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We believe God has a Grand Plan for mankind which at its core calls us to become like Him.
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My apologies for not updating the front page last week (7/2 – 7/8) It is my goal to have a new featured video and article by 4pm PST every Friday so visitors to site have fresh material to enrich their Sabbath. May you have a Happy Sabbath and fruitful week ahead.
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A Sabbath Message May 26th, 2012 – Ken Westby
Things That Jesus Said Part II – Christians Should Bear Fruit
by Brian Knowles
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” – Luke 6:46
Jesus did not expect his followers to live empty, fruitless lives. He expected us to produce fruit for his kingdom. Yet, we cannot bear fruit unless we are connected to the source of spiritual nourishment that makes it possible. In order to show us how to produce fruit, Jesus used a picture of the grape vine. It is recorded in John 15:1-8.
“I am the vine…”
In this analogy, Jesus likens himself to a grapevine. God the Father is the “gardener” or vinedresser. The followers of Jesus are the branches or tendrils emanating from the vine. The Father is pictured examining the vine for unfruitful, dead branches and then pruning them off “so that it [the vine] will be even more fruitful,” (John 15:2b).
Anyone who works with fruit trees, grapevines or plants knows that trimming away the deadwood renders a plant healthier. Unfruitful branches are a burden on the healthy portions of the plant. When they are trimmed off, the healthy branches become more productive. God the Father, the vinedresser, wants to see healthy, fruit-bearing branches emanating from the vine that represents his son in this analogy.
How does this “pruning” take place? People who work with wood and tree branches often speak of “cleaning” them. In the case of lumber, this may mean removing nails and rotted parts. The other day I “cleaned” some facing boards my stepson had removed from the eaves of our house. If I cut a branch from our camphor tree, I will clean it of twigs before chopping it up for disposal. To clean a branch on a growing vine is to remove all of the unproductive parts leaving only healthy parts. This apparently is what Jesus had in mind when he said to his talmidim (disciples or students) “You are already clean…” (John 15:3a). As a result of their time with Jesus, they were trimmed, productive and ready to bear fruit. But how had they been cleaned?
Note: The Greek word translated “prunes” in verse 2 means “to clean or trim by removing superfluous wood,” (BAG, p. 386d). The word “clean” is katharoi. Notice how similar this idea is to our English term “purge” or “catharsis.” The verb katharizo is used in the New Testament of ritual cleansing or purification (Matthew 23:25; Mark 7:9 etc.). To produce fruit for the Kingdom, each of us must be cleansed and purified so that we can draw spiritual energy from the “vine” – Christ. How did God (the vinedresser) accomplish this cleansing?
Jesus answers: “You are already clean because of [“through” – KJV] the word I have spoken to you,” (John 15:3). Jesus’ words – his teachings – had the effect of purging the deadwood from the disciple’s lives. This returns us to the theme passage of this series: “the things that Jesus said.” To “remain in Christ we must remain in his words – his teachings. One of the great problems in the mainstream Christian churches today is that there is much emphasis on the person of Christ at the expense of his teachings. Part of the reason for this imbalanced emphasis is probably fear of “legalism.” Yet, to bear fruit, we must come to know, understand and live his instructions and teachings. This is easier said than done.
The Association for Christian Development is a non-denominational Christian ministry dedicated to proclaiming the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God. We believe God has a Grand Plan for mankind, which at its core calls us to become like him—after his image in character and mind. We believe God has given us all Scripture (OT & NT) to guide us in … Learn More About the ACD.