15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL
VERSION ®. NIV®. COPYRIGHT © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by
Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
- How can someone “connect their life” to the vine? (What role does belief play? What role does hearing the message play?)
- What happens to branches that do not bear fruit?
- Why does the Lord prune us? What are some real-life examples of pruning that you’ve experienced?
- How is Jesus “the true vine”? Why does that matter to us?
- What’s the relationship between our fruit, prayer, mission, and the glory of God?
In the Vine
*This transcript is generated from the sermon audio. This document has not been edited for spelling, grammar, or exactness.
All right, do me a favor. If you’re able, grab a Bible and get with me in John chapter 15. John, chapter 15. In the Bibles that we have here, john, chapter 15 is on page 928, nine to eight. I’m going to read verses one to 17, and then we’ll pray we will get Torque. John, chapter 15, verses one to 17. It reads like this:
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. This is the Lord speaking. Jesus Christ says, I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I’ve spoken to you remain in me as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself. It must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you remain in me, and I in you, you will bear much fruit. Apart from me, you can do nothing if you do not remain in me. You are like a branch that is thrown away, and withers such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I’ve called you friends. For everything that I learned from my Father, I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. And so that whatever you ask in My name, the Father will give you. This is my command love each other.
This is the word of the Lord. Let’s pray. Lord, we pray right now, as we’ve opened your word. We pray that by your Spirit, through that word, you would speak over us, that you would help us to know who you are and what you’ve done, that you would help us to live life in the vine, producing fruit for your glory. We pray, Lord, that you would have your way in these minutes together and that you would change and transform each and every one of us to be more like your Son. We pray in his name. Amen.
This is called the Farewell Discourse and the High Priestly Prayer. The section of John is a portion of Scripture where the Lord has gathered his disciples together, knowing what’s about to happen, that he’s about to be arrested and tried and executed, and he’s preparing them for his departure. He’s readying them for the things that they will have to face in the very near future. So he’s teaching them these final lessons. He’s trying to show them these things are the things that are important to Him, and he’s preparing them and instructing them and helping them so that in his absence, they will be prepared to carry on his mission. Well, here in our passage today, he introduces a metaphor, and it’s the metaphor of the vine.
And in verses one to four, we see this metaphor of the true vine. Verse one, I am the true vine, and my father is the gardener. Jesus is saying, I’m it, I’m the vine. I’m the true vine. Which none of us were probably sitting around this week. Huh? I wonder who the true vine is, right? Like, I was at Menards and it wasn’t like I bumped into somebody else and they were like, I’m a vine. And I was like, well, are you the true vine? Now, that doesn’t normally happen. If it did, that’d be odd and weird. But Jesus is able to say, I’m the true vine, which obviously he’s implying there’s some other vine out there that is not the true fulfillment of the vine. But he didn’t just pluck this out of thin air. This was a metaphor that is running through Scripture. This idea of the vine is one that God has used repeatedly throughout Scripture to tell us something about what God’s ultimate purposes are. Now, it shows up in Psalm chapter 80 and Jeremiah chapter two, and Isaiah, which I’ll show to you in just a moment. It shows up in Ezekiel in a bunch of different places. So all throughout Scripture, this metaphor has been employed to talk about what God is up to. And I want to share with you Isaiah chapter 27, because this one, I think, gets at the heart of the purpose of this metaphor. In Isaiah chapter 27, it reads like this. This is the prophet speaking. And he says, this is the voice of God through the prophet. Sing about a fruitful vineyard. I the Lord, watch over it. I water it continually. I guard it day and night so that no. 1 may harm it. So the gardener language comes out. Obviously, there’s a fruitful vineyard. The Lord Himself is the one who is tending to it, who is watering it, guarding it, and making sure that no harm is done to it. And then in verse six, it tells us what the purpose of this vineyard is intended for. It says in verse six, in the days to come, Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit. There’s this vineyard, and the point of it is that it’s going to bud, blossom and fill the whole world with fruit, the fruit of God and his righteousness. So that is what the metaphor is getting at. It’s getting at this idea that God is creating a people who are supposed to fill the earth with the fruit of God’s righteousness. Now, in real time, what we find if we read the Scriptures, is that this vineyard failed, that the people of God, namely Isaiah 27, verse six, jacob and Israel, they did not fulfill what God had in store for them. And along comes the Lord, and he says, I’m the true vine. I’m the vine that the Scriptures have been referring to all along. But in real time, we find that often the people of God fall very short of this ideal. In fact, in Isaiah chapter five, verse four, it reads like this what more, this is the voice of God. Again, through the prophet, what more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? Again, the intention is that it would bud, blossom and fill the earth. But ordinarily the Lord looks at the people of God and they fall desperately short of the intention for them. But along comes this carpenter, this enigmatic teacher, and he goes, guys, I am the true vine. I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. And what we’re learning then is that through Him we’re going to experience the blessing of the promises of the vineyard, filling the earth with the fruit of God. We’re going to experience that coming true in Him. I’m the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. So you’ve got the Father tending to the vineyard, you’ve got the vine itself, and then you have branches. And the branches are supposed to be drawing from that life giving source of the vine. And they’re supposed to produce fruit, but some do that well and some do not. There’s a distinction being made. In verse two, the gardener, the Father cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. So he’s saying, I am the true vine, and there are branches that are relating to me, and some of those branches are drawing life and producing fruit, some are not. And the gardener is removing those branches that are not connected to the vine.
YOU ARE CLEAN (IN THE VINE)
He’s pruning those branches away, and then he says sidebar to his disciples at the table, verse three, you are already clean because of the word that I’ve spoken to you. What clean? What are we talking about here? Says to his disciples, there’s a gardener and he’s pruning away anything that’s not drawing life giving from the source of the vine. And then he looks at his disciples, but I want you guys to know you’re clean. And they might go, what does that have to do with the tree and the vine and the metaphor? What he says here is very, very fascinating because he’s actually using spiritual language and he’s talking about this idea. He’s mixing the language of the metaphor with the language of spiritual things and he’s trying to help them understand. We’re not just talking about a vine here, we’re talking about the spiritual reality. In fact, the word that he uses in verse two to talk about pruning is actually a derivative of cleaning, which I understand why the NIV commentator said, well, we’re not going to go that route. Because in our minds, if it know, the gardener is cleaning the branches, we would have these images of a gardener getting up there on a ladder and scrubbing branches, like, I’m going to clean this thing up. Right? I’m going to get this thing looking nice. And that’s not the picture at all. It’s the idea of purging or removing. Then he looks at his disciples and he says, but you guys are clean. Which is a fascinating thing for him to say because what he’s trying to explain to them is you are in the vine. To his disciples, he’s basically saying, this is the work that God is up to, but I want you guys to be aware you’re clean because of the word that I’ve spoken to you. Again, it’s that spiritual language. So if you were to read most of you won’t do this. By the way, if you were to read Leviticus, it uses these categories of clean and unclean. And it’s not talking about hygiene in there. It’s talking about spiritual realities. And so the clean things are things that are fit for service to God, things that are spiritually consecrated to be used by God, unclean things, the spiritual category that talks about things that are not fit to be used by God. So there’s these spiritual categories that the disciples would be very familiar with that it’s been traveling through the Bible all along. It’s this idea of spiritual fitness to be in a relationship with God. And then in our passage today, he says, and you are clean. You’re in, you are in the vine. Interesting that he actually used the exact same sentence earlier in chapter 13, you guys remember washing the feet of the disciples? And he has that strange interaction with Peter because Peter has no idea what’s happening. And