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~ Deepening our Relationship with Christ ~
Paul J. Bucknell
Deepening Intimacy | Obedience | Assumptions
Means of Intimacy #1 The Vinedresser | #2 True Vine | #3 Success |
#4 Means of Success | #5 Promise of Abiding | #6 Purpose of Abiding |
#7 Need of Obedience | #8 Need of Love | Friendship John 15:16-17 | Applying the Principles John 15:16 | Summary Principles |
Study Questions | Small Group Questions
Purpose: Importance of Success exposits John 15:2 and shows the commitment of God to help us bear fruit by carefully tending to our spiritual renewal and growth. This is step #3 of eight taught in the Abiding in Jesus series.
“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away (‘lifts up’ is better translation); and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2).
Believers in Christ are the branches that are connected to Christ’s vine. The Vinedresser is very concerned with the productivity of His vine. He does everything to rightly care for it. There are two kinds of branches: nonproductive and productive.
This describes the Christian not bearing fruit. Does God the vinedresser want every Christian to bear fruit? Most definitely.
Even in the Book of Numbers we see God’s great patience with His people. The means by which God ‘lifts’ these branches from the world are unique. But if you do not repent and turn back to the vine, God will need to use difficult means to restore you.
Jesus says, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away.” This phrase ‘takes away’ is a poor translation that has conjured up wrong interpretations. Jesus is not saying that He will make the believer lose His salvation.
Literally the phrase ‘takes away’ means to ‘lift up.’ Grapevines grow fast and wild. The goal is to keep the grape vine up high so it can get sun and stay off the ground. When a grape branch hangs down upon the ground, it gets mud and disease rather than bear fruit. The goal is to lift the branch off the ground.
Jesus says, “Every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit.” God is not only discontent with those branches that are not productive, but even from the good branches bearing a minimum amount of fruit. The Father wants more from us. So what does He do? He prunes them.
Pruning is a drastic step in which God causes further growth in our lives through difficult situations in a Christian’s life. Through this hard action, the believer becomes even more successful. I like you no doubt can mention numerous difficult times in our lives where though tough there was an inner strengthening coming to our lives.
God wants to bless His people. He wants to bring more fruit from their lives. You might be content not to bear more fruit but God isn’t. The vinedresser is even willing to induce painful experiences that there might in the end be a net increase of blessings. We are not often thinking about eternity. But if we would weigh eternity into the equation, we would be much more quick to accept the temporary struggles for greater eternal results.
Do you see God’s purpose for difficult times? It might be because we are being lazy or on the other hand it might be because we are being faithful. In both cases, however, God is seeking to cause more fruit. It makes sense to work in cooperation with God rather than in opposition to Him.
=> Continue reading Step #4 to closer intimacy with the Lord: Success comes from abiding in Christ.
A Word on Christian Suffering John 15:1-2
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Joshua 1:6-9 Bible study questions on A Divine Formula for True Success. Learn much about true success and what true meditation is all about!
2 Samuel 23-24 - audio podcast - Handling Success and Failure, shows the importance of seeking success and avoiding failure. At the end of David's life ...