Welcome back to the grapevine, we’re in John, Chapter 15 as Jesus compares himself to the vine and us to the branches. Today let’s look at verse 5. Jesus says,
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. (John 15:5)
So think about that. It says when we are connected to Jesus, we’re connected to a grapevine. Our lives are just full of fruit, delicious, juicy, beautiful grapes. Our lives are full of fruit. These fruits are peace and patience and perseverance and gentleness and everything we do out of love for our Savior. Our lives are just full of these good works. So we might ask what are the role of good works in the life of a Christian? Who can do things that are good in God’s eyes? Well, Jesus tells us something a little bit counterintuitive, doesn’t he? He said, you will bear much fruit if you’re connected to Christ. Apart from me, you can do nothing.
Really, Jesus? Really? Apart from Christ, if you’re not a Christian, you can do nothing good? No, I think I can prove that wrong right away, I’m sure you too can think of lots of non-Christian people who are doing all kinds of good and helpful things for their community and for society. And you’re saying that they’re not doing anything that’s good? Well, think about what Jesus is saying here. He’s saying that apart from Christ, you can’t produce good fruit, works that are actually pleasing to God. Because here’s the thing, it’s much less about what we do and it’s much more about who we are in Christ.
If we’re connected to Christ, then God, the Father looks at us and everything we do is beautiful. And it’s something we’re doing out of Thanksgiving for him. And it’s been all washed in Jesus’ holiness. But if we’re not connected to Christ, the word tells us that, that it’s just sin. Because it hasn’t been purified and cleansed by God. So for us, we are children of God that have been watching his holiness, so it’s like we’re kids coming up to mom or dad with the kindergarten drawing and we’re bringing it up and showing it to them. And instead of saying, whoa, what could that be? And throwing it away, where does it go? Goes right up on the refrigerator. It’s on display. This is beautiful and it’s good.
Now, maybe you’re looking over your life and you realize it says you will produce good fruit. But I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m producing anything right now. I think about we have a grapevine on the side of our house and I think about what that looks like all winter long, looks dead. There’s no leaves on it. It just sticks growing up alongside the house. But every single one of those branches is connected to a healthy vine. And I know that now when spring comes around, it’s going to start to have new growth and life. It’s the same way for us. Maybe when you start looking at yourself, you don’t know where the fruit is.
Let me point you in some directions. First of all, always pointing in the direction of Christ. If you’re connected with him, if you’re in God’s Word, then you are producing fruit. And maybe instead of just looking for how you’re doing that in the realm of the church, I think about the different callings that you have, the different vocations that you have where God has placed you.
Are you a father? One of the ways we produce fruit as dads is by keeping our family connected to Christ, by bringing them to church, by doing family devotions, by taking that leadership role in the household.
Are you a young mother? Then know this: while, you are changing diapers and doing laundry during the day even that, that might sound so mundane, it is a good and holy work before God because you are connected to Christ and he sees you as holy and lovely.
Are you a student? Then respecting your teachers and doing your very best on your homework and your projects is a holy, good work to God. And being patient as you go through all of that.
Are you an employee? Then instead of seeing your boss as just a human boss that’s hard to deal with see him as Christ himself and know that you’re serving him and that is a fruit of faith.
Maybe you’re watching this and you haven’t been able to be physically connected to church because of a health condition or age or inability to travel right now. And you may think, how am I going to produce any kind of good work? You can pray. And we need that. Pray for those new confirmation students who have just been confirmed, maybe in your local church. Pray for your church family. Pray for your immediate family. Pray for your pastors. Pray for your government. Pray for your community. Because you are connected to Christ as you live your life of faith, you glorify God. This is all to my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit showing yourselves to be my disciples. You are. And you will.