I am the vine
Jesus declares Himself to be the vine. His branches abind in Him. How do you know that you are one of his branches? How do you have confidence that you truly abind in Him? Pastor Adrian helps us understand what it means for Jesus to be the vine, the roles of the Father and the Holy Spirit, and what being a branch truly means.
Good morning. how's everyone going John's going great is everyone ready for Christmas it should be have you got all your presents have you opened your presents oh you're good I've opened all mine already I got two packs of sour cream and ch's chips I think I finished them both by myself I don't have a problem hey we're talking about Jesus funnily enough but what Jesus says about himself often we hear what others say about Jesus but during this little series we're talking about what Jesus says about himself and in this case he says I am the vine seems like a rather odd thing to call yourself if you think about where you're sitting at the moment and how your life is how would you describe yourself if you were in Jesus's shoes what would you say about yourself for me personally I would say I am a turnip um because I'm sort of round around the middle and tall and skinny in other places and that would be how I would describe myself but in particular in this particular case we've heard a number of things obviously he said that I am the bread he said that I am the light of Life he's he's going to say a whole bunch of things um but this morning we're talking about I am the vine so would you turn in your Bibles with me to John chapter 15 and we're going to read the first 11 verses of where Jesus says this and hopefully will glean what he means by it it says I am the True Vine and my father is the vine dresser every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes that it may bear more fruit already you are clean because of the world that I have because of the word that I have spoken to you abide in me and I in you as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine neither can you unless you abide in me I am the vine you are the branches whoever abides in me and I in him he it is that bears much fruit for apart from me you can do nothing if anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and Withers and the branches are G GED thrown into the fire and burned if you abide in me and my words abide in you ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you by this my father is glorified that you bear much fruit and so proed to be my disciples as the father has loved me so have I loved you abide in my love if you keep my Commandments you will abide in my love just as I have kept my father's Commandments and abide in his love these things I have spoken to you that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be full there's a strange word that gets repeated in there quite often doesn't it it's the word abide and we're going to get to that later because that's key to our understanding of what Jesus is really saying here and of course we can get a surface level understanding uh what he's saying but firstly I want to break this down into the major characters that we have we're going to have the vine dresser and then we're going to have the vine we're going to have the branches and we're going to have the fruit four key things four key things that we really need to understand uh uh what Jesus is saying so let's go to the first one the vine dresser the vine dresser is the father um Jesus tells us that he says every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes that it may bear more fruit if Jesus is the vine then God the father is the vine dresser he's the one who tends the vine he's the one who looks after it and makes it uh valuable and it says here that the father Cuts away the dead tissue but he also Cuts away healthy tissue doesn't he it's under understandable that when you have a Vine and there's some stick sticking out of it there's dead tissue that you'd cut that off but anybody who has done any any work with plants knows that if you want that that plant to be fruitful and to to grow not just in quantity but in in in quality of fruit you have to cut back some of the healthy branches as well to promote better growth now think about that for a second church as as Christians none of us like feeling pain do we and if you do you have a problem okay but none of us like feeling pain but what Jesus is telling us here is that part of the Christian Life Is that the father will look at us and he will say well here's some dead things that I need to get rid of and we're okay with that we know it's bad it's it's not good in our life and we're we're okay with God taking away those bad things but sometimes takes away we Cuts away things that hurt things that we thought hey that wasn't so bad that was good you know I I really enjoyed being able to do that I really enjoyed that relationship that was a good relationship wasn't it and it probably was but see the father knows the vine dresser knows that sometimes the good things get in the way of the better things make sense sometimes the good things get in the way of the better things and it's not up to us to know that's for the vine dresser that's for the father to know what is a good thing and what is a better thing ours is just to bear fruit right and so the vine dresser works like that and sometimes we can get angry at God because he caused us pain because there was hurt when we thought we were doing a good thing but this is one of those times when we've got to trust and go well does the father does the vine dresser know what's better for me than I do yes it's a good thing but maybe he's making way for a better thing maybe I've been bearing much fruit but maybe the fruit isn't so tasty maybe it's not so good and so the father has got to cut me back a little bit so I can