Abiding in Christ and Producing Results (pt. 2) John 15:1-4


Last week we opened our argument by professing that if there was ever a message that needed to be preached to the church it was the message of the true vine and the branches. We said that Jesus is announcing the work of the Father in the life of the church here in this discourse.

This text is designed to instruct the believer and reveal to them that the work of producing fruit is the work of abiding in God. It is yielding to the work of the Father as He serves the needs of those who are abiding in the vine.

In that sermon we discovered that the deeper life for the believer is the yielded life of the believer. We tried to reveal how the child of God that is yielded totally to the Father will endure the things of God and become the servant of God.

Jesus began the discussion last week by telling us who He is and who the Father is. He used an allegorical statement to reveal this truth—I am the vine, and my Father is the vine dresser.

By saying this he was suggesting that HE is the TRUE VINE. This is Important because there were many vines in his day. As the true vine, he separates Himself from others who claim to be true.

We also learned that the Father, as the vinedresser, is in charge of caring for the vines. As the vinedresser He is intimately concerned with the work of the vineyard. He plants, nurtures, looks after and protects the vine. He serves, secures and minsters to the vine. The vine is on His mind and His mind is on the vine.

As we concluded last week’s message we were discussing pruning and producing:

2Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

It was here we said that the work of the Father is to take care of the branches and to examine the vine to see what the branches are producing.

The Father looks at every branch! No branch is going without intervention and observation—every branch has inspection done on its being. Each branch must stand up to the scrutiny of the vinedresser, the Holy Father!
Here we get a glimpse at what the Father is looking for in the branch!

  • He is looking to see if the branch is at work in the vine.
  • He is looking to see if what the branch was doing what it was designed to do.
  • He is looking to see if it is an obedient or disobedient branch.
  • He is looking to see if it is fruitful or retarded.
  • He is looking to see if it will to what He wants it to do.

He looks to see if it bears fruit!

We said that it was here where we found a frightening discovery! Those branches that have had a chance to produce and bear fruit, but have chosen not to do so, the Father removes them from the vine (he takes them away)!
They do not get another season to try again, they don’t get another semester to think things over, they don’t get another day or hour because their time to produce has come and gone.

They have failed to produce fruit and instead of leaving them on the vine to do nothing they are removed from the work of the vineyard!

Once again, we see that He takes them away, perhaps because their season of life is over!

This text does not infer or suggest a loss of position in Christ, nor does it infer a removal from service in His church (which is His body). It clear and simply records that where there is no more fruit, there is no more life! If the branch is producing then it is alive, if it is not producing then it is dead!

Everything living in the VINE should produce something living.

Why? It is an eternal vine! It is the life-giving source! It is the foundation for all things living! If one is connected but not producing, they are dead.

This is also where we discovered the vinedresser pruning the branches in two ways. The Father alone is responsible for either cutting them to remove them, or cutting them to prune them. When He cuts them off there is no more pruning (they are done)!

However, when He cuts them to prune them there is more left for them to do!

Warren Wiersbe commenting on this text says,

“He cuts away dead wood that can breed disease and insects, and he cuts away living tissue so that the life of the vine will not be so dissipated AND that the quality of the crop will not be jeopardized. In fact, the vinedresser will even cut away whole bunches of grapes so that the rest of the crop will be of higher quality. As the vinedresser, God wants both quantity and quality.”

As we come to the text today we rejoin the conversation where Jesus now reveals what He is doing by telling them these words! Let’s look at the Master’s explanation in verse three:

3You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

Here we discover that Christ is also revealing another mystery involving the abiding process! By abiding in Christ, they have and will experience the cleansing process.

They are Branches and He is the vine! They are pruned by the Father and now they discover that they have been cleansed by the words that have changed their lives.

The key word here in this verse is the adverb ALREADY—you are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

One scholar notes that, “This word already is addressing something that has happened (past tense) in a certain point of time, preceding another point of time (present and future tense) and implying completion—already.” IT IS A DONE DEAL! The procedure has happened.

Christ is saying that what He spoke while He was with His disciples caused a divine transaction to happen inside of them that is solely supernatural!

It’s a done deal! The work of the word was working while they were being “grafted” into Christ! It was continuing to work in and on them while he was speaking to them!

This explanation involves the cleansing of the believer. He says that the disciple is clean because of the WORD that was SPOKEN to them, by Him.

Why? To be a branch in the vine means that we are united to Christ and share His life.

As we abide in Him, His life flows through us and produces fruit.

In the previous verse he mentions that the fruitful branches are purged! This word is the same word as clean, meaning the branches that are purged are also cleansed so that they will bear more fruit.

God cleanses us through the Word, chastening us to make us more fruitful, which helps to explain why a dedicated Christian often has to go through suffering.

  • To be cleansed by the word is to be purged by the word (now and in the future)!
  • To be cleansed by the word is to be pruned by the word (now and in the future)!
  • To be cleansed by the word is to be washed by the word (now and in the future)!
  • To be cleansed by the word is to be refreshed by the word (now and in the future)!
  • To be cleansed by the word is to be strengthened by the word (now and in the future)!
  • To be cleansed by the word is to be fed by the word (now and in the future)!

The one who listens and obeys is cleansed; the one who submits to Christ and who listens and honors the word is cleansed and truly follows Him.

  • It’s an honor to be washed every day by the word.
  • It’s an honor to be cleansed every day by the word.
  • It’s an honor to be examined every day by the word.

