The Vital Connection

Preaching through the Gospel of John is a great blessing. I am seeing that as Jesus gets closer to the cross that He is making more of a distinction for the disciples as to what it will mean to believe in Him. As Jesus draws near to the cross, He encourages His disciples so that
they will continue to believe in the face of difficult times. In John
15 He begins to draw a line in the sand and tell them that their being
Jewish is not enough to be God’s people. It is not about their religion
or their heritage but they must have a vital connection to God through
Him. He is the “true Vine” and they are the branches and the way to
know that they are truly in Him is by the fruit that is produced in
their lives.

He uses a metaphor of Himself being the Vine and His Father being the Vinedresser and the disciples being branches in the Vine that must bear fruit. I believe that there is more to this than just a common analogy. The Vine was a symbol for Israel (Psalm 80, Hosea 10) and I don’t want to wax “replacement theology” here, but Jesus is in a sense separating them from their heritage. Israel was judged by God for their unfaithfulness in a very comprehensive way at the close of the Old Testament. Paul tells the Romans that all Israel is not Israel but that only those of faith are the seed of Abraham (Romans 9:6-8). Jesus is saying that no heritage, not even that of God’s Chosen Nation, Israel is of any avail in being right with Him. The only relevant relationship is to the True Vine which is Christ and not to the vine that was Israel. How much more is this the case with churches or cults that claim some sort of exclusive claim to be God’s “true church.” Whether it is Rome or the Jehova’s Witnesses or some other off the wall cult there is not right to make this claim except in for Christ alone. No religious system in the world can take the place of a vital relationship with Jesus Christ!

How’s your fruit?

Audio of this message is available on these websites on the Sermons Page
The Vital Connection –  John 15:1-25
The Vital Connection –  John 15:1-25

In Christ!

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