In John 15, Jesus gives His final I AM statement and boldly declares that He is the True Vine — the only source of life for the branch … and apart from Him you can do nothing.
In this episode, we examine Jesus’ statement of being the True Vine and give three implications for what that means for us as branches abiding in Him.
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John 15:1-6 – “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine-grower. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He cleans it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit from itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.”
Jesus is the True Vine
If Jesus is the “true vine” then it presumes that there are other false vines we can turn to—and rather than receive life from them, they steal life from us (or as Jesus says of the enemy: “steals, kills, destroys” – see John 10:10).
What false vines have I turned to (something other than Jesus) to seek life, success, rest, refreshment, etc?
3 ideas for us to be branches abiding in the True Vine
1. Abiding (the job description of a branch)
The full focus of a branch is to “abide” in the life of the vine.
The Greek word for “abide” is menō (to abide, remain, stay in place, sink down into, hold tight to, refuse to depart). The Arndt and Gingrich Lexicon defines menō as “an inward enduring personal communion.”
2. Bearing (the natural result/outflow of abiding)
A branch that is abiding in the life of a vine WILL produce fruit. The natural result (outflow) of abiding is fruit production.
In this context, the fruit of our lives is the life of the Vine (Jesus). His life will become evident in and through us—primarily “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
But Scripture gives an even greater idea of the type of fruit that should be evident in our lives:
- Romans 1:13 / John 4:35-38 – the harvest of those we lead to Christ and who mature in their faith
- Romans 6:22 – [Personal holiness] – But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
- Galatians 5:18-25 – [certain things removed … certain things evident] – But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
- Ephesians 5:9 – … for the fruit of Spirit (light) is in all goodness and righteousness and truth …
- Colossians 1:10 (also see Matt 5:13-16) – so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
- Hebrews 13:15 – [praise and worship] – Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.
3. Pruning (the secret strength of a branch)
In the passage, dead branches are cut off (thrown into the fire – John 15:6) and healthy branches are also cut (pruned – John 15:2) for the sake of bearing more fruit.
As Christians, God will use all the difficulties, trials, hardships, and persecutions in our lives to prune our souls so that we become more dependent upon Him and so that we bear more fruit (the nature of the Vine). If we desire to become more Christlike, then pruning is a necessary process to conform us to the image of Christ.
Paul declares in Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” And then Paul explains the WHY God is leveraging all things for good in our lives, “Because those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29).
Health Over Appearance
God is more interested in the health and life of a branch than He is in its appearance. God is willing to prune a branch (regardless of how it looks), so that it may become healthy and produce more fruit.
As Warren Wiersbe said about the passage: “the branches of a vine are good for only two things: fruit or fuel, bearing or burning.”
Practical Application Questions
- What needs to be pruned / cut off in your life?
- What false vines have you been clinging to?
- Is the True Vine (Jesus) everything to us?
- Are we living dependent upon the life of the vine?
- Are we abiding (refusing to depart)?
- What kind of fruit comes out of our lives?
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Question: How are you experiencing Jesus as the True Vine in your life?
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NRJohnson (Nathan Johnson) is a Christian who has an overwhelming passion for Jesus, the Gospel, and Studying God’s Word. He is a writer, teacher, and communicator who helps other believers understand and apply the Bible as they grow and mature in their faith—desiring that they gain greater intimacy with Christ, experience the victorious Christian life, and transform the world through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Read more about him here.
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Many Christians feel frustrated because they don’t grow spiritually. The Deeper Christian Podcast helps equip Christians to understand the Word of God and cultivate a passionate love for Jesus that turns the world upside down.
Whether you want to learn how to study God’s Word, grow in your faith, cultivate a powerful and effective prayer life, share the Gospel boldly, deepen your intimacy with Jesus, live victoriously, or transform the world through the indwelling life of the Holy Spirit, the Deeper Christian Podcast with NRJohnson (Nathan Johnson) will encourage and equip you to grow spiritually and live a Christ-centered life.