Christ The True Vine (Part 1)

We come to Jesus Christ alone, and look to His finished work alone, to be received by faith alone, regarding our right standing. But we don’t move on from Jesus to begin to live the Christian life and bear much fruit. Beloved, we never leave Jesus. We remain in Jesus and we only go deeper, and deeper, into Jesus. We never get beyond Jesus for all eternity.

The only way to glorify God is through abiding in Jesus Christ and the fruit that is born from that abiding.

When Jesus says, “I am the true vine”, He is saying that any attempt on our part to bear fruit, apart from abiding in Jesus, will fail.


Open up the Scriptures to us, Father. Help us to see these things. As we've sung in many songs, the cry of our heart, Lord, show us Christ. Show us Christ in Your Word, Lord. Give us understanding in these things. Let us take them to heart. And I pray for the increase of the Word, God. Help me in the preaching. Help us in the hearing, God. And help us in the believing of these truths to appropriate them, Lord. And to live in light of them for Your glory. We ask for Your grace and Your help in all these matters, in the name of Jesus we pray, Amen. Amen. I'll be preaching two times here at the conference. And I'm going to preach both sermons, Lord willing, here from John 15. So tonight, I'll lay a foundation for us in the text. And then tomorrow, Lord willing, we'll open it up. I'm going to read, if I could here, in John 15:1-11. Before I do that - a little bit of context. In John 14, Jesus is preparing His disciples for His departure. He's getting ready to leave. He encourages the disciples by telling them, I'm not going to leave you alone. And He talks to them about the Helper, the Holy Spirit, who will come to them. And He says the Spirit will lead you and guide you into all truth. He'll bring into remembrance the things that I am teaching to you. And two chapters after 15 is chapter 17 where Jesus prays His high priestly prayer. And then in chapter 18 is where He's going to be betrayed by Judas, and arrested in leading to His crucifixion. The very hour for which Jesus Christ came to rescue His people. And that's the context we have here. That Jesus is getting ready to leave, but He's not going to leave them alone. And He's letting His disciples know, you're going to stay here and continue the work here that I've started. And that's what leads us here to John 15. If you'll follow along as we read God's Word in verses 1-11 now. "I am the true vine. And My Father is the vine dresser. 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. Already you are clean because of the Word I have spoken to you. Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine; neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine and 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 and 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 I have 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." Jesus is teaching an analogy here. And Jesus wants His disciples to know that God is glorified in a way. And He gives them the way that God is going to be glorified in their lives. And the way He gives them that God is going to be glorified in them, in verse 8, He says, "By this My Father is glorified that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples." So Jesus is teaching them a parable, and analogy here, and the emphasis is on them bearing fruit. Which we know is the chief end of man: to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. And God is glorified, Jesus says here, by bearing much fruit. Beloved, if we are born again, and your heart beats for the Lord Jesus, the chief desire of the regenerated person's heart is that God would be glorified. And if this is your chief desire, it's the desire for which all other desires in our life bow to. They give preference to this chief desire of glorifying God. And if this is our chief desire and we hear that God is glorified when you bear much fruit, then our ears begin to perk up. Because our heart's desire is just this: it is to glorify God. I'm impressed to ask us all here: Is this our chief desire? To glorify God? When we talk about chief desires, I think it's important that we differentiate between having knowledge of what our chief desire should be, and the reality of the chief desire in our heart. You've probably been taught a lot that glorifying God should be the chief desire. But in the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, He makes that the true desire of the believer by revealing Jesus Christ, the chief treasure, to them. Again, beloved, if you are His and you hear that God is glorified in you bearing much fruit, then we all get excited about things like this. We hear a way that we can glorify God and we want to glorify God. But one of the greatest struggles that we face as Christians is that we don't glorify God as much as we want to. We want to glorify God. We want to cry out with the inward voice for the redemption of the body along with all creation, that we be redeemed from this body. And that there would be unhindered glory to God given through our lives. And this is what we desire. All true believers want to bring glory to God. I'll tell you in two sermons, it's going to be difficult to cover John 15. It's worthy of numerous sermons. Jesus begins in verse 1 by telling us something important about bearing fruit which brings glory to God, if you'll look at it there with me. Jesus is speaking, and He makes the seventh of His I