I Am the True Vine–John 15:1-17

15 1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-dresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes,that it may bear more fruit.3Alreadyyou are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers;and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you,ask whatever you wish,and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you,that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this,that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants,[a]for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you,so that you will love one another.

Please spend say 20-30quiet, undisturbed minutes and read this passage over and over, slowly. Let the magnitude of what Jesus told His disciples really sink into your mind please.There is so much in the chapters of John 13 to John 17. The dinner with the disciples, the washing of their feet, Judas leaving to go and betray Jesus, the teaching on the “Comforter Holy Spirit” and here in the midst of all of this is the passage on producing fruit. But not just any old fruit–a fruit that is representative of the power and ability of the Vine-dresser to provide for the vine, the health of the vine itself that is growing the branches and then the branches’ ability to produce the fruit–‘fruit’-is the outcome that the Vine-dresser truly wanted. (For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life–the ultimate in fruit/outcome)

Tasmania is now producing some of the best wine in the world.The fruit is quite remarkable because of the varied conditions of heat/cold/ocean proximity/sheltered sides of the many, many hills where the vines are planted, the rainfall, the rich soils–and the list of Tassie’s grape growing attributes just goes on and on. Ultimately the fruit is some of the best available, because of all of these remarkable growing conditions–the list of attributes goes on and on.

Do you see yourself in that light? You are born again, sins forgiven, Holy Spirit filled, made righteous by God’s own righteousness (through Jesus), healed, whole, sound of mind and body, entrusted with the gospel of reconciliation, empowered with the fruit of the spirit, given access to the Word of God,to the wisdom and mind of Christ–the list of attributes just goes on and on. You are in the very best of growing conditions–so what fruit(outcomes)are you producing–for yourself but perhaps more importantly, for others?

It's really interesting in verses 12-17, Jesus delivers the expectations and requirements but from verses 1-11 He explains how to achieve it all. I’m very intrigued by all of this as I drive by these particular vines (and many others) most days as I travel to work. There is a powerful checklist in verses1-11 that we will unpack over the next few months. Please read these verses daily and watch your heart understanding flourish beyond measure.Be excited by these verses and believe and receive into your heart and mind what Jesus is saying–just perhaps it all may come to a head in John 17:20.

Radio Update

What a remarkable run through to Christmas it was. I’m very grateful to Niven, our production audio technician who handled the workload admirably across his own very heavy end-of-year workload in his own personal life. The “Please Get Involved” series aired for just over two months (9 weeks actually) and was some really inspiring and quite useful ministry. Niven as usual, did an excellent job of making me sound good!