I. "I AM THE TRUE VINE, MY FATHER IS THE HUSBANDMAN."
A. Note how many times Jesus uses this name for God and refers it to Himself.
1. 6:35: "I Am the bread of life."
2. 8:12: "I Am the light of the world."
3. 8:24: "If you believe not that I Am, you will die in your sins."
4. 8:58: "Before Abraham was, I Am."
5. 10:7: "I Am the door of the sheep."
6. 10:11: "I Am the good shepherd."
7. 11:25: "I Am the resurrection and the life, he that believeth on Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and he that liveth and believeth on Me shall never die."
8. 14:6: "I Am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh to Father, but by Me."
9. 15:1: "I Am the true vine."
10. When the soldiers came to arrest Him in the garden, He asked them, who are you seeking, when they responded, Jesus of Nazareth, He answered, I Am, and they fell down to the ground.
B. What prompted this declaration?
1. The Lord and the disciples having left the upper room and as they were going to the garden of Gethsemene, could have passed through the temple court, as the gates were left open all night during the feast period. On the gates of the temple proper were large gold clusters of grapes that represented that the nation of Israel was God's vineyard.
a. In Isaiah 5
: Israel is likened to a vineyard that brought forth wild grapes.
b. Jer. 2:21
: "I have planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed, how then art then turned into a degenerate plant of a strange vine unto Me?"
2. In contrast to the false vine, "I Am the true vine."
3. Perhaps they were walking through vineyards in the Kidron Valley.
C. "My Father is the husbandman."
1. The one that cultivates, watches over, and reaps the fruit.
2. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit, He taketh away.
a. This is the pruning process.
b. There is only one purpose for the branches and that is to produce fruit.
1. The prophet Ezekiel speaks of the worthlessness of the vine for any purpose other than to bear fruit.
2. I cannot be used in building.
3. It is not good for firewood.
3. Every branch that bears fruit, He purges it, that it might bring forth more fruit.
a. The husbandman is not satisfied that you just bring forth fruit, He is interested in you bringing forth more fruit.
b. Therefore the purging process.
1. Purging from our lives those things that hinder our bearing fruit.
2. Many of the grapes in Israel grow right on the ground. A large trunk propped up with a boulder. The bunches of grapes lie right on the ground.
3. As the grapes begin to ripen, they will go through the vineyard with a bucket of water and lift the bunches of grapes off the ground and wash them that they might bring forth more fruit.
c. This purging is different than pruning. It refers to a cleansing process that the Lord takes us through. The next verse declares, "Now you are clean through the word that I have spoken unto you."
d. The word of God has a cleansing effect upon our lives. Psa.119:9
asks, "How shall a young man cleanse his ways?" It then answers, "By taking heed to Thy word."
II. THE IMPORTANCE OF RELATIONSHIP IN BEARING FRUIT. "ABIDE IN ME, AND I IN YOU, AS THE BRANCH CANNOT BEAR FRUIT OF ITSELF, EXCEPT IT ADIDE IN THE VINE, NO MORE CAN YOU EXCEPT YOU ABIDE IN ME.
A. Bearing fruit is a very natural process. There is no effort or strain.
1. So the fruit that comes from our lives should come very naturally, or should I say, "New naturally." For it comes from our new nature that we have received from Jesus Christ.
2. There are many people that seek to offer the Lord, their works.
a. You remember the offerings that the sons of Adam brought to the Lord. Cain brought from the field, and Abel brought from his flock. The Lord respected Abel's offering whereas He rejected Cain's.
b. Remember what God said to Adam in the day he sinned, "You shall earn your bread by the sweat of your brow." In a sense, Cain was offering to God that which came from the sweat of his brow.
c. God rejects our works of the flesh. When God called Abraham to offer his son to Him as a sacrifice, He said, "Take now thy son, thy only son Issac." Abraham could have objected at this point and declared, "Wait a minute God, I have another son Ishmael born of the Egyptian woman." He was the result of Abraham trying to fulfill the will of God with the efforts of the flesh, and God did not recognize it.
d. How many times do we seek to offer to God the works of our hands when He is seeking the fruit of the Spirit.
e. Sometimes what we offer to God we offer with sweaty hands, nervousness, and an irritable spirit, and we wonder why God rejects our offering.
B. God wants to develop the fruit of the Spirit in your life. How is this accomplished? By simply abiding in Jesus Christ.
1. He is the vine, you are the branch. Cut off from the vine, you are dead.
a. Our life comes from Jesus Christ.
b. He is our source for life and fruit.
2. It is futile to think that you can bring forth fruit from your life apart from Jesus Christ.