Robert McLaughlin Bible Ministries
What it means to be initiated into the secret of the mystery. Part 66. The mystery behind the vine and the branches.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Verses 1-8 - the production of phase 2, living the spiritual life in time.
Verses 9-17 - a dissertation on true biblical love.
Verses 18-27 - the hostility of the cosmos or the world system.
The “vinedresser” metaphor portrays God the Father as the author of the predesigned plan of God.
The “vine” metaphor portrays the humanity of Jesus Christ during the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union.
The vine metaphor emphasizes the fact that all precedence and all production of divine good in the Church-age comes from the Vine, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Fruit from the branch is a metaphor for the Church-age believer.
Because of positional sanctification (our union with Christ) and the grace provision of the filling of the Spirit, it is possible for the believer to produce divine good.
1. Dead branches representing dead works, or production skills without spiritual skills.
2. Live branches representing divine good, with spiritual skills as the basis for production skills.
The branch in Christ that does not bear fruit represents the believer who does not produce divine good.
a. The law of volitional responsibility, which produces a tremendous amount of self-induced misery.
b. Divine discipline.
Pruning is necessary for properly redistributing the “energy” for production.
The branch that bears fruit must be pruned occasionally so that the spiritual skills will increase and maximize.
This is suffering for blessing.
Just as God provides divine discipline and punitive action for the one who bears no fruit, He also provides suffering for blessing for the fruit bearer.
Personal pronoun - you = humeis, in the plural.
LUK 23:43 “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
ISA 43:25 “I, even I, am the One who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.”
PHI 3:13b but one thing I concentrate upon: constantly forgetting the things that lie behind and pursuing vigorously to what lies ahead,
“Abide in Me” - a command = this is an experience after salvation (dependent on our volitional decisions) and not a reference to positional sanctification (a permanent result of regeneration, not dependent on our volition).
The “branch in Christ” of JOH 15:2 is the believer in positional sanctification.
When the branch is commanded to “abide in Christ,” the believer is being commanded to enter into experiential sanctification through the filling of the Holy Spirit.
The phrase “I in you” is a mandate for the believer to learn and metabolize Bible doctrine (when we have doctrine, the “mind of Christ,” in our souls, Christ abides in us).
The Vine has provided for us the precedent, the pattern, and the information necessary to produce divine good.
We cannot produce fruit apart from the function of spiritual skills - the filling of the Spirit; perception, metabolization, and application of doctrine; and execution of the predesigned plan of God.
“For apart from Me you can do nothing” = dead works (the function of production skills without spiritual skills).
Production skills without spiritual skills result in dead works.
2CO 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be rewarded for his deeds done in the body, on the basis of what he has done whether good or worthless.
The drying up of the branch in JOH 15:6 refers to the believer without spiritual skills “drying up” through the production of dead works.
There are three concepts revealed in this verse - the believer in fellowship, the believer in doctrine, and the believer in prayer.
The believer in fellowship can perform good deeds and Christian service, which are produced in the execution of the predesigned plan of God.
“My words abide in you” = consistent perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine (inculcation of doctrine) - the second spiritual skill.
The third spiritual skill is the execution of the predesigned plan of God by advancing through the three stages of spiritual adulthood (spiritual self-esteem, spiritual autonomy, and spiritual maturity).
1. Visible production of divine good, which can be seen by others who observe your Christian service.
2. Invisible production of divine good, which has maximum impact in life.