Where does the vine end and the branch begin?

In my time with our student leaders last night, we were looking at John 15:1-8 and talking about how easy it is to busy for God but not intimate with Him.  I was challenging them to not be missional for missional sake…but be missional because it’s the overflow of their “abiding in Christ”.  As we discussed this one of our leaders asked about the branches that are being cut off.  “Are those branches whole people that are not bearing fruit and God cuts them out completely…or are those branches just parts of individuals that are not healthy and are being cut off?”  To answer that I think we have to put ourselves in the shoes of the Gardener.

Look at this picture to the right.  Can you tell me which part is the vine and which parts are the branches? No.  Now with that in mind, be reminded that scripture says in…

  • Romans 12:4-5 “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
  • Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
  • Ephesians 1:13 “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,”
  • Ephesians 3:6 “This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

Just like a gardener does not separate the branches in his mind from the vine, The Father does not separate us from the Son.  We are in Christ! It’s impossible to determine where the vine ends and the branches begin.  The vine is the whole constitution of the roots, trunk, branches and fruit!  The interesting thing about John 15:1-8 is that regardless of if a branch gets cut off or pruned…it still gets cut!

Are you bearing fruit?  Are you showing evidence of the grace of God in your life? Is the growth of the Fruit of The Spirit in your life changing your interpersonal relationships, your personal integrity or your perseverance in the faith?  If so, then continue to abide in Christ and look forward to being pruned by The Father.

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