Sunday, 21 December 2014

'The True Vine' (1) in John 15

 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away;[a] and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which 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.

What amazing words of the Master we read here: 'I am the true vine and My Father is the vinedresser'.  We know the love of Christ towards us ( 'the Son of God loved me and gave himself for me', says Paul). We are each a branch and he is the vine to which we must be joined! Is that not glorious news? Can we trust him to be the life from which must draw? Of course, we can trust him perfectly. Can we trust the Father to be the vinedresser, or gardener? Again, His love towards us is so great that he sent his son to save us! Can we trust him to prune the branch of which we are? Yes, we can. We need not be frightened of the gardener's knife because our heavenly Father is the gardener. Though sometimes painful, it is for our good so that we can produce more and better quality fruit.If you are reading this and desire to be a fruitful Christian, do not fear that you as a branch have been discarded by the divine gardener and are ready to be burned. If you were such, you would not be wanting to do the Master's will or reading his words! How does he prune? Sometimes he does this through our circumstances and relationships, but often through reading and obeying his word.In the natural world the seasons regularly take their toll on the plant, sometimes causing it to suffer damage, but at other times it may cause it to become stronger.

In verse 4 we have even more wonderful words, perhaps some of the most precious in the Bible: 'Abide in Me, and I in you.' This is an invitation from our Lord to intimacy. Not only are we invited to to live, dwell, abide in him, but also he wants to live within us.There may be other verses which are equal in benefit and blessing to us humans, but certainly none greater. We could do no better than to meditate on these words until they go deep down into our soul. Paul's prayer for the Ephesian Christians was that Christ should dwell in their hearts through faith, as well as being 'rooted and grounded in love.' To know Christ within would chase all feelings of inferiority  and lack of self worth-in fact may well make us see ourselves like the old Cornish Tin miner, turned preacher, Billy Bray who called himself 'the king's son'- and so he was.

 'As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me'.Here we see the only way we can bear fruit, It is to abide in the vine and draw the sap and life of his Spirit into our lives, or as we read for the communion service in the book of common prayer : 'and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your heart by faith with thanksgiving.' 
We should say to the Lord each day 'I am feeding on you, the heavenly manna, I am helpless without the nourishment that comes from the true vine of God'.


Andrew Kenny said...

Joh 15:1-27. Discourse at the Supper Table Continued.

1-8. The spiritual oneness of Christ and His people, and His relation to them as the Source of all their spiritual life and fruitfulness, are here beautifully set forth by a figure familiar to Jewish ears (Isa 5:1, &c.).

I am the true vine—of whom the vine of nature is but a shadow.

my Father is the husbandman—the great Proprietor of the vineyard, the Lord of the spiritual kingdom. (It is surely unnecessary to point out the claim to supreme divinity involved in this).

John 15:2
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
2. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit … every branch that beareth fruit—As in a fruit tree, some branches may be fruitful, others quite barren, according as there is a vital connection between the branch and the stock, or no vital connection; so the disciples of Christ may be spiritually fruitful or the reverse, according as they are vitally and spiritually connected with Christ, or but externally and mechanically attached to Him. The fruitless He "taketh away" (see on [1857]Joh 15:6); the fruitful He "purgeth" (cleanseth, pruneth)—stripping it, as the husbandman does, of what is rank (Mr 4:19), "that it may bring forth more fruit"; a process often painful, but no less needful and beneficial than in the natural husbandry.JAMIESON-FAUSSET

Andrew Kenny said...

The Vine

“I am the true vine.”

Two currents of thought are united by Christ when He speaks of Himself as “the true, the ideal vine.”

1. The Hebrew nation and Church in Old Testament times is called a vine. The Psalmist says: “Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it.” Isaiah says: “The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel.” Jeremiah says: “I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?” Ezekiel says of the kings of David’s house: “Thy mother was like a vine, in thy blood, planted by the waters; she was fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters.… And now she is planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty land.” The vine was used as an emblem of the Jewish nation under the Maccabees in the second century before Christ, and appears on their coins. But the people of Israel failed to live a life in harmony with the emblem. They did not bring forth fruit to God. They were not the True Vine.

Now, the Lord Jesus Christ has been planted in the earth like a great fruit-bearing tree, to do what the Hebrew nation failed to do. He is the “true,” that is, the genuine, the real, the perfect Vine; not a mere shadow of it, but its very root and stem, at once living and life-giving. He has been planted in the world of mankind and in the soil of human nature, that our race may yield fruit to the glory of God.

The departure of Israel from God and their ingratitude is illustrated by the comparison with “wild grapes,” “the degenerate plant of a strange vine,” “an empty vine,” “grapes of gall.” Finally, our Lord has selected the vine as the type of Himself in His intimate union with His disciples, who bore fruit through their union with Him: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.” “I am the vine, ye are the branches.”1 [Note: H. B. Tristram, The Natural History of the Bible, 413.]