AM statements, and He says, "I am the true vine." "I am the true vine." And there are two things I want us to see in Jesus' declaration that He is the true vine. The first one is this: When Jesus says, "I am the true vine," He is contrasting Himself with a false vine. Or a not-true vine. The false vine in regards to bearing fruit for Jesus is really anything that we begin to set our eyes upon that we look to as the source for bearing fruit. So anything we begin to look upon as a source to bear fruit would be a false vine. But in the context here, what Jesus is contrasting Himself with is the nation of Israel, as Brother Charles mentioned earlier. Jesus is the substance of that which the nation of Israel was a shadow. And throughout the Old Testament, what we see is that Israel is referred to as the vine. Let me give you an example of that in Psalm 80:8-9 It says, "You brought out a vine, out of Egypt. You drove out the nations and planted it. You cleared the ground for it. It took deep root and filled the land." But what do we know about the nation of Israel, the people of Israel? They could never fulfill what we find in Jesus Christ. Although they were a people, they being Jewish did not mean that they would bear fruit. And when Jesus says, "I am the true vine," He's letting us know that being a people of Hebrew descent does not guarantee that you're going to bear fruit. What guarantees that we would bear fruit is that we are in the true vine, which is Jesus Christ. What Jesus is doing again here is He is showing that He is the fulfillment of all that the Old Testament types and shadows could not fulfill. And all throughout the Gospel of John, what Jesus is doing is showing again and again that He is the fulfillment of all of these types and shadows. If we were to go back into chapter 1, we would see that the Word tabernacles among us. What is Jesus talking about there? He's saying what the tabernacle was was a meeting place where God would come and man would meet with God in the tabernacle. And Jesus said He comes to tabernacle among us now, meaning what? The meeting place is no longer a building, built with human hands, but the meeting place between God and man is the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus talks about Him being the Lamb of God. What all the Old Testament types and shadows of bulls and goats could not accomplish, they find their fulfillment and substance in the person of Jesus Christ - the Lamb of God. So Jesus is the true tabernacle. Jesus is the true temple. And here we see that Jesus Christ is the true vine. He is the source of where all fruit will come from. The second thing we see established in this metaphor that Jesus is the true vine, is that Jesus truly is the only source of fruit bearing. Beloved, although we are forgiven in Jesus Christ, although we are regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit, we do not have fruit bearing capabilities in us alone. We do not have fruit bearing capabilities in us alone. What Jesus is trying to get us to see here is that He, He Himself, is the source for which fruit bearing comes from. When you and I, again, hear that God is glorified in much fruit bearing. It may be because of bad teaching; it may be because of pride in our lives or the delusion of our own ability within ourselves, but we hear, ok, God's glorified when we bear fruit, so we begin to say to ourselves, well, let's go bear some fruit then. Because we want to glorify God. So we set off with a right desire: to bring glory to God. But we approach it with bad doctrine. Because why? Because of delusion of strength, delusion of power within ourselves apart from Jesus Christ. Look at verse 4 with me. "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." Saints, we don't see branches laying out on the ground out here, apart from trees, bearing much fruit. It's a very simple truth that Jesus uses to teach us. That is not something that you see. But there's something wrong with us, and we'll get into more of this tomorrow. That we believe at times, again, because of bad teaching or delusion of our own strength, that we, apart from Jesus Christ, can begin to bear fruit. Some of us may be able to put on a front of fruit. We may be able to produce something within us that looks like fruit. But I want you to know, if we are not abiding in Jesus Christ, whatever is being produced from your life, although it may look very religious, it does not bring glory to God. The only way to glorify God is through abiding in Jesus Christ and then the fruit that is born from that abiding. Do we see what Jesus is saying here when He says I am the true vine. He's saying, again, any attempt on our part to bear fruit apart from abiding in Jesus, will fail. Will fail. Throughout the New Testament, we see pictures painted of Jesus. Like Paul uses in Ephesians 4 when he says Jesus is the Head and the church is the body. What would happen if we removed the head from the body? It would be lifeless. It would be powerless. And it would not bear any fruit. And in the same way here when Jesus is referred to as the true vine, we need to come to the conclusion that Jesus Christ is the source of any and all true fruit bearing. I'm afraid many of us are very frustrated because we've been regenerated, and we have a desire in our heart to have God be glorified. But we're approaching this all wrong. Let me share this with you. We come to Jesus Christ alone. And look to His finished work alone. To be received by faith