For the past two months, our nation has been held in the grips of, as President Trump said, an "invisible enemy." But this "invisible enemy" is not Covid-19. Nor is it the loss of jobs and the bankruptcy of thousands of small businesses and the inevitable collateral effect that will have on our economy for years, maybe even decades, to come. No, the "invisible enemy" we face is fear. And fear is a result of a lack of faith, and a lack of faith renders even the strongest believer useless as His light-bearer (Matt. 5:14-16).
But we know that. Yet, for some strange reason, it doesn't seem to have any effect on us. Why?
Because many of us as believers in the West have surrendered our rights and privileges as children of God (Romans 8:16-17), in order to live comfortable lives in this fallen world. We have made ourselves, as James tells us, "an enemy of God" because of our "friendship with the world" (James 4:4). Just spend a few minutes on Facebook and you can see the narcissistic cancer that runs unchecked in our culture today... even in the church.
These are truly desperate times.
But what are we to do? How can we prepare ourselves for what the Lord is allowing to happen? And what lesson is there to be learned from watching Him bring our evil and proud society to its knees by events beyond anyone's control? What do we need to do?
Simply this: We need to grow in our faith and our relationship with our Lord like never before. Like there is no tomorrow. Because there might not be. We are not guaranteed tomorrow (James 4:13-16). No one is.
Now is the time for serious soul-searching. Now is the time to put Him first in all things and to lay up for ourselves "treasures in heaven" and not spend our lives collecting trinkets and toys on earth (Matt. 6:19-20). And the best way to do this is to truly understand what our life is all about and why God created each of us in the first place.
Welcome to John 15.
The Vine and the Branches
For the next few weeks, we will be taking a detailed look at John 15 and our Lord's teaching about His relationship with His Father and our relationship with Him. We will see the example of a vine, a vinedresser, and branches. And most importantly, we will grow to understand the importance of fruit. More fruit (John 15:2). Much fruit (John 15:5).
And fruit that will last and remain when all else fails (John 15:16). Jesus began this incredible teaching by saying He is the true Vine, and His Father is the Vinedresser (John 15:1). Have you ever thought about the nature of a vine, its branches, and the vinedresser? After all, this is the example Jesus chose to teach us about this relationship.
- The vine is planted by the vinedresser wherever the vinedresser desires. The vine has no say on where it is planted.
- The vine is cared for by the vinedresser.
- The vine is dependent totally on the vinedresser.
- The vine’s only function is to produce fruit.
- But the fruit is for the benefit of the vinedresser.
- The glory of the vinedresser is his vine, but only if it produces fruit.
- And the glory of the vine is its fruit.
- The only function of the branch is to bear the fruit produced by the vine and for the glory of the vinedresser. It is good for nothing else.
And this is only the beginning. Join with us as we endeavor to grow closer to the Lord by becoming a fruitful branch of His vine, for the glory of the Vinedresser. Because at this time in our history, nothing else really matters.
The following is a study on John 15:1-2 on the Vine and the Branches.