Big idea. Every Christian is Intrinsically connected to Jesus and is therefore expected to bear much fruit. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.  John 15:8 ESV

Scripture. Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus — Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Ephesians 1:1 and 3 ESV

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, (lifts up) and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”  John 15:1-11 ESV

1.  Jesus is the vine. We are the branches. Father God is the vine dresser

2.  Note that there are four levels of fruit production on the vine. No fruit, fruit, more fruit and much fruit. Which would you prefer?

3. God’s will for each of us is that we produce much fruit. Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.  Psalm 1:1-3 ESV

4. What is fruit?   Fruit is the good works that we each are gifted to produce. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”. Ephesians 2:10 ESV

And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.” Titus 3:14 ESV

Think of four different baskets of fruit which represent our good works.

Basket #1. “Every Branch in me that does not bear fruit”. This branch is “in Christ” but is not bearing fruit. If we’re not “in Christ” we are unable to bear fruit, but this person is “in Christ”, yet is not bearing any fruit. What does the vine dresser do? He “takes away”, but a clearer translation of the action is “takes up” or “lifts up” as in Matthew 14:20. “And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over.” 

In this scenario, the vine dresser “takes up” or “lifts up” the branch that is hanging in the dirt, cleans it off and ties it to the trellis. God must deal with the dirt in our lives. e.g., unforgiveness, pride, stinginess, anger.

“It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?”  Hebrews 12:7 ESV

Basket #2. “It bears fruit, but so that it will bear more fruit, he prunes it”. Grapevines will tend to grow vigorously and become so dense that the sun will not reach the fruit, so they need to be pruned. This is when God reorders your priorities — spending too much time and attention on things that may be good but are unrelated to our fruitfulness.

Basket #3. “So that it bears more fruit”. This relates to the testing of our faith. God continues to lead us to maturity by testing us.  “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”. James 1:2-4 ESV

Basket #4. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” Unless our friendship with God is our first priority, we will not move to this level.  This is a case where our competence exceeds our commitment. Of primary importance is our commitment. This is not the vinedresser’s responsibility. This is my responsibility.

How much fruit do I want to produce? No fruit, some fruit, more fruit, or much fruit?

For your personal Study.

  1. How much fruit do I want to produce? No fruit, some fruit, more fruit or much fruit?
  2. Read Chapter 1 of Ephesians at least once a week for 6 weeks
  3. What blessings from God are at the top of your list?
  4. Mark all the references “in Christ” “in Him” “of Christ” “of the Beloved” in Chapter 1
  5. What is your understanding of “The Heavenly Realm”?
  6. What metaphor might you use to explain what it means to be “in Christ”?