prioritize what I've got to do maybe I can put more of my energies into these fewer things that I now have and I can do them better so that's the first thing and he does that you might say well how does God do that well he does that by using the word okay so if if you've got the Bible which you should and if you haven't it's freely available um he uses the word to convict us anyone been reading the Bible and you go oh they hit me right between the eyes yeah every day okay every day I might be mulling over something and God hits me between the eyes that is so mean and the word that we see in in verse two there where it says um every branch that does bear fruit he prunes that word that word that's been translated as Purge it means to cleanse okay so God isn't just cutting away stuff from our life he's cleansing our life to make it better a better ground for for good works and often he will use the word to to to to convict us of of of some things that are going on in our life but also he chastens Us in other words he disciplines us sometimes okay and if you go to Hebrews chap 12 the first 11 verses sort of deals with that and you go well I don't like being smacked I don't like being corrected I don't like being called out on my sin but the the Bible especially in Hebrews it says this is your privilege as children think about it if you have a loving father don't you want him to guide you correct you teach you mold you shape you into the kind of human being that he wants you to be and he's only going to do that if he's your father and you're his child see if you're Nobody's Child no one cares no one's going to correct you you can go do whatever you want go be a wild fruit sounds like Freedom doesn't it but we know where that goes so it is our privilege to be chastened by God and it's one reminder that we actually belong to a loving heavenly father thank God for his correction thank God for his discipline and these are a couple of ways in which the father prunes us right and it's it's painful pruning is painful it hurts nobody wants it but we we need it make sense okay now let's move on to the vine who is obviously Jesus he says I am the vine something we got to understand here is that as we' 've been talking about the pain of pruning understand that branches are connected into the vine and when we get disciplined when we feel the pain Jesus feels that because he's Divine we're part of him we're connected in right so if you pinch someone's toe they're going to feel that you can tell well it's all the way down there it's it's just a distant part of the body yes but the whole body feels it Jesus is the vine and he feels the pain of our chastening of our correction of our prining but he's also the source of life and is intimately and essentially connected to the branches you see without Vine we aren't branches so in other words you can't have heaven without Jesus lots of people want to go to heaven every funeral I've ever done Christian or no everybody wants to go to a better place right everybody wants to know that their their loved one has gone to a better place has gone to something called heaven but not everybody wants Jesus and this is very clear if you want Heaven if you want all of the benefits of being connected into the vine you can't say well I don't want the Vine I just want to be a branch make sense and and everything that goes with that see if we're going to be a branch because you want to go to heaven and you want to be connected into the vine you have to submit to the pruning you have to submit to the word you have to submit to Godly discipline you got to submit to correction and guidance that doesn't sound like heaven yes it does cuz it means your loved parents in the room did you ever correct your children did they love it did you ever say no to your kids did you ever say no to your kids I really hope you did because if you didn't you didn't parent very well okay uh uh leaders anybody who's been in leadership sometimes you got to make decisions that other people don't like but if you make decisions that everybody likes all the time you're not leading right so you you can't want good leadership you can't want a great family parenting environment without some people going hey but I don't like that it hurts it's not fair Stomp The Foot Right my kids are very familiar with that so we've got to understand that if we want the Vine if we want to be connected into the vine yes he feels what we feel but how good is it that he actually said I've overcome it he's not broken like we are right he's not the person who goes oh whoa it's me this is terrible this is hard everybody in the room has done that okay because we're human and we'll probably do it again because we're human but Jesus says I have not done anything wrong I am completely perfect and he was right and he said but I'm going to take on every person's sin so that you don't have to I'm going to feel your pain so that you know that I know that you know what it feels like okay so he would didn't go into this blind as God who's distant who doesn't know what it's like to live on this planet who doesn't know what it's like to feel pain and Trauma and struggle and strife and and all of the the afflictions of the body we talk about a baby being born in the manger but understand the greatest miracle that God ever did wasn't creating the universe it was making himself small and contained in the form of a human baby think about that for a second and even small to be contained in the life of a human man up to about 30 odd 30 so 30 or so years that's a very small existence for an eternal God wouldn't you agree but he submitted to that for you and for me so that he could say yes there's trouble coming yes there's Strife coming there's tribulation coming tribulation isn't just trouble it's big time trouble it's Fai Faith