Welcome to the Kerwin Baptist Church broadcast today. Our desire is for the Word of God to be spread throughout the world so that all may know Christ. Join us now for a portion of one of our services here at Kerwin Baptist Church located in Kernersville, North Carolina. And today I would like for us to see Jesus, as he calls himself, the vine.
Look at John chapter 15 and verse one. I am the true vine. Let's just stop right there and say hallelujah.
Let's say amen. Aren't you glad that you worship the true God? He's the true vine. You don't have to doubt him. Boy, there's a lot going on, a lot of religions, a lot of different things taught, a lot of opinions. But can I tell you, folks, that he is the true vine, and you can trust him.
And thank God we've got what's right. And if you don't know the Savior today, dear friend, you've come to the right place. And we hope that you'll come to know him today. Look, I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away. And every branch that beareth fruit he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you, as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except that abide in the vine, no more can ye except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches, he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit, for without me ye can do nothing.
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch and is withered, and men gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit, so shall ye be my disciples. Father, I pray that you'd help us this morning as we share your word, and Lord, I pray you'd help our people to be patient, to listen, and Lord, there's so much here, so much that we'd like to get across, I don't really know how to share it all in one message. But Lord, I ask for your help to say those things that are most important, and that Lord, we would help our people to have a better understanding of this passage, and Lord, help us to leave here realizing the importance of you being the vine.
In your name we pray, amen. Let me give you a little bit of background if I can at first so that you can understand this passage. There's a lot of, I guess you would call it in the theological world, there's always different opinions and different thoughts and different beliefs and what they think a verse means and what this person thinks a verse means and who he thinks he's writing the verses to and who they think he's writing the verses to. I believe, as I've studied, and I didn't always believe this, but I believe it now, as I've studied out and different things, I believe that this passage was written to believers only. And let me say this, that the reason that we think that is because you have to know the setting of these verses. Jesus here is having a conversation with his disciples and only his disciples. They were on their way to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus would be betrayed. It is indeed ironic that as he's talking to them, Judas, who betrayed him and who we believe the Bible taught was not truly saved, Judas was not in this group.
He was not with them at this point. And so as he talks to this group, he's talking to a group of believers, a group that has been saved, a group that has put their faith and trust in him. He's not talking to a mixed group, he's not talking to crowds, he is talking to his small intimate group of disciples that had followed him and had loved him and had been persecuted for his sake.
He is talking to those who already have a relationship with him. By the way, let me say this, salvation is not you getting a religion. Salvation is you having a relationship with the Father. All God's people ought to say amen to that. Religion stinks. Religion won't help you one bit.
There are enough people depending on religion to get them to heaven and it's not going to get them there. You have to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. So that's who he's talking about. Well, in verse 1 he says this, I am the true vine. That means this, Jesus says, I'm the vine.
So you've got to understand the characters of this story. The vine is Jesus. Now he is the true vine, which means this, he is the only source of spiritual life. You cannot get to God the Father, you can't get to heaven, and you can't get salvation through anybody else but Jesus Christ. That's what we believe because that's what the Bible teaches. There's not a number of ways to get to heaven. There's only one.
You know we live in a society that believes a lot of different things. By the way, when Jesus says here in verse 1, I am the true vine, I don't know if you've ever been familiar with this, but this is the last of the eight I am statements in the Word of God. Jesus eight different times says I am such and such. In chapter 6 of John Jesus says I am the bread of life. In chapter 8 Jesus said I am the light of the world. In chapter 10 he said I am the door. Also in chapter 10 he said I am the good shepherd. In chapter 11 he says I am the resurrection and I am the life. In chapter 14 he says I am the way. I am the truth and I am the life, and no man comes to the Father except by me.
Then we come to chapter 15 where he says I am the true vine. Second we find here in the character of this story is the husbandman, and that is God the Father. Jesus says that God the Father is in a way that we could understand it, but he is the loving gardener who cares for the vineyard and provides it with all of its needs. And can I say this, that God loves us and God is working on us and God is molding us and God is responsible to meet our needs and that's what he promised he would do.
