"He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love." --- (SofS 2:4)
Travis Case, Pastor/Teacher Northgate Baptist Church F.E.A.S.T Ministries
A. In the Old Testament, the Vine was the Symbol of Israel.
1. During the Macabees period of history, the symbol of the Vine was on the Coins of Israel.
2. It was over the main doors of the Synagogues.
3. Josephus in describing Herodís Temple in Jesusí day says, "under the crown-work was spread out a golden vine, with its branches hanging down form a great height, the largeness and the workmanship of which were an astonishing s8ight to the spectators."
B. Isaiah Is Speaking --- Isaiah 5:1-7, "Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: 2 And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. 3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. 4 What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? 5 And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: 6 And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. 7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry."
1. The Lord God Jehovah is the "Well-Beloved" and His Vineyard is the Nation of Israel.
2. The Vinedresser chose the Finest Kind of Eastern Vine, bearing a bluish-red grape that would produce rich red wine.
a. Instead of producing rich red quality grapes, it produced Wild, Harsh, Sour, Small Grapes.
b. Literally, the word for "Worthless Ones" means "Stinking, Rotten Grapes."
3. Judgment then comes to Godís Vineyard --- Israel became a Degenerate Vine.
a. God looked for Justice, but found Bloodshed.
b. He looked for "Righteousness" but He found "A Cry of Distress."
c. The vineyard Failed To Produce Righteousness.
C. David Describes It This Way --- Psa. 80:8-9, "Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. 9 Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land." --- V. 14, "Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine;"
D. Jeremiah picked up the same lament as Isaiah.
Jer. 2:21, "Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?"
E. Ezekiel reminds us the Vine Is Good For Nothing Except To Bear Fruit.
Ezekiel 15:1-6, "And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, What is the vine tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest? 3 Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? or will men take a pin of it to hang any vessel thereon? 4 Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel; the fire devoureth both the ends of it, and the midst of it is burned. Is it meet for any work? 5 Behold, when it was whole, it was meet for no work: how much less shall it be meet yet for any work, when the fire hath devoured it, and it is burned? 6 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; As the vine tree among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so will I give the inhabitants of Jerusalem."
Ezekiel 19:10-14, "Thy mother is like a vine in thy blood, planted by the waters: she was fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters. 11 And she had strong rods for the sceptres of them that bare rule, and her stature was exalted among the thick branches, and she appeared in her height with the multitude of her branches. 12 But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up her fruit: her strong rods were broken and withered; the fire consumed them. 13 And now she is planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty ground. 14 And fire is gone out of a rod of her branches, which hath devoured her fruit, so that she hath no strong rod to be a sceptre to rule. This is a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation."
1. Ezekiel reminds us the Vine Is Only Good As It Bears Fruit.
2. The Vine was a Symbol of the Spiritual Relationship between God and Israel.
3. The Fruit of Righteousness was to Honor and Glorify God.
4. The crooked, dwarf is Worthless Wood As Fuel because it flames up like paper and is gone instantly.
5. You could Not Use It To Make Furniture --- it is too soft and no good for lumber.
6. You could Not Use It As A Tent Peg because it crumbles or flexes when you hit it.
7. It fulfills Only One Purpose --- Bearing Rich, Luscious Fruit.
8. Israel was Wild, Rotten Grapes --- ripe for the great Winepress of The Wrath of God.
NowIn The New Testament:
I. Jesus Is The True Messianic Vine.
John 15:1, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman." --- V. 5, "I am the vine, ye are the branches:"
A. Jesus and His Disciples had just celebrated the Passover.
1. Judas had left the group to set up the Betrayal.
2. Jesus and the Eleven walked along the trail, passing through the Vineyards that surround the city, down into the Kidron Valley and up the slope of the Mount of Olives to the Garden of Gathesemane.
3. I Can Imagine Jesus picking up a cutting and saying to His disciples:
"You know how Israel is pictured as a vine which is to produce refreshing fruit. Well, she failed. I am the authentic Vine. I am the true and genuine Vine as opposed to a mere symbol. I am the fulfillment of all that the symbol suggests.