he’s like, take a bath if that’s what we’re up to. If you’re cleaning me and I get to be a part of your ministry, then I’ll take a bath. And the Lord goes, whoa, whoa, whoa, that’s not what I’m doing here. You’ve already had a bath, so you’re clean. He looks at the disciples in that moment and he says and you are clean, though not every one of you because the betrayer was still there. Same sentence. But then he qualifies it by the fact that Judas is still in their midst, the one who will turn him over to be arrested and executed. But here he says the same thing again to his disciples. There’s a vine, I am the true vine. There’s a gardener. He’s doing a work of helping people to recognize whether or not they’re in relationship to this vine. And he says, but you guys, you are clean, you are in. It’s an interesting thing. How do they become clean? How did they get into this life giving relationship with the vine? And he tells us in verse three, because of the word that I’ve spoken to you, you are in the vine because you have heard a message that the Lord himself spoke to them. This is interesting, but it is the teaching of Scripture. The way that people become saved individuals is through hearing a message. I’ll show it to you in Romans chapter ten. Romans chapter ten is a section of Scripture where it’s a teaching on how is it that anyone experiences salvation. The apostle Paul in Romans is describing that and he says, well it would involve things like this if you believe in your heart and you confess with your lips, you will be saved. He goes on to say, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But then he tells us how that happens, says here’s how this would actually come to be. Romans chapter ten, verse 17. He says, faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word about Christ. People become saved individuals because they hear the news of what God has done in the sending of Jesus Christ. They hear that and then they believe that. And that faith comes by hearing the message and the message is heard through the word about Christ. I could take you to other places in Scripture that say the same thing. The way to come into a relationship with God is through faith in the message of Jesus Christ crucified and risen for you. That is the way of salvation, that is the way to connect your life to the vine. And that’s what Jesus is saying here. You are in, you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Now it’s interesting that way of relating to the vine has not changed, right? We’re thousands of years past these events. Happening that way is still the way. In fact, that way that the disciples got to experience is the same way that you and I experience it as well. Peter, who was at that dinner party, one of the disciples, he later wrote some letters to churches and in his first one he tells us. These are all the different believers scattered all over the place. The second one doesn’t get that same reference, but you can imagine that’s probably the same batch that it’s going out to a bunch of ordinary believers scattered all over the place who actually never personally experienced the earthly ministry of Christ because they were elsewhere. They weren’t there. They were in places like Asia and Bisnia and places like that. But he writes to them. He writes two different letters, first Peter and second Peter. In second Peter. This is crazy. He writes this letter and he says to these ordinary believers scattered all over the place, he writes to those who, through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ, have received a faith as precious as ours. Peter, the apostle Saint Peter, if you like, he writes to a bunch of ordinary Christians and he says to those who have the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. To those who’ve received a faith, he says, your faith and my faith are, in the words of the kids these days, same, right? It’s the same what you have and what Peter has. He’s saying they are of the same value. They’re both precious. Their faith is as precious as ours. They have an understanding of what God has done. They place their faith in Christ. And what they possess is the same as what the Apostle Peter possesses. It’s a wild thing. And so when you think about this and you go, okay, how do I come into a relationship with the vine? The Bible tells us you come into that vibrant relationship by placing your faith in the message of Jesus Christ. And when you do that, you have the equivalent to what Peter has, even though he was sitting at that table. You have a faith that is as precious as that of the Apostle Peter himself. So we come into this relationship with Divine, and we become clean by hearing the message of what Christ has done and by believing in it, by entrusting our lives to that reality that he suffered and died for us. And we believe that that is the saving message of what God has done. That’s how you come into a relationship with Divine.
