Part 3: What Vine are you Abiding In?

Part 3: 2nd Point: What fruit are you bearing?

Back to our passage in John:

John 15:4 “…As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

So, what kind of fruit are you bearing? Are you bearing any fruit at all? Surely you are.

The purpose of this useless branch – notice how the branches are pruned and taken away, but never the vine – is to bear fruit. There is no other purpose. In order to bear fruit the branch must be fully connected to the vine. The branch gets all its sustenance from the vine. All the water and nutrients come from the roots to the vine to the branches in order to bear fruit. If the branch is disconnected or partially connected, it will NOT bear fruit…and we know what happens to that branch.

Jesus mentions “FRUIT” 6 times in this passage, do you think he is serious about it?


Are you abiding in one of these unTRUE vines? One of these FALSE vines described earlier and are you bearing BAD FRUIT? Give me some examples of BAD FRUIT…

Romans 1:28-32
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Any of these sound familiar?

Colossians 3:5-10
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Any of these sound familiar?

Galatians 5:16-21
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

That is some BAD FRUIT. Rotten, horrible, deadly fruit.

Do you really want to be bearing the fruit of the world? Do you really want to be bearing the fruit of Satan?


Now, let’s talk about some good news, those branches that are truly connected to the vine and are abiding in the vine will bear GOOD fruit. When you have the Holy Spirit in you, you will be free from this bad fruit. These vines get their nutrients and water from the vine and the fruit will grow. Your fruit may be meager and weak…maybe one little sickly grape. Will you be able to spend your life like this? No, God will prune you. But even that meager fruit bearing branch will get the attention of the Father and he will move you to be more fruitful. He will work in you and on you.
Give me some examples of GOOD FRUIT…

Best verse is of course Galatians 5:22, which is the continuation of the verses on Bad Fruit above...the fruit of the Spirit:

Galatians 5:22-23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Does any of this sound familiar?

How about 1 Corinthians 13:
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.


Colossians 3:12-17
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Now, pay special attention to this:

John MacArthur asks a great question: “Can we put fruit on?” He describes the Christian who reads Galatians 5:22-23 and decides to work hard to bear fruit. He spends all week working to love everyone…then he spends next week trying to be joyful…then the next being patient…you get the idea. None of his efforts will be lasting or real. John 15:4-6 you CANNOT bear fruit on your own…you can do NOTHING without Christ.

You can do nothing without abiding in the vine. You can’t put your fruit on…and run around like the Fruit of the loom guys in big puffy fruit suits. Put on fruit isn’t real and it doesn’t fool God. Jesus isn’t saying, “abide in me by working really hard to bear fruit. Let’s look at verses 15:4-5 again.

John 15:4-5
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Now, let’s couple that with verses 10 &12 to for more detail:

John 15:10&12
“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my father’s commandments and abide in his love…this is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

Do you keep his commandments in order to abide? Or do you keep his commandments because you abide? Do you love one another in order to abide? Or do you love one another because you abide? You love one another because you abide…keeping his commandments is subject to your abiding. You can’t keep his commandments on your own.

So, how do you bear fruit? How do you bring forth godliness and holiness and Christ-likeness? You simply abide in Christ and GOD will bear the fruit through you. Stay near Christ, rest in him, abide in him and you will naturally be fruitful.

Again, this is very important:

You don’t bear fruit by doing things…doing things (being obedient and doing good works) is the Fruit! The fruit is what you are doing…you only do things because God works in your through the work of the Holy Spirit in you. Obedience to God is the fruit from abiding, not the act of abiding. I want to say that again. Obedience is the fruit from abiding, not the act of abiding. Abiding is resting in Christ fully.

Praise God it isn’t about you! Praise God you don’t have to work at being fruitful, you just have to be IN HIM!

Keller Hackbusch


Part 2: What Vine are you Abiding In?

Part 2: What vine are you abiding in?