2. But Christ may also have called Himself the true vine in distinction from the material vine, the image of which He had conjured up in the mind of His disciples. The images of the Bible, especially those employed by Christ, are not merely poetic figures. The outward is a real symbol of the invisible world; physical growths are a parable of spiritual growths, the kingdom of nature is a picture of the kingdom of grace, because both come from the same creative hand, are made subject to the same great laws, and are under the same great King. The physical vine is the shadow; Christ is the true, real vine, whom the shadow symbolizes; and it will last when the shadow has passed away.

The material creations of God are only inferior examples of that finer spiritual life and organism in which the creature is raised up to partake of the Divine nature.1 [Note: Dean Alford.] BARNES NOTES

Andrew Kenny said...

1. I am the true vine - So the true bread, Chap. vi, 32; that is, the most excellent.
2. Everyone that beareth fruit, he purifieth - by obeying the truth, 1 Pet. i, 22; and by inward or outward sufferings, Heb. xii, 10, 11. So purity and fruitfulness help each other. That it may bear more fruit - For this is one of the noblest rewards God can bestow on former acts of obedience, to make us yet more holy, and fit for farther and more eminent service.
3. Ye are clean - All of you, to whom I now speak, are purged from the guilt and power of sin; by the word - Which, applied by the Spirit, is the grand instrument of purifying the soul.
4. Abide in me - Ye who are now pure by living faith, producing all holiness; by which alone ye can be in me.JOHN WESLEY NOTES

Andrew Kenny said...

Christ the True vine, and as Bread.
Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of John — Origen
To what we have said must be added how the Son is the true vine. Those will have no difficulty in apprehending this who understand, in a manner worthy of the prophetic grace, the saying: "Wine maketh glad the heart of man." For if the heart be the intellectual part, and what rejoices it is the Word most pleasant of all to drink which takes us off human things, makes us feel ourselves inspired, and intoxicates us with an intoxication which is not irrational but divine, that, I conceive, with which Joseph made his brethren merry, then it is very clear how He who brings wine thus to rejoice the heart of man is the true vine. He is the true vine, because the grapes He bears are the truth, the disciples are His branches, and they, also, bring forth the truth as their fruit. It is somewhat difficult to show the difference between the vine and bread, for He says, not only that He is the vine, but that He is the bread of life. May it be that as bread nourishes and makes strong, and is said to strengthen the heart of man, but wine, on the contrary, pleases and rejoices and melts him, so ethical studies, bringing life to him who learns them and reduces them to practice, are the bread of life, but cannot properly be called the fruit of the vine, while secret and mystical speculations, rejoicing the heart and causing those to feel inspired who take them in, delighting in the Lord, and who desire not only to be nourished but to be made happy, are called the juice of the true vine, because they flow from it.

Andrew Kenny said...

SPURGEON ON verses 1-8
On the way from the supper table to the garden of Gethsemane, or while still lingering in the upper room, our Lord spoke this wondrous parable.
John 15:1. I am the true vine,-

All other vines are but shadows of Christ. They represent Christ, but he is himself the substance. the essence, the one great reality. He is the truth of all things that exist: “I am the true Vine.” Does anybody ask which is the true Church? All who are vitally joined to Christ are in the true Church, for he says, “I am the true Vine,”-
John 15:1. And my Father is the husbandman.

He cares for the Church with infinite wisdom and love. No one else can care for that true Vine as the Father-the Husbandman-does.
John 15:2. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away:

If there be any, who are only nominally in Christ, and who therefore bear no fruit, their doom is to be taken away; for, in order to final perseverance and eternal safety, there must be fruit-bearing.
John 15:2. And every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

Pruning, then, is for fruit-bearers. If the branch were dead, what would be the good of pruning it? Say not, dear friends that your afflictions must be caused by your sins; nay, rather they may come in consequence of your virtues. Because you do bear fruit, it is worth while for the Husbandman to use his knife upon you, that you may bring forth more fruit.
John 15:3-4. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you.

Give good heed to that sweet word, beloved brethren, “Abide in me.” Do not seem to get into Christ, and then depart from him. Add constancy to all your other graces.

Andrew Kenny said...

The true vine (η αμπελος η αλητινη — hē ampelos hē alēthinē). “The vine the genuine.” Assuming that the Lord‘s Supper had just been instituted by Jesus the metaphor of the vine is naturally suggested by “the fruit of the vine” (Mark 14:25; Matthew 26:29). Αμπελος — Ampelos in the papyri (Moulton and Milligan‘s Vocabulary) is sometimes used in the sense of ο γεωργος — ampelōn (vineyard), but not so here. Jesus uses various metaphors to illustrate himself and his work (the light, John 8:12; the door, John 10:7; the shepherd, John 10:11; the vine, John 15:1). The vine was common in Palestine. See Psalm 80:8. “On the Maccabean coinage Israel was represented by a vine” (Dods). Jesus is the genuine Messianic vine.