B. I Am The True Vine.
1. The word "True" is used of "That Which Is Ultimate Realization."
2. Jesus is the Fullest Realization of the Hope of Israel, of her expectation.
3. The Vine stands for the Messiah, the Anointed of God.
C. Jesusí Mystery Is With The Father.
1. John 14:10-11, "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very worksí sake."
2. The only way you can explain Jesus is His Communion With The Father.
3. There was Perfect Union With Him --- Never Any Disunion or Disharmony --- It was Perfect Fellowship.
4. The Father and the Son are Never Regarded As Separate Entities each going His own separate way --- They were Always Seen Working Together.
D. The Mystery of The Christian Life.
1. With this vine Jesus illustrated the Most Fundamental and Basic Mystery of the Christian Life --- "You In Me, And I In You".
John 14:20, "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you."
2. The basic idea is Vital Union With Christ --- it speaks of an Intimate Love Relationship With Him.
3. When we are United In Christ we are One With Him.
4. It is Our Identification With Christ.
5. Jesus is the Only Source of Spiritual Life.
6. The Fruit of such a vine is the Natural Outflow of the Life of The Vine.
II. The Purpose of The Vine.
John 15:2, "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."
A. The Purpose of The Vine is to Bring Forth Fruit.
1. The Whole Emphasis of the allegory of the vine is Fruit Bearing.
a. God Expected Israel To Produce luscious, beautiful, rich choice grapes of righteousness.
b. She Produced sour, rotten, stinking, tasteless grapes.
c. God was looking for Justice and Righteousness; instead He found Oppression, Cruelty, Exploitation of men.
2. Jesus said the Purpose of the vine was that it may Keep On Bearing More And More Fruit.
B. What Is The Fruit God is producing in your life?
1. The Fruit of the vine will be the Natural Outflow of the Life of The Vine.
2. When we are United With Him we are Identified With Him.
3. We produce His Wine --- We reproduce Christ.
C. Only Jesus Living In Us Can Produce The Fruit of The Spirit.
Gal. 5:22-25, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christís have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."
D. The Fruit Is Christ-Likeness In The Heart.
III. God The Father Is The Vinedresser.
John 15:1, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman."
A. We who name the name of Jesus Christ are Godís Vineyard.
B. God Expects us to produce His fruit in His vineyard.
1. Dead Wood harbors Insects and Disease and may cause the vine to rot --- all dead wood must be brutally cut back.
2. Live Wood must be trimmed back in order To Prevent such heavy gowth that the Life of The Vine Goes Into He Wood Rather Than Into Fruit.
3. In the Spring the vineyards look like a bunch of Barren Stumps; but in the Fall they are filled with Luxuriant Purple Grapes.
a. The husbandman cuts back the living wood so far that His Method Seems Cruel.
b. Nevertheless, from those who have Suffered The Most there often comes the greatest Fruitfulness.
C. God Prunes Us.
John 15:2, "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."
1. Our heavenly Father must Cleanse Us so we will bear more fruit.
2. The whole emphasis is "Fruit," "More Fruit," "Much Fruit" and again "Much Fruit."
3. God Wonít Stop Until He Sees Fruit!
4. God must cut away the Dead wood, Diseased and Rotten portion of our lives.
5. His methods may seem Cruel but this Pruning Process is a Cleansing Process --- with precision He:
a. Cuts out the Resentments, Bitterness, Anger, Selfishness, Self-Centeredness, Arrogance, etc.
b. Anything that is Not The Fruit of The Spirit He will cut out of our lives.
6. He will do whatever cleansing is necessary to produce His kind of fruit for a Reason:
John 15:8, "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples."
D. How Does The Father Prune?
John 15:3, "Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you."
1. You are Already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
2. God also use His Word to Confront our Carnality and Selfishness.
Psa. 119:9, "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word."
Eph. 5:26, "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,"
3. Have you ever listen to Godís Word and it Cuts Into The Quick --- It Hurts --- You feel the Sting of It?
4. That is the Fatherís Pruning Knife cutting off the Sap Sucker in our Old Self.
5. We Carry Over Into Our Christian Life a lot of things from our old life that is not Christ-Like --- Old Baggage.
6. Through Godís Grace He Accepts Us As We Are But He Loves Us Too Much To Leave Us As We Are.
7. Godís Word is Continually At Work in our hearts pruning and cleansing and causing us to bear fruit --- become more Christ-Like.
E. The Issue Is Christ-Likeness, Not Salvation.
John 13:10, "Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all."
F. Consequences of Not Abiding.
John 15:6, "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned."