Jesus looks in the eyes of his disciples, who are probably a bit shell shocked, and tells them:

John 1:1-2
“I am the true vine and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away…

Jump to v 6

If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

AND BURNED! Do you see this? Jesus is comparing the non-abiding branches to the abiding branches and those that do not abide do not bear fruit and are completely worthless and he cuts them off and he burns them. Just an hour or so earlier, Christ pointed out how one of his disciples was going to betray him: Judas. He is telling the remaining disciples about Judas – the betrayer of Christ. He is comparing the abiding disciple to the non-abiding disciple represented by Judas.
Think about Judas, he was with Christ everyday for 3 years. He heard every sermon, went to every Sunday school, did every bible study, and he went to every retreat and every church event. He may have even gone to the singles dinner. Here is the unbelievable thing: I’m sure he even sat in a quiet place with Christ – his loving mentor and teacher – listened to him teach about himself and his fulfillment of prophecy and the law.
Can’t you see Jesus and Peter or John sitting along the shore of Galilee talking intimately? Or Philip sitting with Christ under the shade of a big tree? Judas did this as well. He was face-to-face and sitting close to Jesus learning one-on-one with the creator and savior of the universe…he sat listening to Jesus. Can you hear it? “Believe in me, Judas, and it will be counted to you as righteousness.”

Do you hear it?


But, he was with Christ and never abided. He didn’t stay close to Christ. His life was not for Christ. His heart was set on something else. He was not IN HIM. Judas didn’t abide in the true vine.

What are you abiding in?
  • Are you abiding in Christ?
  • Or are you abiding in yourself?
  • Are you abiding in video games?
  • Computers?
  • TV?
  • Sports?
  • Your friends?
  • Your parents?
  • How about religion and good works?
What is it for you? – What false vines are you abiding in?

For me it is usually work, family, house, computers, and books that I am drawn to abide in.

No matter what you are abiding in, you’ll bear fruit. But you’ll notice that Christ quickly points out that the vinedresser – who is the Father – takes away the branches that do not bear the spiritual fruit of godliness. These fruitless withering branches are worthless. Think about this – the branches from a grape vine are the most worthless of all trees and wood products. They serve one purpose only…to bear fruit. The withered branches can’t be used to build a house. They can’t be used to build anything. They can’t even be burned for heating a house or cooking. They are worthless. The withered branches are tossed in God’s rubbish pile and are BURNED.

C.H. Spurgeon put it this way in his sermon, “The Fruitless Vine,”

“If it were any other kind of a tree he would at least reserve it for chopping up to make a fire within the master’s house, but this is much an ignominious thing, he throws it away in the corner and burns it up with the weeds. If it were a stout old oak, it might have the funeral of the Yule log, with honor in its burning, and brightness in its flame; but the fruitless vine is treated with contempt, and left to smolder with the weeds, the refuse, and the rubbish. It is a miserable thing.”

DO NOT become one of these branches. You must abide in Christ to have eternal life. If you don’t abide, you will fall in line with those like Judas who knew Christ, but never abided. They were never in Him. They will never inherit the promises of eternal life.

Jesus uses the word ABIDE – 11 times in this passage (if you count v 16). You think he is serious or what? Listen to the definition of abiding:

a) to remain
b) in reference to place: to sojourn, tarry, not to depart, to continue to be present, to be held, kept, continually
c) in reference to time: to continue to be, not to perish, to last, endure
d) of persons: to survive, live
e) in reference to state or condition: to remain as one, not to become another or different, to wait for, await one

This is such a blessing. Wait on Christ. Do not depart. Continue in him, endure…Abide in Christ is the point. He wants you abiding in him. He does not want you abiding in other things. Find rest and peace in Christ.

Moses, in Psalm 91, provides a great definition of abiding for us (my favorite).

Psalm 91:1-2:
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Abiding in Christ is to rest in him, to rest quietly without fear or anxiety to the point that you doze off comfortably in your savior’s arms – at peace.


Now, even the branches that are abiding in Christ and are showing fruit get some treatment from the Vinedresser. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes. The Father will prune you in order that you bear more fruit. Do you hear this? God wants you to bear fruit and he will prune you so that each season you bear more and more fruit.

Pruning – this is another one that you have to hear the definition: “to reduce especially by eliminating superfluous matter for more fruitful growth.”

Each one of us here this morning and me have superfluous matter in our lives and the Father is coming to reduce it! He will. I have been through this. I can speak of personal experience on this one. God does not want you to remain where you are…he wants you to be more fruitful. He will remove things from your life so that you will be more fruitful.