The husbandman (τεου γεωργιον — ho geōrgos) as in Mark 12:1; James 5:7; 2 Timothy 2:6. cf. 1 Corinthians 3:9, theou geōrgion (God‘s field).
Verse 2
Branch (κλημα — klēma). Old word from κλαω — klaō to break, common in lxx for offshoots of the vine, in N.T. only here (John 15:2-6), elsewhere in N.T. κλαδος — klados (Mark 4:32, etc.), also from κλαω — klaō both words meaning tender and easily broken parts.

In me (εν εμοι — en emoi). Two kinds of connexion with Christ as the vine (the merely cosmic which bears no fruit, the spiritual and vital which bears fruit). The fruitless (not bearing fruit, μη περον καρπον — mē pheron karpon) the vine-dresser “takes away” (αιρει — airei) or prunes away. Probably (Bernard) Jesus here refers to Judas.
Cleanseth (καταιρει — kathairei). Present active indicative of old verb καταιρω — kathairō (clean) as in John 15:3, only use in N.T., common in the inscriptions for ceremonial cleansing, though καταριζω — katharizō is more frequent (Hebrews 10:2).
That it may bear more fruit (ινα καρπον πλειονα περηι — hina karpon pleiona pherēi). Purpose clause with ινα — hina and present active subjunctive of περω — pherō “that it may keep on bearing more fruit” (more and more). A good test for modern Christians and church members.
Verse 3
Already ye are clean (ηδη υμεις καταροι εστε — ēdē humeis katharoi este). Potentially cleansed (Westcott) as in John 13:10 which see and John 17:19.

Verse 4
Abide in me (μεινατε εν εμοι — meinate en emoi). Constative aorist active imperative of μενω — menō The only way to continue “clean” (pruned) and to bear fruit is to maintain vital spiritual connexion with Christ (the vine). Judas is gone and Satan will sift the rest of them like wheat (Luke 22:31.). Blind complacency is a peril to the preacher.

Of itself (απ εαυτου — aph' heautou). As source (from itself) and apart from the vine (cf. John 17:17).
Except it abide (εαν μη μενηι — ean mē menēi). Condition of third class with εαν — ean negative μη — mē and present active (keep on abiding) subjunctive of μενω — menō Same condition and tense in the application, “except ye abide in me.”

Andrew Kenny said...

“I am the vine, ye are the branches.”—John 15.5

“Tis only a little Branch,
A thing so fragile and weak,
But that little Branch hath a message true
To give, could it only speak.
“I’m only a little Branch,
I live by a life not mine,
For the sap that flows through my tendrils small
Is the life-blood of the Vine.
“No power indeed have I
The fruit of myself to bear,
But since I’m part of the living Vine,
Its fruitfulness I share.
“Dost thou ask how I abide?
How this life I can maintain?—
I am bound to the Vine by life’s strong band,
And I only need remain.
“Where first my life was given,
In the spot where I am set,
Upborne and upheld as the days go by,
By the stem which bears me yet.
“I fear not the days to come,
I dwell not upon the past,
As moment by moment I draw a life,
Which for evermore shall last.
“I bask in the sun’s bright beams,
Which with sweetness fills my fruit,
Yet I own not the clusters hanging there,
For they all come from the root.”
A life which is not my own,
But another’s life in me:
This, this is the message the Branch would speak,
A message to thee and me.
Oh, struggle not to “abide,”
Nor labor to “bring forth fruit,”
But let Jesus unite thee to Himself,
As the Vine Branch to the root.
So simple, so deep, so strong
That union with Him shall be:
His life shall forever replace thine own,
And His love shall flow through thee.
For His Spirit’s fruit is love,
And love shall thy life become,
And for evermore on His heart of love
Thy spirit shall have her home.
Freda Hanbury

Andrew Kenny said...


