

4.      So, thank God for Gardeners!

5.      The Gardener is God the Father


D.    The Branches


1.      A branch is at the top or end of the vine where leaves, flowers, and hopefully fruit grows

2.      To a branch, there is only one vine

3.      Even though there is only one vine, there are many branches attached along that vine

4.      A branch can be short, medium or long

5.      Their only purpose is to spread out along the vine and get as much sun as possible so that they can produce fruit, and hold onto it until it is picked by the Gardener

6.      The Branches are all believers


E.     The Fruit


1.      The greatest purpose of any living thing is the production of fruit


a.       A tree may be a great shade in the summer, a fun place to climb

b.      But without fruit, it has no real benefit to the world, and is only a taker

c.       It has given nothing back


2.      The greatest value in living thing is found in its fruit

3.      A forest, a field, a life, without fruit, without any new life, will die

4.      And the Fruit? Well, we will see what all it is later!


F.     The Most Important Truth of John 15 – Jesus is the Vine (John 15:1,5)


1.      Jesus is THE Vine


a.       This proves there is only one source for the life of a branch life. Not many different sources

b.      He is our main concern – stay close and connected to Him


2.      Jesus is the TRUE Vine


a.       There are many kinds of vines to attach yourself to

b.      This does away with: Mohammed, Allah, Vinshi, Buddha, Confusius, Stephen Hawkings, Richard Dawkins, Bill Nye, Neil de Gass

c.       It also does away with: Mother Mary, Pope so and so, angels, fairys, and the like!


3.      As the true vine, Jesus is the author, and the sustainer of our life – without Him, we could do nothing. We would have no life at all!

4.      THIS great truth must be pondered and really believed, if you want to bear fruit as Christian


G.    We are Only Branches (John 15:5)


1.      Two important truths:


a.       We have no life without the vine

b.      We have no value without fruit


2.      The Vine supplies life to the branches


a.        We need absolutely everything that the Vine provides just to exist and produce fruit


3.      We are IN the Vine (2Cor 5:17; Rom 8:1) – placed in to the vine (Christ)

4.      Therefore there is a oneness of life from the root to the branches – all one!

5.      Interestingly, a branch can have the semblance of life – can look like it is fine


a.       Leaves… But no fruit

b.      Fruitfulness is a by-product of that union of life – closeness to Jesus

c.       Next week we will look at barrenness and powerlessness


6.      Our reason for being born again is not to produce leaves

7.      But so that we can produce fruit


H.    We Should Be producing Fruit


1.      A Christian’s fruit is:


a.       The by-product of our connection to the Vine (john 15:4)

b.      Simple, abiding union with Christ is the main condition of all fruitfulness.

c.       Fruit is possible only on condition of union with Him. He is the source of it all


2.      If you have no fruit, you are cursed (Mt 21:19; Mk 11:14; Lk 3:9; Jude 1:12)

3.      Various fruits according to the Bible:


a.       The Nine Fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22,23; Eph 5:9)

b.      Righteous living (Mt 3:8; Philp 1:11). Even holiness (Rom 6:21,22)

c.       Children (fruit of the womb) – fruit that GOD gives us!

d.      Praise (Heb 13:15)

e.       Wisdom (James 3:17,18)

f.        Patience (James 5:7)

g.      Power with God – getting what you ask for!

h.      And souls won to faith in Christ! (Prov 11:30).


4.      So, why aren’t more of those fruits in our lives?


III. Preview


A.    What the Gardener Does, and Why

B.     Why Pruning?

C.    What the Vine does for us

D.    What Christ Expects of us

E.     The Awfulness of Barrenness


IV. Message


A.    What the Gardener Does, and Why


1.      He attaches us to the Vine (1Cor 12:12,13)


a.       We were born at the time HE has appointed

b.      Puts us in our families

c.       Puts us in the church He wants us in – at least tries to

d.      Puts us even in troubles, to forge us and make us stronger

e.       Best of all - He plants us in HIS Vine, in His Son


2.      Weeds around us


a.       Whether you notice it or not, God is constantly at work clearing out your life so that you…


1)      First Get saved – grafted into the vine

2)      And then get fruitful

3)      How much of our life is spent holding ONTO the old things and habits that the Lord gave you victory over at salvation?


b.      We often do not allow the Lord to pull out of our lives the things that choke out fruit

c.       Let Him yank!


