1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
This passage raises the possibility, that a person can be in Christ, the vine, yet be fruitless. The reason is plain. Unless we abide in Him, we cannot bring forth good fruit. When sin and wickedness is allowed in a branch which is grafted into Him, it will become fruitless. We cannot be satisfied with only being grafted in Him – we have to abide in Him and draw our daily sap from Him to bear the necessary fruit. Every branch in Him must bear fruit – it is the spontaneous, natural consequence of being grafted in Him and abiding in Him.
Jesus also says that every branch which bears fruit, He prunes, so that it might bring forth more fruit. Some fruit might be visible, but it’s not satisfactory to the owner of the vine. He cannot get a high market-value for it, for it’s not good quality . This is when Jesus comes and prunes it, so that it might bring forth much fruit, of high quality . When we are pruned, it might cause tears, pain, bleeding, and heartache. Humble yourself before Him, so that He might lift you up. God might send difficult situations across your path to prune you; like someone rubbing you up the wrong way. Do you still bring forth good, sweet fruit, or is your response bitter words, rejecting God’s pruning? When God comes with His pruning scissors, in whatever form, accept His pruning that you might grow and bring forth much fruit.
Maybe you remember the time of your first love, when you had communion with God, walked with Him and where He sent you to talk to others and be a blessing to them. But today there’s just silence. You need to return to Him and plead with Him to show you where you left Him, and pray that He would restore you. Do not hide iniquity in your heart, but confess and forsake sin, as God reveals it to you. If you stop to confess your sin, things will go wrong and you will lose connection with Him.
It is not a matter of attending church every Sunday, while things in your life do not change. Your spiritual life will not be nourished and grow like that. Maybe you know what taps your spiritual sap. You need to act and correct that which is wrong. Never fall into the habit of attending church and leaving with your sin, but deal drastically to eradicate the sin. If you become habitual pew-warmers, you will lose all spiritual life, and be cut off from the vine, wither and be burnt. Unless you are grafted into this vine and abide in Him, it is utterly in vain to go to church. Maybe you’re a teenager, and you’re happy to go to church every week, but you haven’t made the decision to change your life, be grafted into the vine and have a relationship with Jesus. You must make the decision, and not wait for an urge before you come to be grafted in. God’s word is very clear. You do not need to wait for some voice or revelation, but simply be obedient when you hear His Word.
What does God expect from you? He makes it very clear. He wants you to accept Him as your Lord and Saviour and that you abide in Him from today, and that His Word abide in you. God’s name is glorified when others see His abundant fruit in your life. Jesus even calls us His friends. This should move us deeply, as He expresses such love towards us. He said, ‘greater love has no man than this, than that a man lays down his life for his friends’. And He laid down His life for us. There is not another friend comparable to Him.
Are you His intimate friend? If not, come to Him today, be grafted in the vine, and abide in Him.