/The grand old preacher Vance Havner/ /once said/ God has written his message to us in two books, the revelation of nature and the God-breathed Scriptures.[i]
* *The Bible confirms Havner’s words in
*Ro 1:20* /For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead…/
Perhaps this is why Jesus Christ so often uses the natural world in His teachings.
Flip through the Gospels and you hear Jesus speak of mustard seeds, wheat and tares, trees, fish, and vineyards.
So often Jesus asks us to look closer at nature to understand deeper truths about life and how to live it to the fullest.
A good example of this is found in *John 15:1-6*.
This is a snippet from a long last conversation Jesus has with His apostles before He goes to the Cross.
He’s trying to help them understand what is about to happen, trying to comfort and encourage them.
In this process, He shows them and us the secret to living a fruitful life.
Not a /fruity/ life, but a /fruitful /life, a life that’s beautiful and rich, and full like ripe red apples on a tree, or sweet juicy grapes on the vine; a life that fulfills the purpose for which we are created.
What is the secret to experiencing this kind of life?
Jesus gives it in *John 15:1-6.*
* *The secret of a fruitful life involves 3 crucial areas:
*1. **You must make the right connection.*
If you’re going to get anywhere in agriculture, you’ve got to be able to understand how things connect with one another.
I read of a couple of brothers who moved from the city and bought a farm.
They didn’t have a clue how to farm, so they visited the general store down the road, where the owner told them, “Well, boys, the first thing you need is a plow.
And of course, you need a mule to pull the plow.
I’ve got a plow, but I’m running a little low on mules.
I do happen to have a couple of mule eggs I can let you have cheap---$100 for both.”
Soon they were driving back to the farm in their pickup with a brand new plow and 2 mule eggs in the back—what you and I call watermelons.
About this time they hit one of those deep potholes and the plow and the mule eggs flip out of the truck and both watermelons bust wide open.
It just happens a jackrabbit runs across the road, and both brothers yell, “There goes our baby mule!”
They take out after him, but after almost an hour, they both give up the chase.
One turns to the other and says, “Well, I guess he got away.
That’s $100 lost.”
To which the other brother says, “It’s just as well.
There is no way I can plow that fast!”
These poor fellows were missing some important connections.
To understand Jesus’ words here, you have to make some important agricultural connections.
Some fruits grow on trees—apples, peaches.
Other fruits grow on vines—in ancient time the most popular were grapes.
For grapes, the vine is the source of life for the entire plant.
You can’t have healthy branches without a healthy vine, and only a healthy vine produces fruit that’s worth anything.
There must be a healthy connection between the vine and the branches if you want to enjoy good fruit.
Jesus uses this connection to illustrate the connection that produces a fruitful life.
In *vs. 1 *He says /I am the true Vine…=the genuine Vine.
/Of all the people or things that promise to give us a fruitful life—money, power, pleasure, pride—they are all a dead end.
Jesus Christ is the only real Source of eternal, abundant, fruitful life.
/ /He goes on to say in *vs.
/I am the vine, *you are the branches*…/ You and I are not sources of life; we are dependent on the true Vine for our life and our strength.
/Without Me you can do nothing… /doesn’t literally mean we can’t do anything at all, but it does mean that apart from Christ we cannot produce a fruitful life.
We are not independent, but completely dependent on Him to produce fruit.
Yet if you back up to *vs.
4*, the Lord does say we have a responsibility to /abide in Him= make our home in Him.
/The idea is not just that we drop by for a visit with Jesus now and then.
You may spend a night or a week or month at a hotel, or your great Aunt Sally’s house.
But you don’t /abide/ there; you /abide /in your own home.
You cannot enjoy a fruitful life unless you make your home in Christ.
Basically Jesus says /If you want to experience a fruitful life, you’ve got to connect your life with mine, you’ve got to draw your life and strength from Me, as a branch draws life and strength from the vine.
/That’s the right connection you have to make.
Now let me make some practical connections about what Jesus is saying.
First of all, it’s probably obvious to you not everybody makes the right connection.
Not everybody is connected with the true Vine, Jesus Christ.
The Bible says there are many people who are, in the words of
*Eph 2:12* /…without Christ…having no hope and without God in the world./
Their lives are like some of the fruit you sometimes see that looks so pretty and juicy, and you pick it up and realize it’s artificial.
It looks good, but it has no life.
But here’s where my analogy breaks down, because that plastic fruit will never have life, but you and I can have life if we connect with Christ.
The Bible says you and I make that crucial connection through repentance and faith—turning from sin and self, and trusting Christ as your Savior, and surrendering yourself to Him as your Master.
Have you made this connection?
It’s the only way to enjoy a fruitful life.
*Jn 3:36* /He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him./
But after you make this connection, you must abide in Him.
To abide in Christ means to continually live in His presence, continually live in a relationship of faith in Christ, love for Christ, and obedience to Christ (cf.
Some of the things that help you abide in Him include prayer, reading your Bible and obeying what you read, coming to church, fellowshipping with other people who abide in Christ.
Abide with Him as a faithful wife abides with her husband.
Abide with Him the way a branch clings to and draws life and strength from the Vine.
*Col 2:6-7 */6//As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving./
/A fruitful life is a life connected to Christ.
The secret of a fruitful life is to make the right connection, but Jesus also says
*2. **Your life must be cultivated.
In /First Things First/, Roger Merrill tells of a businessman who decided to landscape his grounds.
He hired a woman with a college degree in horticulture.
Because [he] was very busy and traveled a lot, he [emphasized] to her the need to create his garden…that would require little or no maintenance on his part.
He insisted on automatic sprinklers and other labor-saving devices.
Finally she stopped and said, "There's one thing you need to deal with before we go any further.
If there's no gardener, there's no garden!"[ii]
A vine needs somebody to tend it to make it the most fruitful it can be.
Jesus says our lives need cultivating to make us fruitful.
Jesus says our Vinedresser is His Heavenly Father and in *vs.
2* and *vs.
6* Jesus divides His work into 2 primary areas:
He prunes fruitful branches.
I’m no gardener.
I once grew a tomato plant for a school
project, but my thumbs don’t have a hint of green on them.
But I have heard about the importance of pruning from friends who are gardeners.
The word for /prune= to cleanse/, that is to cut off and remove anything that hinders the fruitfulness of the branch.
The gardener is not trying to destroy the branch, but to make it healthier.
The disciples Jesus speaks to here are about to experience this pruning when Jesus is arrested and they are scattered.
Their expectations of Him, their false loyalty (remember how they all promised with Peter they would die with Him?) all this must be stripped away before they can become the men whose life become fruitful.
Jesus is telling them and telling us /the Father prunes the good branches to make them more fruitful.
/On the other hand the gardener also has another important task:
He removes unfruitful branches.