alone. Regarding our right standing. But we don't move on from Jesus to begin to live the Christian life and bear much fruit. Beloved, we never leave Jesus. We remain in Jesus. We only go deeper and deeper and deeper into Jesus. We never get beyond Jesus for all eternity. If we are to bear fruit and to glorify God, we must understand, beloved, that there is one source of that fruit bearing and it is Jesus Christ. Before we move on, can I give you maybe one hint that you're not abiding in Christ and you're trying to bear fruit in and of yourselves? One of the overflows when someone has looked away from Christ in an effort to glorify God, but they're looking unto themselves to begin to bear fruit apart from abiding, is they begin to speak much about what they are doing. They begin to speak much about all of their own spiritual disciplines. They begin to speak much about their ministry efforts and all that God is doing in and through them. And they speak very little about Jesus Christ. There is no hope for us to bear any fruit unless we are abiding in Jesus Christ. Jesus goes on in verse 1, He says again, "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine dresser." The Father God here is identified as the vine dresser. You know what that tells us right away? We need a vine dresser. We need a vine dresser. Our great problem, beloved, is not self-esteem issues. Most of what happens in church buildings across America is meant to build up self-esteem in people. To encourage people in and of themselves. But that's a pagan, worldly philosophy. We don't need building up in and of ourselves. We need building up in Jesus Christ. And it tells us here that God the Father is the vine dresser. Again, we all have this delusion of strength in ourselves. Jesus is the all-sufficient vine. We are branches in Him, regenerated and saved, but we still need a vine dresser. Meaning, we need help. What does that vine dresser do? 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." Let's start with these branches that are taken away here because they do not bear fruit. What does He do? What does the vine dresser, God the Father, do with these branches that do not bear fruit and are taken away? He tells us in verse 6. Look at it. "If anyone does not abide in Me, He is thrown away like a branch and withers, and the branches are gathered and thrown into the fire and they're burned." That's a sobering thought. Jesus is speaking about final judgment here. When He says they are taken away, gathered together, thrown in the fire, and they're burned. And it impresses upon me to ask all of us right now, if you claim to be in Christ today, are you bearing fruit? Are you bearing fruit? Because the warning here doesn't get any more serious. If there's not evidence of fruit in our lives, then we have to come to the conclusion here based on verse 6, that we will be taken away. Gathered together, thrown into the fire, and burned in the end. When we talk about bearing fruit, we're not talking about perfection of life. We're talking about this direction of life. I'd imagine everyone who has come here tonight has made a claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Has made a claim to be a disciple. Or said, yes, I've put my faith in Jesus Christ, and you may bear witness of that with a profession of faith in Christ. But I want to ask you again, are you bearing fruit? Because know this, beloved. A profession of faith in Jesus Christ that does not bear fruit, can find no assurance in Scripture that they're truly in Jesus. Many of the testimonies of you here are like mine. Where you grew up sitting in churches, made professions of faith. Sat for years. Putting on morality which you called fruit. But you weren't bearing the fruit of Christ, because you weren't abiding in Christ. And my warning again, the warning here in Scripture, is that if we die in this place, where our life as a direction is not bearing fruit, we will be gathered in the end, thrown into the fire and burned. And that should bring a sobering look into each of our lives to say is there fruit of Christ here? Since I made my profession of faith in Christ, since I so-called was born again, has my life been transformed inwardly? And is the evidence there outwardly in the bearing of fruit for Jesus Christ? Well, what is this fruit bearing? Fruit bearing is the life of Jesus being lived out through you. What is fruit bearing? It's the life of Jesus Christ being lived out through you and in you. It's the life and character of Jesus flowing through us. Evidenced by what? Evidenced by obedience to His Word. Look at verse 10. "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." What else will it look like? It will be joy manifesting in your life, the fruit of the Spirit. Look at verse 11. "These things I have spoken to you that My (Jesus') joy may be in you." It's not a joy that we produce. It is Jesus Christ's joy flowing in and through us. What else will it look like? It will look like verse 12 if we were to step another verse out. The love of Jesus Christ manifesting through us. "This is My commandment that you love one another as I have loved you" " I have loved you." And the other evidence of that will be in verse 2. That you're being pruned by the Father. We're going to talk about the pruning of the Father tomorrow. What does that look like? But one of the things I'll tell you, one of the ways the Father does prune us is through chastening us. When we have disobeyed the Lord, He comes and He