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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

I AM THE TRUE VINE

John 15:1-5 I am the true Vine, and My Father is the Husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the Vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing. (Also See Vss. 6-8)

In this chapter of John's gospel, Jesus continues to give His final instructive teachings to His apostles. By inference, these teachings are just as valid to Christians today as they were when originally given. Much good can be found when applying these instructional analogies to the spiritual guidance of our own lives.

Jesus opens this particular teaching by saying that I am the true Vine, and My Father is the Husbandman. In the Old Testament, the vineyard, as well as the vine, were often compared to the nation of Israel over which God was known as the Husbandman. In Isaiah 5, Jeremiah 2, and Psalm 80, we see the Jewish nation portrayed as fruitless, untamed vines that were overcome by the "weeds" of the pagan-Gentile world surrounding them. Contrasted to those worthless, unproductive vines, the lesson text tells us that God had now planted the true Vine in the world among the Jewish nation. His name was Jesus. God identified Him as My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, then gave this commandment to the world: hear ye Him (Matt. 17:5b).

A lesson in vineyard husbandry tells us, that in order for vines to be more productive and bear more fruit, they must be constantly pruned, that is, unfruitful branches are cut from the vine, which are eventually replaced with new productive branches. Jesus likens the branches of vines to His disciples. Judas Iscariot was an example of an unfruitful branch of the true Vine. He had just been severed from the Vine and returned to sinful worldliness, which is designed and led by Satan and his followers. Of the remaining eleven apostles, Jesus said that they were clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Jesus, and later, the Holy Spirit of God, brought God's New Testament doctrine to these apostles, and they brought it to the world on the Day of Pentecost. That word was the message that brought the soul cleansing power of the blood of Jesus Christ to the world. The sins, of all that obediently gave themselves to God through the atoning sacrifice of His Son, were washed away - they were made clean.

Telling His followers then, as well as now, Jesus uttered this loving commandment: Abide in Me, and I in you. Jesus Christ, as the true vine, will not give spiritual nourishment to men and women (branches) that do not abide in Him. Apart from the vine, the branch cannot bear fruit of itself. To abide in Him is to hear, accept, believe, and obey His words (Vs. 7). Restating the essence of verse 1, Jesus assures His disciples that I am the Vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing. It is worth noting an additional doctrinal truth found in this passage. Jesus clearly states that each individual disciple is a branch, and in order to be fruitful, they must faithfully abide in the doctrine that comes only from Him, as the true Vine. It is doctrinal hypocrisy to say that His branches are various worldly denominations that erringly claim a common hope of salvation with all other religious bodies. In the lesson text, Jesus refers to His branches as "ye," "him," and "a man." This definitely tells us that Jesus is referring to His individual disciples, and not to the various "religious bodies" found throughout the world. He reigns over His church, the church of Christ, and each member of His church is a branch that can only receive spiritual nourishment though Him, the true Vine.

If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered. The eternal destiny of any unfaithful, fruitless man or woman is to be cut off and completely separated from Christ Jesus and His life-sustaining nourishment found only in Him as the true Vine. Symbolizing the eternal punishment that awaits these unfaithful branches, Jesus says that they will be cast into the fire, and ...burned. However, to all that arefaithful and obedient to His cause, He tells them that they will glorify God, bear much fruit, and ...be My disciples.