Fruit In A Time Of Heresy

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 does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. — John 15:1-3

Jesus uses an ancient image of Israel (the vine) to make an essential point about true and false believers. And because we live in a time of rising and blatant heresy in the church, Jesus tells us exactly how God responds to heretics. So this is a very vivid and timely message.

To be clear, a heretic is a proclaiming believer who mutes or manipulates the teachings of Jesus. They declare they follow and believe in Jesus, but they disagree with one or a few specific ideas or teachings. That's heresy. And in this metaphor, Jesus tells us how God responds to heretics that teach here. First, Jesus declares there are only two categories of believers — true believers (followers) and false believers (heretics). Second, true believers are easy to spot. They produce fruit, and they do so because they are fully connected to the vine, who is Jesus. Third, false believers (heretics) are also easy to spot. They don't produce fruit, and they don't do so because they are not fully connected to the vine. They are fruitless, dying, or dead believers. Fourth, God is the vinedresser who cuts off all unproductive heretics who claim to believe and follow but don't. They make empty proclamations because they are unproductive self-proclaimed believers.

In our time, this text challenges us to take a closer look at how we are connected to Jesus the Vine. First, it demands self-examination of our beliefs. Second, it demands we know the teachings of Jesus. Third, it demands we accept Jesus's teachings. And fourth, it demands we adjust our lives to Jesus's teachings and not adjust Jesus to our ideas.

So don't adjust Jesus or his teaching to your contemporary or elitist ideas. That's unproductive, and you will be cut off. In addition, don't follow a church or a teacher based on your personal preferences. Choose a church, community, and/or communicator based on their undying commitment to Scripture and the discomforting truth of Jesus. If they do this, you will know it. They will convict you, align you with the truth, and produce tremendous things in and through you.


1. How do you personally evaluate your connection to Jesus as the true vine, and in what ways are you actively seeking to bear fruit in your life, aligning yourself with His teachings rather than adjusting Him to your ideas?

2. Are you part of a church, community, or relationship with a spiritual teacher that demonstrates an undying commitment to Scripture and the uncomfortable truth of Jesus? How do these relationships challenge, convict, or encourage you to grow in your faith and produce spiritual fruit?

DO THIS: Accept the truth. Adjust your life to it. Produce fruit.

PRAY THIS: Lord Jesus, the true vine, help me to remain firmly connected to you, seeking alignment with your teachings and bearing the fruit of authentic faith. Guide me away from the temptation to shape you to my ideas, and instead, shape me according to your truth and purpose, that I may glorify your name. Amen.

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11 thoughts on “Fruit In A Time Of Heresy

  1. Eddie Ackerman says:

    Not sure if this is farther in John or in a different gospel, but there is another parable about branches fused/grafted onto The Vine. Some of the natural branches, Israelites, were removed from The Vine, and will later be added/grafted back on, but all other branches, Gentiles, were not natural branches and were grafted on spiritually to The Vine. We are all either Israelite by birth and natural branches of The Vine, or not. There is no in between on this one, Jesus is clear, one or the other we all are, and all CAN be removed or rejoined until the end of days. Interpretations of the Bible are ALWAYS going to be contested from someone. Thank you Vince for showing us the loving way to accept, but lovingly contend and stand up for beliefs.

  2. Mark says:

    Airo in This context Means to lift up. Whenever jesus says in me Obviously talking about true believers. So either you’re an atom, or you’re in Jesus.. Babe what’s you are in jesus That cannot be revoked. There are Christians who are carnal and do not produce fruit. On God uses the process of discipline For corrective purposes. Is anger which is a nail illustration of lifting up like the Vine dress or does with branches that are wilty And do not produce. Can we produce fruit. this is not a reference to false teachers passage.

