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Tuesday, October 6, 2020

"I Am the Vine; You are the Branches"

October 6, 2020 - With Guest, Dr. Anthony Silvestro - LISTEN HERE

John 15:4-7 

Abide in me, and I will abide in you. Just as the branch cannot produce fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 

I am the vine, you are the branches. The one who abides in me while I abide in him produces much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Unless a person abides in me, he is thrown away like a pruned branch and dries up. People gather such branches, throw them into a fire, and they are burned up. "If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you can ask for anything you want, and you'll receive it.

From Dr. Silvestro: 
We need the proper context of the passages whenever we read the Bible. In the previous chapter, John 14:1-5, Jesus was speaking to the Apostles:

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”

John 14:6 provides the answer.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

That puts Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Mormonism, Jehovah Witness, Atheism, Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox into context: They are false religions because they do not have the exclusivity of Christ.

In the rest of Chapter 14, Jesus is explaining what the Apostles are to do when he leaves.

As we look into the passage for today…John 15 starts with two words that are often overlooked:  I AM - “I am the true vine...”
 

Jesus is the vine; The Father is the vinedresser. Picture a grapevine here…  Jesus is grapevine. A vinedresser is a person who prunes, trains, and cultivates vines. He takes care of vines to maximize the fruit produced by them.  Get the greatest yield. The vinedresser then is responsible for deciding what each branch is doing based on its fruit…

There are two types of branches that represent: the two types of disciples who outwardly professing attachment to Jesus:

1. the genuine branches, Born- again believers that abide in Him, and
2. the false branches (false converts, people who claim Christ but are not born-again)

Verse 4-6:  
"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. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

True Branches can only bear fruit when attached to the Vine. Being attached to Christ means having the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which generates all good works in us, yet we are responsible for carrying out those good works.

As believers, we are called to do good works.  However, those works do not add to salvation.  Good works are the result of being born-again; by Grace, we are saved. Our works do not cause us to be saved, nor do good works keep us saved. 
Yet, Jesus says that we can only bear fruit, do good works if we are truly attached to Him.

In verse 2- The Father takes every branch that bears fruit and prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. Pruning involves cutting a live branch in a certain way to make the branch more “productive.”

The term for this is sanctification – all believers are constantly being pruned – so we can continue to be transformed more and more into the image of Christ.

This brings verse John 14:6 into context: 
"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."

Unlike the true branches that get pruned for more production of fruit, the vine- dresser cuts off the dry, dead branches...The vinedresser (the Father) takes the unregenerate false branches away from their phony attachment to the vine, and they are put in the waste for burning

The reference here is not, as some imagine, to true Christians losing their salvation, as this cannot happen to people who are truly saved.  This is regarding “false converts” as spoken earlier.

Here's one example:
·       True branches – Most of the apostles (Who were active in ministry)
·       False Branch – Judas Iscariot

Outwardly, Judas was indistinguishable from the other eleven apostles, yet was a false convert who showed himself to be a traitor of Jesus. The ultimate fate that awaits the false branches is to be cast … into the fire and … burned.

On their judgment day, false converts will protest, 
“Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” (Matt. 7:22)

Instead of “Well done, good and faithful servant,” they will hear the scariest reply from the Lord, recorded in the very next verse, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (v. 23).


+++++++++++++++++++
Dr. Anthony R. Silvestro, Jr.
creationrevival@gmail.com 
www.strivingforeternity.org  

Please contact me if you would like me to speak at your church or event.


Photo credit: Photo 110508967 © Markara77 | Dreamstime.com

 

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