LIFE IN THE VINE
But then we’re told, now you live in that relationship. Verse four remain in me as I also remain in you. He says, okay, you are clean, you are in. You are plugged into the vine. Live here. That’s what the word remain means. It’s translated in different ways depending on the translation. It means to dwell or abide. It means to make this your sphere of life. This is where you live. Now. It’s not that you became a Christian. And then you check that box and you go, okay, now back to the ordinary programming, right? I’m going back to my life. I got that one done. Now I just go back and I do whatever I want. No he says, once you come into the vine, that’s where you live. You abide here. Now you live here. You remain here in me as I also remain in you. You’ve now plugged your life into the source, to Jesus himself. And this idea, it’s an undertaught idea, and I’m saying that of my own ministry. As I look at what the scriptures actually emphasize, this idea is so prominent and so underdeveloped, it’s the idea of union with Christ. Believers are living in union with Christ, and I’ll challenge you to do this. Take the Bible and read the New Testament. Read the letters in the New Testament and count how many times it says something like this in Christ. Count how many times that shows up. That phrase of living life in Christ. It’ll surprise you how often it shows up. It’s one of the main themes of the New Testament. And when I say that, you might go, I don’t know if that’s true, that doesn’t sound right, but it is. Doing life in Christ is one of the main features of the New Testament and what it teaches. So here the Lord is saying, this is how you live. You remain in me as I also remain in you. You live your life here. And to do anything other than that is actually to divorce yourself from what God wants for you. Look at verse four. It goes on to say this no branch can bear fruit by itself. It must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. He’s saying, if you want your life to be productive, if you want your life to hit the mark of what God really wants for you, it will have to be directly connected to your abiding in Christ, because he then will be producing this fruit and through you. And if you divorce yourself from that, you cannot bear fruit by yourself. All right. Thank you, Larry. Now, in Galatians chapter two, it describes it like this, because what I’m saying is you’re doing life in Christ. You’re living your life in him. So in Galatians, chapter two, it puts it like this. It says, the life I now live in my body, this is nitty gritty, ordinary stuff. Like, this is my real life. Not like my hypothetical life, not my spiritual life, not my devotional life. This is the life I live in my body. So my coming, my going, my staying up late or going to bed early or the way that I interact with people at the grocery store. My life that I live in my body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself up for me. So this is now the way that we live. We abide in this amazing relationship with Divine, and we make all of our decisions with that reference point of I’m living my life drawing from Him. So we have this amazing reality that is introduced to us here in verses one to four, and then in verses five to eight, it’s the glory of our discipleship. Verses five to eight, explain what this relationship is now like, what’s really going on behind the curtain. In verses five to eight, we’re being introduced to this idea that we begin to live fruitfully or not, depending on our willingness to abide, but we begin to live fruitfully and we can actually let our lives be a platform of God’s glory that he brings us into his mission. He resources us for the task at hand. We begin to produce the fruit of righteousness through our lives, the fruit of Jesus Christ. And other people see that and are drawn to Him. It’s a beautiful thing. But he tells us in verse five, you cannot do this apart from Him. Verse five I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit. Apart from me, you can do nothing. If you’re in that relationship with Him, his life is flowing through your life and you will produce. But look at what happens to those who don’t. Verse six if you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. Those branches that are not producing are worthless. They’re lopped off, they’re laying there, they’re gathered up and they’re torched. And so we see the threat then of how significant this really is. If we want to be productive, we must be in the vine. If we divorce ourselves from the vine, we’ll be creating a lot of rubbish that’s going to be burned.
FRUIT STAPPLING. A.K.A. BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION
Now, here’s the thing that concerns me as a pastor. A lot of the efforts that we make within Christianity is efforts that are actually wrongheaded. Here’s what I mean. A lot of the things that we do are actually trying to manipulate people into having fruit instead of helping them think through how to produce fruit. So what we do is, you could call it behavior modification. And we do this in parenting, we do this in spiritual formation, we do this in church environments, but we know what a good Christian looks like. And then we lay that list out and we go, okay, how do we get people doing these things? And we exert some pressure in that direction and we try to help people, even motivate people in this direction with fear or with incentives or different things. And we go, here’s what you ought to be doing. You’re a Christian, right? So live like this. And we push people to try to think through how can you have that fruit that you’re supposed to have? But it’s a wrongheaded endeavor because the only way to produce