Friday, March 26, 2010

Vine and Branches

By Hayley Boud

John 15:5
“I am the vine and you are the branches, if a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit but apart from me, you can do nothing”

The Vine:

God is the vine. The vine supplies the branches with all the food, water and nutrients it needs. Without the vine, the branches can’t survive. If the plant doesn't take the nutrients from the vine, the leaves slowly start dying, they start to dry up and go brown until the whole plant dies. It doesn’t die over night. If you stop watering a plant, you won’t notice a dramatic change on the first day, but after a few days you will see the difference.

We as Christians we need God to survive. We need His living water (Word of God) to survive spiritually. If we stop feeding from Him and we separate ourselves from Him, stop praying, stop reading the Word of God....we will slowly start to die. Our leaves will wither and dry up. But it won’t happen overnight. If I stop reading my Bible, I won’t feel anything straight away. I might feel like something is missing on the first day but I won’t feel like I’m dying but slowly, slowly we start to die spiritually and once our leaves are dead...there is not much chance of survival. Let’s be careful with our salvation...let’s not neglect it because there are Christians who decide not to follow God anymore and I don’t want that to be any of us.

We have to be careful to not let our spiritual lives become dry. When we do that things will change...we will go to church or to the prayer meeting and it will be boring – we won’t feel the power of God because the Word says to draw near to Him and then He will draw near to us. If we don’t draw near to God daily then we will feel God’s presence leaving us and we will feel it because we won’t have the same zeal to read the Bible anymore or to pray or to worship or to visit the sick or to go to church. Slowly, slowly our spirit will die.
The Branches:
We are the branches. The branches also supply food to other branches so if my role is to supply food to others but myself is not taking will the other branches survive? Sometimes we are selfish and think, ‘if I don’t read the Bible’, or ‘if I don’t pray’, or ‘if I don’t go to church today’, that it only affects me but it doesn’t only affect affects those who come after me. It affects the church, the unbelievers, our children, our family and friends. If we neglect our own salvation, then we will also neglect the salvation of others.

Branches can also get tumours which (if allowed to grow) can kill the entire branch and eventually the whole tree. When we sin we sometimes think that it’s just a small sin and we might think it’s ok because it’s too small to deal with but that small sin can start to grow in us just like a tumour. Tumours don’t start out big. Tumours start out so small that you can only see them under the microscope. They are so small that you actually can’t see them with your naked eye. This small tumour starts to grow and it grows slowly at first because each cell is doubling so a small cell that doubles is still going to be small but once the tumour is visible and it starts to double...the result is frighteningly fast. That’s why you see people with tumours that are bigger than them. I used to think, ‘why did they let the tumour get that big before doing anything about it’ but I learnt that the tumour grows so incredibly fast.

This is the same with our sin. It can start so small that no one sees it but it grows and grows until it eventually kills us. It might not only kill you, but it might kill those around you. A branch on a tree that gets a tumour will start to die and so will the branches around it until the whole tree is dead. We can destroy not only our own souls but those around us and even the whole church. E.g. there is a worship leader who sinned secretly by looking at pornography and he thought it was hidden and no one could see. But his conscience was telling him otherwise. He kept ignoring his conscience until eventually he started to become physically sick. He knew he was sick because of his sin but he couldn’t admit it, so he told people he had cancer to hide his sin. Eventually, he couldn’t continue to lie to his wife and family and church about having cancer and eventually, he admitted his sin. But by then, the tumour was so huge that damage was done...who will trust him? Who will trust the church?

Soooo....when we sin we must automatically repent so the sin doesn’t keep growing. We must also stop sinning. We must not let the tumour grow or it will eventually not only kill our own life but those around us and eventually even the church.
The Fruit:
The fruit is our gifts. Only the branches hold the fruit. Some branches have big fruit and it makes the branch to bend down and struggle but they continue to hold the fruit and they continue to feed it and supply it with water. Other branches have only small fruit but they don’t feed them or water them and the fruit dries up and drops off.

This is the same with our gifts. If we don’t hold on to them and make them grow, if we don’t practise them and use them, they will shrivel up and die and eventually disappear. I know someone who was so extremely talented and gifted at singing but he was too lazy to practise and too lazy to get up early to sing for the he can’t sing at all. Because of laziness...he lost his gift (and the whole church lost something because through his voice people were touched and people even gave their lives because of his singing).

Let’s be careful with our gifts to use them and practise them and let’s not think they are too heavy to hold because if our gifts feel heavy..... then they are big and blessed (like fruit).
The dictionary says to abide means to stay or live somewhere which means according to this verse we must stay with God and live with Him at all times. We have to remember God all day and remember Him as our master. When we live with someone we have to respect them and be considerate and because God lives with us, we have to be careful where we will take Him. Don’t take Him to places He won’t enjoy, don’t remove Him from places He does enjoy (church, prayer meetings, Bible studies...) and take Him to places He doesn’t enjoy like the pub, or dance clubs, or horse races (unless you are going to preach the gospel). Don’t speak badly in front of Him or do actions that He won’t like.

The Greek meaning of abide means to remain, or dwell, or endure, or last, or persevere, or stand firm/steadfast, or remain steadfast, or remain alive, or to wait for.

If we remain in God then He will remain in us.
If we dwell with God then He will dwell with us.
If we persevere, God will persevere with us.
If we stand firm in our faith, God will stand with us firmly
If we keep our faith alive, God will be faithful to us.
If we wait for God, God will wait with us.

So we have to stay with God and live with Him every second of the day and then we will bear much fruit but without God we can do nothing and slowly, slowly our faith dies until our entire salvation is dead.

And let’s remember that this doesn’t only concern me but it concerns those around me who might die because of my actions.

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