1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 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. 6 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.”
We are with Jesus and His faithful apostles in the Upper Room on the night before His crucifixion, listening as the Master gives His disciples final instructions. In John 15:1-6, our Lord is going to use the illustration of a vine and its branches to teach lessons about bearing fruit.
THE TRUE VINE AND THE TRUE BRANCHES
Jesus declares, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser (John 15:1).” Since Jesus is the true vine, He requires that His branches be true branches. How can we recognize a true branch? We recognize a true branch because it bears fruit. All live, born-again branches will bear fruit. That is the nature of a true branch.
ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE TRUE BRANCH
Jesus is now going to encourage His true branches. The Lord teaches that “every branch that bears fruit, He (God the Father, the vinedresser) prunes it so that it may bear more fruit (15:2).” Jesus here must be talking about the true branches because these branches bear fruit. “every branch that bears fruit”
But notice that “He (the vinedresser) prunes it (every branch that bears fruit) so that it may bear more fruit.” Consider carefully what the Lord Jesus is saying in this verse. He is saying that God the Father, as the vinedresser, is personally involved in the life of every true branch and is “pruning” that branch so that it may bear more fruit. “The vinedresser” has prepared for me the perfect “pruning” so that I may bear more fruit! His pruning is not arbitrary but is specific, and the purpose of the pruning that I receive from the vinedresser is so that I may bear more fruit. And this is how God the Father relates to every true branch in Jesus.
This should be tremendously encouraging for the believer because it means that God the Father (“the vinedresser”) is personally committed to my spiritual growth so that I bear more fruit. Regardless of where I am in my spiritual growth, God’s intent is to continue to prune me so that tomorrow I bear more fruit than today. And this is true for every branch in Christ. Because by faith you are in Christ Jesus, God the Father is pruning you. This is the standard procedure for every believer. If you are a branch in Christ, you will bear more fruit. But there is more encouragement in this passage for the true branch.
Not only can we bear more fruit, but we can also bear much fruit. In John 15:5, Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit.” Here Jesus promises me and you that if we abide in Jesus, He has promised that we will bear much fruit.
WARNING FOR THE FALSE BRANCH
But just as Jesus encourages the true branches, He also gives sober warning to the false. “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He (the vinedresser) takes away (15:2).” These branches are false, dead branches, because they do not bear fruit. They pretend to be true branches and they attach to the true vine as if they were true branches, but they do not bear fruit, and so prove themselves to be dead and false. “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away (15:2).” The vinedresser is going to cut off, remove, tear away, hack out and otherwise forcefully get rid of all the false, dead, fruitless branches that try to attach to the vine. Be warned if you are a fruitless branch! But there is still more warning in this passage.
“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 (John 15:6).” The consequences of not abiding in Jesus and thus of not bearing fruit are dire, and so Jesus is direct with His warning. According to John 15:6, if you do not abide in Him, you are thrown away, dried up, then gathered up and cast into the fire and burned. The warning is meant to frighten us. Jesus, the Son of God, is warning every branch that does not truly abide in Him and so bear fruit, you will end up being cast into the fire and burned (Revelation 20:15). Do not miss this warning. Make sure that you understand what Jesus is saying, or you may be very unhappy on judgment day. If you are a pretender and a fruitless branch, repent and believe in the Lord Jesus!
SDG rmb 4/27/2021