chastens us to bring us back. So if you sit here this evening and you say, don't worry about me, I'm good. I know the doctrine. I've made the profession of faith, and I've walked the aisle. But is there fruit in your life? Do you see the love of Christ flowing through your life? Do you see joy in Jesus and Jesus' joy working in and through you? Do you find it burdensome to keep His commandments? Or are those the desire of your heart? Do you see His love working in and through you? And beloved, when we look for these fruits in our life, it's important that we do this. We're not talking about just in some big areas of your life. How about this? If we can't point to the Sunday mornings, but in the small, mundane, street-level living of your life, do you see the fruit of Jesus Christ, His peace and His love. How about in the way that you respond to people? And again, we're talking about a direction of life. Not a perfection of life. But since your conversion, do you see these realities flowing out of your life? Do you see Christlikeness? Another thing I'm not asking in that is I'm not asking, could there be more? Of course, there could be more. That's what this text is about, is God the Father, the vine dresser, pruning us to produce more fruit. So when we look at our lives to say, am I really in Christ? Is there really fruit in me? The question is not could there be more. Of course, there could be more. But is there the reality of it? When we look at our lives, honestly, before the Lord, is there the reality of the fruit of Christ seen in our lives? Let me tell you something that's not being taught here, that's really important for us to see. Jesus is not teaching here in verse 6 that those who are in Christ, if they don't produce fruit, are cut off. Meaning that's He's not saying that we are Christians and then we don't produce enough fruit, so He cuts us off and throws us into the fire. One of the things we need to see as we read through the New Testament, and it's really explicit here in the Gospel of John, is that there are many people who give outward evidence of seeming to be in Christ. In other words, they're called disciples, referred to as disciples, or they're referred to as believers, but because they do not bear fruit, they are removed. And one evidence of that, you can look, is in John 6 if you'll peek back there with me real quick. In John 6:66, listen to how John writes. He says, "After this, many of His (Jesus') disciples turned back and no longer walked with Him." You have people that Scripture refers to as disciples, followers, pupils of Jesus. And outwardly, they were. And momentarily, they were. And they're referred to as that. But we know they're not genuinely in Him, because they don't persevere to the end. But there are many who are referred to as disciples or believers. As we're turning back, we can stop in chapter 8 and see another example of that. In chapter 8:31, it says, "So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him." Here we have people who say they have believed in Jesus. But if we follow that to the end of the chapter, in verse 59, look what these so-called believers in Jesus are doing. "So they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and He went out of the temple." What we see as the testimony of Scripture, is that there are people who are referred to as disciples; people who are referred to as believers; but they do not persevere unto the end. So when Jesus says here, all those in Me who do not bear fruit; He's not saying these are Christians who are cut off, but people who give the appearance of being in Jesus, but because they don't bear fruit, the vine dresser, the Father, He comes in and He removes them. There's other evidences here in the text if you look grammatically as well, that we could point to. In other words, how do you use the prepositional phrase "in Jesus?" Should "in Jesus" refer to the fruit? Or should it modify those that Jesus is speaking to? Six other times here in the Gospel of John, the word "in Christ" here is used to modify the fruit that people produce; not necessarily they themselves. But throughout the testimony of John, through the testimony of Scripture, and also if we were to look at it in grammatical structure, I think it clearly shows us that these are not people who are genuinely in Christ, and truly abiding in Him, and then are cut off. Because all those that God justifies we know, in the end, He glorifies. The Father is the vine dresser. He purges and takes away those who do not bear fruit. But look back with me at verse 2. He says that every branch in Jesus that does bear fruit, what does He do with them? He prunes them. Why? That they may bear more fruit. Take note with me the intimacy here. Every branch that is in Jesus - truly in Jesus, God the Father prunes. There's an intimacy there. A very deep intimacy. We know the Bible talks about His understanding of us physically. He knows the number of hairs on our head. But I want you to get the picture here spiritually, of the Father's attention to your spiritual fruitfulness. I don't know about you, but that brings me a lot of comfort. When I read that God the Father, the vine dresser, He prunes every single branch that is in Jesus Christ. He doesn't miss one of them. I know pastorally, we are called to be undershepherds. We are called to be in the life of the people that God has entrusted to our care. We are to be an example to them. We are to feed them. We are to teach them. We are to protect