Our Bible Portion: The Vine and the Branches

John 15:5  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 7
“I am the Vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in Me, and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; FOR WITHOUT ME YE CAN DO NOTHING.”—John 15:55I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (John 15:5).
EVERY professing Christian is a branch of Christ, the true Vine, even as every Israelite was a branch of the vine of Israel; and, being a branch, the believer is responsible to abide in Christ. How is fruit to be borne?
The branch apart from the parent stem is a branch and nothing more. The branch possesses in itself no power whatever to bear fruit, and the Lord says, “Without,” or apart from, “Me ye can do nothing.” Fruit-bearing results from abiding in Christ. The Lord says:—
“ABIDE IN ME, AND I IN YOU. AS THE BRANCH CANNOT BEAR FRUIT OF ITSELF, EXCEPT IT ABIDE IN THE VINE, NO MORE CAN YE, EXCEPT YE ABIDE IN ME” (John 15:44Abide in me, and I in you. 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)).
Let us mark the order of these words. First the Lord says:— “Abide in Me,” next, “I in you.”
This shows us that His abiding in us is conditional upon our abiding in Him, and is quite different from the sovereignty which has made us by His Spirit members of His body, or which has chosen us for the purpose that we should go and bring forth fruit. It is gracious, indeed, that the Lord should abide in us, but the point which we would press is the condition marked out in the Lord’s word, “If ye abide in Me” (ver. 7): “If ye keep My commandments” (ver. 10). The question is not of life, but of fruitfulness: and fruitfulness is the result of abiding, not simply of life in Christ. If we are full of ourselves or the world, we are not abiding in Christ, and therefore He is not abiding in us. We may have life in Him, and be members of His body, but yet not have communion with Him. These words of the Lord, “Abide in Me and I in you,” are directly practical, and make it perfectly clear that
Unless Christ abides in us, we do not bear fruit.
He said, “Without Me ye can do nothing.” We may be very busy, and there may be a fine show, but when the fruit is looked for by the Father it will be “nothing.” Christ is the strength of all practical holiness wrought by God’s people: APART FROM CHRIST, LET THE WORK DONE OCCUPY THE LENGTH OF AN HOUR OR A YEAR, THERE IS NO FRUIT FOR GOD. We shall not bear fruit by occupying ourselves in inquiring whether we are so doing, but being occupied with Christ, we bear fruit. His dependence on His Father, and His obedience, are thus. in a small degree. reproduced in us.
Fruit-bearing, it must be borne in mind, is not necessarily testimony for God.
We need not be preachers, teachers, Sunday-school workers, or anything else, in order to bear fruit: no, we may be poor sick creatures upon our beds, unable to say one word. The Father is the husbandman, and He knows where and what the fruit is. And of this much we are sure, whoever abides in Christ bears fruit.
We are called to bear fruit upon earth—for we belong to Christ: and no doubt every believer does bear some fruit for God. The vine grows on the earth, not in heaven: and heaven will not be the place where believers bear fruit for God, as Jesus did when He was here below. The Lord says, “Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit” (mark, “much fruit”): “so shall ye be My disciples” (ver. 8). The whole of the Lord’s life was one continuous act of fruit-bearing. When alone in prayer, alone in conflict, a child subject to His parents, everywhere and at all times, Jesus bore much fruit for His Father. It is as following Him that we glorify His Father, and bearing much fruit, we are like our Master, who says to us, “So shall ye be My disciples.”