Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Apart From Jesus We Can Do Nothing!

John 15:5

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.

RayBlogMy father used to plant a garden every summer – or should I say my brother, my dad and I would plant a garden every summer.  I learned early on the truth of the scripture we led off with this morning.  Take a tomato plant for instance.  If you took a tomato off the vine before it was ripe – it would not continue to grow – it would eventually wither and die.  (I realize that if you take a fully grown tomato off the vine while it is green and put it in the sun it will ripen.  I’m talking about a tomato that is not fully grown.)  If you took an ear of corn off the stalk before it was fully formed – it would not fill out the ear with corn – instead it would get brown and wither and die.  Vegetables grow and flourish through the vine that connects them to the earth – to water – minerals and nourishment.  If they are removed from the vine – the source of their nourishment – before they are fully grown – they will not produce the vegetable you desire when you plant the seed.

As Christians – we cannot produce the fruit that God desires in our lives without being connected to the vine – which is Jesus Christ.  Let’s take a look at today’s passage in partial context.  John 15:1-17 – 1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 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. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “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. 6 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. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit — fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

The fruit mentioned in this passage is the fruit of love.  We cannot love our enemies – for example – without being in contact with Jesus – it just can’t be done.  We cannot produce the fruit God wants to produce in us without being connected to Jesus – the vine.  Jesus says I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  God the Father wants to nurture us as we remain in Jesus and through that connection He will produce good fruit in our lives.

The very next verse – verse 18 – says – If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  The world will hate us for remaining in the vine – for producing good fruit for Jesus.  When we love our enemies the world will not understand and hate us.  Never-the-less – we must persevere and remain in the vine and let His light so shine before men and women that they will see Jesus working is us – through us – and in spite of us!  We cannot accomplish anything apart from the vine.  We cannot produce good fruit without being attached to Jesus!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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February 26, 2013 - Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , ,

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