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The Vine (and branches)

posted Jan 30, 2011, 8:28 PM by Jeff Gravens
Weekly Blessing:

"May you remain in Christ as Christ remains in you, so that you may bear fruit.  For apart from Christ, you can do nothing."

This blessing is taken from John 15:5 and has great significance to me. This is the first verse I ever memorized.  I was a new Christian, a freshmen in college, and beginning to learn what it means to follow Jesus.  A great deal has changed since those days.  Yet, as the years have gone by I have continued to experience the truth that this verse holds. 

In John 15 Jesus calls himself "the true vine" and labels his followers as "branches."  This comparison stresses the importance of faithfulness in the Christian life.  Beyond that, Jesus stresses that faithfulness leads to fruitfulness.  The branches that remain faithful to the vine will bear fruit.  Yet, there is also a stern side to this comparison.  Jesus also stresses that every branch that does not bear fruit will be cut off.  Plus, those branches that bear fruit will be pruned so they may produce even more fruit.

Have you ever experienced pruning?  It is imperative for the vinedresser (God, the Father) to prune.  If the vineyard is left to itself it will produce the minimal amount of useful fruit.  The vinedresser trims branches so that they will produce more fruit and cuts away dead branches that have no life in them.  

How does a branch show that it has life?  It bears fruit.

How does a branch bear fruit?  It remains in the vine.  

The fruitfulness of the Christian life is not the result of human achievement, but of remaining in Christ.  The Greek word for "remain" is meno.  It is used numerous times in the Gospel of John and is personally one of my favorite Greek words.  It can also be translated as abide, stay, persist, continue to live.  

May you abide in Christ.
May you stay in Christ.
May you persist in Christ.
May you continue to live in Christ.

I can't wait to see the fruit,

Pastor Jeff Gravens
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