I am the True Vine—John 15.1

All earthly things are the shadows of heavenly realities—the expression, in created, visible forms, of the invisible glory of God. The Life and the Truth are in Heaven; on earth we have figures and shadows of the heavenly truths. When Jesus says: “I am the true Vine,” He tells us that all the vines of earth are pictures and emblems of Himself. He is the divine reality, of which they are the created expression. They all point to Him, and preach Him, and reveal Him. If you would know Jesus, study the vine.
How many eyes have gazed on and admired a great vine with its beautiful fruit. Come and gaze on the heavenly Vine till your eye turns from all else to admire Him. How many, in a sunny clime, sit and rest under the shadow of a vine. Come and be still under the shadow of the true Vine, and rest under it from the heat of the day. What countless numbers rejoice in the fruit of the vine! Come, and take, and eat of the heavenly fruit of the true Vine, and let your soul say: “I sat under His shadow with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste.”
I am the true Vine.—This is a heavenly mystery. The earthly vine can teach you much about this Vine of Heaven. Many interesting and beautiful points of comparison suggest themselves, and help us to get conceptions of what Christ meant. But such thoughts do not teach us to know what the heavenly Vine really is, in its cooling shade, and its life-giving fruit. The experience of this is part of the hidden mystery, which none but Jesus Himself, by His Holy Spirit, can unfold and impart.
I am the true Vine.—The vine is the living Lord, who Himself speaks, and gives, and works all that He has for us. If you would know the meaning and power of that word, do not think to find it by thought or study; these may help to show you what you must get from Him to awaken desire and hope and prayer, but they cannot show you the Vine. Jesus alone can reveal Himself. He gives His Holy Spirit to open the eyes to gaze upon Himself, to open the heart to receive Himself. He must Himself speak the word to you and me.
I am the true Vine.—And what am I to do, if I want the mystery, in all its heavenly beauty and blessing, opened up to me? With what you already know of the parable, bow down and be still, worship and wait, until the divine Word enters your heart, and you feel His holy presence with you, and in you. The overshadowing of His holy love will give you the perfect calm and rest of knowing that the Vine will do all.
I am the true Vine.—He who speaks is God, in His infinite power able to enter into us. He is man, one with us. He is the crucified One, who won a perfect righteousness and a divine life for us through His death. He is the glorified One, who from the throne gives His Spirit to make His presence real and true. He speaks—oh, listen, not to His words only, but to Himself, as He whispers secretly day by day: “I am the true Vine! All that the Vine can ever be to its branch, “I will be to you.”
Holy Lord Jesus, the heavenly Vine of God’s own planting, I beseech Thee, reveal Thyself to my soul. Let the Holy Spirit, not only in thought, but in experience, give me to know all that Thou, the Son of God, art to me as the true Vine.

Andrew Kenny said...

And My Father is the Husbandman—John 15.1

A vine must have a husbandman to plant and watch over it, to receive and rejoice in its fruit. Jesus says: “My Father is the husbandman.” He was “the vine of God’s planting.” All He was and did, He owed to the Father; in all He only sought the Father’s will and glory. He had become man to show us what a creature ought to be to its Creator. He took our place, and the spirit of His life before the Father was ever what He seeks to make ours: “Of him, and through him, and to him are all things.” He became the true Vine, that we might be true branches. Both in regard to Christ and ourselves the words teach us the two lessons of absolute dependence and perfect confidence.
My Father is the Husbandman.—Christ ever lived in the spirit of what He once said: “The Son can do nothing of himself.” As dependent as a vine is on a husbandman for the place where it is to grow, for its fencing in and watering and pruning. Christ felt Himself entirely dependent on the Father every day for the wisdom and the strength to do the Father’s will. As He said in the previous chapter (14:10): “The words that I say unto you, I speak not from Myself; but the Father abiding in Me doeth his works.” This absolute dependence had as its blessed counterpart the most blessed confidence that He had nothing to fear: the Father could not disappoint Him. With such a Husbandman as His Father, He could enter death and the grave. He could trust God to raise Him up. All that Christ is and has, He has, not in Himself, but from the Father.
My Father is the Husbandman.—That is as blessedly true for us as for Christ. Christ is about to teach His disciples about their being branches. Before He ever uses the word, or speaks at all of abiding in Him or bearing fruit, He turns their eyes heavenward to the Father watching over them, and working all in them. At the very root of all Christian life lies the thought that God is to do all, that our work is to give and leave ourselves in His hands, in the confession of utter helplessness and dependence, in the assured confidence that He gives all we need. The great lack of the Christian life is that, even where we trust Christ, we leave God out of the count. Christ came to bring us to God. Christ lived the life of a man exactly as we have to live it. Christ the Vine points to God the Husbandman. As He trusted God, let us trust God, that everything we ought to be and have, as those who belong to the Vine, will be given us from above.
Isaiah said: “A vineyard of red wine; I the Lord do keep it, I will water it every moment; lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.” Ere we begin to think of fruit or branches, let us have our heart filled with the faith: as glorious as the Vine, is the Husbandman. As high and holy as is our calling, so mighty and loving is the God who will work it all. As surely as the Husbandman made the Vine what it was to be, will He make each branch what it is to be. Our Father is our Husbandman, the Surety for our growth and fruit.
Blessed Father, we are Thy husbandry. Oh, that Thou mayest have honor of the work of Thy hands! O my Father, I desire to open my heart to the joy of this wondrous truth: My Father is the Husbandman. Teach me to know and trust Thee, and to see that the same deep interest with which Thou care for and delight in the Vine, extends to every branch, to me too.Andrew Murray

Andrew Kenny said...