them. But I can tell you this, sometimes some of them slip through. Not out of a desire - we pray that it wouldn't happen. But just out of how much time we have in study and preparation and prayer and being in the lives of people. Sometimes we don't get to some people. But I want you to know this. That never, ever happens with God the Father. Not one single branch slips through. Not one single branch that is in Jesus Christ goes unnoticed. God the Father is intimately concerned with your fruit bearing in this life. He is tending to it continually. When He says He prunes every branch, it's in the present tense. God the Father is actively, at all times, in the life of every branch, pruning you that you may bear more fruit. That should bring us a level of comfort. Again, when we've been regenerated, our heart beats and says, God, I want to glorify You. And then we read here, that happens through bearing fruit. But if He were to leave you alone, and say, now go bear fruit, it couldn't be accomplished. We're not faithful enough. We don't have the power. We don't have the life within us. But God the Father is concerned with the same thing that we're concerned for. He is concerned with your conformity into the image of Jesus Christ, and in that, He gets glory. How comforting it is for me to see the intimacy of God the Father. In fact, we know it's a triune working here between the Father, the Son, and the Spirit in our fruit bearing. We've read in other places in Scripture that God works all things together for good. Do you know what the good is in that context? Your conformity to Jesus Christ. And when we look tomorrow at how the Father prunes His people. And we're going to begin to see that the sovereign hand of God is over every single thing in your life at this time. And He is working it, pruning it, to produce fruitfulness in you. Beloved, that should bring us much comfort. Now know this, that does not remove the responsibility you have in living out the Christian life. But I'll tell you what it does do, it gives hope to the responsibility to glorify God. It gives hope to it. Well, there's one more thing I want to focus on for our attention tonight. And then on Saturday, we'll look at this foundation. And look at what does it mean to abide and how do we abide. And how does the Father prune us in these things. But one of the things that we need to see here that's very important: Jesus Christ knows that when He starts talking about glorifying God and producing fruit, that all true believers hear that kind of talk, and they get excited. They get excited about that. They get excited about God being glorified. And they get excited about producing fruit for His glory. And He knows though when we hear those things and we get excited, that we have a tendency. And the tendency is this, that we will begin to find our identity and our right standing based on the fruit that we bear. He wants us to bear fruit. The whole analogy or parable is about bearing fruit. We want to bear fruit. We want to glorify God. So what we begin to do is we begin to say, let's run off and go bear some fruit, but He's afraid we will begin to find our identity, He's afraid we will begin to find our right standing before the Father based on the amount of fruit that we bear. And He doesn't want that. So what does He do to keep us from finding our identity or right standing or our acceptance based upon the amount of fruit that we bear? He reminds us of something. Look at verse 3. "Already you are clean because of the Word I have spoken to you." What's the Word He's spoken to them? Think back with me about John 14:6. "I am the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father but by Me." The disciples who were following Jesus here, have put their faith and trust in the words that Jesus has spoken to them. He is the Lamb of God. He takes away sin. And He tells them here, I don't want you to forget this. Already you are clean by the Word I have spoken to you. And I hope that brings hope to all of us. In our desire to glorify God and knowing that it comes from bearing much fruit, we cannot lose sight of the reality that we are already clean. How clean are we because of the Word He has spoken to us? We are perfectly clean. We are washed. The crimson has been washed as white as snow is now. Beloved, we cannot improve upon perfection. And Jesus knows, if you forget this, then you will strive to bear fruit to gain acceptance from the Father, but that's not how it works. I don't want you to forget that you are already clean. When I read through that, that you are already clean, it reminded me of something else in the book of John. Turn back to John 13. Do you remember what is happening in John 13? Jesus is sitting around with the disciples. He begins to wash the disciples' feet. He says I'm giving you an example here. And we know Peter sees Jesus get down to wash his feet and he begins to struggle with that. Look at verse 7. "But Jesus answered to him, 'what I am doing, you do not understand now, but afterwards you will understand.' And Peter said to Him, 'You shall never wash my feet.' And Jesus answered him, 'If I do not wash you, you have no share with Me.' So Simon Peter said to Him, 'Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.' But Jesus said to him, (look at verse 10 here) 'The one who has bathed, does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.'" Just like He said here in chapter 15:3. You're already clean, by the Word that I have spoken to