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                                                                                                                  REAL LIFE FOR NOW MINISTRIES

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  I am the vine, you are the branches. He that remains in union with me, and I in union with him, this one bears much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.                    [ John 15:5]


Jesus, in the above passage, is addressing his disciples in which he describes himself as the vine and his disciples are referred to as branches. Moreover, Jesus distinguishes the true vine from other vines. Jesus states, I am the true vine, and my Father is the cultivator. Every branch in me not bearing fruit he takes away, and every one bearing fruit he cleans, that it may bear more fruit. (John15:1 & 2) Therefore, Jesus describes his relationship to his Father, referred to as the cultivator. God, the Father, removes any branches emanating from Jesus, which do not bear any fruit. God also prunes those branches which bear fruit so that the fruitage is made more abundant. Further, in Chapter 15 in the Book of John Jesus describes what happens to other vines which are unfruitful and not true: If anyone does not remain in union with me he is cast out as a branch and is dried up; and men gather those branches up and pitch them into the fire and they are burned (6). Jesus reveals that only branches that remain in union with Jesus produce fruit which can only emanate from the true vine. The branches represent Jesus' disciples. These branches bear great fruitage only while they remain connected to the true vine, Jesus. However, if these branches are removed from the true vine, they become incapable of bearing any fruit. A literal vine's branches, for example, will wither within days if they are cut off from the vine. Indeed they become shriveled and inevitably die; since they have been removed from their source of nourishment, ie water, food. The life of a Christian is the same. If Christians drift away from Jesus, who has sayings of everlasting life, then they will also lose their life spiritually.

How do Christians remain in union with Christ Jesus, the true vine? The clue given by Jesus is found in John 15:9, Just as the Father has loved me and I have loved you, remain in my love. If you observe my commandments, you will remain in my love. The task for a Christian in bearing fruit is contingent on whether one remains connected to the true vine. Clearly, a Christian is required to observe God's commandments in order to remain in union with Christ. God reveals in the Book of Jeremiah that Israel had been once a vine which God Himself had planted. However, in time the nation of Israel became rebellious toward God and drifted away from the true teachings of God. Israel began to adopt the ungodly practices of their neighbouring nations (who were pagan), such as, idolatry. Consequently, Israel lost God's favour and were defeated by their enemies. Israel demonstrated that they had no love for God. We read in Jeremiah 2:21: And as for me, I had planted you as a choice red vine, all of it a true seed. So how have you been changed toward me into the degenerate shoots of a foreign vine?

Jesus also spoke to his followers that they would bear fruit if they remain in his teachings. A literal tree's fruitage is determined by how deeply rooted the tree is in the soil. The deeper the roots of the tree the greater the fruitage. Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:17 to have the Christ dwell through your faith in your hearts with love, that you may be rooted and established on the foundation, 18 in order that you may be thoroughly able to grasp mentally with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and depth 19 and to know the love of the Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness that God gives. Therefore, there is a direct correlation between the way in which Christians are rooted in Christ and their fruitage. In our Christian walk with God we need to become deeply immersed in His teachings. Daily we are required to apply Godly principles in our lives and practice what we learn from the Bible. In this way we grow in our knowledge of God and in our walk with God. Over time we develop the mind of Christ and are able to reason accordingly. Thus we will produce fruitage, provided we remain in union with Christ, the true vine. If we disconnect ourselves from the true vine then we are incapable of living a spirit-filled and fruitful life. This will occur if we do not remain in union with Christ, our lifeline.

Therefore, may we all remain connected to the true vine, Jesus. In so doing, our lives will be nourished by the Holy Spirit and we will thereby produce much fruitage. We then become likened to the branches on the vine which grow and produce more fruit, provided we are deeply rooted in Christ's teachings. This life source will enrich us both physically and spiritually. As disciples of Christ and as his branches we will develop spiritually as long as we remain in union with the Vine, Jesus.