Every Branch in me that Beareth Not Fruit, He taketh It away—John 15.2

Here we have one of the chief words of the parable—branch. A vine needs branches: without branches it can do nothing, can bear no fruit. As important as it is to know about the Vine, and the Husbandman, it is to realize what the branch is. Before we listen to what Christ has to say about it, let us first of all take in what a branch is, and what it teaches us of our life in Christ. A branch is simply a bit of wood, brought forth by the vine for the one purpose of serving it in bearing its fruit. It is of the very same nature as the vine, and has one life and one spirit with it. Just think a moment of the lessons this suggests.
There is the lesson of entire consecration. The branch has but one object for which it exists, one purpose to which it is entirely given up. That is, to bear the fruit the vine wishes to bring forth. And so the believer has but one reason for his being a branch—but one reason for his existence on earth —that the heavenly Vine may through him bring forth His fruit. Happy the soul that knows this, that has consented to it, and that says, I have been redeemed and I live for one thing—as exclusively as the natural branch exists only to bring forth fruit, I too; as exclusively as the heavenly Vine exists to bring forth fruit, I too. As I have been planted by God into Christ, I have wholly given myself to bear the fruit the Vine desires to bring forth.
There is the lesson of perfect conformity. The branch is exactly like the vine in every aspect—the same nature, the same life, the same place, the same work. In all this they are inseparably one. And so the believer needs to know that he is partaker of the divine nature, and has the very nature and spirit of Christ in him, and that his one calling is to yield himself to a perfect conformity to Christ. The branch is a perfect likeness of the vine; the only difference is, the one is great and strong, and the source of strength, the other little and feeble, ever needing and receiving strength. Even so the believer is, and is to be, the perfect likeness of Christ.
There is the lesson of absolute dependence. The vine has its stores of life and sap and strength, not for itself, but for the branches. The branches are and have nothing but what the vine provides and imparts. The believer is called to, and it is his highest blessedness to enter upon, a life of entire and unceasing dependence upon Christ. Day and night, every moment, Christ is to work in him all he needs.
And then the lesson of undoubting confidence. The branch has no cure; the vine provides all; it has but to yield itself and receive. It is the sight of this truth that leads to the blessed rest of faith, the true secret of growth and strength: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
What a life would come to us if we only consented to be branches! Dear child of God, learn the lesson. You have but one thing to do: Only be a branch—nothing more, nothing less! Just be a branch; Christ will be the Vine that gives all. And the Husbandman, the mighty God, who made the Vine what it is, will as surely make the branch what it ought to be.
Lord Jesus, I pray Thee, reveal to me the heavenly mystery of the branch, in its living union with the Vine, in its claim on all its fullness. And let Thy all-sufficiency, holding and filling Thy branches, lead me to the rest of faith that knows that Thou workest all.

Andrew Kenny said...


Every Branch in me That Beareth Not Fruit, He Taketh It Away—John 15.2

Fruit.—This is the next great word we have: the Vine, the Husbandman, the branch, the fruit. What has our Lord to say to us of fruit? Simply this—that fruit is the one thing the branch is for, and that if it bear not fruit, the husbandman takes it away. The vine is the glory of the husbandman; the branch is the glory of the vine; the fruit is the glory of the branch; if the branch bring not forth fruit, there is no glory or worth in it; it is an offense and a hindrance; the husbandman takes it away. The one reason for the existence of a branch, the one mark of being a true branch of the heavenly Vine, the one condition of being allowed by the divine Husbandman to share the life the Vine is—bearing fruit.
And what is fruit? Something that the branch bears, not for itself, but for its owner; something that is to be gathered, and taken away. The branch does indeed receive it from the vine sap for its own life, by which it grows thicker and stronger. But this supply for its own maintenance is entirely subordinate to its fulfillment of the purpose of its existence—bearing fruit. It is because Christians do not understand or accept of this truth, that they so fail in their efforts and prayers to live the branch life. They often desire it very earnestly; they read and meditate and pray, and yet they fail, they wonder why? The reason is very simple: they do not know that fruit-bearing is the one thing they have been saved for. Just as entirely as Christ became the true Vine with the one object, you have been made a branch too, with the one object of bearing fruit for the salvation of men. The Vine and the branch are equally under the unchangeable law of fruit-bearing as the one reason of their being. Christ and the believer, the heavenly Vine and the branch, have equally their place in the world exclusively for one purpose, to carry God’s saving love to men. Hence the solemn word: Every branch that beareth not fruit, He taketh it away.
Let us specially beware of one great mistake. Many Christians think their own salvation is the first thing; their temporal life and prosperity, with the care of their family, the second; and what of time and interest is left may be devoted to fruit-bearing, to the saving of men. No wonder that in most cases very little time or interest can be found. No, Christian, the one object with which you have been made a member of Christ’s Body is that the Head may have you to carry out His saving work. The one object God had in making you a branch is that Christ may through you bring life to men. Your personal salvation, your business and care for your family, are entirely subordinate to this. Your first aim in life, your first aim every day, should be to know how Christ desires to carry out His purpose in you.
Let us begin to think as God thinks. Let us accept Christ’s teaching and respond to it. The one object of my being a branch, the one mark of my being a true branch, the one condition of my abiding and growing strong, is that I bear the fruit of the heavenly Vine for dying men to eat and live. And the one thing of which I can have the most perfect assurance is that, with Christ as my Vine, and the Father as my Husbandman, I can indeed be a fruitful branch.
Our Father, Thou comest seeking fruit. Teach us, we pray Thee, to realize how truly this is the one object of our existence, and of our union to Christ. Make it the one desire of our hearts to be branches, so filled with the Spirit of the Vine, as to bring forth fruit abundantly.

