I am the Vine
And you are the branches. Without me you cannot bear any fruit. But if you abide in Me and I in you then you shall bear much fruit and My Father shall be glorified.
There are 3 Hebrew words describing a vine: (Jer 2:21/Lev 25:5)
- Gephen – twining
- Sorek – a type of berry wine, noble wine
- Nazir – a vine that has never been pruned to bear better fruit
Deuteronomy 6:11, 12 In the Promised Land you would inherit vineyards that you did not plant and eat the fruit. Don’t forget God when you are in the Promised Land. One bunch of grapes weighs 7 pounds! (Eschol Valley near Hebron in Judah)
To plant a vineyard requires careful planning and is one of the most expensive agricultural investments. A vineyard must have a permanent fence around it – other agricultural fields do not demand a fence! The fence protects it from thieves and foxes. Large stones have to be removed from the field but small stones have to stay to keep moisture in the ground. They normally lay rows of stones so that the grapes can lie on the stones to prevent ‘rust’ (when it lays on the ground).
The winepress must be close to the vineyard because grapes are not to be transported too far – they bruise and break easily.
The farmer normally erected a watchtower where they guard the vineyard from thieves and jackals during harvest.
Jeremiah 5:7 – The Lord rejoices over His vineyard
Ezekiel 15:3 – the wood of a vine is only good for bearing grapes. If it is dry it is used for firewood.
Symbols of vineyards
- Symbol of a nation that was brought out of slavery (Ps 80:9) God delivered Israel out of Egypt and planted the nation in the Promised Land where it could shoot root and bear fruit and fill the land.
- Symbol of joy & peace in a home – to sit under your own vine – safe & secure each one sitting under his own vine and his own fig tree – all the days of Solomon there was peace.
- Symbol of Christ and the Church – grafted into Christ (not into the Jews!) and becoming one with Him – intertwined like a vine. A vine takes 3 and half years to produce grapes and good wine takes 5 years to ferment. It speaks of the growth of a believer. Jesus spent 3 years with His disciples and they took several years to mature! (Hosea 14:7-9: the branches spread out…)
- Symbol of gifts of the Spirit – spread a beautiful fragrance and be pleasant on the eye. God cares for His vineyard: ‘all you have will come from Me.’
- Symbol of immature vine – (Hosea 10:1) grows wild, speaking of a false heart, own plans become more important than God’s plans. For instance not giving the Lord’s tithe. (Hosea 10:12 says if you sow according to My will you will reap My love!’)
To be part of the Vine you have to identify with it. Then you will bear much fruit. Many Christians want to be part of the Kingdom but they do not want to give up the self – life.
Here are some factors that prevent proper spiritual growth.
- The deception of mere knowledge of the Bible. Jesus told the Pharisees: ‘you search the Scriptures because you think you get eternal life from the Scriptures, but you do not come to Me, the One of whom the Scriptures speak.’ The intellect worships knowledge and trusts in knowledge, but true born again believers learn to trust in the Lord as a Person. You cannot lay down the self-life by increasing knowledge. Knowledge puffs up but charity (love) edifies.
- Only by denying self can we overcome self-life. By identifying with Christ’s death and resurrection and abiding in His Word He will abide in us and change our lives so that it is no longer ‘I that live, but Christ lives in me.’ (Gal 2:20)
- Where do arguments and wars come from? From uncrucified self-life. (James 4:1-10) Jealousy, envy, hatred come from a life that is not crucified with Christ. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. You have to submit yourself to God before the devil will flee from you when you resist him. (I Peter 5:6, 7)
- Self cannot wait. It wants everything immediately. Self does not like to be confronted or corrected. Self is easily irritated. Self wants to control and manipulate others. Self wants to reason about everything. Self wants to play God. Self is always frustrated. Self wants to know when things will change and is not willing to trust. Self compares with others all the time. Self wants to change everyone and everything to suit itself. Self constantly want approval of others.
- There is a lot to be thankful for and nothing to be proud about. Without Him we can do nothing. We can bear no fruit.
How to step out in faith to overcome self – life: begin to confess that you are crucified with Christ. Confess that self no longer dictates and controls your life. Confess that the Spirit leads you. Abide in the Word by spending time with it. Proverbs 18:21: the power of life and death is in the tongue. Mark 11:23: believe what you say and pray. Faith is given so that we can grow spiritually – not just to collect material things. If you find the Kingdom within those things will be added to you.