Robert McLaughlin Bible Ministries

What it means to be initiated into the secret of the mystery, Part 67. The intimate relationship between the vine and the branches.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

This discourse was delivered right after the Lord’s Supper was instituted and perhaps as they had made use of wine, TLJC took that occasion to say that He was the true vine, and to associate that His blood (His spiritual death) was the real wine that was to give strength to the soul.

Others have supposed that it was delivered in the temple, the entrance to which was adorned with a golden vine (Josephus).

The Jewish people are compared to a vine which God had planted, ISA 5:1-7, PSA 80:8-16, Joel 1:7, JER 2:21,EZE 19:10.

A vine yields proper juice and nourishment to all the branches, whether they are large or small.

All the nourishment of each branch passes through the main stalk or the vine that springs from the earth, so TLJC is the source of all real strength and grace to His disciples.

The “vinedresser” metaphor portrays God the Father as the author of the predesigned plan of God while the“vine” metaphor portrays the humanity of Jesus Christ during the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union.

Fruit from the branch is a metaphor for the Church-age believer producing divine good.

He is going to teach them that you can be clean, saved, and still not produce fruit.

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).

God provides the means for bearing fruit through the filling of the Holy Spirit, cognition of Bible doctrine, and the attainment of spiritual adulthood.

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.

DAN 7:25 And he will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One,

SOS 1:6 Do not stare at me because I am swarthy, For the sun has burned me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; They made me caretaker of the vineyards, {But} I have not taken care of my own vineyard.

GAL 6:9 And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.

2TH 3:13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.

HEB 12:3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.

“My words abide in you” = consistent perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine (inculcation of doctrine) – the second spiritual skill.

“Ask whatever you wish” – does not apply to believers out of fellowship, new believers, or even adolescent believers, but to believers who have the three categories of fruit bearing, and visible and invisible impact.

“Ask for what you wish as a mature believer and God will provide it for you.”

Spiritual skills plus production skills equals divine good in prayer.

Glorification of God through the spiritual skills goes far beyond good deeds or Christian service.

Fruit bearing, or works by themselves, does not glorify God; it is the source of Christian service, the three spiritual skills mentioned in John 15, that truly glorifies God.

Production, or fruit bearing, is a result of spiritual momentum; it is never the means.

The production of a believer is not a sign of his spiritual life; only God knows if the production is divine good or dead works.

It is wrong to conclude that a person is spiritual because they are working hard.

It is equally wrong to conclude that a person is not a fruit bearer or even a believer, simply because you do not see any evidence of it.

“Disciple” – mathetes = one who is indoctrinated or inculcated with Bible doctrine.

Where spiritual skills are bypassed by negative volition toward doctrine or silliness in the application of doctrine (religious misconceptions), production skills take over completely.

A. Fruit bearing is never a means of spiritual growth; it is always the result.

B. Spiritual growth occurs through the combination of the filling of the Holy Spirit and cognition of Bible doctrine. When the believer bears fruit through spiritual skills, especially in spiritual adulthood, God is glorified.

C. Divine good is the result of spiritual skills preceding production skills. Spiritual skills must precede production skills in order to bear fruit and glorify God. Spiritual skills plus production skills equals the performance of divine good.

D. Production skills do not bear fruit apart from spiritual skills. Unless spiritual skills are developed and constantly used, dead works are produced with many adverse repercussions.

E. Spiritual skills are utilized in three progressive categories.
1. You learn how to be filled with the Spirit.
2. You use the filling of the Spirit for your cognition of Bible doctrine.
3. You will eventually execute the predesigned plan of God.

F. The good deeds and Christian service of the believer in spiritual adulthood are not dependent on the doer.

G. The production of divine good does not create cliques or manipulate the recipients. Instead, the recipients give praise to God for what has been accomplished.

H. When fruit bearing is the result of spiritual skills, God is glorified.

I. The greater part of fruit bearing is hidden from the view of other Christians, but is seen by God, who is glorified by these invisible works.

J. In the Christian life, when production skills replace spiritual skills, there are disastrous results, such as the formation of cliques, the development of legalism, and the problems caused by arrogant “counselors” who interfere in and manipulate the lives of others.

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