Andrew Kenny said...


And Every Branch That Beareth Fruit, He Cleanseth, That it May Bear More Fruit—John 15.2

The thought of fruit is so prominent in the eye of Him who sees things as they are, fruit is so truly the one thing God has set His heart upon, that our Lord, after having said that the branch that bears no fruit is taken away, at once adds: and where there is fruit, the one desire of the Husbandman is more fruit. As the gift of His grace, as the token of spiritual vigor, as the showing forth of the glory of God and of Christ, as the only way for satisfying the need of the world, God longs and fits for, more fruit.
More Fruit—This is a very searching word. As churches and individuals we are in danger of nothing so much as self-contentment. The secret spirit of Laodicea—we are rich and increased in goods, and have need of nothing—may prevail where it is not suspected. The divine warning—poor and wretched and miserable—finds little response just where it is most needed.
Let us not rest content with the thought that we are taking an equal share with others in the work that is being done, or that men are satisfied with our efforts in Christ’s service, or even point to us as examples. Let our only desire be to know whether we are bearing all the fruit Christ is willing to give through us as living branches, in close and living union with Himself, whether we are satisfying the loving heart of the great Husbandman, our Father in Heaven, in His desire for more fruit.
More Fruit—The word comes with divine authority to search and test our life: the true disciple will heartily surrender himself to its holy light, and will earnestly ask that God Himself may show what there may be lacking in the measure or the character of the fruit he bears. Do let us believe that the Word is meant to lead us on to a fuller experience of the Father’s purpose of love, of Christ’s fullness, and of the wonderful privilege of bearing much fruit in the salvation of men.
More Fruit—The word is a most encouraging one. Let us listen to it. It is just to the branch that is bearing fruit that the message comes: more fruit. God does not demand this as Pharaoh the task-master, or as Moses the lawgiver, without providing the means. He comes as a Father, who gives what He asks, and works what He commands. He comes to us as the living branches of the living Vine, and offers to work the more fruit in us, if we but yield ourselves into His hands. Shall we not admit the claim, accept the offer, and look to Him to work it in us?
“That it may bear more fruit”: do let us believe that as the owner of a vine does everything to make the fruitage as rich and large as possible, the divine Husbandman will do all that is needed to make us bear more fruit. All He asks is, that we set our heart’s desire on it, entrust ourselves to His working and care, and joyfully look to Him to do His perfect work in us. God has set His heart on more fruit; Christ waits to work it in us; let us joyfully look up to our divine Husbandman and our heavenly Vine, to ensure our bearing more fruit.
Our Father which art in Heaven, Thou art the heavenly Husbandman. And Christ is the heavenly Vine. And I am a heavenly branch, partaker of His heavenly life, to bear His heavenly fruit. Father, let the power of His life so fill me, that I may ever bear more fruit, to the glory of Thy name.

Andrew Kenny said...


Every Branch That Beareth Fruit, He Cleanseth It, That It May Bear More Fruit—John 15.2

There are two remarkable things about the vine. There is not a plant of which the fruit has so much spirit in it, of which spirit can be so abundantly distilled as the vine. And there is not a plant which so soon runs into wild wood, that hinders its fruit, and therefore needs the most merciless pruning. I look out of my window here on large vineyards: the chief care of the vinedresser is the pruning. You may have a trellis vine rooting so deep in good soil that it needs neither digging, nor manuring, nor watering: pruning it cannot dispense with, if it is to bear good fruit. Some tree needs occasional pruning; others bear perfect fruit without any: the vine must have it. And so our Lord tells us, here at the very outset of the parable, that the one work the Father does to the branch that bears fruit is: He cleanseth it, that it may bear more fruit.
Consider a moment what this pruning or cleansing is. It is not the removal of weeds or thorns, or anything from without that may hinder the growth. No; it is the cutting off of the long shoots of the previous year, the removal of something that comes from within, that has been produced by the life of the vine itself. It is the removal of something that is a proof of the vigor of its life; the more vigorous the growth has been, the greater the need for the pruning. It is the honest, healthy wood of the vine that has to be cut away. And why? Because it would consume too much of the sap to fill all the long shoots of last year’s growth: the sap must be saved up and used for fruit alone. The branches, sometimes eight and ten feet long, are cut down close to the stem, and nothing is left but just one or two inches of wood, enough to bear the grapes. It is when everything that is not needful for fruit-bearing has been relentlessly cut down, and just as little of the branches as possible has been left, that full, rich fruit may be expected.
What a solemn, precious lesson! It is not to sin only that the cleansing of the Husbandman here refers. It is to our own religious activity, as it is developed in the very act of bearing fruit. It is this that must be cut down and cleansed away. We have, in working for God, to use our natural gifts of wisdom, or eloquence, or influence, or zeal. And yet they are ever in danger of being unduly developed, and then trusted in. And so, after each season of work, God has to bring us to the end of ourselves, to the consciousness of the helplessness and the danger of all that is of man, to feel that we are nothing. All that is to be left of us is just enough to receive the power of the life-giving sap of the Holy Spirit. What is of man must be reduced to its very lowest measure. All that is inconsistent with the most entire devotion to Christ’s service must be removed. The more perfect the cleansing and cutting away of all that is of self, the less of surface over which the Holy Spirit is to be spread, so much the more intense can be the concentration of our whole being, to be entirely at the disposal of the Spirit. This is the true circumcision of the heart, the circumcision of Christ. This is the true crucifixion with Christ, bearing about the dying of the Lord Jesus in the body.
Blessed cleansing, God’s own cleansing! How we may rejoice in the assurance that we shall bring forth more fruit.
O our holy Husbandman, cleanse and cut away all that there is in us that would make a fair show, or could become a source of self-confidence and glorying. Lord, keep us very low, that no flesh may glory in Thy presence. We do trust Thee to do Thy work.

