Clinging to the Vine   

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the words I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:1-8)

I do not believe I have ever started a sermon with scripture verses, but THESE verses are far too important to risk you don’t read them as you peruse my sermon. As usual, I had other sermon topics chosen and outlined, but God delivered this one as I drove to Starbucks this morning. Being an avid gardener, the above scripture speaks volumes to me and I pray that it speaks the same to you. This is the very basis of understanding our relationship to God the Father, Jesus, being disciples going out to all ends of the earth, and being His servants. It is the GENESIS of understanding how and where we fit into this world. It all begins with CLEAVING to Jesus, His power, strength, and knowledge.

Simplistically stated we are nothing if not connected to the vine. We are just wild seeds blowing in the wind hoping to find some fertile soil in which to grow, but more likely to land in rocky soil that provides no nourishment. (No quality of life)

In modern terms it would be a vision of a tree, the strength of the branches, then the fruit produced by those branches. Without nutrients and water flowing from the ground to produce a strong trunk, the branches could never grow, let alone flourish. Without strong, attached branches, there is no fruit. Fruit (food) is a requirement for life, so symbolically, we have NO LIFE without being attached to the vine/tree and we cannot give life to others without producing fruit for them to eat. We are not the fruit they will hopefully produce, but we can provide fruit (filled with seeds) to others. If they “eat” what we provide, then attach themselves to the vine/tree, grow branches by reading The Word, then they produce fruit to nourish others. It is the true never-ending cycle of life and is exactly how God intended us to live!

Seed: Comes from, and is, God the Father.

Vine: Grows from the seed and is given to us as Jesus.

Branches: We are the branches/disciples that either grow strong if we cling to the vine or are weak, break off, and are burned as chaff if we don’t bind to Jesus, His example, and His teachings.

Fruit: What we produce in order to nourish others. The QUALITY of our fruit is completely dependent upon the connection between us and the vine (Jesus) that nourishes us. Without producing fruit, we cannot nourish others, therefore we lead a useless life of seeking and not finding. GIVING is our purpose and if we have nothing to give, then our purpose is lost.

Jesus taught using things that were easily understood and important in ancient times. Without the vineyards planted everywhere and providing food, people could not survive. It is not a mistake that He used Himself as the analogy of being our vine. Without Him, we cannot survive the temptations and trials of this world without tremendous pain and angst. With Him as our vine, we will thrive in an often hostile environment.

God told us in Genesis that life would be difficult for mankind. Jesus came and showed us how to survive the trials, cling to Him, and bear as much fruit as possible before leaving the earth. Jesus said to The Father, “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” (John 17:16)

Although we are not of this world, we must live in it for a period of time in order to fulfill the purpose God has for each life. Without understanding our purpose we often are confused, and unhappy and seek satisfaction through material and secular things/activities. When we are firmly attached to the vine, this does not happen, and we go on to our reward in heaven, happy and content to finally be home.

In summary, the health (quality and quantity) of the fruit we produce is a direct correlation to the fusing of our souls to Jesus (the vine) and the nourishment we receive from His Word and our relationship with Him. Connectivity, spiritual growth, godly knowledge, and actions coupled with discipline (pruning to ensure quality fruit) result in a well-spent life, nourishing our souls while providing the best nourishment possible to others. Finding our purpose and serving God and humanity is paramount to a happy, contented, fulfilled life. Eagerly clinging to the vine will ensure this happens. Amen.

May God bless your life, purpose, and journey, Lisa ><>

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