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.
PLAY THIS: The Vine.
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