I wish something else was there, like "Be blessed. We don't have a lot of categories for that, but it's true. So expect pruning. Our position is now in his presence. Then lastly, Jesus being the true vine gives us the power to love, and that power to love is going to be, I hope, a really profound moment for us. Let's look back at the text. Expect pruning.
Jesus is the Vine. He is what we could not be, so expect to be pruned. Look at verse 2: "Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. If you're a guest, you might not trust me enough for me to say this to you, but I'm just going to say it and let the Lord handle me in time. To be a Christian is to bear fruit. If there is no fruit, there is no genuine belief.
How you define that fruit starts to matter. If you define that fruit in external moral religious ways, you're no better than the Pharisees, because that's not how Jesus defines fruit. He's saying here if you don't bear any fruit at all, you get cut off. Then what about those goody ones of us who do bear fruit? You get cut back. Why would the Lord prune what's fruitful? Well, he says. So we would bear more fruit. So bear more of what?
What does it mean to be fruitful? Does it mean we're all going to have awesome careers and we're never going to get sick and everybody is going to love us? Is that the kind of fruit we can expect as Christians? Well, no. He's going to say it like this in Galatians That's not plural; it's singular. The reason this is singular and not plural is because if you tease any one of these out and make it singular, it reveals that it's a counterfeit fruit.
The True Vine Quotes by Andrew Murray
It's like a fruit that's stapled to a tree in the hopes that it would grow more fruit rather than it is legitimate fruitfulness. If you lack patience, you're probably not loving. If you just took this and tried to tease one out, you would see they all fall apart if they're not growing. If you lack love, you probably aren't walking in any real joy.
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- THE TRUE VINE by Andrew Murray.
If you lack joy, you're probably lacking in kindness. If you lack kindness, you probably aren't walking in a lot of goodness. If you lack goodness, you're probably not faithful. If you lack faithfulness, you're probably not gentle. This is a fruit that grows symmetrically over time. There wasn't anybody in the room who when I read Galatians 5 went, "Nailing it!
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You don't have to say anything else. I've been encouraged, brother.
I'm out. All of us, every one in this room, pastor included, is not where I once was but not where I ultimately will be or even want to be in the growth of the fruit of the Spirit. Therefore, the Lord in his kindness prunes so that I might grow in these areas. Somewhere along the way… I've really tried to research and figure out where it happened. It's such an accumulation of foolishness.
We began to believe that to follow the Lord is some sort of Spirit sprinkle, no room for difficulty or suffering or hardship or doubt. Somewhere along the way we started thinking in terms of a singular moment as opposed to a lifelong journey where we wrestle with doubt and cling to the cross and really one foot by faith in front of the next our whole lives. This idea of utopia on earth is absurd. It's nowhere in the Bible.
The Symbol of the True Vine — John 15
The Lord prunes, and we grow. Jesus says, "I am what you could not be, but I am going to grow you in who I am. And who am I? I am perfect love. I am perfect joy. I am perfect peace. I am perfect kindness. I am perfect goodness. I am perfect faithfulness. I am perfect gentleness, and I have perfect self-control.
I'm going to grow you in these areas. I'm going to prune you so you can grow more. It's actually encouraging, because he's going, "You have some of this fruit. Now I'm going to prune it back so you can have even more of it. I don't want to increase in love.
leakdown.com/map3.php Are you kidding me? I don't want to increase in goodness. I'll speak personally for you. In all my efforts to grow in this, the two largest moments of growth in my own life was the difficulty in my marriage the first seven years and brain cancer. I found those two seasons of my life wrought about the greatest strides in this increase.
Let me lay before you that I'd rather not go through either one of those things ever again. Even as I could say God really grew me in that season, I'm not willing to say, "I'd like another round. Here's what I want to help you with. If you're in a season right now where you feel this pruning, you feel like you're being cut back, you're in a heightened season of wrestling with doubt or struggling in this situation of relational conflict or a lot of fear and anxiety, that doesn't mean you've done anything wrong.
It doesn't mean you're being punished or that you haven't quite dialed in your discipline enough to have a happy-clappy Christian life. Again, we have to get rid of this notion. It's absurd. We will be pruned. Our position is in his presence. This is a scandalous text. Look back in verse 3. I can't even believe this is in the Bible. He says, "You're going to be pruned if you don't bear fruit. If you're not a believer, you're going to be cut off, but if you are a believer and you are bearing fruit, I'm going to help you bear more fruit by pruning you back. Then he says to his disciples, "But you are clean, and you're clean because you've believed my word.
I have spoken to you, and you believed what I said to you about who I am. I am the Son of God. I am the light. I am the way, the truth, and the life.
I'm the only one who can save you from your sins," and they have believed. Because they believed, not because they did anything… In fact, keep in your mind that these fools are 24 hours away from betraying and denying Christ outright. Gosh, you ought to learn to be more gracious to yourself, Christian. They're 24 hours away from with curse-filled lips saying, "I do not know this man. I don't know him.