the fruit that lasts is to have it coming from the life-giving source. So if you’re just trying to bring it on Paul Tripp, he calls it stapling on fruit on your tree. Like, we go to Edward’s [Apple Orchard] and we go, what are your best apples? Okay, I’m going to get a bundle of those. I’m going to get a bunch of those. Then we bring it to our life, and we go, let’s make me look like I’m supposed to. And you start putting the apples on there, and then somebody takes one off, and they’re like, oh, this is really, really good. You’re like, yeah, isn’t it? The problem is it doesn’t last, and it can never be produced anymore. It’s there, but it is not actually a feature of your life. We’re just stapling things on, and it’s not effective. So a lot of our efforts are wrongheaded because we’re simply just trying to push people to get the fruit that we suggest that they need. Now, this idea, I saw it in youth group pretty often. So I was a youth pastor for eight years, and I was working with middle school and high school students. And one of the things that I noticed is that if we had attractive young people in our group, they would draw people into the youth group, right? And there would be times where and I could illustrate this in different ways, but there were times where, let’s say we had some attractive young ladies, and then this kind of naughty kid comes into our youth group because he likes this girl. And they start dating. And you look at his life, and all of a sudden he’s a different man, right? He’s a different young man, I should say. He’s doing all the things right. Like, his life looks radically different. He’s coming to church. He’s involving himself in all these different important ways. He’s changing his friendship group. He’s coming on trips with the youth group and doing different things. And as a youth pastor that’s been around the block, I just watch, like, how long can this go on? Right? He’s very motivated, and I don’t question that at all. I know he’s incentivized to behave like a Christian, but I just watch, like, how long will this last? And sure enough, especially if the relationship dissolves, like, if they date and then they break up, that person did not change. They changed their behaviors. And listen, what I’ve noticed is that can happen in a youth group setting. That can happen in this setting. There are some people who, with the right motivations, the fear of certain things or the incentive toward certain things, they can play Christian for a long time, for years even. They’ve not changed. They’re just doing what Christians ought to be doing, but they’re not producing the fruit of Christ in their life. That’s scary, isn’t it? That’s incredibly scary.
THE PRUNING PROCESS
Ash asked me a really important question when I first got into ministry, and it was such an elementary question. She said, Cor, how do people change? And you’re like, well, they just do right? Like they just make adjustments or whatever. That question haunted me because in ministry you start to think through, wait, how do people change? It’s not as easy as you might think. It’s not just you, well, we just need to tell them what they should be doing, right? If I just tell them, then they’ll do it. Well, that doesn’t work. I’ve tried. How do you change somebody so that they’re doing what God actually wants? And the answer is really they have to come to believe the gospel so that their desires change. They have to come to see what God has done as the most significant thing. So that all of a sudden they’re not just trying to do Christian things because they’ve been told to or they’re motivated to. They’re doing it because it is their desire, it’s what they long to do, it’s what they cherish. And that sort of change is not easy to come by. It’s not an easy thing. Obviously you preach the gospel and you believe that it’s powerful enough to change people in their seats. That’s one of the most important seminars that I’ve ever heard on preaching was that was the title of it, preaching to Change People in Their Seats. So that I get done on a Sunday morning and the work is done right, because God did something by his spirit through the good news of the gospel. That just boom. You’re different and you go out different. But oftentimes the change is a longer process and a much more painful one. And it’s built in here to this analogy here of the vine and the gardener. It’s the idea of pruning the gardener prunes things away that are not producing fruit. And obviously this is talking big picture about people being in a relationship to Jesus Christ. But at a personal level, we can begin to see this is how he deals with us. The gardener is willing to look at our lives and say the things that are not producing the life of Christ, they’re going to go, I grew up on a tree farm. And so one of the jobs at the tree farm is to trim the trees. Some trees grow in a way that if you left them alone, they’d look like a Christmas tree. A lot of different varieties of trees that is not the case. You have to trim them every year to shape them up. And that job is something we do in the summertime and we go out there with big machetes and we lop off all these branches and we make it look like a nice Christmas tree that you’d want to bring home and decorate. And that job is pretty gratifying because you’re doing your work and then you get done and you look and you go, okay, that looks like a Christmas tree, that looks nice. And sometimes that’s how God works. He will be pruning your life and there’s immediate. Gratification. You look at it and you go, oh, yeah, I’m glad he did that. Like, yes, he cut a lot off, but look at this now and there’s an immediacy to it. Oftentimes, though, the Christian