And if you believe God is able to meet your needs say amen. He is the husbandman. There's an interesting passage in studying through this in Isaiah chapter 5. I know this is a little bit of introduction, but when we get to the meat of the message it's going to go very, very quickly. But in chapter 5 of Isaiah I want to read this to you about God the Father being a husbandman, a vineyard caretaker.
Notice this. In Isaiah chapter 5 verse 1, Now will I sing to my well beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My well beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill, and he fenced it, and gathered out of the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein. And he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. He's talking here about Israel and he talks about how, hey, I planted them, they're my vineyard, but they started bringing bitter grapes instead of good grapes. Now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me, God says, and my vineyard.
What could have been done more to my vineyard that I have done it? Wherefore, when I looked at it, it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth, though, wild grapes. And now go to, I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up, and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down, and I will lay it waste. It shall not be pruned, nor digged, but there shall come up briars and thorns.
I will also command the clouds that they rain, no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the Lord is the host of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant. And he looked for judgment, but behold, oppression. For righteous, but behold, a cry. He talks about how God looked at his people in Jerusalem as a vineyard, and he had taken care of it. He had provided for it.
Remember how God led the children of Israel through the wilderness, through the promised land, how he led them through the Red Sea. God provided, he protected, as he said he did to this vineyard. But when he looked down to see fruit, it brought forth nothing but wild grapes and bitter grapes. And God said, Because I've taken care of you, and I've pruned you, and I've done everything I can, and now you've turned against me. He said, I'm gonna knock the walls down, and I'm gonna let the briars take over, and I'm gonna lay waste to that vineyard.
So God here is the husbandman. He's the one taking care of the vineyard. Jesus is the vine. God is the vine taker. But you and I, he says, are the branches. Now I believe here in this passage that the branches refers to believers.
Now, this brings us to our passage. John, chapter 15, verse 1, he says, I'm the true vine, my father's the husbandman. Verse 2, every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh away. And every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Number one this morning, I want you to look in this passage at our pruning, our pruning. Jesus is the vine, we are the branches, and God does the pruning. And this is what he said, every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh away. And every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Now, I had to do some studying because I've always heard different things about this. Now that's why I say I believe it was written to believers. He says, every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh away. Now does that mean that you can be saved and God just throws you away? Does that mean if you get saved and now you're not bearing fruit so God just cast you aside and has nothing to do with you? No, absolutely not, that's not what it's talking about. So I had to do a little bit of digging because you gotta look at certain scripture and compare it with other scripture because God obviously is not saying this because he said this over here, so you gotta do a little bit of digging.
And this is what I found. This is not often the way you and I think of this in this passage, but verse 2 does not refer to abiding and non-abiding branches. In other words, he's not talking to branches that are connected to the vine and branches that are not connected to the vine. You notice here that both the fruit-bearing branches and the non-fruit-bearing branches are still in the vine. And that means this, that there are people that are saved that bear fruit and there are people that are saved that are not bearing fruit. What he's talking about in this passage is not branches that are connected and branches that are not connected. He's talking about branches that are bearing fruit and branches that are not bearing fruit. They're both connected.
You got that? Now you say, what does that mean to me? Well, in Jesus' day, as I studied and learned, I didn't realize some of this, but in Jesus' day, when tending a vine or a vineyard, they had certain practices that they did we don't do nowadays because we're blessed nowadays. And this is what they did. When a vinekeeper would come into a vine, he would care for the branches that would bear fruit and he would also care for the branches that wouldn't bear fruit.
You say, well, what are you talking about? I take an excerpt from this book and I want you to hear this. Several of the branches that would not bear fruit would be attached to the trellis and allowed to grow unhindered. This allowed it to become more healthy and more thick and prepared it to become a fruit-bearing branch the next year. The fruit-bearing branch was carefully then pruned and cleaned. Little sprigs and extra buds would be cut or plucked to enhance the fruit-bearing process.