shaking heart bending lifechanging trouble that's what tribulation is so the yeah that's coming it might not feel like heaven it might not I feel good The Winds of the storm are coming they're shaking the tree they're shaking the vine but I've overcome it so the branches don't need to worry about being blown away because the vine is strong enough make sense all right and so we have a living Union with Jesus and that's why we can bear fruit it's not just a master and servant kind of thing we're actually attached to him and from him we get our energy and so we're able to bear that kind of fruit and we have a loving Union because he isn't just again a master and a servant dictating to us what we should or shouldn't do we are family remember we talked about earlier how the father disciplines us because we're his children if we weren't his children he's not going to be our father he's not going to do all the fatherly duties but because we're children and we have a loving Union a father who deeply cares a son who G gave his life down for us we can enjoy him and because of that reason and because he is well God we have a lasting Union that means forever so if you're a Christian here this morning if you're a disciple of Jesus sucks to be you because I'm your brother for eternity all right so you're going to have to put up with my bad jokes for the rest for forever some of you might be thinking that doesn't sound like heaven all right branches we're like talking about ourselves don't we disciples so I asked this question at home yesterday and I have permission to share this with you so what do you get when you cut off a branch and have it by itself what is a branch by itself that's not attached to a Vine a stick this next part is where it gets spicy what is a stick good for what was that sorry firewood that's the correct answer because you read your Bible okay and that's what it says in the Bible my wife said beating children oh actually she said it was for throwing maybe that was what I was thinking by the way what's a boomerang that doesn't come back stick they're pretty useless right so on its own a branch is useless and in that passage it tells us that they're only good for being thrown on the fire and as branches we have to abide in Jesus and so this is where we come to that word because he's essential for us to become strong and mature so the thing is if we're not connected into Jesus you are useless doesn't matter how lovely you are doesn't matter how gifted or talented or skilled or experienced you are your stuff that you can do will die when you do and you will die but if you're connected into the vine the Eternal source is not a stick anymore you have value you have purpose you have a father who cares enough to discipline and correct you you have a a a son in the form of Jesus who will supply your every need and who has weathered the storm and has demonstrated to you and I how it is to live and to relate and to be submissive to the will of the father he is a great example if you ever wanted a big brother so you could follow he's the one he's the perfect big brother right he doesn't have to watch you every day like the big brother cameras okay he's not that kind kind of God yes he's with us all the time but right here it says he's strong he doesn't have to control us he's given us free will he says I'm giving you the choice to love me you don't get to blame God if you decide to cut yourself off from Jesus and then wither it's not God's fault that's a choice so what does abide mean because it's repeated several times times in that passage and it's key to our understanding well it means to remain or to be kept and held and to endure and to live and to be constant and so because it means all those things we summarize it in the word abide to be kept to be alive and to be held so it's a bit more than just living inside of isn't it and so that's what what abide means and that's why the word is used there and of course for for Disciples of Jesus it's a natural thing for us want to want to abide in Jesus but we have to cultivate it okay we have to do some things and it's one of the reasons why we worship see if you abide in Jesus worship is about surrendering our will to the father it's not about singing songs in case you were wondering it's one way of expressing our love for God but ultimately what we're doing is surrendering our will to the father and if we meditate on God's word that's another way of abiding in Jesus this is something that we have to choose to do and if we're going to meditate on God's word well that's submitting to his way of living see abiding is is so much more than just well I've ticked that box I've given my life to Jesus and so now I'm in it's so much more than that because we've got to abide God is going to do some stuff and we're going to do some stuff God has given us eternal life he's given the source of all life he's given us the Holy Spirit he's given us freedom he's given us the inheritance of Heaven he's given us a loving father he's given us eternal we get to Give Him worship and submission to his word and prayer which is obedience to his will see prayer is less about us changing God's mind and more about God changing our mind that's what prayer is about remember how the Lord's prayer goes let your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven yes it's good and right for us to go to God with our petitions and the things that are before for us that we can see that we need his help with but as we go and give that to him remember prayer is about uh giving our burdens to God to the Cross because Jesus has done it and then he will tell us what we should be praying about see often we don't know and sacrifice if sacrifice was good enough for Jesus it's good enough for me did he sacrifice much sacrificed everything didn't he and by the way