Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I AM the Vine

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
Celebrating our 179th Year
10653 N – 550 W
Decatur, IN 46733

A 21st Century Parish with a 1st Century Faith
Acts 2:42
Chartered 25 February 1838
Mid-week 4
March 22 2017
Jesus said, “I am the Vine”
John 15:1-17

One of Indiana’s best-kept secrets is its winery’s scattered across the Hoosier heartland. There are no less then thirty-five wineries located in the state of Indiana. The Indiana State Fair International wine competition has grown to be the second largest in the nation with over 6,000 amateur and professional vintners offering their selections to be judged each July. One vine carefully pruned and treated can produce a crop of grapes, which can make some of the choicest wines. The Indiana Wine Grape Council has become a lucrative business. 

In our text for tonight Jesus explains to us, “I am the vine.” By these words, what would He have us know concerning His person?

I. Jesus is the vine who gives life.

A. We are the branches.

1. The Father, the gardener, prunes every branch that does bear fruit so that it will be clean and bear more fruit.  

2. His message – “Remain united to Me and I will remain united to you.” (v.4)

B. A branch cannot bear fruit by itself.

1. It can do so only if it remains in the vine. (v.4b)

2. In the same way you cannot bear fruit unless you remain in Me.” (4c) Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing.

II. We are the branches.

A. We are connected to Jesus the true-life source.

1. Whoever remains in Me and I in him, will bear much fruit.” (v.5) This is a guarantee that the good works of faith will be evident.

2. You can do noting without Me.” “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  It is He working in you to do His (the Father’s) good pleasure.

B. His desire is to keep us connected to Him.

1. You have been made clean already by the message I have spoken to you.” (v.3)
a. It is the Gospel message, which converts and saves.
b. Sharing with others the story of the bloody cross and empty tomb will make them Easter people.

2. His plea, “remain united to Me and I will remain united to You” (v.4) The Father may cut and prune to help us produce better fruit but He will never cut us off so long as there is faith. He will only sever those who refuse to bear fruit.

Transition: Christ is the vine, we are the branches. It is fruit, which the Father desires.

III. The Father as gardener comes seeking fruit.

A. If we remain in Him, we will bear much fruit.

1. He prunes the branch so that lush fruit is produced. Discipline when we endure it does not seem pleasant. We gain often through pain. As we reach out to Him seeking His aid and comfort we grow in our faith.

2. Discipline is not punishment! God is working in us to will and to do His good pleasure.

B. If not, we’ll surely die.

1. He breaks off every branch in Me that does not bear fruit.”
a. Faith without works is dead according to James.
b. Works are not the basis for but the result of faith.

2. Whoever does not remain in Me is thrown out, like a branch and dries up; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire where they are burned.” (v.6)
a. It is not our duty to do the cutting and pruning.
b. Only the Father will do this.
1. On the Last Great Day.
2. At the close of the Age.

Two words apply to the Christian – “You have been made clean already by the message I have spoken to you.” (v.3) – “Remain united to Me and I will remain united to you.” (V.4)
Words – 636
Passive Sentences – 6%
Readability – 81.4
Reading Level – 4.5

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