Now, that's what I found out and I realized this. What they're talking about is this. When a vinekeeper would go in, he would see that some branches were bearing fruit and some branches weren't. Those that were not bearing fruit, when he said every branch that beareth not fruit, he taketh away.
It means that he separates those branches. If one is bearing fruit and one is not, he would separate those branches and he would lay the branch that was not bearing fruit on a trellis or separate so that it could just grow unhindered. And what he realized was it wasn't strong enough, it wasn't healthy enough, it wasn't thick enough, it wasn't large enough, it wasn't bearing fruit, but it could one day bear fruit. So he would take that branch and allow it to grow unhindered for a while, but the branch that was bearing fruit, he would take that and prune it and pick it and get all the stuff out of it that shouldn't be and that would allow it not only to bear that fruit, but it would allow it to bear more fruit.
Listen to me, folks. Let me tell you the importance of Jesus being our vine and God being the caretaker. When God prunes us, look at me, it is always his intention for every branch connected to the vine, his son Jesus.
It is God's intention that every branch bears fruit. But even if you don't bear fruit, he doesn't throw you away. He still takes care of you too. He allows you to grow more. He gives you time. He gives you a season.
He works on you too. Yeah, he wished you were bearing fruit. And yeah, it would be nice if every branch brought fruit.
That would be great. Can you imagine what kind of building we would have to build if every member of this church brought fruit? Not everybody's going to. But I'm glad that when Jesus is the vine and God is the caretaker of that vineyard, that he still cares for the vines and the branches. He cares for the branches that aren't necessarily doing everything that some of the other branches are doing. You see, some of us don't have the talents that some do.
And some of us don't have the gifts or abilities that others do. But aren't you glad God doesn't just pick the choicest branches and takes care of them? He takes care of all the branches that are connected. Can I say this this morning? You might say, preacher, there's not a lot I can do.
And in fact, there's not maybe a whole bunch that I have done. But I'm here to tell you, he loves you as his branch just as much as he loves every branch connected to the vine. Yeah, he wishes everybody bore fruit.
Yes, he wishes a lot of things. But that doesn't change the fact that he still loves you and cares for you. What is the fruit referring to in this passage? Remember, we're talking about the pruning process. You say, preacher, that doesn't seem fair. That means if I'm bearing fruit, God will prune me. And if I'm just laying back doing nothing, he'll just kind of leave me alone, let me grow unhindered.
That doesn't seem fair. Oh, listen to me, dear friend. The whole purpose of our existence after we get saved is to bear fruit. And you know what that means? There's gonna be some times where God's gonna have to cut on us and prune on us and there's gonna be some things that don't feel so great. But listen to me.
This passage teaches that whatever God allows in your life is there to make you be able to bear more fruit. You know, Ray talked about Kayden. We're not talking about Kayden. We've talked about Kayden a lot over the years. And you know, Kayden's just part of our life. But can I say this? There are individuals that I have met and I have been able to minister to them and help them because of what I've been through with Kayden. And that means this, God allowed that in my life.
I don't know if he caused it, but he allowed it. But can I say this? God has already used that to allow me to bear more fruit. The pruning process. Now, what is this fruit talking about? All right, preacher, you say, every branch in me that beareth not fruit.
What is fruit? Well, what we always think of is the fruit of evangelism, converts, people, and that is fruit. And that means this, it is God's desire. Why would he so much through the Bible talk about telling others, go out, reach people, tell about Christ? Why would God, he that win his souls is wise, the Bible says. Why would God talk about that if he didn't want us to bear that kind of fruit? Listen to me, dear friend, if you've been saved by the grace of God, it is God's intention and his highest purpose for you now as a branch connected to his son, Jesus. It is God's intention for you to bear fruit evangelistically.
Y'all got that. But that's not the only fruit we're talking about here. When he says fruit, he's not just talking about evangelistic fruit. He is talking about growth in character, as in the fruits of the Spirit. What are the fruits of the Spirit? Love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.
