The following blog post was originally posted here: The New Vineyard Parable…Vineyard Parables pt 8
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.(John 15:1-8)
The Lord Jesus Christ utilized Isaiah’s parable of the Vineyard, modifying it to reveal many other aspects of the relationship between God and his people. In Isaaih 5 the emphasis is on the preparation that the LORD made, to install Israel into the promised land and the things he provided to insure that they would be inclined to bear sweet fruit unto God, (Repentance, faith and love).
Jesus told a similar story about a fig tree which took equal amounts of preparation, but which would not bear fruit after three years, and was very near being cut down, but was saved by the intercession of the gardener. The emphasis there was upon Judgment, salvation and the limits of time. We only have so much time to bring forth fruit, and the fact that we have not yet been judged is due to the intercession of the gardener, the Messiah.
Again Jesus told a Vineyard story which emphasized the election and rewards of the workers in the Vineyard. An owner kept going back to the marketplace to hire more workers, even to the very last hour of the day! Obviously he didn’t need those workers, but they needed Him, and in mercy he chose them. On the day of reward i will be revealed that no one gets less than what they deserve, but some people get more, for the basis of Reward is grace.
Finally He told a parable which examined the management of the Vineyard of the LORD. He leased it out to tenants who began to develop a vain Imagination that the Vineyard was theirs to run, and not the LORD’s. They forgot that they were but stewards and the vain Imagination drove them to abuse the prophets and preachers who tried to collect the Master’s share of the fruit. Ultimately they killed the Son, but their Imagination proved futile. The Master comes in Judgment to reclaim His Vineyard and the stewards are punished forevermore.
WE come to the final version of the Vineyard parable.
In this one the emphasis is on the LIFE which produces the fruit.
The Messiah himself is the Vine, we disciples are but the branches. The Father in this case is the Vinesman, who prunes and trims and fertilizes the Vineyard to bring forth fruit.
What is a Vineyard, but a community of Life? The Life flows from the vine into the main branches and into the outer new shoots and even out to the smallest twigs and leave, nourishing all and eventually bringing forth fruit to varying degrees. Finally we have a source for the fruit that the Father has long sought for…the fruit comes from the life of Jesus, also known as eternal life.
And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.(I John 5:11-13)
Eternal Life is much misunderstood, for example some people think that eternal life means that we will live forever. Everybody will live forever, saint or sinner, whether they have eternal life or not! Rather, eternal life is a quality of Life.
Others hope that when they die they will receive eternal life, but eternal life starts now, if you wait until you die, it will be too late.
Eternal life cannot be earned it is the gift of God.
God has given us life, and that life is in his Son. But eternal life isn’t independent life…the gift doesn’t come to each of us wrapped and bowed like a gift, as a personal possession. Eternal life is an ongoing and dependent gift, it is a share in the Life of Jesus.
Eternal Life is communicated unto us as we abide(remain) in the Son of God, Jesus. A person who comes to Christ, and is forgiven and saved, is actually spiritually joined to Jesus. He is said to abide in him, as a branch abides in a vine.Through our new faith, we are partakers of eternal life, it is communicated to us through prayer, the Word of God, fellowship with others, the Lord’s Supper, confession of sin. Jesus said,
Abide in me, and I in you.
Thus there is an interpersonal communion which goes both ways, Jesus is in me and I am in Him, as I abide in the vine.This implies that there are spiritual channels which salvation has opened within us, which allow for the inflow of His life. but it also infers that at anytime we can close off those channels, and remove ourselves from the sphere of Holy influence, and shut the gates to Life. We have all seen living trees which have dead branches.
What happened? Something came between that branch and the flow of sap.
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Eternal life is the gift which is dependent and ongoing, we are to remain in the Vine, and not let anything hinder the flow of Spiritual life, this is the secret of Christian fruitfulness. God made us for the express purpose of accepting Jesus, being reconciled to Him and abiding in Jesus and bearing fruit. We are to “go on believing in Him, and go having eternal life”.
The Father deals with the Vine, clipping away all overgrowth and pruning back that which is unnecessary to spiritual fruitfulness. He abides in us through the Word and we bear fruit in prayer and through worship and prayer we are nourished in Him. Everything the Father is looking for as regards fruit is in Jesus.
We are pruned, through the Word. Sermons are life to us,so also teachings, personal verses, testimonies and mutual prayers. Abide in Him! Don’t let anything ever remove you from the sphere of Divine influence which is Christ in us(The body).
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.(Col 3:16)
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;(Ephesians 5:18-20)
The church is a community of Life, and the watchword is mutual edification. His life is to flow through us to each other, building each other up, making each other rich in the Wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption which is in Jesus.
Everything the Father wants, expects and offers us, is in Jesus. By the worshipful beholding of Him who descended to save us, we are transformed from glory to glory and from faith to faith. Christ in us is the Hope of Glory and Paul prayed for us that we would know that Christ dwells in us…
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.(Ephesians 3)