The seventh 'I am' John 15 v 1 introduces us to a beautiful promise that we need to look carefully at and then live in the light of it.
'I am the true vine' an image that was well known in the land of Israel as everyone had a vine of some size on their property.
The first promise we have in the verse is the word 'true' the Lord Jesus was no counterfeit or great personality that drew attention to his self.
He is the 'true' vine, the word means genuine or real article, He is the Jewish Messiah, He is the Saviour of the world, He alone can save sinners from a godless eternity.
There is another feature about the word and that is He like His Father cannot lie John 17 v 3 He can be completely trusted in every word He speaks as 1 Thessalonians 1 v 9.
The truth is millions have turned in repentance from idolatry to find the Living Christ equal to His word and never once deceiving them.
The Lord Jesus is the true vine, the fruit bearing one against the old wild vine that does not bear any fruit at all.
Now we repentant Gentile sinners have been transplanted into the cultivated vine so that we can bear fruit and the promise is given in v 2 that pruning will take place so that we can bear much fruit.
Paul brings this out in Romans 6 v 5 'for if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection'.
We are no longer a wild vine but a spiritually cultivated vine that bears fruit to the honour, praise and glory of our Heavenly Father.
Our Father has the pruning knife in His hand and will prune the bits of that need cutting off so that our life will yield a greater harvest for His glory.
He looks at our life to see areas that need pruning so as to bring us closer to Him self and into a closer likeness of His beloved Son.
The closer we draw to the Lord then the greater will be the pruning as He gets rid of the old flesh life and carnal living to produce fruit of righteousness.
Now then the John 15 chapter is all about this pruning we note in passing the three phrases that punctuate the chapter, fruit in v 2 then more fruit v 2 and then much fruit v 5.
Three simple statements that reveal the tremendous truth that the Christian life is not a static or monastic life but a growing pruning growing life.
So we look at the reason for the pruning to bring forth much fruit not just more fruit, a young vine will produce many little twigs called 'runners' that are of no value to the vine.
The shears are brought out and these are cut of annually because they are taking up sap that the vine desperately needs.
The vine dresser will ruthlessly cut these of so that the sap can feed the vine so that it produces a greater harvest of grapes.
Now in v 3 we find the value of the word of God it is the food that we need to produce a spiritual harvest for eternity, 'we are made clean' through applying it to our life.
Here is a clear word from the Lord Jesus to each of us that we need not just to read the word and even study it but to apply it in our daily living.
The great need of the hour in the Church is for the Christian to start being obedient to the word of God, there are no grey areas of living in Gods word.
If we are to produce spiritual fruit for eternity then expect to go under the pruning knife and for those 'runners' that cause us so much trouble to be cut off.
We then turn to a beautiful promise 'abide in Me' v 4 the word abide' is important as it means more than remain as it points to endurance, the life when under the knife.
We are a soft bunch of people in the church today enduring our situation with moaning and groaning like the saints at Corinth did.
There is little room in our diary to get alone with God and much church activity gives little room for pruning by the Lord Jesus.
We hear little teaching on 'pruning' and the vital need of it and as we look at the church today it is over grown will 'runners' that should have been cut of years ago.
These runners such as jealousy, envy, pride, selfishness, anger, lust and many other areas of life that stop us producing fruit for Christ.
The truth is we are still ruled by fleshly desires and habits when our Lord Jesus is wanting to cut these of so that we can bear much more fruit and of better quality.
He wants to 'purge' v 2 that is to make us without stain, spotless or to be pure that is His standard and any thing less is a wild vine.
In v 3 'clean' in every occasion the word is used it points to godly living free from worldly pollution and that will mean dealing with worldly pursuits that take so much of or time up.
The Lord Jesus is looking for people to change their ways willingly so as to become conformed to His image and they will produce fruit for the kingdom of heaven.
We should note the word 'willing' because there is no force or constraint used by the Lord, He delights to find obedient souls who bear much fruit for His glory.
We should take time out today to look again at Calvary and the mighty sacrifice our Lord Jesus made to ransom us from the grave.
Look again at His suffering and agony to redeem us from a godless eternity and ponder the fact what have we given to Him in return?
Are we being half hearted in our commitment, are we growing cold in the day that we live, are we moaning and groaning under the load when we could be enjoying a closer walk with our precious Lord?
As we go through the chapter the word 'abide' recurs time and time again in vs.4 – 7 in each verse such is the importance of 'abiding in Christ'.
The Christian life is one of 'abiding in Christ' because without Him we are nothing or can do nothing, we are meant to be thriving branches bearing fruit as we abide in Christ.
'Abiding' here points to perseverance and patience at all times, fruit may appear in the late spring but it is not fit for picking, eating or crushing until autumn when it is ripe.
The need for perseverance is vital in the instant age in which we live, Christians are looking for the immediate things if not they grow weary quickly.
The truth is the Master of the vineyard is moving each day to look at our vine and longs to cut of areas that have no value but we are telling Him what to do and so He passes by.
Looking at the wasted life, at the runners that are taking hold when they could be cut of for our benefit as ell as for His glory.
We think we are 'abiding' when in truth we are only clinging on because the trappings of the world have greater hold on us than the word of God does.
'Abide in Me' is a beautiful expression used by our Saviour, it means to rest assured on His word and to be satisfied with what He is doing in us and for us because the fruit will come in the end.
Harvest time for us may be much closer than we realise, the final pruning of our vine branch may have taken place and the vine owner is now looking to collect the harvest.
We cannot close without looking at v 6 'if' points to the possibility of this happening, the Master pointing to the wasted life on earth that will bear no fruit for eternity.
In 1 Corinthians 3 we find a stern rebuke with a dire warning to Christians whose life is not bearing spiritual fruit, they will have nothing to present to their Lord except a pile of ashes.
What an indictment for us to give ashes to the One who bore our sin in His body on the
Cross at Calvary, going through death so that we should gain eternal life.
All we have to offer Him are ashes of a wasted life, that has no value except to be burned in the fire all because we would not die for Christ and allow the pruning knife to effective on our earthly life.
We should be ashamed of ourselves today for the pathetic way that we are living in the light of these verses, let us make time regularly to come under the pruning knife so that our life can produce much fruit for our Lord.
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