experience is more like trimming apple trees, pruning apple trees. Andy is not here today, so he’ll come back and set us all straight because I’m speaking out of my league now, but he’s a part of Edwards. When you trim apple trees, to the untrained eye, it looks violent. When you trim an apple tree, you cut it back so severely that it looks like you’re maiming the tree. Like, if I were to look at somebody having doing that job, I would go, you’re doing harm here. That is often how it looks to be pruned by God. And you look at it and you go, okay, this is like a bunch of nubs now. This is like some gnarly. Like, you violated this tree and I’m not sure it’s going to recover from the experience. But to the trained gardener, that is the most appropriate thing for them to do so that that tree can produce fruit. In fact, you can Google it, which is what I did to see the images. But the pruning that God does, it often looks and feels like that where God is looking at the stuff, where he’s going, this is not producing what you need, and it’s going to go and you’re like, But I love it, I grew it right? This is something in my life that I really like. And he goes, yeah, but this is not producing the life of Christ in you and it’s going to go. You go, but you’re doing harm here. This doesn’t feel great, this doesn’t look great. And it’s not an immediate thing where you can look at the tree right after and go, yeah, you did a good job. You actually look at it and you go, you destroyed the thing. And God goes, you just wait. You just wait. I cut back everything that is not producing fruit. And what you’re going to find later on in the appropriate season is this thing will produce an awful lot of fruit. Now, part of the reason why it is so effective is because I’ve done this work. So God is willing to inconvenience us in the short run so that we might be productive in the long run. He’s willing to look at our lives and say, I’m not just going to let you live comfortably with these different things going on that are drawing things away from what Christ is going to do through you. God cares too much about you and he cares too much about the mission. He cares too much about you becoming the vineyard that is budding and blossoming and producing fruit in all the world. And so he’s willing to prune us back. And that experience is traumatic, but it is the experience of growth and grace and we come to find God is a good God and a loving and gracious and tender gardener. He knows what he’s doing and it’s all for our good. And then what we find is that that work allows us to participate in his work.
LIFE ON MISSION FOR GOD’S GLORY
Believers who are connected to the vine live the mission of God out in real-time. And that’s what verses seven and eight are getting at, says, if you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. Again, the metaphor, you’re in the vine and you’re drawing life from the vine and you’re now a branch that’s producing fruit. And he’s saying, and the beauty of this is now, because of this relationship, your life, this is God living through you. You’re on mission with God and he says now you ask, you pray. And because you’re praying for the fruit that God desires, you ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. We get invited into the mission of God, our lives get co-opted into his work in this world. And he tells us that we have this gift of prayer that if we will communicate to God, he will give us the things that we’re requesting because we are in the vine and producing the fruit of the vine. And then verse eight tells us this is glory, this is to my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit showing yourselves to be my disciples. This is what we’re aiming at as a church. That’s why we talk about being a missional church or living life on mission. It’s because God wants us to be his people. He wants us to be the vineyard in which the true vine, Jesus Christ is helping us bud, blossom and fill the earth with his fruit. And we then get to participate in the glory of God, bearing much fruit and showing the world this is who God is. It’s a wild way to live. It’s way different than saying, I’m going to go to church for an hour and then I’m going to go back to my life. We flip it around, we go, no, you’re going to come to church for an hour and then we’re going to deputize you and send you out. Because the fruit that we need, the fruit that the world needs, it needs to happen away from here. And we’re going to figure out as a church how to go away from this facility in the name of Christ connected to the vine, bearing much fruit for his glory, so that more and more people would come to hear the message of Christ and be made clean, to be made right with Christ. That is our goal as a church. And that’s what I want to invite you into today. So I’m going to pray now and I’m hoping that all of us can say, yeah, we’re in. We want to produce fruit that lasts, fruit that matters. So let’s pray and close.
Lord, we pray that you would help us to see the significance of what You’ve done. Lord, we pray that you would help us to see the way to come into a relationship with the living God is through faith in the message of Jesus Christ and through that we become connected to the vine. We can experience vitality and growth and life, beauty and fruit that is pleasing to you. Lord, we ask that as you prune us that we would volunteer ourselves for the work that you’re doing, knowing that it is ultimately for our good and for Your glory. And Lord, we pray that as you send us out, that you would help us to live beautifully in this world, displaying the fruit of righteousness that will lead people to saving faith in Your Son. We pray in his name. Amen.