1. Judas Iscariot was the last person the disciples thought would betray Jesus.
2. You Cannot live the Christian life in the Power of The Flesh.
1 Cor. 3:11-15, "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every manís work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every manís work of what sort it is. 14 If any manís work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any manís work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."
IV. The Principle of Fruitfulness.
John 15:4-8, "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. 5 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. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples."
A. V. 1-3 relates to our Position in the Vine --- V. 4-8 speaks of our Practice as branches in the Vine.
1. Jesus looks for His Own Life to be Reproduced In Us.
a. The Single Most Important Things in your life is an Intimate, Abiding Love Relationship With Jesus Christ.
b. That is the Kind of Life Jesus Had With The Father while He was here on the earth.
2. The Basic Relationship is already established by the coming of the Holy Spirit into the believerís life.
3. Two things stand out in these two verses:
a. An Activity that is to be Done --- Abide In Christ.
b. A Passivity that is to be Acknowledged --- Let Him Abide In Us.
4. The "Fruit" God is looking for in the Christian is the Likeness of Jesus --- the Fruit of The Spirit:
Gal. 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
B. Our Responsibility As Branches.
1. To "Abide" means "To Remain In Union, Maintain A Living Communion, To Maintain Unbroken Fellowship."
2. When I am Abiding I am Believing, Reckoning On and Persevering.
3. A Branch is Lifeless and Useless Unless It Remains Attached To The Vine.
4. The moment it is Severed it begins to Die and become Fruitless.
Gal. 2:20, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
Phil. 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
C. We Should Choose Daily To Abide In Christ.
1. "Abide In Me" speaks of the "Will."
a. I made a Decision and Commitment to Christ a long time ago, but I also Must Make It New Every Day.
b. I Decide To Expose Myself to Him, to His Word, to Fellowship with other believers in Christ.
c. I Choose to Read His Word, to Pray, to Obey Him --- to make myself Available to Him daily.
2. Everything in your Christian life depends on the Quality of Your Relationship With Christ.
3. God Desires An Intimacy with you that is More Real than any other relationship in life.
a. That is the Only Place you will ever find the power to be All God Wants You To Be.
b. He Does In Us What We Can Never Do For Ourselves.
c. It is His Power, His Vitality, His Strength, His Spiritual Sap that enables us to be Christ-Like.
D. The Command To Us Is Not To Produce Fruit, But To Abide.
1. When we are Abiding in Christ the Fruit Comes Naturally.
2. He Produces It in us.
E. Will we ever learn the truth --- "Apart From Me, You Can Do Nothing!"
V. Proof That We Are Bearing Fruit.
John 15:7-11, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Fatherís commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."
John 14:13-14, "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it."
A. Prayer is coming and Talking to the One whom we Love and want to Know more intimately.
1. It is the Sharing With Him The Intimacy of Our Heart.
2. You share your Desires, your Goals, Ambitions, Sins, Failure, Hopes, Struggles, Burdens and Love For Him.
3. When you do it Daily, Christ Becomes Real To You.
4. You are Abiding in him in Prayer --- it is a Delightful Marvelous Experience.
5. There will be a Deeper Experience In Christís Love.
B. The More you love Him the More you want to abide in Him --- the More you abide the More you will obey.
John 15:26, "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:"
We Are Not Saved And Then Left To Live The Christian Life All By Ourselves.
C. You Will Demonstrate Christ-Likeness.
1. It Is Not Activity That Glorifies God, But A Christ-Like Character.
2. You may be Bedridden, or suffering from some Debilitating Disease and you can manifest a Christ-Like Spirit.
D. You will have a Growing Experience of Christís Love.
1. What is Your Response to Godís love?
a. There Must always be A Response if love is to Grow.
b. When love is Responded To it grows Deeper and Richer.
c. If You Are Not Feeling The Depths of Godís Love You Are Not Responding To It.
d. You are Not Loving Him Back.
e. You Have To Feed Any Relationship To Make It Grow.
f. Relationships Donít Grow Automatically --- Love Has To Be Responded To.
2. Our love for Christ is a Result of His Sacrificial Love for us --- Are you growing deeper and deeper in Godís love?
John 15:9-10, "As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Fatherís commandments, and abide in his love."
E. You Joy Will Be Full.
John 15:11, "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."
Most of us are Preoccupied with Performance --- God ask us to be Preoccupied with the Person of Jesus Christ.
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