Pruning hurts. No doubt about it, pruning is a painful experience that God will take us through. The Father’s desire is to conform you into the image of Christ and he’ll do that be cutting away the junk from your life. That junk might be a job, or a friend, or money, or comfort, or luxuries, or your health. These things will hurt when they are cut off, but you will become more fruitful the next season IF you are abiding in Christ.

James 1:2-4
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

2 Corinthians 3:18
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

The word “changed” or “transformed” here is Meh-ta-mar-pha-toh, which is obviously related to our own English word of metamorphosis, which means to change in appearance, condition or character. Here is another passage dealing with the Father transforming or pruning us:

Hebrews 12:7-11
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

When you abide, you will bear fruit, but God will prune you in order that you are made perfect and complete lacking in nothing – IN and THROUGH CHRIST.

Keller Hackbusch

Part 1: What Vine are you Abiding In?

Part One - What vine are you abiding in?

One of my favorite passages in scripture is Jesus’ teaching on the vine and the branches. Recently I had a chance to work through this passage with the high school group at our church and look at what it means for Christ to be the Vine and for the believer to be the branch in relation to the changing and transforming nature of their young lives. Here is the passage:

John 15:1-11
15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Background and Context

Before we get into the meat of this passage we need to consider the context and set the stage a bit. Just two chapters previous to this we see Jesus and the disciples entering the upper room to celebrate the Passover together. This was probably a few hours before Jesus teaches on the vine and the branches. In the upper room, Christ knows he is on his way to the cross and he knows the misery and suffering that is to come. He takes time during this last supper to teach the disciples massive truths. From chapter 13 to our passage in chapter 15 we see all of this:

- Jesus washes the feet of the disciples and introduces servant leadership – love one another (John 13:1-17) – remember this
- Jesus tells of a disciple who will betray him. (John 13:18-30) – remember this
- Jesus introduces communion – (Mat 26:26-29)
- Jesus introduces the new covenant of his blood (Luke 22:20)
- Jesus introduces a new commandment – love one another (John 13:31-35) – remember this
- Jesus foretells of Peter’s denial (John 13:36-38)
- Jesus drops the deity bomb by declaring that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no one comes to the Father except through him…and if you have seen him you have seen the father. (John 14:1-14)
- Jesus promises the Holy Spirit (John 14:16)

After all these huge topics that Christ slips onto his unsuspecting disciples during this little Passover dinner, says in v 31: “Rise and let us go from here!” The disciples I’m sure are sitting at the table looking at each other asking, “What did he say? Another is coming? A Helper? What was that about eating his body?” – and Jesus gets up to move on…probably leaving the disciple scrambling to catch up with Him.

According to Harry Ironside in his commentary and also in Morgan’s commentary, there are a couple of possible reasons why Christ compares himself to a vine and defines himself as the TRUE Vine.

1. As Christ and the disciples leave the upper room at night – probably dark by then – and walk past the Temple, they would have passed by the temple Gates which have a huge golden vine with hanging fruit – representing the Old Testament references of Israel (Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah,, Ezekial) as the vine. You could see Christ stopping the disciples in the tracks and point up to this vine above the gates and say, “I am the TRUE VINE – abide in me.” Now, there is a whole rabbit trail – more like a freeway system to follow related to Christ as the true vine in reference to the Old Testament passages, however, we don’t have time to deal with now.

2. The second possibility is that as they were walking through the Kidron Valley on their way to the Gethsemane, they passed a vineyard along the path, and again, you can see Christ stop the disciples and say: “I am the TRUE VINE!”
Neither of these can be confirmed historical or biblically, but they provide us with a nice picture of this late night adventure.

This passage, John 15:1-11, is about as famous of a scriptural passage as you can find in the Bible and we can’t get anywhere near being able to deal with everything, so I have boiled it down to four points that I want you to learn, own, and live out:

Point #1 - What vine are you abiding in?
Point #2 - What kind of fruit are you bearing?
Point #3 - Why does Christ tell us these things?
Point #4 - How do we abide? – The practical side

Keller Hackbusch