you. Simon, you are already clean. You don't need to be bathed again, just your feet here. And really what is happening here - there's a play on words happening here. Because this pruning that the Father is going to do in verse 2, is really the same root word as the clean word here in verse 3. So it's kind of like Jesus is saying this: You are already pruned. Completely. Now the Father's going to prune you. You are already clean, but He's going to clean you. And we see that understanding in what we talk about the already-but-not-yet. In Jesus Christ, through our union with Him, through faith in His death, burial, and resurrection, we are perfectly clean. But in the living here on earth in this life and the reality of that being expressed and lived through us, it's still becoming more and more of a reality. And what Jesus doesn't want us to lose sight of is you're already clean. The writer of Hebrews spoke about this in Hebrews 10:14. He said, "by a single offering, He has perfected for all time, those who are being sanctified." Or as a single offering, He has sanctified completely holy for all time those who are being sanctified. Meaning what? We are already clean. We are sanctified in Jesus Christ, but we are being sanctified here on this earth. You are already clean in Jesus Christ, but the vine dresser, the Father, is going to prune you to make more of the heavenly reality regarding our standing, a reality here on earth in the life that we live. This is what the Father is committed to. We cannot lose sight here, that we are already clean in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Another thing I would say about verse 3 that He's helping us with, which will lead us to the next session on Saturday is this: You've heard people talk about what we say is the indicatives driving the imperatives? The indicatives are the mood tenses here of the words in Greek. And the indicative is a statement of fact. And what we see in the testimony of Scripture before there's an imperative given, often an indicative - a statement of fact, a truth about who Jesus is, a truth about what Jesus has accomplished, a truth, a reality about who we are, united to Him in faith, is given to us as a reminder to lead us in with right motivation into the commands that God gives us. The entire book of Ephesians is divided up like that. Chapters 1-3 are all the truths concerning who Christ is and what He has accomplished, and then in chapter 4, we are are to live in light of those realities as he moved into the practical aspect of living out Christianity. Well, the same thing is being taught here. Verse 3 is the indicative. You're already clean. That's a statement of fact that will never be changed. It was secured by Christ. It was applied to us through faith. But what's the imperative that He gives us? It's in verse 4. "Now abide in Me." But beloved, before we go to verse 4, we have to be convinced of verse 3. You have to know that you have a right standing with God forever in the finished work of Jesus Christ. You cannot move on to verse 4, which is abiding in Jesus, which leads to the fruit bearing, which brings glory to God, until you have a right understanding of verse 3. Think of the kindness of the Lord that as He gives us this imperative, "Abide in Me," first, He reminds you; Do not forget you are already clean. Very kind of the Lord in how He gives us information in His Word here. What have we learned so far here in just these first three verses? We have learned this: God is glorified in us bearing much fruit. We have learned that Jesus is the true vine. He is the all-sufficient Savior and there is no fruit that will be born in our lives apart from us abiding in Him. Left alone, we do not bear fruit. What else have we learned? God the Father is the vine dresser. He is pruning every single branch continuously to drive them to Jesus Christ. He is committed to your growth in sanctification. And above all this we learned, and don't you dare forget, that we are already clean because of the Word that Jesus spoke to us that He is the all-sufficient Savior and through our faith in Him, we are already clean. And if those things are true, beloved, we have a foundation now that we're going to come back to on Saturday, and understand then how do I abide? Or what does this abiding look like? And exactly what does this pruning of the Father look like? And what does it accomplish in our lives? And my prayer as I was leading up to what to preach, was that I would encourage you all. And I pray that as we get to Saturday, and we put these things together, that you are encouraged in Jesus Christ. That's my prayer for us all. Let's pray to that end that God would do that for us. And then we'll take a break. "God, we come to You again in the name of Jesus. God, would you ingrain these truths on our hearts? God, I confess that I am so often deceived that I can bear fruit apart from You. God, I thank You that You are committed to rescuing me from me. You are committed to bringing me back to the only source of life, power, and true fruit bearing: Your Son the true vine, Jesus Christ. God, we thank You again that in Him, we are already clean. God, right our motives as we seek to bear more fruit to Your glory. That's He has accomplished the right standing. And that we would live in light of that reality and bring glory to Your name. God, we need Your help as we spoke before. Open these things up to us, and prepare us. In the name of Jesus we pray and commit these things, Amen.