Andy Jone's Sermon
May 2, 2021
Lord, let the meditation of my thoughts and the words from my lips be
pleasing to you. Holy spirit, please be with every person who hears this message.
Give them the blessing of understanding God’s word in whatever manner each
person needs. Amen.
Today we examine John chapter 15’s discussion of one aspect of the
Christian’s relationship with Jesus and God. One significant word in the sermon
reading is abide. LaVerne’s Webster’s tells me the definition of abide is dwell,
remain and last. Let’s look at those three concepts as they relate to John’s gospel.
In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel was depicted as a vine planted by
God in the land flowing with milk and honey. God wanted Israel, to be his
vineyard to worship him and produce fruit, much fruit. Many of the books of the
Old Testament are stories of the various prophets God sent to his vineyard to
monitor, tend and prune the vines. Sometimes the prophets were successful,
sometimes not so much. At various points the weeds took total control of the
vineyard and God decided that the vineyard had to be destroyed and then
replanted. We recall the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem as one example of the
vineyard being destroyed and then replanted when the exiles returned to Jerusalem.
With the birth of Jesus, God is starting a new vineyard with a new hybrid
vine. This vine will fulfill the prophesy of coming from the line of David and, in
addition, it will have divine DNA.
In verse one Jesus presents himself as the true vine and God will be the
vinedresser. Early on in the reading we understand that the goal of all this effort is
the production of fruit. Without fruit, why invest so much effort in growing and
maintaining the vine? Please note that fruit is singular.
So what fruit is to be found on the branched of this true vine? I believe the
fruit is love. If we recall John 13: verses 34 and 35 Jesus said “I give you a new
commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should
love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have
love for one another.” However, this fruit is not just for the disciples, not just for
the Jews, it is for all humanity including all gentiles. We recall Matthew 5: verse
44 Jesus said “I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute
Just now important is the bearing of fruit? John gives us this promise from
Jesus to consider. Every branch that bears fruit God prunes to make it bear more
fruit. It is not enough for me to say I love my wife. While it is good for me to say
I love my in laws, it is not enough. While it is good for me to say I love the
members of the congregation, it is still not enough. I must expand the universe
of ones that I love. If I wish to be the good branch producing much fruit, my
universe of love has to expand to include those that may not or do not love me. I
do not need to worry about them loving me. That will be their burden. My
objective must be to produce fruit, much fruit.
Just as a real vine must be cleaned from harmful insects, mildew,
and fungus, a Christian vine will need to be cleaned from worldly things that
distract them from producing fruit. John tells us that the cleansing agent is the
In verses four thru seven we encounter the term abide. To abide means to
dwell, remain and stay where you have been placed in Christ. In our daily walk,
we should stay in fellowship with Christ. The branch abides in a vine by drawing
all of its life and nourishment from the vine. We abide in Christ by investing time
in prayer, reading His Word, fellowship with other Christians, and being
continually conscious of our relationship with and our obligations to Him.
The branch can only bear fruit as it abides in the vine. They only way we
can bear Christ’s fruit is by living in touch with Christ moment by moment.
Christ is the vine and his disciples are the branches that will be tended by God. It
is not a question of the branch living its life for the vine, but simply allowing the
life of the vine flow out thru the branch. Without the good and willing branch,
there will not be any fruit.
Any gardener will explain to you that the vine branch has only one purpose
in life, to bear fruit. The branch will never grow large enough to be lumber to
build anything. It doesn’t even make good firewood. However, the branch can
produce fruit, much fruit as long as it abides in the vine.
Abiding in Christ is the key to becoming a fruit bearing disciple. The
disciple must dwell in Him. The disciple must remain in Him. The disciple must
establish a lasting relationship with Him. The closer the disciple gets to Christ, the
more they learn to think like Him. The more the disciple gets to know Him thru
the Word, the more the disciple understands His will. The more the disciple’s will
agrees with His, the more confident the disciple is that whatever they wish will be
done for them. God wants the branch to produce fruit.
As the true disciples of God bear fruit by exhibiting the likeness of Christ to
the world, John tells us the Father is glorified. God must be great if he can take
humans who decide to become disciples and transform them into His likeness. At
that point the branch has born fruit, much fruit and this world moves a little closer
to what God desires for all people.
What is the message for his twenty first century disciples? When was the
last time you read a newspaper headline or listened to a news report on the radio,
or watched the nightly news on television without being exposed to a story of
somebody hating somebody else so much that they struck, or attacked, or killed
somebody else? Everybody looks for a motive, an explanation of why. I believe I
have the answer. In its simplest term, there was no fruit.
We listen to our politicians praise themselves and blame others for all of the
problems of the world. The only thing that seems to change is the speaker being
quoted. There is no fruit.
Perhaps just for one day, if all of us can pledge to love everyone we meet, a
new branch might sprout. If we can extend our pledge for a second day, perhaps
the branch might grow. If we can extend our pledge for a third day, perhaps the
branch will show signs of fruit. With God’s help and an embrace of the Holy
Spirit in each of our lives, we might even reach the point of a harvest, a bountiful
harvest in the Ebensburg vineyard.
Truth be told, each of us has the power to bear fruit, much fruit. Will you
consider abiding in Jesus? Will you consider bearing fruit, much fruit? My wish
for you is an exceeding bountiful harvest. Please join in a closing prayer.
Gracious God, we are created in your image. You have provided the seed,
the soil, the sunshine and the rain to establish a vineyard on Earth where all
humanity can enjoy the fruit of love. Far too often we have tended to the wrong
plants that produce, hate, envy, injustice, a lust for power or money or both.
Enable, guide, and encourage your disciples to be the fruit bearing branches of the
true vine of Christ to accomplish your will. Help us learn to love. Amen.