Pruning Branches

John 15:1-2,5-6

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Hi it’s Pastor Nelson again as we go back to the vineyard with Jesus, let’s see how we’re connected to him once again from John Chapter 15, Jesus says this

“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… I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. (John 15:1-2,5-6)

So this time we see not only who Jesus is, I am the vine, but he also says, my father is the gardener. Now, that’s not too hard to imagine. Sometimes we maybe think about God, the Father almighty in that role, the gardener, the one who planted the Garden of Eden, the one who created everything in this world, the one who creates and sustains and takes care of us. But it says my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit. Here we see God, the father, with his pruning shears, and he’s doing something that sounds really scary.

When he’s going around and he’s looking at this grapevine, sometimes he’s noticing branches that are or were connected to Christ, Christians, who now have no life giving nourishment from Christ going into them anymore. They’re essentially disconnected from Christ and from his word. It’s people who were Christians, who were in Christ, but now are unbelievers. And he looks at those branches. These are actually grape branches from a grapevine I have at my house. And they’re disconnected. They’re dead they were chopped off. There’s no way that these can have life in them any more because they’re disconnected. The only thing that they’re good for at this point is being thrown into the fire. And we know what that’s talking about, right?

If we’re disconnected from God’s word, if we do not have faith in him anymore, then at some point God is going to acknowledge that and say the only thing remaining is, is the fire. He’s talking about hell. And I don’t like to talk about hell as a pastor, but this is what Jesus warns us about.

Now, if God was looking for perfect fruit from his people and everything depended on them, he would have to go up to this grapevine and he would have to cut off every single branch, wouldn’t he, until there’s nothing left but the vine that is Jesus, because none of us could do anything he desires perfectly. But that’s not what God, the father chose to do, is it? Instead, he went up to the healthy grapevine. He went up to that and he said, I’m going to chop this down instead. And he goes up to Jesus, the one who had never committed any sins. And he cuts that grapevine down because he sees that vine as the one who had taken the sins of this entire world, yours and mine. And he’s cut off from the land of the living in our place.

But then, you know, Easter happened and Jesus rose again from the dead. God had accepted his sacrifice and now he’s connected us to Christ again. And that life giving nourishment from Jesus is flowing into us. You are connected to Christ. You have faith in him. He died for your sins.

But yet the father is still for you, Christian going to do some pruning work. And he does that it says so that you produce even more fruit, you’re even more fruitful. So how does God do that? Well, one way is these messages of warning of hell, where our sinful nature needs to hear that and needs to watch out and turn away from dangerous sin and temptation. And maybe also does that sometimes by allowing difficulties and struggles and suffering into our life, because we need those too to direct us back to him so that we don’t get disconnected. And he does all this for you so that you remain in him and so that you can bear more fruit.