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January 29, 2022 - John 15:1-16 (AMP)

Jesus often used agricultural imagery in His teachings and we see in our foundation scriptures, that Jesus refers to Himself as The True Vine, and God is the Vinedresser or gardener. This then leads into the depiction of followers of Jesus as branches to his vine.

The scripture explains, "Every branch in [Jesus] that does not produce fruit [the Father] removes. And every branch that produces fruit the Father prunes . . . so that it will produce more." “Every branch” refers to believers as they are connected to the vine or in Jesus. The vine, Jesus, feeds the branches, and the gardener, God the Father, tends to the garden, the vine, and the branches.

Jesus goes on to explain that God’s goal for every believer is to increase in fruit bearing. We are to progress from producing no fruit to producing a lot of fruit, and ultimately, to produce remaining fruit - cultivating other believers to remain in Christ. Fruitfulness is a life of spiritual usefulness and productivity for the good of others and for the glory of God. Fruitfulness is true discipleship.

Fruit has three characteristics. First, it reflects the character of its tree. Apples come from apple trees; oranges grow on orange trees. The fruit in your life should reflect your tree, or Christ. Your fruit should bear his attitudes and actions, his character and conduct. Second, fruit is visible. The presence of fruit lets you identify a tree’s kind and whether it’s healthy. An authentic follower of Christ is a visible follower of Christ, not a secret-agent saint hiding in the shadows not allowing their light to shine in the world. Third, fruit is always for the benefit of others. If you’re always serving yourself instead of others, your fruit is going to rot on the tree.

Ultimately, how do we produce fruit as God has commanded? Well, a branch that is disconnected from the vine is utterly useless. Translation - we cannot produce fruit unless we stay connected and remain in Jesus. The idea of “remaining” or “abiding” in Christ has to do with intimacy and our relationship with Him. Jesus Christ is the source, and the only one who can provide the spiritual sustenance and vitality we need to be useful and productive believers. Therefore, we need to hang out with Jesus and spend time in His presence, communicating with our Lord and Savior. You can’t avoid Jesus all week and then show up on Sunday mornings expecting growth. We only produce remaining fruit when we remain in Him. Stay connected to The True Vine.

Prayer

Father,I pray you enable me to stay connected and remain in You. I pray You allow me to continue to cultivate a strong and intimate relationship with You, so that I may bring forth fruit, more fruit, and remaining fruit for Your Glory. Thank You Lord for being my source, and for giving me the opportunity to be spiritually useful and productive. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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