Have you ever missed a plane because you read the date or time wrong?
Have you ever missed a benefit because you didn’t know it was there?
Coupon for something free that expired?
Have you ever ignored a warning sign because you didn’t know what it meant?
There is a kind of adversity that many mature Christians don’t understand.
It is called pruning.
Many Christians miss the blessing of pruning because they misunderstand what is happening.
Bottom Line: God prunes all fruit producing Christians to make us more fruitful.
Homiletical question: What is pruning?
1. Pruning is only for Christians.
Something that only happens to Christians.
Christians have a unique relationship with Jesus and God the Father.
Here Jesus uses a metaphor and calls Himself the true vine and His Father is the gardener or vinedresser.
Jesus is going to talk about those who He says are “in me.”
This only refers to Christians.
He mentions there are some “in me” who are don’t belong there.
Judas is in this category as well as many who claim to be disciples but really aren’t.
Jesus mentioned these in Matthew 7:21-23
The main point of this passage is directed to Christians, not to people who only claim to be Christ followers.
It’s for those who are genuinely in Christ, those who have trusted Jesus died on the cross was buried and rose again to pay for their sins.
All who have placed their faith in Jesus for salvation are placed in Christ.
Jesus statement that they are already clean is an allusion to what Jesus said when washing the disciples feet about how the believing disciples were different from Judas.
2. Pruning is about productivity.
Something God uses to make us more productive, more fruitful.
There are three levels of fruit bearing Christians.
A. Four levels of fruit production
No fruit John 15:2
Fruit John 15:2
More fruit John 15:2
Much fruit John 15:5
B. Four types of fruit
Godly character Galatians 5:22-23
Good works Ephesians 2:10
Effective Prayer John 15:7
Missional fruit John 14:12
3. Pruning changes our priorities.
The method God uses to make us more productive is called pruning.
Pruning can be painful.
They can be misunderstood as punishment when they are the opposite.
They are a reward for producing fruit!
Pruning isn’t something we choose.
It’s something God does to us.
In order to recognize and understand pruning we have to perform a self-examination.
A. Location - Genesis 46:1-29, Genesis 50:19-20
God moves you or someone in your life.
Jacob and his family to Egypt.
Genesis 46:1-29, Genesis 50:19-20 This frees you to focus on ministry.
B. People - Daniel 1:1-7
God takes people, family and friends, out of our lives or us out of other’s lives.
Daniel and his friends to Babylon.
Daniel 1:1-7 It is easy to depend upon people and not take initiative.
The influence of family and friends can stifle our ministry and dreams.
He can do this in many ways.
This includes things such as a transfer to another location, a promotion, resulting in a person not having the free time to spend with you he or she once had.
Stage of life change
A friend gets married and no longer has time to spend with you.
Someone has to care for family member doesn’t have time for you.
God changes what we do often because we’re to comfortable to change on our own.
Joseph from shepherd to manager of a house to manager of a prison to manager of a country.
Genesis 37:12-28; 39:1-6; 39:20-23; 41:39-40 We can love a good job that takes time away from ministry.
Ministry can be family or church.
Remove our job to focus on ministry.
Reduce our hours in one area to enable us to free us to increase them in a different area.
Redirect our energy by de-emphasizing one role to emphasize another.
4. Pruning works through our perseverance.
The godly response to this happening is to embrace what God is doing and work harder for Him.
A. Accept (with relief) God’s loving direction.
John 15:5, 9
B. Abide in Jesus by continuing with faithful obedience.
C. Acknowledge with joy God’s plan for you.
D. Ask God for more fruit.