3.      Purges, prunes us


a.       His most important work of all!

b.      The chief secret of fruitful gardening is merciless pruning.

c.       Cutting away as much as possible – stripping back to the bottom.

d.      Well, Jesus says, the main thing needed in a plant is not to just leave it alone

e.       God uses many “sharp tools” to prune us


1)      The word of God (Heb 4:12)

2)      The words of a good friend (Prov 27:17)

3)      Afflictions and losses (Psalm 137:39)


4.      Places hedges around us – protects us


a.       He gave us all a conscience to show us limits – we usually burn it out fast

b.      Our parents were a great protection from God

c.       Strong, Bible preaching and teaching is a great wall of protection, if we would stay IN it

d.      Prayers of other people for you are like an umbrella

e.       Angels around us (Ps 34:7)

f.        Why? Because there is a devil out there that LOVES to devour Christians (1Pet 5:8)


5.      Thank God that GOD is a faithful Gardener in your life.

6.      Just remember that all His efforts are for fruit – not just because we are “so special” by ourselves


B.     Why Pruning?


1.      Simply for fruitfulness / Christ-likeness

2.      It is the REMOVAL of Branches


a.       Dead branches

b.      It is ALSO the cutting back of the branch, almost to nothing, so that it can grow back stronger, healthier and more fruitful


3.      We don’t mind “hedging” and “trimming”


a.       Doesn’t take much away

b.      And leaves US looking GREAT!

c.       But that is all it does – does not help us produce any fruit!


4.      But pruning reaches deep down the branch, sometimes to the very base of the branch, and cuts just about everything away!!!

5.      What Branches are pruned?


a.       Almost all branches! Almost can’t escape it!

b.      Any dead branch.


1)      Completely removing dead branches that have no life in them – they have shrivelled up and died

2)      Sometimes, a vine will have a branch that is not solidly attached to it, and is not alive anymore nor producing fruit

3)      So the Gardner removes that branch – prunes it – lets it die!


c.       When there is too much of a branch – has to be thinned back – too much of himself or herself

d.      Even the best of branches – pruned so they can be stronger and more fruitful still!

e.       Some branches are left alone because their time for pruning is not yet – but it will come


6.      Looks like a waste of good branches and growth!


a.       God sometimes takes EVERYTHING away (even the good stuff, spiritual things, victories, good things) – not because you have done anything wrong (see Job), but so that you grow stronger, and produce more fruit in the end!

b.      So, Be VERY careful about judging God’s pruning policies!

c.       Have you ever see someone cutting back bushes, and tree limbs in their garden?

d.      What waste it would seem to an ignorant person to see scattered on the floor the bright green leaves, and to look at the bare tree, bleeding at a hundred points from the sharp clippers.

e.       But there was not a random cut in it all, and there was nothing cut away which was worth keeping; It was done carefully, scientifically (not too far), for a set purpose-that the plant might bring forth more fruit.

f.        If there be any real union with Jesus, then there will be some life, and if there be any life, there will be some fruit, and, therefore, the branch that has no fruit has no life, because it has no real union.

g.      A branch that has never produced any fruit, and doesn’t care about being fruitful, and is just barely hanging around the Vine, and not actually IN the vine, is in danger of being cut off completely!

h.      That’s very sobering! (2Cor 13:5)


C.    The Awfulness of Barrenness (2Pet 1:4-10)


1.      Remember the kinds of fruit any and all Christians should be producing in their lives?

2.      Any and all fruit brings such joy to a Christian – gives such meaning, and power to life

3.      Having no fruit has the opposite effect – barrenness and emptiness


a.       Blind – unable to see very far ahead – always stuck in the past (1:9)

b.      Forgetfulness - forgotten that he was purged from his old sins

c.       Falling – not into hell, but falling into sin, and being defeated by it


4.      Never get used to the emptiness of no spiritual fruit in your life

5.      It is a Christian’s duty to add as much to their life (like sap) so that they are fruitful

6.      There may be plenty of activity in your life, plenty of money, of popularity. Yet works are not fruit. So sad to be full of busy-ness, and yet barren (emptiness) inside!


