Fruit, more fruit, abundant fruit.
John 15 The Message (MSG)
The Vine and the Branches
15 1-3 “I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.
4 “Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
5-8 “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, [the relationship] intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant.
As Christians we can be fruitful, more fruitful or abundantly fruitful according to this passage. This has long been a controversial passage of scripture where many have been taught you can lose your salvation if you don’t do good deeds for God, thus coercing people to do Kingdom stuff out of fear of God rather than love for God. The phrase CUTS OF is aero in the Greek original and has many interpretations. Though it can mean cut off, in the context of this chapter it should take the interpretation “LIFT OFF” OR “LIFT UP!” It’s where we get the term AEROPLANE from! Any vinedresser will tell you that in the vineyards one of the regular jobs is to take fallen or trailing branches and LIFT them off the ground and out of the mud and dark! On the ground the branch gets muddy, trampled and is not getting full sunlight neither support from the trellis. So it cannot be fruitful in that state, so the vinedresser lovingly lifts it up, cleans it up and ties it back on to the trellis for support, security and sunlight.
This is a beautiful picture of the love and mercy of God. He doesn’t look at one of His children [branches] and say ‘hmmph this one’s not fruitful, so I’ll cut him/her off the vine and burn them’, that’s not the God I have learned to love and serve! Why on earth would He save us through all that Jesus suffered, adopt us in to His family, fill us with His Spirit, make us part of His Bride [the Church] tell us He predestined us in Christ Jesus to do good works, only to blow us off because we can’t always get it right in doing those good works and so, sometimes we do fall off the trellis, sometimes we do wallow in the mud of this world and slip into shade rather than light. However the God whom I know is a God of redemption and restoration. So He’ll draw us to His love like the prodigal’s father and not spurn us like a heartless Pharisee! No, He lovingly lifts us up in His gentle hands, cleanses us with the washing of the word, ties us back on to the fellowship of the trellis of the Church and allows us to thrive in the full sunshine of His mercy love and grace.
MORE OF THIS NEXT WEEKEND