Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin
John 15 - takes place after our Lord and His disciples celebrated the Sabbath and our Lord instituted what we call the "Lord's supper" within the celebration of the Passover.
All of the disciples are on their way from their upper room to a place where our Lord's disciples are waiting to the Garden of Gethsemane and the discourse on the true vine and the branches.
Sooner or later we all run into someone who teaches that you can lose your salvation but God doesn’t give things and then take them back.
The most obvious doctrine is the Doctrine of Salvation which is a permanent gift according to Rom 8:38-39.
This whole analogy of the vine is to teach us about the believer’s vital relationship and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ and what those benefits are.
The focus of this vine analogy is to emphasize production in the spiritual life as what the passage refers to as bearing fruit.
Joh 6:35, -- “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”
Because of sin man is separated from the true source of life.
This is one of those true doctrinal principles that we call the zoe life.
Man has limited pleasures but unless he is in right relationship to God he cannot understand what real life is as God intended it to be.
Joh 8:58 Our Lord said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
This was also in the midst of a heated controversy with the Pharisees and Jesus referred to the fact that he knew Abraham because He was before Abraham; JOH 8:57-59.
One of the problems is that when metaphor or analogy is used people try to push things too far.
Jesus and the disciples left the upper room and were walking along the hill side the hills were covered with grape vines.
The fact that it is a growth area for the grape vine is not a chance encounter.
God specifically designed things so that this event would take place, that our Lord would go by the grape vines and He would use this as an analogy of the believer’s relationship to Himself.
God created the grape vine in order to teach certain things about the Christian life and then Christian’s relationship to God.
God created the sheep so that He could utilize it as an analogy to teach certain things about the life of the believer.
One thing we learn about the vine is that the wood itself is useless.
You can take the wood of the vine and burn it to make heat. You can’t use it to make furniture or to make weapons.
It is good for only one thing: producing fruit.
The believer is relatively useless. He is not good in and of himself, he is only good because of what Christ has done for him, and what He has supplied for him.
What the believer is designed for is the production of fruit; Eph 2:10.
The purpose for planting the vine is equivalent to salvation, -- you don’t plant the vine just for the enjoyment of its growth. The purpose is in the production of fruit.
Only mature plants produce fruit while immature plants are to continue to grow.
The purpose of a plant is to produce fruit, but it doesn’t produce fruit until it is mature.
All the time it is maturing it has to be fed all the right nutrients under the right conditions, and then it absorbs all of that nutrition from the soil in order to produce fruit.
You don’t really start producing fruit in your life until you are a mature believer.
The Scriptures do not define that as production, that is the function of the believer’s priesthood, not production.
We just need to relax and let God handle the situation because we are told in Gal 5:22-23, the fruit or the production of the Holy Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” etc.
Production of fruit is also character, and inner transformation of the soul into the character of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Gal 2:20; "We have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer we who live, but Christ lives in us;
All of this takes time, it takes the proper nutrition, the proper feeding and handling.
What is that based on?
1Pe 2:2 commands us to desire the sincere milk of the Word, “that you may grow by it.” It is only by means of the Word of God that we grow.
Spiritual growth is the result of the right nourishment which comes exclusively from the Word of God under the filling of the Holy Spirit.
He puts his roots down in that soil of Bible class, week in and week out, over and over again, so that his mind becomes saturated with doctrine, his soul absorbs those spiritual nutrients.
It is slow, it takes time, and it may be imperceptible to the believer for a while, but the Holy Spirit is working transformation within the believer that is not always recognizable when it is taking place.
Fruit must be distinguished from the growth of the plant, its stem and its leaves.
Don’t confuse the leaves, the buds and the stem with fruit, that is the immature believer going from infancy to maturity.
Fruit only comes at the different stages of spiritual maturity especially if it is the end result.
The quality of the fruit is dependent on the nourishment that the plant provides.
The main question is “What is nourishing your soul?”
What is it that you spend time on absorbing into your soul?
Is it the human viewpoint concepts of the cosmic system that influences our life or is it Bible doctrine?
Rom 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world [cosmos], but be transformed by the renovation of your thinking” = through the study of God’s Word.
Joh 15:2 “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He [Father, the vinedresser] takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit.”
What does it mean to “take away”?
Unfruitful means that this is merely a professing but not a genuine believer.
The second interpretive position that is taken on this is that the believers that are “taken away” are those who lose their salvation.
The third position and the one that is the true position is that the unfruitful believers experience divine discipline.
The Greek word is eiro which can mean to take away or remove, but it also means to lift up.
When you go out into the fields and see the vineyards out there, the lower branches on the vine that may be weak are propped up by rocks, so that by the elevation they are strengthened and then produce fruit.
It does not have to do with removal (there is removal in verse 6 which has to do with the sin unto death; 1Jo 5:16, for those of you who may not know that.
Unfruitful believers experience divine discipline in time and lose rewards in eternity.
He is not talking about salvation; it is talking about the fact that fruit bearing is a consequence of being in fellowship with the Lord.
Paul uses the phrase to describe the believer’s position in Christ, but John uses the phrase simply to describe intimate relationships that we all have with others as well.