Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin
March 1, 2019
One of the main principles that our Lord used in His teachings on the parables and other biblical references dealt with the doctrine of the Vine and the Vinedresser.
The Vinedresser [God the Father] and the Vine [our Lord Jesus Christ] and the branches [believers] all have a very interesting analogy.
Three of our Lord’s parables are connected with vineyards (as Mat 20:1 ff; 21:28-33 ff both teach.
It is the challenge to produce divine good and Christian service which is acceptable to God is found in the vine and the branch metaphor of Joh 15:1-8.
The apostle John uses the vine, the vinedresser and the branches as a metaphor to represent the relationship of the believer with the Lord Jesus Christ.
A metaphor is a figure of speech in which one thing is likened to another.
Here we have the vine and the branches used as a metaphor to represent the unity between the Lord Jesus Christ and the Church-age believer.
The vinedresser metaphor refers to God the Father as the author of the Predesigned Plan of God.
The vine metaphor refers to the humanity of Jesus during the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union.
The vine is the basis for the production of divine good or fruit-bearing.
Fruit through the branch is a symbol of the Church-age believer producing fruit.
No fruit or production can be any better than the vine which produces it.
Because of positional sanctification, our union with the Lord Jesus Christ plus the grace provision of God, it is possible for the believer to produce divine good.
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.
The branch is a metaphor for the Church-age believer.
“in me” is a reference to the believer in Union with the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are the branches in Union with the Vine, the Lord Jesus Christ.
“dead branches” representing dead works on the part of the believer or the production skills minus Spiritual skills.
“production skills minus spiritual skills” = we know what we should be doing as far as our the production skills are concerned, but the average believer lacks the spiritual skills needed.
Three Principles of Doctrine:
1. Two Power Options.
2. Three Spiritual Skills.
3. Four Spiritual Mechanics.
Two Power Options = e being filled with the Spirit and the power of the word of God.
The filling of the Holy Spirit is the first power option and the first spiritual skill in the spiritual life.
The filling of the Spirit converts human I.Q. into spiritual I.Q., so that we have equality to learn spiritual phenomena.
The third spiritual skill is the problem solving devices deployed on the FLOT line of the soul also known as the Forward line of troops which is a military acronym.
- Four Spiritual Mechanics – includes: the filling of the Holy Spirit, metabolized Bible doctrine, the ten problem solving devices, the execution of the PPOG.The “dead branches” represent dead works on the part of the believer or the production skills minus spiritual skills which means that we produce human good with human power.
As a branch with life from the Vine , the “live branches” represent the ability of the believer who knows that divine good only results from living by using the spiritual skills.
The branch “in me” that does not bear fruit refers to the believer who does not produce divine good.
Dead works is not fruit-bearing and is punishable or subject to divine discipline.
In verse 2, God the Father removes and takes away all dead wood, dead branches, branches which produce dead works.
1. The law of volitional responsibility.
2. Divine Discipline.
Mat 7:17 “Every healthy tree produces good fruit. And every diseased tree produces worthless [degenerate, or evil] fruit.
Mat 7:18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree produce good fruit.
Mat 7:19 every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
- The law of volitional responsibility which produces a tremendous amount of self-induced misery and divine discipline.
- We also have the principle of pruning which is necessary to redistribute where the energy for divine production should go.The branch that does bear fruit has to be pruned occasionally so that the spiritual skills will increase and maximize =
suffering for blessing.
Prin: Just as God provides divine discipline and punitive action for the non-fruit bearer, so God provides suffering for blessing for the ruit-bearer.
In verses 3-4, we are the cleansing of the branches for production.
Verse three is salvation cleansing of the branches.
Nothing in your life, including what you thought, what you said and what you do, can ever hinder your spiritual life = including your past.
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.
ISA 44:22 “I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud, And your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.”
Nothing that ever happened to you before salvation should be a hindrance to your worship of the Lord and the production of divine good.
Post-salvation refers to the cleansing of the branches from personal sins which took place after your salvation and that is which is found in 1Jo 1:9 for us as it was found in Psa 32 for the OT believers.
Joh 15:4 “abide in me [fellowship], and I in you [mandate for doctrine]. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit from itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me.”
The fact that “abide” is a command means that it is an experience after salvation and not a reference to positional sanctification.
We are never commanded to be in Union with Christ and this is a command to remain in fellowship with God through the use of 1Jo 1:9, so that divine good can be produced.
The branch in Joh 15:2 is positional sanctification, but the branch commanded to abide in verses 4, is the believer mandated to experiential sanctification through the filling of the Holy Spirit.
Also note the phrase in verse 4, “I in you” = a command for the believer to learn and metabolize Bible doctrine where the Lord and His thinking is revealed in us — and that would be Gal 2:20 for every believer .
Paul is dealing with the hypocrisy of the apostle Peter also known as Cephas who compromised the grace of God by telling the Gentiles that now that they are born-again, they should follow the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Gal 2:2, the apostle Paul is really blaming the apostle Peter for compromising the Law with the grace of God by telling the Gentiles to live the spiritual life in the Old Testament.
The O.T. was given to the Jews while the New Testament was written for both Jews and Gentiles as believers in the Church-age who were to follow the grace of God and not the Mosaic Law.
