One of the great passages in the New Testament is found in the fifteenth chapter of John’s gospel as Jesus uses another one of those great “I Am” phrases, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinegrower.” (John 15:1)
We know who the Son is, and who the Father is — but we also know who we are in this metaphor. We are the branches that are connected to the vine, which is the life-source for each branch.
Look at three verses with me, as they describe our place of privilege with the Son of God.
Jesus is speaking: 2 “(My Father) cuts off every branch of Mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and He prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in Me.” — John 15:2–4
You noticed that some branches are cut off because they are useless, but the others are pruned for even further use. And then Jesus tells His followers, in verse 3, “You have already been pruned...”
But how have they been pruned? “You have already been pruned... by the message I have given you.” He’s talking about His teachings, the lessons they have absorbed in the brief years they’ve spent with Him.
As I think about the message the Disciples recorded for us, what is it about His message that served as a “pruning” instrument in our lives? How are we “pruned?”
The very next verse, vs. 4, leads into the answer. “Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine...”
For those who remain in Christ, there is a sharp and absolute parting from the ways of the world or the ways of the “flesh,” as the Bible uses the words. To be in Christ is to separate ourselves from the values and characteristics of a world that is in opposition or rebellion against God. And so the pruning to which Jesus speaks is the cutting off or the cutting out of our lives – the self-centered human nature which can dominate all of our thoughts and actions!
To make it plain, the values of God’s Kingdom-people is opposite from the values of the old flesh, the old way of man. And so Jesus is imploring us to “remain in Me, and I will remain in you!”
Later, at verse 18-19, we read how Jesus extends the lesson for us: 18 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated Me first. 19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.” — John 15:18–19
Let us remember that we have had the old sinful nature pruned from us, but the danger is that we will somehow allow ourselves to sink back into the poisons of the world if we fail to “remain in” or “abide in” Him!
Take up the way of Christ in His Church and give yourselves to the opportunities the Church offers to remaining in Him and growing in your understanding. Most obviously, this can begin in worship! And read for yourselves the inspired writings of the New Testament, the words of life and words of hope! Let your praise and prayers join with all the believers as we continue in this adventure with the King of Creation and the King of our Lives!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.