Listen to me, dear friend. That means this, are you bearing fruit? Are the fruits of the Spirit showing up in your life? That means this, God doesn't just prune those that are bearing fruit. That means this, that you say, well, I might not have brought a lot of people to church, but listen to me, dear friend, are you getting so connected to the vine that that fruit of the Spirit is popping out all over you? You see, dear friend, we think, well, we just gotta get connected to Jesus so that we can bring people to church. Uh-uh, you gotta stay connected to Jesus so that you can grow as a Christian. That means this, patience ought to start showing up where patience didn't used to be.
Guilty! That means this long suffering should show up where it didn't used to be. That means meekness ought to start being a part of our life where meekness didn't used to be. You see, being in the vine, being connected to the vine, that word abide means to remain. And God says, every branch in me that beareth not fruit. That means this, God's watching to see if you are growing spiritually. It's not just about telling people and reaching people. It's about us growing as a Christian. You see, a lot of times, there's not the reaching out of people until we grow as a Christian. And dear friend, are you growing?
I ask you this, is there anything in your life that is hindering your spiritual growth? You need to remove it, or before long, God the caretaker will. He will prune what is stopping a branch from growing. Can I say this, number two, and let me, before I go to number two, let me say this, look at verse three. He says, now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken. I've never understood this verse.
I don't even understand, I didn't used to understand what he's talking about here. Well, in part of that pruning process, can I say this, that God is preparing you for fruitfulness? He's encouraging you to grow in your walk with him so that fruit, that fruit can grow in the future. And that's what God is saying.
Remember who he's talking to. He's talking to the disciples, and these disciples have been persecuted, and they have been pruned, and they have been purged. And God looks at them, and he says, all this stuff, if you're bearing fruit, that means God's gonna prune you, and these disciples had been bearing fruit. And so all this persecution, all this purging, he's telling them that God the Father's been doing that to you so that you can grow more fruit, so that you can be more fruitful. And in verse three, he says, all this pruning has now made you clean.
Can I tell you, some of the most spiritual people I've ever met, when you get to know them, they've been through some difficult things. Because pruning brings cleanliness. Pruning brings purity.
Pruning is the process of getting all that stuff out that shouldn't be there. And that's why he says, now you're clean through the word which I've spoken to you. Look at verse four. I want you to notice, secondly, our position, not just our pruning, our position.
Now we're getting somewhere now. Look at verse two. Verse three, see what I mean, verse four. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye except ye abide in me. Remember that word abide means remain. Let's read that verse again. Remain in me, and I in you, as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it remain in the vine, no more can ye except ye remain in me. I want you to notice our position.
Our position is this. Jesus makes it clear that for fruitfulness to occur in your life, you've got to remain in him. Now remember, we're not talking about saved or unsaved. We're not talking about connected or unconnected. We're talking about branches that have such a good connection to the vine that they're bearing fruit.
Can I tell you something? You're not gonna bear fruit unless you've got a good connection to the vine. You know why a lot of folks in church don't grow spiritually, like in the character of the fruits of the spirit? They're always struggling with the same thing over and over again.
Let me tell you why. Because they do not have a clear connection to the vine. They're not able to grow.
They're not getting all the nutrients they should. You know why? They're not in their Bible. Remember what he said in the verse before.
Now ye are clean through the what? Through the word which I have spoken to you. Can I tell you something? You're not gonna get a good connection with the vine if you're not in your Bible and reading. You're not gonna get a good connection with the vine if you're not spending time with God. You're not gonna get a good connection with Jesus if you're not thinking spiritual things and desiring spiritual things. If you go out and you get all this junk from the world all week long and you don't balance it out with getting God's word and the things of the spirit, you're not gonna have a good connection with the vine. And when you don't have a good connection with the vine, you don't have fruit. Our churches, listen to me, we are not bearing fruit in our churches not because people don't go out and witness. It's because they don't grow spiritually. Because if people grow spiritually, they'll eventually desire to go witness.
