I AM the Vine — Part 1

Sermon delivered on August 28th, 2016

By: Pastor Greg Hocson

Scripture Text: John 15:1-11



"I am the True Vine" is the last of seven "I AM" declarations of Jesus recorded in John's Gospel. These words were spoken during the final hour of the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. They were spoken in the upper room just before He was tried and crucified. Our Lord now prepares the eleven men left for His forthcoming crucifixion, His resurrection, and His ascension. He had just told them that He would be leaving them (John 14:2). Knowing how troubled they would feel, He gave them the comforting words in John 14:1-6 and then still in the uppear room He spoke these words: "I am the true vine."


These words are words of comfort and words of warning. The hour of Jesus' death is a time of spiritual danger for the disciples. They will be severely tempted by the devil. Judas had already left the room and apostatized from the faith, betraying Jesus Christ. If they are to be preserved in the midst of this great danger they must abide in the True Vine, the Lord Jesus Christ.


A Metaphor

"I am the true vine.Our Lord Jesus again, is using a metaphor, an analogy, with which His disciples would be very familiar. Israel is an agrarian society. There are many vineyards in Judea. So many of the men would make their living by working in a vineyard. The weather is perfect for the growing of grapes. Whenever you would walk in Israel, you would not walk for long in the Judaean area without seeing these vineyards. It is a very common site. And so as Jesus gives this instruction it is very simple and clear yet it is very profound and effective.


So when our Lord spoke about the vine, the husbandman, the branches and the fruit, the disciples could easily relate to it, for that is where they live.


What do these words mean?

There are many of different types of vines that are out in the world climbing and crawling today, but Jesus says, "I am the true vine." 

1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

Jesus Christ is not just another religion. He is not just another religious teacher. He is the true vine. He is the true God. 


The seven "I AM" statements in the gospel of John and each one is a declaration of our Lord's deity.


"I AM the bread of life."

"I AM the light of the world."

"I AM the door."

"I AM the good shepherd."

"I AM the resurrection and the life."

"I AM the way, the truth, and the life."

"I AM the true vine."


Nobody can deny the truth that Jesus Christ claims to be God Himself. He is more than a man. He is more than a carpenter. He is none other than the eternal God, the Creator of all things. He is the co-eternal and co-equal with God the Father. 


Three things to note as we consider Jesus as a being the True Vine:

I - Jesus Christ is the Source of Life

In a vineyard, the vine is the main trunk of the plant. The branches depend on the vine for their life and for their nutrients. Without the vine the branches have nothing. A branch cut off from the vine is dead.  A fresh bouquet of cut flowers may look beautiful and may be fragrant but if it is cut from the tree, their days are numbered. Because they have been severed from their life-source, they will soon wither and die and eventually will be thrown away.


It is this way, in the spiritual realm, with Christ and His people. Without Jesus Christ, there is no life. The one who is out of Christ exists, but he has no spiritual life. Without Christ, men are dead in trespasses and sins. This is what the Bible, the Word of God, teaches, that men by birth and by nature are spiritually lifeless. Physically alive but spiritually dead. What does a spiritually dead person look like?

Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2: Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 


He walks according to the course of this world; he has no love for the things of God. The fear of God is not upon him, nor has he any concern for His glory. Self is the center and circumference of his existence. Everything revolves around I, me and mine in the natural man's life. He is alive to the things of the world, but dead to the things of God. He has earthly existence, but he is dead spiritually.


But thank God that is not the end of our story! Jesus Christ came to raise spiritually dead people to life. He came to give life!

John10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Christ is not merely a Physician who came to make sick people well. He is not a Reformer who came to make bad people good. He came to make dead people live. And spiritually dead people come to life when they are attached to the True a Vine, attached to the Source of Life, Jesus Christ.


The whole source for our lives, spiritually speaking, is the True Vine, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is only by the vine that we have life in the very first place. 

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.


The vine bears the nourishment for the branches to live and thrive. Cut off from the vine, the branch will die. A branch cannot survive on its own. It has no root. It is unconnected to a source of life. We need to be connected to the True Vine if we are to live.


II - Jesus Christ is the Source of Fruit

Not only is Jesus Christ the Source of Life, but He is also the Source of Fruit. Fruit is evidence of life. If there is no fruit on a vine, we may question whether life is present. The same is true in the spiritual realm. Again and again, the Bible admonishes us to examine our faith, our lives, and our profession to see whether or not we truly know God in Christ. 