It’s an honor to have God talk to you, walk with you, teach you, instruct you, lead you and guide you! It’s an honor to have God prune you with the word!

He cleansed you when you first got in Him, and He continues to cleanse you while you walk with Him daily.
It’s an honor just to know this truth! To know the word and understand it; to hear the word and love it; to fear God and obey His commands; to want more of the word and guard it—it’s an honor.

I’m glad that it washes me because walking in this life I pick up dirt!

Walking in this fallen, sinful, and sick world I get dirt in my speech, my mind, my thoughts, my desires, my actions and my attitude. I need to be cleansed by the word!

In verse four we see a very powerful exhortation by the Master:

4Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

It starts with Jesus using the word abide (properly pronounced meno)! Here it is written to exhort the disciples to keep staying with him and waiting in him—to do this continually, it’s a continuous action!

To abide in Christ does not mean to keep ourselves saved. It means to live in His word, pray and obey His commandments—this is what keeps our lives clean (vv. 3–4).

The Christian who fails to abide in Christ becomes like a useless branch, like the salt that loses its taste and is good for nothing.

1 Corinthians 3:15 teaches that our works will be tested by fire. The Christian who fails to use the gifts and opportunities God gives to the believer will lose them (also seen in Lk. 8:18 and 3 Jn. 8)

Tell somebody to keep using the gift they got!

After the exhortation to have them to abide in Him, and have Him abiding in them, He then gives them the reminder of why this TASK is critical for their journey as His followers!

As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
Here, we see the critical reasoning for why the disciple must abide. It is written right here—if you don’t abide you don’t produce, you don’t have anything to offer and you don’t count in the equation of fruit producing! The good disciple will want to obey and produce fruit!

The only way for the believer to do this is to be like the branch and ABIDE IN THE VINE!

Here were are reminded of what our task is as His disciples. Jesus goes back to the allegory to make a point of understanding—we are the branches that are connected to the vine! To be a branch in the vine means that we are united to Christ and share His life. To be a branch we must abide in Him; if we abide His life flows through us and enables us to produce fruit.

But if we are unwilling to abide in Him, we cannot produce fruit!

There are three amazing stories as to why we should abide in Christ!

Coincidental Journey in South Africa

When the missionary Barnabas Shaw was forbidden to preach in Cape Town he decided not to leave Africa, but rather to push into the interior. He bought a yoke of oxen, put his wife and his goods into a wagon and started out, resolved to settle wherever he would be allowed to preach.

So they journeyed for three hundred miles. Then while camping one night they discovered that a band of Hottentots were also camping nearby. In conversation with the leader Shaw learned that the unbelievers were on their way to Cape Town to find a missionary.

The similar meeting of Philip and the eunuch (Acts 8:26–40) flashed through his mind, when he realized that God had been leading him where He wanted him to go.

—Gospel Herald

The missionary that abides in Christ will hear His voice and bear much fruit!

Staying There At Deerfield Academy

Headmaster Frank L. Boyden of the famous Deerfield Academy, one of the best-known boys’ schools in the United States, was once offered a $20,000 salary. Along with that, he was offered the promise of a $6,000,000 fund to open a new school in a Midwestern state if he would leave Deerfield Academy, which was at that time a poor and struggling school.

This was a tempting offer to make to a teacher.

In the midst of his inner conflict, Boyden went to his bible. He read the place where it fell open. The verse said, “If ye still abide in this land, then would I build you and not pull you down.” Then and there Frank Boyden decided to stay at Deerfield, and the years have proven the wisdom of his decision.

—Benjamin P. Browne

Family, the missionary that abides in Christ will hear his voice and know what to do in critical times and make kingdom decisions to change others’ lives—he or she will bear much fruit!

“God Told Me about Peanut”

Testifying before the Senate Agriculture Committee on the value of the peanut, George Washington Carver, a former slave (who as an infant was traded for a broken-down racehorse), said that he got his knowledge of peanuts from the bible.

When asked what the bible said about peanuts he replied, “The bible does not teach anything regarding the peanut. But it told me about God and God told me about the peanut.”

The disciple that abides in Christ will have a love for the word and in turn, the word will constantly tell them about who God is and what God can do. By faith, they will produce things that will change people’s lives and by this, they will bear much fruit!

I’ve got to leave you now, but the key to producing fruit is in one’s relationship to the vine; to “remain in the vine” is to produce fruit and remain close to the Christ!

I don’t know about you, but I need him every day of my life! I can’t live without Him, He’s the key to my universe.

I need Him to bless me, keep me, feed me and clothe me. I need Him to give me wisdom and understanding, to be my savior and friend.

I need Him to be my shepherd in the valley of death, to lead me beside still waters and anoint my head with oil. I need him to make a table for me in the presence of my enemies; I need to have His goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life.

Just give me Jesus and I know that everything will be alright! Just give me Jesus and my needs will be met.

Fernando Ortega wrote the song “Just give me Jesus”:

In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus,
You can have all this world, But give me Jesus

And when I am alone
Oh and When I am alone
And when I am alone
Give me Jesus

Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus,
You can have all this world
But give me Jesus

And when I come to die
Oh an when I come to die
And when I come to die
Give me Jesus

Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus
You can have all this world
You can have all this world
You can have all this world
But give me Jesus

Give me the Jesus that was born of a virgin—the Jesus that declared that, “I am the Son of God”! The Jesus that did miracles, cured diseases and cast out devils. The Jesus that laid down His life so that I might live. Give me that Jesus!

He died, was Buried and rose again… Give me that Jesus!