Our position. In me, listen to me, continued fruit bearing can only occur when the branch remains attached to the vine. Can I say this? A person growing fruit knows that if he cut a branch off and threw it on the ground, that branch is not gonna bear fruit now. It's been disconnected from the vine. So listen to me, if God's intention for you is to grow fruit and you're not growing fruit, do you think God would cut you off from Jesus? These people that say this passage means that you can lose your salvation. Listen, God wants you to bear fruit. Do you really think he would cut you off from Jesus? That's the only chance you have of bearing fruit.
Do you get it? I mean, goodness gracious, if there's ever a time he wants you connected to the vine, it's when you're not bearing fruit. Because he knows if he cut you off, you couldn't bear anything. Listen to me, dear friend, listen to me. Our position, when we're saved, we are in Christ, but we have got to have a clean, clear connection with him, just like a branch in a vine.
The nutrients have to get in. We've gotta stay close. We've gotta abide, remain in him.
You know why? Because we can do nothing on our own. Notice, thirdly here, our proving. Look at verse five.
Our proving. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit.
For without me, ye can do nothing. That means this, this is the proof. The proof that you have a good connection to the vine, you'll be bearing fruit. That's the proof. That means this, if you're connected like you should, fruit will show up.
If fruit is not showing up, you're not connected like we should be. I have a pastor friend in Stafford, Virginia. We're almost done. His name is Pastor Mickey Creed. And I was talking to him one time, I was preaching a meeting for him.
And he relayed this story. They had a contract with a copy machine company for their church office. And they had had nothing but trouble. Man, they had to keep calling repairman out, this, that, that. So he finally got that company and he said, listen, you either give me a machine that works or we're gonna go with another company.
I'm about tired of dealing with this. And the company said, well listen, we promise we'll give you a better machine that would normally cost more money because of the problems you had. He said, listen, it better work and it better be right.
So they brought in this big, nice machine and they put it in the office and the next morning, he comes in, there's this new machine, he comes to copy machine. He could not get that dumb thing to work. He tried everything he could do.
It wouldn't copy, it wouldn't run right. And he just, man, he couldn't get the thing to come on. And he said, he was so ticked off. And he called that company and he got a repairman and he said, listen, this copy machine, you just brought it out, I've had nothing but problem and now this thing won't work and I want somebody out here to fix this today.
I am sick and tired of this. He said, boy, he said, I just lost my temper on the phone. And the guy said, well, listen, we will send somebody out right away.
I probably said, it better come out. It better be out here within an hour or we're going with a different company. And so this repairman shows up and when the repairman walks in, you know, the repair people are always the ones that get the brunt of it.
They're not the big wigs, but when they walk in, that's finally a face we could chew out. So the repairman in the pattern says, I don't know what you can do with this dumb thing. Man, we pay a lot of money, we've had all these problems and I can't even get this machine to work. And that repairman, he said, well, sir, we'll do our best and the pastor said, man, I was just making an idiot of myself. And he said that repairman came in and set the thing down, looked at the copier and he said, hey, you'll see if you can make it work. And the repairman reached behind there and plugged it in. And when he plugged it in, machine came on. Pastor said, he just kind of bowed his head.
He said, thank you so much, we appreciate that. Folks, the best machine in the world isn't gonna work if it's not connected. You can't do anything when you're not connected. And the proof that you are connected to the life-giving vine is that fruit will be in your life. Dear friend, listen to me, if you've not seen any evangelistic fruit and you're not seeing any growth fruit, something's wrong. It might not mean you're not saved. It just means that you're not connected to the vine like you're supposed to be because that's the proof. He said, if you abide in me and my words abide in you, you will bear much fruit.
That's the proof. Thank you for listening today. We hope you received a blessing from our broadcast. The Kerwin Baptist Church is located at 4520 Old Hollow Road in Kernersville, North Carolina. You may also contact us by phone at 336-993-5192 or via the web at kerwinbaptistchurch.com. Enjoy our services live and all our media on our website and church app. Thank you for listening to the Kerwin broadcast today. God bless you. .
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