Think About This: “This is the first secret of the vine: When we choose to languish in sin, God intervenes to motivate us to stop sinning and begin bearing fruit again. The Bible describes this process as discipline or chastening. But you and I could call it “love lifting me.’” — Bruce Wilkinson
The Branch That Abides (Part Two)
Posted on January 18, 2023 by Elizabeth Welte in Freedom Fighters
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.” — John 15:5 (NLT)
So, the last time I was with you I had been sharing that I just may have had my understanding of John 15:2 a bit off. I had always thought that if you say you’re in Christ but you ain’t bearing any fruit you are doomed to hellfire but that doesn’t come until John 15:6. So by the time you get there, Jesus says something about not abiding in Him being the cause of the branch that doesn’t bear fruit being thrown into the fire. Whew, it’s a good thing I’m still saying that I’m abiding in Christ…or am I really still abiding? Hmm…
Sometimes I do make myself (and others) wonder and have had nightmares where John the Baptist is singling me out in a terrifying rebuke then associating me with that brood of vipers known as those wacky Pharisees. Okay, so some of that silliness isn’t exactly all true (that doesn’t mean it ain’t gonna happen) however that doesn’t dismiss the fact that John had no problem with a rebuke or two. As a matter of fact, if you are gonna rest yourself is some of the stuff that I’ve discussed about the “airo” (to lift as to carry) that we see in John 15:2, ya may wanna think that one through.
When Clyde Finklea, of The Berean Call, addressed this branch that doesn’t bear fruit business he made three distinct degrees. So, Jesus is the Vine, God the Father is the Vinedresser, we, the members of God’s church, are the branches. Now these aren’t the three degrees but it does cover John 15:1-2. But what of the “airo”, this lifting up as to carry? Well, this is where The Husbandman comes into play. We can certainly understand that we’re a bit more than just mere branches to our Vinedresser, but how does this lifting up happen?
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor detest His correction; For whom the LORD loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.” — Proverbs 3:11-12
As Finklea continues he’ll say the intervention of The Vinedresser that we see occur in John 15:2 is similar to the discipline a parent gives to their child. Uh Oh!! It now sounds like that contracted stupidity of the soul that proceeded from a course in sin will now have its consequences. But if we were to take any comfort in wisdom, then the aforementioned verses from the archives of King Solomon should be our encouragement as we are “airo”. Now we can discuss those three degrees…of discipline.
First comes through rebuke. Ya’ll should know this one. This is the one where we think everyone who walks up to us with a sharp word of advice shoulda just kept it to themselves (and that still coulda came from the Lord). However, our consciences are also pricked by Him through those interactions of other people, Bible studies and that sermon you didn’t like from the pulpit. The second is also something ya’ll should also know, chastening. Many of you have been sent to your room or had privileges taken from you for being naughty. When God chastens He may turn up the pressure to that “easy goin’” stuff so it ain’t so easy goin’.
The last one is the tough one, scourging. This one is the “whoopin’” that you know comes with a “this is gonna hurt me more than hurts you” kinda thing. When it does come from God, you can be rest assured it does hurt Him to do this. He’d rather bless than punish…and you all know that’s true!! But we aren’t physically paddled, God may make that job you love so much go away or allow those finances to just disappear.
It’s here where we should remember the price paid to win our ransom from a world of life crippling sin. There was only One who endured the scourging from the world, carried its instrument of death, and allowed Himself to be nailed to it, to win our freedom from a life of sin. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” (John 3:14) Jesus, Son of God, The Vine is now “airo” and is seated at the right hand of The Husbandman, God the Father.
If ya ever wanna read how the pruning process can actually go, try reading the Book of Job with a fresh set of eyes. Don’t see it as Job suffering for the sake of righteousness, see yourself instead. There may have not been anyone like him on earth but it didn’t stop God from proving this valuable point … “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” Now I really hope I’m abiding, are you? If not, let God do His work. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a child of El Elyon, a son, a husband, and a father. He has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of The Colony of Mercy, 11/2003. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:9