Matthew 12:33, ““If you want good fruit, you must make the tree good. If your tree is not good, it will have bad fruit. A tree is known by the kind of fruit it produces.”
Jesus makes a statement in the New Testament, ‘I am the True Vine, my Father the Husbandmen (gardener) and you are the branches (believers). When you abide in Him, you bring forth fruit and without God you can do nothing.’
This is perhaps one of my favorite I Am’s of Jesus’, because as a gardener I can fully understand His statement. Most everyone is familiar with vines. There are grape vines planted everywhere and the vine keeper has to care for the vineyards. The vines need water, sunlight, pruning, and gentle care so they can grow their fruit.
We understand that branches grow off the vine and if any branch isn't connected to the vine, it will not produce fruit and die. The vine is the main source of nutrients because it is the one rooted in the ground. Those nutrients travel up through the vine and feed the branches as long as they stay connected to that vine. When the branches are ready, they flower then produce the fruit.
I think about my own garden, if you have planted vegetables, you can probably picture this too. I watched as my tomatoes grew, for instance. The base of the plant started small but as the nutrients continued to feed them, they began to climb, forming many little branches that the tomatoes would grow on. After many days I began to see the little round green tomatoes grow and grow, eventually turning red. Every so often I would go to pick the tomatoes and find a few had fallen to the ground, unattached to the vine. If I left them, they soon turned mushy and died because they were no longer being nourished from the vine. So it was with my cucumbers, green beans, and zucchini. As long as they stayed connected to their sure foundation they continued to grow until I picked them.
Going back to my tomatoes. When I planted them, I knew they would produce tomatoes because that was their seed. Like all fruits and vegetables, the seed you plant produces what it says it will. Cherries produce cherries, watermelon produces watermelon, green beans produce green beans and so forth. In using this illustration Jesus knew those listening understood grapes produced from a grapevine, blackberries from a blackberry vine and strawberries from a strawberry vine. Jesus is telling us that when we are believers in Him, He is the vine that gives us our spiritual lives and we can be the fruit bearer of who Jesus is. As branches of Jesus, we will do the same work as He did while on earth.
Luke 6:43-45 tells us we are known by our fruits. Jesus is telling His followers and all who believe that our life should match the kind of fruit we're attached to, a Jesus vine. Anything that looks like Jesus while He was on earth would be a fruit from His vine. When we, the branches, are connected to Jesus and trust Him we will produce good fruit.
Again, let’s think about a tomato plant for a moment. As the seeds begin to grow into a plant it usually starts as a sturdy stock standing above the ground. Soon many little tendrils begin to extend from that stock and grow. As they grow bigger, smaller ones begin to grow also. No matter older or new tendrils that one sturdy stock sustains it. So, the believer in Christ is sustained by the life of Jesus. No matter a new believer or a follower for some time, Jesus is every Christian’s center. He is the stock that bears the branches. In Him our eternal life is centered. Those who feed upon His Word and are doers of His Word represent His character. Jesus said, “Here in is my father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be my disciples.” -John 15:8. When we follow Jesus we are grafted into the vine and will bear similar fruit like Jesus.
There is one step further we have to take when we look to Jesus as our vine, we need to remember to abide in Jesus. What did the gardener of the vineyard do when branches stopped producing? What do you do with your own gardens? For me when the season is done and the crops stop growing, I pull all the dead stocks out and burn them in the fire. Jesus is saying the same for us as Christians, when we stop becoming the fruit of Jesus to others, what good are we, we have fallen to the wayside, and we know that leads to death. Sure, we can probably run a marathon on our own two feet, we could do a thousand math problems on our own, we can study and get degrees, we’ve built skyscrapers and made millions of dollars all without the Lord, so what does Jesus mean without Him you can do nothing?
To begin with, even if we can do all of those things and more, without Jesus’ life and blessing those things deliver nothing but hot air. You can't love as Jesus loved, you can't understand the Bible and obey it like Jesus did. You can't trust in God as Jesus trusted in God and you can't live your life to please God as Jesus did. None of this can be done by you unless you are receiving something from the Jesus vine. Jesus says you can do nothing unless you remain (abide) in Him.
‘Abide’- Remain in fellowship with, reliance upon and obedience to the Lord Jesus. Abide speaks of communion and fellowship with Jesus. It means to remain united and joined to the Lord so that the life of Jesus can come through the branches, resulting in fruit- Romans 7:4. It speaks of our requirement to see fruit.
‘In me’- It’s all about Jesus, not us! In me speaks of the One who the life comes from. It speaks of dependence. It reminds us, as Jesus said, that apart from Him we can do nothing. It speaks of the One whose life makes it all possible.
‘Bear fruit’- Character, changed, good works, thankfulness. Speaks of the result that brings glory to God. -instepwithjesus.org
Galatians 5 speaks of the Fruit of the Spirit. Like the nourishment of water, sun, and dirt that feeds our gardens, when we choose Jesus, accept Him in our lives, and trust our sins are forgiven, He gives us the Holy Spirit to live in us. Jesus is our Vine, the Holy Spirit helps nourish us to help us bear fruit to look more like Jesus, and share Jesus by our words and actions. John 16:8,13; John 14:26; 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)
We know our growing won't be easy. There will be times our Gardner will have to do some pruning and pulling. At times we will be uncomfortable, and we will feel pinched and stressed. But we can rejoice because in Zachariah 13:9 the Lord said He will test us through the fires to purify us like silver and gold and prepare us for Heaven. Our Divine Gardener is helping us produce wonderful fruit.
So, now we need to be like the fruit growing on the vine and latch onto Jesus so He can supply us with the nourishment (the Word) and living water, salvation, to help us produce the Fruit of the Spirit. One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 17:7-8. When we are rooted deep in Jesus, nothing can move us.
One of the sure fire ways to abide in Jesus and stay connected to Vine is by opening the Bible daily and digging for treasures God has there waiting for us. In the pages we can get to know who Jesus is, find God's love for us, and we will become spiritually stronger and find our way through this world as we grow to be more like Christ. Today let's continue our study with 1 John chapter 4.
Study 6, 1 John 4- https://www.docdroid.net/A5tY9Pc/study-6-docx
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