Branching Out

John 15:5-8:
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.


Definitions
vine- any plant having long, slender stem winding itself about a support
branch- a division or subdivision of the stem or axis of a plant
if- in case that; granting or supporting that; on condition that
remain- to continue in the same state; continue to be as specified
fruit- anything produced or accruing; result, effect, or a return
showing- the act of putting something on display
disciples- a person who follows and learns from another person or group
fire- Jewish and biblical symbol for divine judgment


Brief History
The book was written in the AD90's. Thought to have been written by the apostle John, one of Jesus' closest disciples. In this book, John is the only disciple not mentioned-this may be an act of humility. The main point of the book is to show evidence that Jesus is the son of God through eye witness accounts that were recorded.


Summary
Jesus is the "true" vine. In order to be fruitful, a vine must be supported. Jesus is entangled with God as Jesus' support. We are the subdivision of Jesus. God is the root, Jesus is the vine, and those that Jesus lives in are the branches. As long as we have Jesus in us, we will bear good fruit. Our fruits are the result of us following, obeying, and being completely yielded to Jesus. But we can't do this without Jesus. The minute we stop relying on Jesus and start relying on ourselves, we stop bearing fruit. When a branch has stopped bearing fruit, it is no longer a useful, productive part of the plant or tree. If a farmer has an apple tree and a branch stops producing apples; the farmer cuts the branch off and throws it away. He does this so that the tree does not continue to waste nutrients trying to support the bad or non-producing branch. Jesus is telling us here that once we become a non-producing branch we are subject to God's judgment, the fire.


Twice in the passage, the word "if" is used. What does this tell us? Jesus is letting us know that there are conditions here. In the first part of the passage and summary, Jesus is explaining what happens once we choose not to be a productive branch or a fruit bearing person- we are cut off and are subject to God's judgment. It is not God's will to cut us off, but instead, we separate ourselves because we are disobedient. God cannot look on sin. Let's see what the latter part of the passage tells us.


Jesus is about to tell us what happens when we decide to be branches that produce; obedience. Whatever we wish will be given to us. Does this mean that we can have anything and everything we want? If I wish to have a yacht, is this telling me that I will get it? No. If we truly abide in Jesus and he is in us, then our desires will be his desires and our prayers will be pleasing to him. When Jesus is in us and we share his desires, then we can be fruit producing branches. When we produce fruit, we are doing things that are for the advancement of God's kingdom on earth. By doing this, we are bringing glory to God. Once we start bringing glory to God, we are putting on display that we are followers of Jesus Christ.


Are you being a productive branch? If not, please pray and ask that God will make you productive for his glory. Are you a branch at all? If not, please click on the Salvation tab today and take root in the garden of life. We love you very much! God bless you!

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