JOH 1:16-17, For of His fulness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.
It’s one thing to withdraw from other believers who are sent by Satan and the Kingdom of Darkness.
It is another thing when you drag other believers down into your little system of hypocrisy.
JOH 1:17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.
“were realized” is the aorist-passive-indicative of the verb ginomai which means to become something that one was not before, or to finish, to follow, to fulfill.
ROM 6:4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
ROM 7:5 For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.
ROM 7:6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.
Notice in GAL 2:12, the apostle Paul was referring to the self-righteousness and the legalism that came from certain men from James who were still under legalism.
These “certain men from James” refers to those legalistic individuals who thought that they should still be under the Law and they were trying to put others under the law as well.
Does the Lord want us to convert those who were becoming grace-oriented believers or does our Lord want His people, His ambassadors, to put others under the burden of the Mosaic law?
If they are unbelievers, they need to become born-again and saved from the eternal lake of fire.
If they are believers in bondage to the Cosmic Systems of Satan and his kingdom of darkness, then they need to be delivered from those Cosmic Systems.
They are Cosmic 1 and Cosmic 2, which are systems that Satan and the kingdom of darkness have developed to deceive the whole world or all mankind.
- There is COSMIC ONE which consists of grieving the Spirit and relying on human viewpoint or human power.In Cosmic one the believer becomes involved with sin or preoccupation with self which causes the believer to sin, then to exit the predesigned plan of God (PPOG).
Once in cosmic one the believer only needs rebound (1Jo 1:9), to get back in fellowship with God.
- Cosmic Two consists of quenching the Spirit which is man’s exit from the predesigned plan of God by way of antagonism toward God and the plan of God.Cosmic two entails more than sin per se in that it moves into evil.
The evil is especially identified by the prophet Isaiah in ISA 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
In the Word of God, Evil is more than sin; it is a system of thought based on disputes, rejection and contradiction to the Word of God.
Evil attempts to frustrate the grace policy of God.
This “human viewpoint” takes more than mere rebound to re-enter fellowship with God, it requires recovery as well.
Recovery being the cleansing of the mind through consistent inculcation of the accurate teaching of the Word of God.
GAL 2:20, “We have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer you and I who live, but Christ lives in us; and the life which we now live in the flesh [human body] we live by faith in the Son of God, who loved us, and delivered Himself up for us.
Notice that they are said to be “bewitched or demonized” which refers to the Doctrine of Demonism infiltrating the souls of the Galatian believers at that time.
The weakness experienced by the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ today, whether individually or corporately, as well as throughout its history, is primarily due to its ignorance of the truths pertaining to the deeper life.
A life that we are called to is a deeper life of understanding how the life of God can dwell in the souls of men.
Question: How can the life of God become alive in us who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit; Rom 8:4?
Phi 3:7 But whatever quality of things were gains to me, those things [gains] I have concluded as an expert as loss for the sake of Christ.
Phi 3:8 Not only this but more than this, I conclude as an expert all things [Paul’s pre-salvation human celebrityship and achievement] to be loss because of the surpassing greatness of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord,
for whom I have forfeited all things, also, I keep on concluding as an expert them to be piles of dung in order that I may win for Christ,
Phi 3:9 and that I may be found in Him, not having my own righteousness derived from the source of the Law,
but that [righteousness] which is acquired by means of faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from the source of the God at the point of faith,
Phi 3:10 that I may come to know Him, and the power of [behind] His resurrection and the participation of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;
PHI 3:11 if, in some way, I may attain to the resurrection (life) away from the dead ones.
PHI 3:12 Not that I have already obtained it [the resurrection life or the ultra supergrace status], or have already reached the objective,
but I continue pressing on that I may attain that [or overtake that, or gain that, arrive at the objective] on account of which I was overtaken by Christ Jesus.
PHI 3:13 Brethren [members of the Royal Family of God], I evaluate myself as not yet having attained the objective [ultra-supergrace or the ultimate objective in time, living in resurrection life;]
but one thing I concentrate upon: constantly forgetting the things that lie behind and pursuing vigorously to what lies ahead,
PHI 3:14 I keep on pressing on toward the objective for the purpose of the reward belonging to the upward call of God [Father], by means of Christ Jesus.
Phi 3:15 Therefore, as many as are spiritually mature, let us have this attitude, in fact, if in anything you have a different attitude, the God will also reveal that to you.
Phi 3:16 However, the status to which we have attained [that is the spiritual growth from our discipline toward perception, metabolization and application of doctrine] let us keep marching or advancing in.
Phi 3:17 Brethren [members of the royal family], be co-imitators of me, and be having respect for the same ones, who constantly walk according to the pattern you have in us.
PHI 3:18 For many keep walking, concerning whom I have warned you many times, and now continue to affirm, even weeping, the enemies of the cross of Christ,
PHI 3:19 whose termination is destruction, whose god is their emotion, and whose time of glory will be a momentary time of shame, who keep thinking about earthly things.
PHI 3:20 For our citizenship [politeuma, or heavenly privilege] exists in heaven, from which place we eagerly anticipate the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;
Phi 3:21 who will transform the body of our humble station into conformity with the body of His glory, from which operational power that He and only He keeps on being able even to bring under authority all things to Himself.
PHI 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.