What Jesus Teaches About Vines & Fruit

Before leaving this world, Jesus presented a vivid illustration to the twelve apostles that sums up his teaching in a way that we can all easily understand. We only need to step outside and observe the plants growing in our yard or visit a local garden to experience this important final teaching of Jesus. As followers of Jesus, we are part of a growing family that is in the constant care of God the Father who tends the soil and does the pruning. Jesus is the vine on which we the branches are growing; together we produce the fruit of love.

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:1-2 NASB

The love that grows out of our connection to Jesus is the crop that will encourage more to seek and know God. As a result, those who are not producing love are useless and will be discarded and those who are producing will be encouraged and nurtured so that they will produce even more. God the Father is constantly tending to the garden so that it will flourish.

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NASB

Jesus is the funneling source of God’s love (1 John 4:7-21). Without Jesus, we are disconnected from God. When we follow the commandments of Jesus, we remain connected to the vine that connects us to awesome power of God.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” John 15:12 NASB

All the teachings of Jesus are bundled together in this one command. If we operate from a position of love in all that we do, it is impossible for us to do any wrong. That may sound like a simple process; however, we have an enemy who is constantly trying to disrupt our efforts (1 John 5:19). The battle between good and evil will not end until Jesus returns. Each day brings new challenges and reveals new evil schemes that will need to be overcome. Thankfully, as followers of Jesus, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to fight the good fight. If we remain connected to the vine, we will bear the fruit of God’s love every day.

“You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” John 15:14-15 NASB

Our dedication to the teachings of Jesus is the vehicle that transports our relationship with him to a level of intimacy that is truly special. There is no better friend than Jesus. We have been provided with the Bible so that we can come to know Jesus in this personal way. This relationship is available to all those who are willing to listen to and follow his teachings.

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What Jesus Teaches About Being Ready

Busy executives typically need a personal assistant who is ready for anything. These front line lieutenants often juggle more than one task at a time and are prepared for whatever might be required. This kind of dependability is usually greatly appreciated. A thoughtful and caring executive will cherish such dedication and provide an appropriate reward. As followers of Jesus, we are essentially his personal assistant; our job is to keep his operation running until he returns.

“Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.” Luke 12:37 NASB

When an executive with a kind heart returns to the office to find his loyal assistant swamped with work, he might decide to take over and give his assistant a break. Jesus teaches that this will be his response when he returns to find us busy tending to the work he has assigned to us.

Like a good assistant, our mission as followers of Jesus, is to manage his affairs while he’s away. We are to love one another (John 13:34) and loyally maintain our adherence to his teaching (Luke 9:23). When Jesus returns, he should find everything in order and moving along in the manner he has prescribed for us to follow. Jesus teaches that we will be rewarded for safeguarding what has been entrusted to us. As believers, we are to stand strong against the schemes of the devil and make certain the contents of the church stay safe.

“But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into.” Luke 12:39 NASB

Like the trusted personal assistant, followers of Jesus are to be ever-vigilant. Precisely when Jesus will return is uncertain. We need to be ready at all times and never stop working on behalf of our Lord and Savior.

“You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.” Luke 12:40 NASB

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What Jesus Teaches About Greed

Jesus was in a constant battle with the religious leaders known as the Pharisees. Jesus challenged their religious authority by claiming to bring a message straight from God. One topic of disagreement was regarding wealth. The Pharisees had a saying, “Whom the Lord loves He makes rich.” They were of the opinion that wealthy people were blessed by God. Today, we have a number of preachers who preach what’s known as the “prosperity Gospel” that essentially agrees with the Pharisees. Jesus taught a completely different perspective.

“Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” Luke 12:15 NASB

Jesus provided us with the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:16-21) to fully illustrate his teaching. In this parable, a wealthy young man had so much grain he didn’t know what to do with it. After some deliberation he decided to build bigger barns to keep the grain for himself rather than sharing it with those in need. As a result, this man insured himself of wealth in this life, but his spiritual life was left void of the good deeds that could reward him in the life to come. This proved to be a tragic mistake when the young man died unexpectedly.

