Look ahead, yet stay in the moment
Let us look at this section by section. Jesus starts out with a metaphor (if the English term is correct, sorry) of how He – Jesus – is the vine and that God the Father is the vinedresser. (A vine dresser is someone who keeps care of the vine to make sure it bears the most fruit and corruption does not enter via a dead branch – Psalm 16:10,Acts 2:31)
Jesus is not a vine, he is a man so he must mean metaphorically that He is the vine that needs to be pruned due to that fact that He, Jesus, has a vinedresser, God. We see what exactly God does in verse two, in relation to this vine metaphor. God is either getting rid of completely those branches that do not bear any fruit at all, which is pretty rough considering that means life away from Jesus. (That was sarcasm because HELL is not just pretty rough but rather in fact the worst place to be)
But we also see that any branch that does bear fruit has to be pruned to bear more fruit. So God is seeing and judging based off the fruit production of which branches stay and which ones must be removed. It is not the vine, that’s Jesus and we see from that verse in Psalms that he cannot see corruption so he cannot be the source. So the fact that some do not produce while others do is a malfunction within the branch itself.
In the next verse we see that we all are already clean because of the words Jesus has spoken to us. Now some may argue that not every has heard the gospel and therefore are not clean. Yes, that is true, because if it were then we would have seen the rapture happen already (2 Peter 3:8-9). But what we are referring to are branches whom have already been grafted into and cleansed because of Jesus’ words. AKA people who have heard God’s Word, accepted it and then did not produce any fruit. Let me further clear this up as I do not want to incite a huge once-saved always-saved debate. These are people who have heard his words and accepted simply by hearing, not meaning they have applied it and that is the difference. Frankly in my opinion when you get saved by the Holy Power of Jesus’ Blood you should not go back to previous way of living and stay there with no desire and will to change.
When you realize that everything you were doing was breaking God’s heart and you want to live your life to not break his heart, then it won’t matter because you will live your life for God and God alone! You won’t worry about walking away because you’re committed! If you long to prove me wrong, go ahead and try but I can tell you right now – I am not changing! I only change for one person and His Name is Jesus Christ!
So now, application of this abiding thing begins in verse 4. The first three verses were to open our minds and hearts to even begin to understand what Jesus was trying to say. I think for us it is a little more difficult for us because we aren’t farmers who are grafting vines and branches together. You could instead think of it as electrical wire. You have Jesus, the mainframe that has the information in it and then you have branches coming off those to come to your internet, your computer, your power cords and when one of those fails it is not the mainframe that is corrupted but rather the connection – if it doesn’t bring forth the energy or information it is designed to bring forth then it is useless.
Mom purchased a charger for her car that was her favorite color – lime green. She was so excited. She plugged into the outlet…and it didn’t work. The car worked just fine, the outlet works fine but the cheap charger doesn’t. The connection was bad and is now useless. Praise God it was only a dollar and not twenty!
Verse 4 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me”
So Jesus explains that like a branch abides in the vine or the internet connection abides in the mainframe that so must we abide in Him so that we bear fruit or bring forth energy. By fruit or energy I mean living in power of the Holy Spirit and bringing people into a loving relationship with Jesus.
His first thing is for us – we must take the time to ensure that our connection to Him is in working condition and has all the right components to be effective. The next thing is Him abiding in us but He already does that if our part is first kept in working order. He explains that in the last part of the verse so that we get the importance of abiding in Him.
As we move forward into verses five and six we see that we are indeed the branches and He is the vine. When we abide in Him we bear fruit, not just some but MUCH. There is a version of Alice in Wonderland where Alice is bigger than everyone and some other character comes up to her and says “I like your muchness” I want my fruit to have muchness! That is I want as many people as possible to see the goodness of living life with Jesus, loving Jesus and committing your life to Him. Jesus also explains that we can’t bring any fruit forth without Him, at all!
If people aren’t seeing that your life isn’t any different than theirs with your “Jesus” then maybe your abiding connections are a little rusty and need some healing oil of the Lord to bring them back and you start to live your life for Jesus again!
Jesus gives another urgent call for abiding – which is why I don’t get into the once-saved always-saved nonsense – because if you aren’t producing fruit then you are detached by God, gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. Errrr no thanks for me. I would much rather go through being pruned than being burned. I don’t much care for intense heat such as the middle of a blazing fire.
So now we arrive at verse 7, the main focus of this lesson. We have opened the topic, metaphorically explained it and given the importance of why we should do this with a negative reinforcement. Meaning we have been presented with the bad consequences of not doing this. Now we get the good news. Most people want to hear the good news first and bad news second. I tend to agree with Jesus’ approach – bad news first, good news second so you are uplifted.
Verses 7and 8 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples”
WHOA! Let’s spend some time here. Ok first, we already knew it was our choice but Jesus reiterates that it is our personal choice! It isn’t my choice for you, not your spouse’s choice for you, not your kid’s choice or your parents’ choice, not your uncle or aunt, cousin, grandparents, grandkids’, sisters’ or brothers’ choice, not your friends’ choice for you – it is YOUR CHOICE! You can make as many excuses as you would like but God is not going to accept them. God wants your heart not your excuses.