John 15:1-2, 6 ESV
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”
“If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.”
Jesus is the vine, and we who are believing in him are the branches. As branches coming out of the vine, we must bear fruit (produce, yield, outgrowth, result, outcome) that shows that we are connected to the vine – to Jesus Christ. If we do not bear fruit, in keeping with true repentance, we are removed from the vine and thrown away and into the fire and burned.
So, what is this saying? It is saying that it is not enough to think you believe in Jesus, or to superficially believe in him, or to just ask him into your heart. Even if you felt in your heart that your decision to believe in Jesus was sincere, it still needs to be followed through with outgrowth in your life or the outcome of such faith which proves you are the Lord’s disciple.
And, this isn’t just one-time fruit. This is forever fruit. We must continue to be fruit bearing disciples of Christ until the end (Rom. 6:1-23).
Yet, even those who are fruit-bearing disciples of Christ, Jesus will prune. He will discipline us so that we will bear even more fruit. He will allow us to go through trials and tribulations to test our faith and to mature us in him, and to make us more like Jesus in thought, word, actions, and character.
John 15:3-5 ESV
“Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 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.”
Jesus was speaking here to his disciples (minus Judas who had already left to betray Jesus). The 11 were clean because of their faith in Jesus Christ. So, we are not to read this and apply it across the board to just anyone.
Ok, so if we want to be fruit-bearing disciples of Christ (his branches), and we don’t want to be removed from the vine and thrown away and burned, what needs to take place in our lives?
We must abide in Christ, and he must abide in us. To abide is to live, so we must live in him and him in us. And, to live is how we conduct our lives, day in and day out. It has to do with our walk (our lifestyle, our practices). So, if we are to live in him, that means our lifestyles, our conduct, and what we do is in him, partaking and participating in him and in his divine character and will for our lives. It means we are walking in his truth and in his holiness.
And, him in us means that his life is in us, living his life out through us, and he is empowering us and strengthening us in our walks of faith. For, we can’t bear fruit in keeping with repentance in ourselves, of our flesh. For the flesh is opposed to the Spirit and the Spirit is opposed to the flesh. The flesh cannot, thus, produce what is spiritual, i.e. what is of God’s Holy Spirit.
John 15:8-11 ESV
“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
What? We have to prove ourselves to be his disciples? Yes! And, the apostles taught the same thing. We must walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh if we want to be saved from our sin and have eternal life with God. For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins (Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 6:7-8).
So, here is the crux of the matter. Coming to faith in Jesus Christ is not some emotional one-time decision we make to believe in Jesus or to ask him into our hearts or to pray some prayer after someone else. For, faith in Jesus Christ is not something we do in the past. True faith is continuous. It endures to the end. And, our salvation won’t be complete until Jesus returns for us, and he takes us to be with him forever.
Thus, we must live in Christ’s love, which is to keep his commandments. For his love is pure, holy, righteous, godly, honest, and faithful. It is centered in moral preference. It prefers what God prefers. And, it submits to the Lord’s purposes, and to his will, and it does what his word says to do. It doesn’t mean we never sin, but sin is not what we practice. Holiness is what we practice.
So, here is the thing. Jesus didn’t die on that cross just to forgive us our sins, but he died to deliver us out of our bondage (addiction) to sin. So, faith in Jesus Christ means that we die with Christ to sin, and we are raised with Christ, by faith in him, to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
But this (above) is not what most people and pastors are teaching. They are teaching a different Jesus and a different gospel. And, it looks something like this:
A toilet is used by us to rid ourselves of our bodily waste and then we flush it away and it is gone, right? Well, imagine if there was a floor mat in front of the toilet, and you deposited your bodily waste on that, instead. Well, that is what this false gospel and false grace looks like.
They don’t teach that we must get rid of our sins (flush them away). They teach that we can merely be forgiven them. So, this is like what is deposited on these mats. Their sins don’t go away. They are still there. And, what they are supposedly given over to is something that just masks the sins (i.e. the floor – base – covering). The filth is still there. It didn’t go away.
So, people profess faith in Jesus Christ, but they aren’t delivered from their bondage to sin because they aren’t being taught that they must die with Christ to sin (flush it away at the cross). So, the sin continues to be a part of their lives, and they end up walking according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit.
So, this false gospel teaches (or it implies) that death to sin and living to God and to his righteousness, and walking in obedience to the Lord’s commands, are not required by God for salvation. And, so no one is delivered from his slavery to sin. The sin remains. And, it stinks, especially the longer that it sits there on the mat and it is not flushed away!
And, those who are teaching this false gospel of no repentance, no obedience, and no submission to Christ as Lord, are teaching garbage (nonsense, hogwash). And, they are leading many people straight to hell while promising them life everlasting in heaven with God.
Thus, many who “believe” in Jesus continue in intoxication to sin, in self-indulgence, living for the flesh and not for the Spirit of God.
And, they will be removed from the vine, and they will be thrown out into the fire, and they will be burned if they do not submit to Christ as Lord, leave their lifestyles of sin behind them and follow Jesus in obedience to his will for their lives (Gal. 5:16-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Rom. 2:6-8; 2 Co. 5:10).
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
*Caution: This link may contain ads