Andrew Kenny said...


Already Ye Are Clean Because of the Word I Have Spoken Unto You—John 15.3

What is the pruning knife of this heavenly Husbandman? It is often said to be affliction. By no means in the first place. How would it then fare with many who have long seasons free from adversity; or with some on whom God appears to shower down kindness all their life long? No; it is the Word of God that is the knife, shaper than any two-edged sword, that pierces even to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, and is quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. It is only when affliction leads to this discipline of the Word that it becomes a blessing; the lack of this heart-cleansing through the Word is the reason why affliction is so often unsanctified. Not even Paul’s thorn in the flesh could become a blessing until Christ’s Word—“My strength is made perfect in weakness”—had made him see the danger of self-exaltation, and made him willing to rejoice in infirmities.
The Word of God’s pruning knife. Jesus says: “Ye are already clean, because of the word I have spoken unto you.” How searchingly that word had been spoken by Him, out of whose mouth there went a sharp two-edged sword, as he had taught them! “Except a man deny himself, lose his life, forsake all, hate father and mother, he cannot be My disciple, he is not worthy of Me”; or as He humbled their pride, or reproved their lack of love, or foretold their all forsaking Him. From the opening of His ministry in the Sermon on the Mount to His words of warning in the last night, His Word had tried and cleansed them. He had discovered and condemned all there was of self; they were now emptied and cleansed, ready for the incoming of the Holy Spirit.
It is as the soul gives up its own thoughts, and men’s thoughts of what is religion, and yields itself heartily, humbly, patiently, to the teaching of the Word by the Spirit, that the Father will do His blessed work of pruning and cleansing away all of nature and self that mixes with our work and hinders His Spirit. Let those who would know all the Husbandman can do for them, all the Vine can bring forth through them, seek earnestly to yield themselves heartily to the blessed cleansing through the Word. Let them, in their study of the Word, receive it as a hammer that breaks and opens up, as a fire that melts and refines, as a sword that lays bare and slays all that is of the flesh. The word of conviction will prepare for the word of comfort and of hope, and the Father will cleanse them through the Word.
All ye who are branches of the true Vine, each time you read or hear the Word, wait first of all on Him to use it for His cleansing of the branch. Set your heart upon His desire for more fruit. Trust Him as Husbandman to work it. Yield yourselves in simple childlike surrender to the cleansing work of His Word and Spirit, and you may count upon it that His purpose will be fulfilled in you.
Father, I pray Thee, cleanse me through Thy Word. Let it search out and bring to light all that is of self and the flesh in my religion. Let it cut away every root of self-confidence, that the Vine may find me wholly free to receive His life and Spirit. O my holy Husbandman, I trust Thee to care for the branch as much as for the Vine. Thou only art my hope.ANDREW MURRAY

Andrew Kenny said...


