Today's Bible Readings
     Exodus 36
     Proverbs 12
     John 15
     Ephesians 5:1-16
''I am the vine, you are the branches, He who  abides  in Me,  and  I  in  him,  bears  much  fruit;  for without  Me you  can do nothing." (John 15:5)
            It is less than twenty-four hours before the Son of God will be nailed to a Roman cross. Jesus has washed the Disciple's feet, exposed Judas, revealed Peter's denial, and announced the coming of the Holy Spirit. He is about to present the most profound truth in the Bible! As He leads these eleven men toward the Garden of Gethsemane, they would have passed the temple on the way.  Here they would have seen a golden cluster of grapes.  They were just now learning that Israel was a degenerate vine, a disappointment to the Father. Now they hear one of the famous “I Am's” of Jesus. He says, “I am the true Vine.” It is in the aorist tense, and He meant, “I AM a million years ago, I AM now, and I AM always will be.” That is not good English, but Jesus was about to give them the key to living the Christian life.
            Note the SYMBOLS of the analogy. Jesus uses the specific word ampelos, which means grapevine. The picture here is of the Father, the Vinedresser, caring for the Son who is the Vine. He is telling the Disciples they must be branches from the true Vine. The only reason for the branches to exist is to bear fruit for the Vine.
            Consider the SIMPLICITY of this analogy. The simple truth is - the branch does not have to fret and strain and struggle to bear fruit. The branch must only abide in the Vine. You are a branch, and there is nothing you can do to change that, but He wants you to be a branch “abiding in the Vine,” “bearing fruit, more fruit, and much fruit.” The key is abiding.
            SUFFERING is often involved in the analogy. We discover that for the branch to bear much fruit there must be a process of pruning. (John 15:3)  The pruning knife is the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Pruning is not just for sin, it is to work on those who are bearing fruit that they may bear even more fruit. You cannot effectively bear much fruit without the experience of suffering, brokenness and pruning.
            Note the SERIOUSNESS of this analogy.  How can a true branch be taken away and never again bear fruit? You may ask, “Is it possible to be in something and not abide in it?” There are those who are “in a house, but do not abide in that house. Some belong to a church, but they do not ''abide'' in a church. Many are in Christ, but they do not daily, practically, and continually, abide in Him; therefore they do not bear fruit and He will take them away.
            The greatest tragedy is that there are also phony branches that have never been in the Vine. They are cast out as a withered branch and are burned in the fire.  They have never been saved at all.
            Consider the SWEETNESS of this analogy. John 15:7 is one of the most profound and powerful statements in Scripture. “If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you.”
You are a branch in the Vine, and as you abide in Him you will bear fruit, more fruit, and much fruit.
            So Jesus is saying, “Don't just do something, stand there.” He is the life-giving source, and you are only the branch.  It is time to stop worrying about the fruit bearing and simply abide in Him. I can't wait to see the kind of fruit He will provide.  It is time to abide and bear fruit.
            Our prayer focus today will be for the territory of French Polynesia in the Pacific. It is important to know that this nation, with its 250,000 population, has complete religious freedom, but the society is increasingly materialistic and secular.   It is very much like its parent, France. Fifteen denominations have served in this place. The largest single group is Catholic while the largest evangelical group is the Evangelical Church of Polynesia. Stop what you are doing right now and pray for this nation along with all of Tahiti. Tahiti is a paradise gone tragically wrong.  Once a Christian nation that sent missionaries all over the Pacific, Tahiti is now being debased by promiscuity (over 60% illegitimate births), prostitution, alcoholism, drug abuse, and a breakdown of family life. Many are frustrated and seeking answers in their confusion, but where are the fervent messengers of the Gospel. Pray that Tahitian missionaries leave for other lands as they once did. Pray for God to give revival that will change all of this.
“The greatest tragedy is those thorny branches who do not abide in Him. They are cast out as a widowed branch, and they are burned in the fire. These have never been saved at all. They are phonies.” Selected