The best way of knowing whether or not you are in Christ, whether or not He is your Lord and Saviour, is not by asking, "can I remember the time and place in which I prayed a prayer and asked Jesus to save me?", but rather, "what evidence do I see in my life that Jesus is producing fruit through me?


As I have mentioned these words, "I am the true vine" is both words of comfort and words of warning.


There are branches that seems to be attached to Christ that will be purged and thrown away into the fire. 

John 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 


These branches will be purged  because they do not bear fruit. And they do not bear fruit because they are not truly connected to Jesus Christ. A good example of this is Judas. He is one of the dead branches that has been removed. He was associated with Jesus and His disciples but he had never believed on Jesus Christ as his Saviour. He had never truly trusted in Jesus Christ. You could be in church but not in Christ. Judas was in the group but he was not in Christ. Judas spent three and half years walking with Jesus but He was not in Jesus Christ. As a result he did not bear fruit, because he was not connected to the true vine, the Lord Jesus Christ.


Jesus was a professor but not a possessor of Jesus Christ.

1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.


Ordained to bear fruit

It is God's will and plan for His people to bear fruit. 

John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

The fruit is that we would glorify God, that our marriages would mirror Christ's love for the church, that our children would live for God, that we would bring others to Christ, that His love would work through us in every level of our lives. And we can only bear fruit if we abide in Christ (vv4-5, 7), in His word (v7), and in His love (vv9-10).


John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5: I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6: If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7: If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8: Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 9: As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10: If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. 11: These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.


John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5: I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 


But even if we are bearing fruit, we still have to be pruned. This is not to hurt the branches but to help it to bear more fruit.


If you are rightly attached to Jesus Christ you have access to every thing that you need in your spiritual life and growth. All yo have to do is stay rightly attached to this vine, the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are in Christ, you have everything. If you don't have Christ, you don't have anything. It is all in Christ.


Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.


Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Everything within the will of God, everything that will glorify God, everything that will honor God and extend His kingdom that the Lord would have me to do, these are all available to us.


Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Gas Station and Store with a sign in front of the store: "If you can't stop wave." "If we don't have it, you don't need it."


That is exactly true what Christ says to us. If you don't have it, you don't need it. And if He is not giving it, you don't need it. Everything that you need in your spiritual, emotional life, to live the abundant life that God has called you to live, it is all found in the Lord Jesus Christ.


III - Jesus Christ is the Source of Joy

Jesus Christ is the Source of Life, the Source of Fruit, and lastly He is the Source of Joy.

John 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

The "these things" refers to the instructions He spoke about regarding abiding in Him, abiding in His word, and abiding in His love. When we do not abide in these things, our fellowship with the Lord Jesus is broken, and as a result our joy departs. 


This is what David experienced when he had committed adultery  and murder. He sinned grievously against the Lord, and as a consequence, he was miserable. The most miserable people in the world are the true children of God who are not right with the Lord.

Palms 32:3 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. 4: For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. 


Psalm 51:12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. 

It is important to note that David did not pray to restore his salvation, because he had not lost his salvation, what he had lost was the joy of it.


Our Lord promises not just happiness, buy joy. Joy is not "happiness" as the world uses the term; it is much deeper. It transcends circumstances and surroundings. Paul and Silas, because of preaching the Gospel were thrown in jail, and with their backs bleeding, "sang praises unto God" (Acts 16:25). What a blessed triumphing over circumstances was that! Prison-walls could not cut them off from Christ! May we earnestly seek grace to abide in Christ, in His word, and in His love, that our joy may be full.


Joy is a by-product of being closely attached to Jesus Christ. In other words, if I pursue joy or happiness, most likely I am not going to find it. It is not joy itself we are pursuing, it is those things which Jesus Christ have spoken unto us. It is the outcome of abiding in Christ, in His words and in His love.

John 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.


Closing Thoughts

It is important for us to recognize and realize that we need Christ if we are to have life, if we are to bear fruit, and we are to have full joy.


We must be attached to the True Vine! There are many false vines and people try to attached themselves to these false vines. For some people their vine is their drugs, alcohol, pleasure, sports, movies, music, video games, possession, house, car, saving, bank account, stock, career, job, work, business, popularity, fame, looks, appearance, relationship, marriage, family, children, etc.


Whatever it is, anything that we would attached ourselves to and try to draw strength and try to draw a satisfaction and try to draw anything that I need for my spiritual life to move forward other than Jesus Christ, it is a false vine. There is only one true vine and it is Jesus Christ.


What is your Vine? What is the vine to which you have attached yourself for strength, for encouragement, for peace, for sustenance, for support? What is your true vine? There is only one true vine and it is Jesus Christ.