Abide in Me, and I in You—John 15.4

When a new graft is placed in a vine and it abides there, there is a twofold process that takes place. The first is in the wood. The graft shoots its little roots and fibers down into the stem, and the stem grows up into the graft, and what has been called the structural union is effected. The graft abides and becomes one with the vine, and even though the vine were to die, would still be one wood with it. Then there is the second process, in which the sap of the vine enters the new structure, and uses it as a passage through which sap can flow up to show itself in young shoots and leaves and fruit. Here is the vital union. Into the graft which abides in the stock, the stock enters with sap to abide in it.
When our Lord says: “Abide in me, and I in you,” He points to something analogous to this. “Abide in me”: that refers more to that which we have to do. We have to trust and obey, to detach ourselves from all else, to reach out after Him and cling to Him, to sink ourselves into Him. As we do this, through the grace He gives, a character is formed, and a heart prepared for the fuller experience: “I in you,” God strengthens us with might by the Spirit in the inner man, and Christ dwells in the heart by faith.
Many believers pray and long very earnestly for the filling of the Spirit and the indwelling of Christ, and wonder that they do not make more progress. The reason is often this, the “I in you” cannot come because the “abide in me” is not maintained. “There is one body and one spirit”; before the Spirit can fill, there must be a body prepared. The graft must have grown into the stem, and be abiding in it before the sap can flow through to bring forth fruit. It is as in lowly obedience we follow Christ, even in external things, denying ourselves, forsaking the world, and even in the body seeking to be conformable to Him, as we thus seek to abide in Him, that we shall be able to receive and enjoy the “I in you.” The work enjoined on us: “Abide in me,” will prepare us for the work undertaken by Him: “I in you.”
In—The two parts of the injunction have their unity in that central deep-meaning word “in.” There is no deeper word in Scripture. God is in all. God dwells in Christ. Christ lives in God. We are in Christ. Christ is in us: our life taken up into His; His life received into ours; in a divine reality that words cannot express, we are in Him and He in us. And the words, “Abide in me and I in you,” just tell us to believe it, this divine mystery, and to count upon our God the Husbandman, and Christ the Vine, to make it divinely true. No thinking or teaching or praying can grasp it; it is a divine mystery of love. As little as we can effect the union can we understand it. Let us just look upon this infinite, divine, omnipotent Vine loving us, holding us, working in us. Let us in the faith of His working abide and rest in Him, ever turning heart and hope to Him alone. And let us count upon Him to fulfill in us the mystery: “Ye in me, and I in you.”
Blessed Lord, Thou dost bid me abide in Thee. How can I, Lord, except Thou show Thyself to me, waiting to receive and welcome and keep me? I pray Thee show me how Thou as Vine undertaketh to do all. To be occupied with Thee is to abide in Thee. Here I am, Lord, a branch, cleansed and abiding—resting in Thee, and awaiting the inflow of Thy life and grace.

Andrew Kenny said...


As the Branch Cannot Bear Fruit of Itself, Except It Abide In the Vine; No More Can Ye, Except Ye Abide in Me—John 15.4

We know the meaning of the word except. It expresses some indispensable condition, some inevitable law. “The branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine. No more can ye, except ye abide in me.” There is but one way for the branch to bear fruit, there is no other possibility, it must abide in unbroken communion with the vine. Not of itself, but only of the vine, does the fruit come. Christ had already said: “Abide in me”; in nature the branch teaches us the lesson so clearly; it is such a wonderful privilege to be called and allowed to abide in the heavenly Vine; one might have thought it needless to add these words of warning. But no—Christ knows so well what a renunciation of self is implied in this: “Abide in me”; how strong and universal the tendency would be to seek to bear fruit by our own efforts; how difficult it would be to get us to believe that actual, continuous abiding in Him is an absolute necessity! He insists upon the truth: Not of itself can the branch bear fruit; except it abide, it cannot bear fruit. “No more can ye, except ye abide in me.”
But must this be taken literally? Must I, as exclusively, and manifestly, and unceasingly, and absolutely, as the branch abides in the vine, be equally given up to find my whole life in Christ alone? I must indeed. The except ye abide is as universal as the except it abide. The no more can ye admits of no exception or modification. If I am to be a true branch, if I am to bear fruit, if I am to be what Christ as Vine wants me to be, my whole existence must be as exclusively devoted to abiding in Him, as that of the natural branch is to abiding in its vine.
Let me learn the lesson. Abiding is to be an act of the will and the whole heart. Just as there are degrees in seeking and serving God, “not with a perfect heart,” or “with the whole heart,” so there may be degrees in abiding. In regeneration the divine life enters us, but does not all at once master and fill our whole being. This comes as matter of command and obedience. There is unspeakable danger of our not giving ourselves with our whole heart to abide. There is unspeakable danger of our giving ourselves to work for God, and to bear fruit, with but little of the true abiding, the wholehearted losing of ourselves in Christ and His life. There is unspeakable danger of much work with but little fruit, for lack of this one thing needful. We must allow the words, “not of itself,” “except it abide,” to do their work of searching and exposing, of pruning and cleansing, all that there is of self-will and self-confidence in our life; this will deliver us from this great evil, and so prepare us for His teaching, giving the full meaning of the word in us: “Abide in me, and I in you.”
Our blessed Lord desires to call us away from ourselves and our own strength, to Himself and His strength. Let us accept the warning, and turn with great fear and self-distrust to Him to do His work. “Our life is hid with Christ in God!” That life is a heavenly mystery, hid from the wise even among Christians, and revealed unto babes. The childlike spirit learns that life is given from Heaven every day and every moment to the soul that accepts the teaching: “not of itself,” “except it abide,” and seeks its all in the Vine. Abiding in the Vine then comes to be nothing more nor less than the restful surrender of the soul to let Christ have all and work all, as completely as in nature the branch knows and seeks nothing but the vine.
Abide in Me. I have heard, my Lord, that with every command, Thou also givest the power to obey. With Thy “rise and walk,” the lame man leaped, I accept Thy word, “Abide in me,” as a word of power, that gives power, and even now I say, Yea, Lord, I will, I do abide in Thee.ANDREW MURRAY