D.    What the Vine does for us


1.      Supplies everything for our life – everything!

2.      Holds onto us! Holds the branches


a.       The branches do not hold the vine

b.      The vine securely holds the branches – we grow FROM the Vine

c.       AND the Gardener makes sure that the vine and the branches stay together (John 10:28,29) – even ties them together!


3.      Allows us to be pruned


a.       Have you ever wondered why Jesus does nothing when you are being humiliated, humbled, defeated, stripped down, and almost ruined?

b.      He is allowing His Father, the Husbandman to do what is necessary for you to be fruitful

c.       Jesus the Vine allows us to be pruned, to be afflicted, to lose what we think are important to our life


4.      Loves us (15:9)!


a.       Never forget this!

b.      We are now part of Him

c.       Like a groom loves his bride who is part of his flesh and His life


5.      Enables us to bear fruit


a.       Gives us everything we need to produce fruit!

b.      Again, without Him, we could never produce ANY fruit at all


6.      Brings joy (15:11)


a.       AS we stay close to Him

b.      AS we produce fruit

c.       AS we are pruned and made clean and cared for


E.     What Christ Expects of Us – talking to Believers, His Disciples…


1.      Abide in the Vine (1,4,6,7) – a commitment to depend upon Him for everything


a.       Everything fruitful in my life will only happen based on my closeness to commitment to the Vine – our abiding!

b.      It means to stay, continue, remain, stand firm, keep believing, love being with

c.       Not something we sample, dabble in, or try out every once in a while

d.      Not something we do for a couple of hours on a Sunday

e.       Not on and off based on guilt, or feelings

f.        But a way of life (Luke 9:23) – dig your heels in!


1)      Like joining a soccer team – complete commitment

2)      Like becoming a movie actor – complete commitment

3)      Like getting married –complete commitment

4)      Like being addicted – but now to a walk with a living Lord


2.      Store up Christ’s words in you (3) – THEY are our life (John 6:67,68)

3.      Stay spiritually clean and healthy by the right source (3) – the washing of the word – loads of it!


a.       Let it cleanse you every time, from sin, and yourself!

b.      Wrong sources soil us and weaken us

c.       Good clean soil and water make for strong healthy branches that naturally bear fruit

d.      Make sure it is not pick and choose time, but REAL right at your own heart time!


4.      Accept the purging/pruning as from the hand of God (2,6)

5.      Stay in Christ’s love (9) – stay in the middle of His will, where His love is shown best


a.       You cannot now be hated by Christ - impossible

b.      But you can get away from experiencing the love and kindness of Christ, and yourself grow cold and hard from its lack! It is called grieving the Spirit of God, and Quenching His presence (see Rev 3:20) that has been pushed OUT of the church!

c.       1Jn 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

d.      Just get back to doing everything God’s way!


6.      Keep His commandments (10) – live in obedience to His every word to us


a.       You are going to fail

b.      But certainly you should seriously strive to live by Christ’s commandments like they are the BIG TEN Commandments!


7.      Love the other branches (12,17)


a.       Get along with them

b.      MOST problems in families and churches are because people are so hurtful to others

c.       So rude, so disrespectful of people (James 3:9,10)


8.      Ask whatever you want (15:7, 16)


a.       Ask for all that you need and beyond

b.      Seems strange, but God loves to be asked to do the impossible (Eph 3:20)


9.      Oh that we would DESIRE to bear fruit – barrenness is no life at all


a.       We are not the fruit, we are the branches!

b.      Our lives MUST produce fruit, or we will be severely pruned

c.       Win souls, exhibit the fruits of the Spirit

d.      Produce GOOD fruit – that remains (15:16) – not a fake show, or shallow, that does not last

e.       Bear much fruit – don’t be hesitant, reluctant, half-hearted – don’t hold back


10.  This is our calling (15:16)

11.  Will you always be able to “abide”?


a.       No.

b.      None of these same Apostles kept abiding-  they fled away

c.       Some cursed and swore not even know Jesus

d.      So this parable is not about losing salvation – but about producing no fruit


F.     A Test. How to tell if you are abiding in Christ


1.      Are you Bearing some fruit?

2.      Does the Bible cleanse you as you read it? Or is it only a tool to control others?

3.      Do you love being loved by Christ?

4.      Are you keeping Christ’s commandments?

5.      Do you love the brethren? It shows by how much time you spend with them

6.      Are you asking whatever you need, and getting it?


V.    Conclusion