Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Pruning

“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit (John 15:2 NASU).”

[and every branch that bears fruit]

All true and faithful Disciples of Christ bear the fruit of righteousness to the glory of the Father. To bear this fruit is to show by the disciple’s life that he/she is under the influence of a personal relationship with God’s Son, and that this relationship produces its appropriate effects (Gal 5:22-23). It is also to live so as to be useful to others. The Christian principle would be worthless unless Christians should live so that others may be made holy by their indulgence in the fruit they bear and made joyful by their example and labors.

[He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit]

All disciples who bear the fruit of righteousness God purifies so that they may be more productive. There are many things in a believer’s life that are not sins but are encumbrances (Heb. 12:1). It may be riches, a habit, and a relationship or even the way one dresses and etc. These could keep one from living the fullness of a holy life; thus the Father removes them. He removes all that would opposes their usefulness, no matter how much they may be attached to it, or however painful it may be to part with it; as a vine-dresser will often feel compelled to prune a branch back that is large, apparently healthy and beautiful, but shades, injuries or hinders the production of fruit. So God removes all encumbrances; He removes the objects which bind their affections, and which could render them inactive. He takes away the things around His disciples, as He did the valued gourds of Jonah (Jonah 4:5-11), so that the disciple may feel his dependence, and live more to the honor of God, and bring forth more humble and active piety.

As He takes away that which may hinder their usefulness, He teaches them, quickens them, revives them and makes them more pure in motive. This He does through the regular influences of His Spirit in setting them apart from the world, teaching them the beauty of holiness, and inducing them to deepen their love for Him.

“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you (John 15:3 NASU).”

[You are already clean]

You have already been pruned. As our Lord has not changed the metaphor, it would be wrong to change the expression. His statement does not mean that they were perfect, but that they had been under a process of purifying by his instructions all the time he had been with them. Through their trust and obedience to Him He had removed their erroneous notions of the Messiah; he had gradually reclaimed them from worldliness; he had taught them to be willing to forsake all things; and he had so trained and disciplined them that immediately after His death they would be ready to go and bear the fruit of righteousness among all nations bringing salvation to men and honor to His name.

Even though Jesus was speaking directly to His present disciples in this verse He sets forth a great principle. His words are the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16) and a purifying agent for the cleansing of the soul (Eph. 5:26; Tit. 3:5; 1 Pet. 1:22) for all who believe and obey.

When one hears the word of God and believes he is led to repentance by the Holy Spirit. Once he has repented and has in faith turned to Christ for the forgiveness of sins and redemption his repentance is accepted. Thus he has been made clean by the word which he has believed through forgiveness. He is born into the vine and is now ready for growth, pruning and the bearing of fruit.

Pastor Jake

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