“So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:21 NASB

Jesus taught that material needs are far less important than spiritual needs. The truth is, God is far more capable of supplying our needs than any amount of material wealth. Material possessions are trivial matters compared to our need to store up treasure in heaven (Luke 12:33) by serving others.

“For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.” Luke 12:23 NASB

We’ve all seen those who have become slaves to their possessions. Jesus taught that we are far better off when we become slaves to God. As in much of his teaching, Jesus points to our heart (Luke 12:34) letting us know that what we treasure is a direct reflection of what’s in our heart. Those who have turned their back on God spend much of their time fixated on material gain. Those who know God, can be at peace when they put their trust in him rather than their bank account.

“For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.” Luke 12:30-31 NASB

Jesus makes it very clear that our best investment is in our service to God by serving others.

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What Jesus Teaches About The Enemy

Jesus wants us to clearly understand the difference between his followers and those who have rejected his teaching. In this world, there are only two roads to travel. Either you follow Jesus who was sent by God to save you from destruction or you are blindly dragged along in the enemy’s net. The Jewish leaders known as the Pharisees did not accept the teachings of Jesus. They claimed God to be their father but Jesus knew better and let them know.

“Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.” John 8:42 NASB

We are in the middle of a great war between good and evil. Our enemy is the devil who actively pursues us on a daily basis. Jesus is our salvation. The Pharisees started out as godly men and were manipulated by the devil to the point that they could not see God standing in their presence. Jesus let them know that their blind allegiance to the enemy was not their guiding force.

“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44 NASB

The Pharisees had made a choice to satisfy their selfish ambition for power and authority by ignoring the obvious truth. Jesus was clearly a man without sin. Only a man sent by God could live a life completely without sin.

“Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.” John 8:46-47 NASB

If you are a true follower of Jesus you are a child of God. Those who have turned their back on Jesus are trapped in the devil’s snare. There is salvation in Jesus. Those who have been trapped by the devil can be set free. Jesus is waiting with His loving arms open wide. Even though the battle between good and evil continues to rage in this world, Jesus has already claimed victory in the heavenly realms. When Jesus returns, the enemy will be completely destroyed. Until that day, stay close to Jesus and that victory will be yours as well.

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What Jesus Teaches About Deception

In today’s world, the Bible is often used as a tool to earn money. There are some who manipulate the words of the Bible to elevate themselves as special messengers who have somehow discovered the truth that you have been missing. Their goal is to sell books and generate donations to their false ministry. Unfortunately, many of these deceivers are extremely successful which only serves to increase their popularity. Jesus himself was accused of teaching beyond his authority; his response to those accusations teaches us how to identify truth from self-aggrandizement.

“The Jews then were astonished, saying, “How has this man become learned, having never been educated?” So Jesus answered them and said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.” John 7:15-16 NASB

The Jews could not understand how a man who had never attended the schools of the rabbis could be so knowledgeable about the Word of God. Of course Jesus wasn’t teaching from classroom learning, he was teaching from first-hand contact with God. What identified Jesus as a true messenger from God, was the fact that his teaching lined up with the written Word of God. Jesus was not out to make a name for himself or acquire financial support. Jesus was focused on glorifying God.

“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” John 7:18 NASB

Some of the celebrated false teachers we see today are highly polished and uniquely capable of blurring the line between personal promotion and true glory to God. Jesus teaches us to look closely and consider carefully the motives of those claiming to be God’s messenger. Of course, when Jesus returns, all the deception will be over and those preaching from selfish motives will suffer greatly. For now, our undistorted source of truth is found in the pages of the Bible. If we test every word delivered against our own personal study of the Bible, it will be difficult, if not impossible for us to be deceived. There is no deception in the pages of the Bible.

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The teachings of Jesus are like musical scales that need to be played over and over again to perfect our faith.