it's not a sacrifice unless it hurts it's not a sacrifice unless it costs something Disciples of Jesus what are you willing to sacrifice because if Jesus is the ultimate example and he sacrificed everything what might you be called to sacrifice you might be sitting there thinking well this Heaven deal doesn't sound so good anymore you're telling me that it's going to hurt that I've got a sacrifice and that's going to hurt even more I've got to do somebody else's will I've got to submit to him and I've got to worship Him and the next one is I've got to serve it's another example of a invting and and that I'm going to do it with joy I'm going to be happy about it yeah so that only works if God is perfect doesn't it so I want to give you some examples of how we know that we're actually doing that well we know we're abiding when we produce fruit verse the second verse of chapter 15 tells us that and we'll talk about fruit in a minute but we also know that we're abiding if we are experiencing the father's pruning and that also is from verse two right if you're abiding in the vine if you're abiding in Jesus then the father who is your father will care for you and give you guidance but you'll also know that you're abiding when your prayers are answered in verse 7 okay that doesn't mean you get what you want it means that you're now praying according to what the father wants you to pray about okay that means the father's will is now becoming your your will okay that's a sign that you're abiding in Jesus you'll see more and more of your answers to prayer being a yes the more you pray because you will change not God your desires will change your plans your will will change did you know that you might actually start to love other believers more if you look around the room right now you probably say well I've come to this church for about 80 years and I know all the people here but I really don't like some of them go you can admit it right every family has those and that's okay you don't have to like everybody but we will love everybody right and some of you will say well that's going to take a supernatural act of God for me to be able to like that person to love that person yes it will but that's how you know you're abiding in Jesus and in verse 11 it tells us that we'll get an increasing sense of Joy see Joy isn't happiness okay happiness depends on circumstances so if things are great you'll be happy all right um if you win a million dollars you might be happy um if you have a really yummy lunch tomorrow with your family you might be happy but then you get full and you get sick and you're not so happy then you spend your million bucks and you go well what was that all about and you're not so happy see happiness is fleeting right it's circumstantial it depends on what's happening around you Joy is not dependent on your circumstances Joy is Supernatural Joy isn't simply an emotion like Happiness joy is a state of spiritual being and so it's entirely possible for you to experience joy in the hardest of hard hardness okay for example when the Apostle Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians that we have in our in our scriptures he was standing in his own filth rotting in a Roman jail and yet he wrote this letter sorry the yeah uh wrote this letter sorry Philippians not Ephesians Philippians okay and he wrote this letter of encouragement to the church despite his circumstances you see his Joy flowed through despite what his personal circumstances were and as I've mentioned to you many times before you'd never get on a boat with the Apostle Paul because it would constantly sink all right and so every time God sent him to go somewhere he would get on a ship and the poor Captain be like okay next minute storm sink and then they'd find like you wouldn't be his partner in Ministry would you and Paul could say God I just want to do what you've told me to do right you told me to go there so I was going there why did the boat sink like surely you who was in the boat and calmed the storm surely you could have made it so I could get to where I was going but maybe Paul needed a bit of pruning maybe the path that he needed to go on wasn't as straight as he thought anyone ever relate to that we see start Finish Well it's a straight shot isn't it that's not always how God works often it's about the journey so there are some examples of how you know you're abiding in Jesus but all of that is only possible because of the Holy Spirit you know we've been called to be branches and to abide in Jesus and to bear fruit but we can't even do that on our own and that's why we need to be connected to the vine you know Jesus said look I'm I'm going to give you a helper I need to go back to the father and when I do I'm going to give you a Helper and he gave us the Holy Spirit and it's because of of him Jesus is the source Holy Spirit his person is the power that flows from the vine through to the branches and causes us to bear fruit and it's only by his power that we can bear fruit and so what does that fruit look like well when we win others to Christ we know that's not something that we can do right we can we can talk about Jesus we can we can talk about our experiences and everything else but the actual Act of Salvation is a God thing right only the Holy Spirit can convert someone to Christ so when we uh win others to Christ clearly God used us to do a supernatural work that's fruit we ourselves are a part of the Harvest a supernatural work happened in you so that God was able to rescue you as we grow in Holiness and obedience you know your own stubborn heart don't you if it was in your power to do it you would have done it but it wasn't in your power to do it so the Holy Spirit has to work in our lives and cause us to be obedient convict us prompt us guide us all those things right and that's