ABIDING in CHRIST for ‘GREATER’ FRUITFULNESS: "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples." (John 15:1-2, 4-5, 8)
This is the seventh and final of the great “I am” statements of Jesus in the Gospel of John. Here, Jesus explains the divine-human relationships by the analogy of a grapevine. Jesus is like the main vine. The disciples are compared with branches. God, the Father tends the branches like a gardener.
In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel was depicted as a vine planted by Jehovah. The Jews believed that because they were the descendants of Abraham, they were connected to God. But Israel proved to be unfaithful and unfruitful, so the Lord Jesus now presented Himself as the True Vine, the perfect fulfillment of all the other types and shadows.
A vine branch has one purpose only—to bear fruit. It will bear fruit as long as it abides in the vine. A branch abides in a vine by drawing all its life and nourishment from the vine. The point of the allegory is that Jesus’ purpose in the believer’s life is to produce fruit (v. 5). Fruit is mentioned eight times in this chapter and a progression is seen: “fruit” (v. 2a), “more fruit” (v. 2b), and “much fruit” (vv. 5, 8). In order to be a fruitful Christian, we must learn to depend on Christ and let the power and Spirit of Christ flow through our lives. The key to spiritual fruitfulness is abiding in fellowship with Christ!
Just as a real vine must be cleaned from insects, mildew, and fungus, we must be cleaned from worldly things that cling to us through God’s Word. In our daily walk, we should stay in intimate fellowship with God through prayer, reading and obeying His Word, having fellowship with God’s people, and being continually conscious of our union with God. The only way we can bear the fruit of a Christ-like character is by living in touch with Christ moment-by-moment!
Thus, our total continued dependence on Christ is the only way to grow in Christian character and our witness before others. This is also the only way we can bear much fruit in our lives!
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." (Gal 5:22-24)