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1) The Goal: Producing Fruit
The branches of the vine must be pruned regularly or they will grow out of control and become entangled with other things which hinder the production of fruit. The branches must be constantly watched and cared for. The cutting or cleansing here that Jesus is talking about is the pruning or cutting back of the branches (John 15:1-11).
If there is no pruning, the branches can get so large and heavy that they are no longer productive. As Christians we can easily become comfortable and unconcerned about the production of any fruit, but God remains concerned.
2) The Process of Pruning
Pruning is an absolutely necessary step in order for more fruits to be harvested. Pruning serves several purposes:
Removes diseased or dead branches.
Ensures greater production.
Eliminates wild growth.
Pruning is different than discipline. Pruning takes those who are abiding in Christ and makes them more productive by some significant difficulty or life challenge. Discipline, however, takes those not abiding in Christ through hard times so that they will repent and return to the Lord.
God our Father prunes us when necessary. But we can avoid some trials by self-examination. Self-examination is that spiritual discipline by which we carefully examine what we are doing in our lives and taking initiative to make changes so that we can more effectively grow and bear fruit.
Application: If my grape branches pruned themselves, then I would not need to do any pruning! How can we work along with the Lord to improve things? Honestly answer the following questions.
A strategic basic discipleship series designed to help Christians grow not only in their relationship with God but also with other people. Each section uses a familiar relationship to bring out basic but very practical Biblical teaching.
We highly recommend getting the BFF Discipleship #1 Digital Library which not only includes the Relationship Discipleship book, but slides, summaries, user guide, teacher's reference, etc. This D#1 Library also contains all our other Christian training resources for new believers.
These Christian media-enriched resources can also be purchased in the BFF Resource Center.