  3. Michael Cote says:

    Good Morning Vince. I put on a Proverb in My Story Facebook in the hope that someone would see scripture that day that might not otherwise. I enjoy picking the one thing out of that Proverb that touches my heart and mind. Todays was Proverb 11 for August 11th. I am happy to see you are coming out with a book on the Proverbs. I have it on pre- buy. Thanks for all you do. Hopefully see you in the spring. Lord Willing.
    Mike @ Barefoot Bay, FL

  4. Mark palfenier says:

    Respectfully, I disagree with your interpretation here. It says any branch in me…thst means they are true believers if you’re in christ you are a true believer. The transalation should be any branch that does not bear fruit he lifts up (per original language ) vine dressers life up branches that don’t bear fruit he does not cut them off. Please see original language of this passage

    • Vince Miller says:

      So Mark, thanks for your comment. But I’m having trouble understanding your correction of my interpretation. I’m willing to receive correction if I made a wrong interpretation.

      Here is the original language:

      1 Ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ἄμπελος ἡ ἀληθινή, καὶ ὁ πατήρ μου ὁ γεωργός ἐστι.
      2 πᾶν κλῆμα ἐν ἐμοὶ μὴ φέρον καρπόν, αἴρει αὐτό· καὶ πᾶν τὸ καρπὸν φέρον, καθαίρει αὐτό, ἵνα πλείονα καρπὸν φέρῃ.
      3 ἤδη ὑμεῖς καθαροί ἐστε διὰ τὸν λόγον ὃν λελάληκα ὑμῖν.

      Pas = each whole.
      Klema = branch.
      En = in.
      Eimi = me.
      Me = that does not.
      Karpon Phero = bear fruit.
      Airo = take away, break off, remove, or move.

      I read the Greek before writing this, so I have a problem with receiving the correction that I didn’t consult the original language (if that is the correction you intend to give). I agree that “airo” can mean “take away” or “break off” and not “cut” (if that is the correction you intend to give), but it really doesn’t change the meaning or my interpretation.

      When I read this text brother, I read it in the shadow of Judas’s departure from the group. He was a disciple who proclaimed to follow and believe but, in the end, was “taken away, removed, broken off, and cut off.” He was a false believer that looked to be a true believer. And I think Jesus is concerned about their “true” belief in this entire context. Maybe this is what you disagree with?

      In the end, this was my application:
      “This text challenges us to take a closer look at how we are connected to Jesus the Vine. First, it demands self-examination of our beliefs. Second, it demands we know the teachings of Jesus. Third, it demands we accept Jesus’s teachings. And fourth, it demands we adjust our lives to Jesus’s teachings and not adjust Jesus to our ideas.”

      I’m not sure this is a wrong interpretation or application of this text. I’m open to being corrected if I missed something here.
      My wife does tell me I am wrong sometimes! 😁

      • Mark says:

        Sorry for the typos I was driving and dictation doesn’t always work with sutocorrect in place
        What I was saying is you’re either in adam or in christ. The IN ME part of the passage is always referring to Christians. A Christian cannot lose his salvation. Lift up is common among vineworkers they put straps around the branch to lift it up so it can get water and a sun and produce fruit..this is the illustration here its not about false teachers

        • Vince Miller says:

          Hey Mark, thanks for the clarification. And no worries about the typos.

          I do agree with you about the salvific work of Jesus Christ and the eternal security that Jesus addresses in John 10:28-29. So we are on the same page there!

          But there are two places where I would dispute with you on this matter:

          1) Jesus’s comments directly address the evidence of salvation — the “fruit” from “abiding,” and not what he did as salvific work. His salvific work in this context is yet to be done and is assumed accomplished through his atonement. Jesus is explaining the difference between someone who hears his teaching and acts on his teaching, evidenced by “how they teach” (dead branches) and “how they act” (fruitless branches). Our teaching and action are always the visible manifestation of our connection to the vine. So I would contest this correction. He is speaking about the outputs of false teaching or false teachers and true believing and true believers. There is a distinct division and judgment against them.

          2) “Lift up,” meaning as you say, “to move toward nutrients,” would be an incorrect interpretation. The nutrients are only in the vine and nowhere else. There is no reference to a natural provision in this text (i.e., sun, rain, and soil). In fact, the Greek word “φέρον” means to “remove completely.”

          Maybe we are getting closer?

      • David W Krauss says:

        If you haven’t already noticed. Vince 100% thoroughly knows what he is saying. I respect his answers, cause the amount of time that he spends on researching the topics at hand. As always he answers replies with class, honesty, and love for all who are seeking Gods word.

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