“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:1-5)
We have often heard God's Word about the true vine in John 15:1-8. However, it takes a confession for us to bear fruit, which is to acknowledge God in our every step. The Lord Jesus is the True Vine, it means that the Lord Jesus is always true. And we are only His branches that serve as His tools or the extensions of God’s hands.
Our responsibility as branches is to continue to bear fruit. And wherever we are, as His branches, we must be God's true representatives before others. As branches of the vine, there are two things that can happen to us, namely when we do not bear fruit, we are cut off and when we bear fruit, we are pruned.
What is the difference between branches that are cut and pruned? One thing for sure, to be cut off and pruned are equally painful. However, what distinguishes the end result is the attitude of our hearts when processed by God. The wrong attitude of heart will result in punishment, while the right heart attitude always results in His plan. It is very important to remain in the Vine, so that we do not experience spiritual dryness.
In order to bear fruit, we cannot escape from problems. Although the problems faced by two people may be the same, different heart responses will determine which branch will be thrown away and withers and which branch will bear fruit. Pruned branches will remain in God’s Word. Therefore, don't ever be lazy to read the Bible, because our hearts are pruned only by His word.
There are 3 responses made when experiencing problems:
1. Blaming the past, so you cannot move on from the past.
2. Wishing for the future, but doing nothing today.
Let us not be such people who are trapped in the past or in the future. Rise up and fight now!
3. Persevering in the problem.
This response is very rarely done because many people prefer to run away from the problem or regret it. Yet when we persevere in trouble, we can see the solution that God gives us that will be the beginning of victory. When we stay, we can face our problems and find victorious solutions.
The pruned branches will bear three fruit:
1. New things.
When we are pruned, God will give us new things. The branches are the same, but the fruit much more.
2. Greater things.
Perhaps God hasn't done something greater than the past and it has remained the same in terms of amount, but the results now are bigger in size. Don't just count the blessings but look at the size of the blessing.
3. The same old things, but with greater heart.
Ask for a pruned heart because it will make the same blessing feels greater.
Truly, our heart's attitude determines the end result, whether we are being cut off or pruned. When facing problems, remember this teaching and keep remaining in Jesus. Undoubtedly, we will definitely bear fruit!
Excerpted from Ps. Philip Mantofa’s sermon