“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.” (John 15:1 ESV)
Branches that are not connected to the vine, die. They may look good for a while, but they soon wither for lack of nourishment making it impossible for them to bear fruit. Jesus made it clear that the only way to bear fruit was to be connected to him. He said that he was the “true” vine, leaving us to believe that there are other vines that may claim to be true but are false. And to be connected to them would not bear the fruit of righteousness.
John quotes Jesus as saying, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5 ESV) King David understood this precept years before the coming of Jesus. He wrote, “I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.’” (Psalms 16:2 ESV)
Abiding in the vine (Jesus) is critical to bearing fruit and bearing fruit is critical in accomplishing at least two essential mandates: bringing glory to the Father and proving that we are his disciples. Jesus said, “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” (John 15:8 ESV) He also said, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 ESV) Paul wrote to the Romans, “Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.” (Romans 7:4 ESV) If we are abiding in Christ (belong to him) then our lives will bear much fruit. The fruit we produce will glorify his worth.
We were created in Christ to bear fruit. In fact it was planned by God before we were born. Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide. . . .” (John 15:16 ESV) Paul wrote to the Ephesians that God chose us in Christ before the world began to walk holy and blameless before him (Ephesians 1:4). He added, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 ESV)
The type of fruit a person produces determines the vine to which he is attached. Jesus gave us this example, “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.” (Luke 6:43-44 ESV)
In his epistles, John gave us the criteria for knowing if we are abiding in the true vine. He wrote, “Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” (2 John 1:9 ESV) “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.” (1 John 3:6 ESV) “. . . By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” (1 John 2:5-6 ESV)
To walk the same way in which Jesus walked means to produce the same fruit which he produced. Paul listed that fruit for us in his letter to the Galatians. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23 ESV)
Jesus remains the true vine. In relying on, trusting in and clinging to him we find all we need to bear the fruit of godliness and glorify our Father in heaven. Peter wrote, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature. . . .” (2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV)
That’s why we praise him!