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Grace Bible Church
Pastor Teacher
Robert R. McLaughlin
Tree of Life
Weekly Review
Each of our trials and troubles is a steppingstone, or it should be.

This past week, we noted the saying Hakuna Matata, which is a wonderful phrase which means “no worries” or “don’t worry, be happy, because everything is going to be alright.”

JOH 15:1-2, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch [believer] in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit.”

The LORD wants us to recognize the importance of having a positive attitude no matter where we are because at any moment a satanic lie can “sneak attack” against the believer.

By now, throughout the years, you have heard me say that it is vital to remain positive toward GOD and His plan rather than be concerned and negative because things don’t seem to be going our way.

Everything in your life has the potential to either be a blessing or a curse, it all depends upon your outlook in life especially when we are facing certain challenges.

One of the major doctrinal privileges that we have in JOH 15:1-8, on the Vine and the branches is the subject of pruning. Therefore, we began to look at some of the most important doctrinal principles concerning what it means to be pruned which may simply refer to GOD shaping their lives in general to help them towards spiritual growth.

Pruning is the process of cutting away anything that would hinder the believer’s spiritual growth. Sometimes pruning gets rid of dead leaves that hinder the growth of the plant or of the vine and sometimes, if the damage is really bad, it can hinder the roots from functioning properly with the branches. In fact, when it comes to pruning, we need each other to build up and edify ourselves.

This is another reason why we need the Royal Family Honor Code to function properly when we are being pruned by our LORD sometimes personally, sometimes corporately which establishes us before Him.

ROM 12:10-21, Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the LORD; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath {of GOD,} for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the LORD. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

When it comes to pruning, one of the most important functions of pruning is to separate the live branches from the dead branches. Pruning can come in many different ways because if we do not receive the spiritual pruning that is needed at the time, there is no way we will ever live the spiritual life that our LORD desires for us to live. Pruning is the benefit of having our LORD do the changes needed in our life even if it hurts some, at the time. In fact, what time is it? It is time to plant!

Let’s look at the context of what I call planning and pruning.

ECC 3:1-8, There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven. A time to give birth, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to build up. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing. A time to search, and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep, and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together; A time to be silent, and a time to speak. A time to love, and a time to hate; A time for war, and a time for peace.

In ECC 3:2, notice the time! A time to give birth, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted. It is the second half of verse 2 that I would like you to look at the last phrase which states; A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted. That’s the one phrase I want you to note. There are times that the dead branches need to be uprooted because unless you have removed the dead branches, certain problems that produce death will take all the strength that should go into the fruit not the dead branches. This is another reason why our LORD instructs us and commands us to separate from certain people at certain times.

In our study of JOH 15, on the road to the Garden of Gethsemane, the last thing that the Apostles needed was to be around the wrong kind of people. The apostles had enough problems with their own ability to handle the situation, and so the last thing they needed was to be around others who had a negative attitude on a consistent basis. There comes a time when GOD's people need to learn the importance of separation or the importance of being purged away from other believers who have a negative attitude. This is why PRO 13:20 says, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

The apostle Paul warned us about this principle of purging or separation in 2TI 3:5, “They [believers and unbelievers in the cosmic system] hold to external forms of GODliness, but have renounced the power of that same GODliness; you also be turning yourself away from these men.”

Look at 2TH 3:6, Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ, that you keep aloof or you separate from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us.

2TH 3:11-15, For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. Now such persons we command and exhort in the LORD Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good. And if anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that man and do not associate with him, so that he may be put to shame. And {yet} do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

In ROM 16:17-18, Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our LORD Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting or the silly ones.

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