fruit that's fruit in our life as we give um this is not just giving because we have excess this is giving beyond what we have that's what generosity is by the way generosity isn't giving a lot generosity is giving more than what you can afford and it sounds like terrible Financial advice doesn't it but um Jesus gave it all God the Father could not afford to give everything he had the only thing he had is Jesus that cost him that hurt in the form of fruits of the spirit and we know uh the the categories of this of the the fruits of the spirit there in Galatians as evidenced by good works and service these are fruits that we can bear and when we praise and glorify God not just the act of turning up to a church service and singing some songs but actually in your heart worshiping and praising the one who gave you life eternal and remembering who you belong to so the question this morning is are you abiding in Jesus because the real spiritual fruit fruit has in it the seeds for more fruit real spiritual fruit always multiplies and when we're talking about discipleship we've been saying disciples to make disciples to make disciples right we don't see Jesus doesn't want just a a massive group of people to come to a church service he wants disciples not because he needs us but because he knows without him the vine we turn into branches that are going to be thrown on the fire we become completely useless he said I made you for a purpose I made you with a great plan in mind I made you to be my children not so that you could just wander around and do whatever the heck you wanted because you don't know what's good for you and that's why I'm your father I'm going to show you how to live I'm going to show you how to relate I'm going to even give you the power to do it and I'm even going to do it for you so there's no consequences eternally for your sin all you've got to do accept who I am and abide in me that's it seems like a pretty good deal when you think about it like that hey there are so many things we plan for in our life on this Earth we we we've got super uation for our retirement we' got finances for being able to pay the bills now rents are Sky High mortgages are Sky High we spend most of our Lives just earning our own house that we can live in and maybe leave some sort of Legacy for our children we're always worried about health we're worried about our kids we're worried about finances we're worried about work we're always so worried about everything else and Jesus says well yes you've got to be concerned about those things but remember that's only for this life that's only for now that's only for the next 80 or so years if you're lucky what then after that see this life was never meant to be about us if you want to see more miracles in your life you got to become more dependent and less capable think about that it goes against the grain of every Aussie that I know right we like being independent we like being able to take charge of our lives and being able to provide for our every need but think about it if you can't do it then what are you going to do when's the most powerful prayers that you've ever prayed when you're desperate why is the church flourishing whenever there's persecution like real persecution not just someone call me a bad name right real persecution when people are being martyred for their faith that's when Faith explodes because people are so desperate in their prayers and people are honest about who they are and we abide we draw our strength from the vine and the Holy Spirit always comes through if you want to see more prayers answered if you want to see more Supernatural things Church seriously if you want to see more Super natural things we've been talking about our heart condition right as a church pastors should never have to call for volunteers because we should be a standing army of God's people who are ready to volunteer if you've got other things happening in your life that are are getting in the way of you being able to be available for the things that God's doing that's the problem because remember ultimately you belong to Jesus you're here for his glory you're here for his work you'll here by his good grace and lastly yes we know that this can be counterfeit we know that people can pretend we know that we can put on a face for Sunday we know we can do things just going through the motions but that will end up in the fire and that will not multiply so Church we've been called to be a church a church is not just a group of people who call themselves Christians a church is a group of disciples who follow Jesus who abide in Jesus who draw strength and energy and power and will and way from Jesus and as we do do that the Holy Spirit Bears his fruit in our lives would you do that would you abide in his word abide in prayer simple simple things if you're too busy then you're too busy if you haven't got time in your schedule if you've got too many other things going on those other things are an idol in your life no matter how good they might be and maybe this is a time of pruning I pray for you Heavenly Father we thank you that you love us so much that you wouldn't just give us good things Lord God but you also correct us and guide us even when it hurts but father we also thank you that your plan includes a purpose for us that allows us to bear fruit that is eternal that that we can do something of Eternal consequences that is beyond just this life how valuable that is Lord Jesus and so father as we go out now into this this time of celebration of remembering your son's physical birth on this Earth and and sharing time with family and friends and loved ones Lord God we pray that we would be disciples who bear fruit and abide in you Jesus and take the opportunities that we are given to represent you as a living God Christ's name we pray. Amen.