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John 15:1-2 (NIV) I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches that grow from that Vine. Outside of the Vine, we are lifeless; we cannot produce Spiritual fruit apart from Christ (John 15:5).
If a branch does not bear fruit it is “cut off”. This phrase has also been translated as “taken away”, “cuts away”, and “removed”. When we look at the Greek and Hebrew words that this phrase was translated from, we see a different picture. Both the Greek and Hebrew translations for this phrase mean to lift up; to pardon; to forgive; to marry; to furnish; ease. Jesus was not telling us that we would be cut off from Him if we failed to produce fruit; He was explaining what we require when we are fruitless.
We need to know that we have been forgiven before we will ever produce fruit. We need to be lifted up to our rightful place in Christ; we need to see ourselves in Christ. We also need to be reminded that He provided us with His Word – everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3-4). We must receive what He has furnished us with and rest in Him. We cannot produce Spiritual fruit apart from Christ; we must rest in Him and He is the Word. We must consistently abide in His Word and fill ourselves with the Seed of His Word so that we can produce Spiritual fruit.
If we are not abiding in Him and what He has accomplished for us we are like a branch that is useless. Those branches are burned up – just like the works that we produce when we are not abiding in Christ! We can produce fruit that is no different from the fruit of an unsaved person when we are not resting in who we are in Christ.
A branch that is not bearing fruit is not taken away; it is lifted up! The lifeless branch is taken out of the dirt and it is placed on a support – it is at rest. In many places, the branches are lifted up onto cross-shaped supports. What a beautiful picture of us as God’s children being lifted up and abiding on the cross – resting on what Christ did for us so that we could produce Spiritual fruit.
A fruit-producing vine needs to be in its rightful place – it needs to be lifted up. We need to be lifted up, too; we need to take our place seated in Christ. A vine is not supposed to be in the dust. A vine that is crawling on the ground in the dust dies; it will not produce fruit! A Christian who lives in their sin or guilt will not produce fruit either.
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