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How many times we Christians fail to achieve the results we long for. We strive, struggle and strain to further the Gospel cause, only to fail time and again. It is a common experience of millions of believers around the world. Do you know why? Have you ever stopped to analyze your failures and tried to find out what went wrong and why you so often miss your target? Are you willing to humble yourself and take a few lessons which if applied will transform your life? Do you want to learn how to work with the Almighty rather than against Him? Do you long to understand His methods for achieving meaningful results in your own life and in the Vineyard of Salvation? Of course you do. All sincere Christians do. I do.
To begin with let me suggest that you study the Creator's Book of Nature. There you will find tens of thousands of practical lessons being portrayed before your very eyes; all created by the Almighty for the express purpose of teaching us humans specific spiritual lessons. In today's sermon we shall consider a few major lessons from the parable of the True Vine.
YaHuWaH is a husbandman, a shepherd, a gardener, a vine-dresser and a producer of flowers and fruit. He is the owner and keeper of heaven's spiritual vineyard. His stock of plants are of the finest quality and His horticultural knowledge is beyond compare. The quality of His produce is astonishing to say the least. That is the first fact you must grasp; that YaHuWaH is a Shepherd, a Gardener and a Husbandman.
In the Vineyard of Salvation there is one extra special plant, a vine of surpassing beauty and worth. It is the Almighty's prize possession; a plant on which His attention is continually focused and from which He produces the best grapes and the choicest wine. This plant is a seedling from YaHuWaH Himself. It is His Son.
Satan has tried to duplicate the produce of this sacred vine; but he has not succeeded. His plant is the wild vine of Sodom and his fruit is likened to the harvests of Gomorrah.
|Deut. 32: 32:||For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah:
their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter:
33: Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.
It is difficult, if not impossible at this time, to grasp the reality of a believer's position in the work of YaHuWaH. So often we Christians think we are of little or no importance and that the Almighty can not do anything meaningful with our lives. How wrong we are. How very wrong. Consider this verse.
Everyone knows that trees cannot produce fruit without branches. This verse puts that spiritual lesson, which is seen in every orchard of the world, into perspective. It means that every true believer, even the very smallest, is potentially a fruit-bearing branch.
We all know that the main objective in keeping a vineyard is to produce grapes and wine to gladden the heart. In the Vineyard of Salvation the whole purpose of producing fruit is to gladden the heart of the Vine-dresser (YaHuWaH ) by bringing others to salvation. This brings the Most High great happiness. One needs little imagination to grasp this fact.
There are, however, a few other points from this parable of the true vine which can easily escape our notice. They are:
|John 15:2||Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.|
|John 15:6||If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
In other words, failure to produce fruit after a given period of time will result in being cut off! Moreover, even success, results in heavy pruning in order to produce more fruit! These are sobering thoughts. Bear them in mind.
Abiding in YAHUSHUA the Vine
|John 15:4||Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.
In other words, unless a believer keeps in constant contact with the Savior, success will never come. There will be no fruit in that believer's life; no love, joy, peace etc., and certainly no souls won for the Kingdom of Heaven.
|John 15:8||Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples.
YaHuWaH 's greatest achievements are found in the field of salvation. His literal creation - marvelous though it is - fades by comparison with His work of salvation. The opening of people's hearts and minds to truth, the production of spiritual fruit (love, joy, peace, generosity, gratitude, mercy, kindness, humility, patience etc.) under the most hostile conditions, all demonstrate YaHuWaH 's real power. In Him we see a gardener of unique and supreme ability; One who can produce the most delicious fruit in virtually any environment and also in the poorest of soils (souls). Quality fruit thus produced is testimony of the Almighty's love, wisdom, mercy, power, patience and skill.
In John 15 two spiritual secrets of success are mentioned. They are obedience and prayer. All who apply this twin formula in the garden of their lives will never fail to produce 'fruit, fruit that lasts.' Let us now consider these two secrets.
Fruitfulness is Abiding in YAHUSHUA
|John 15:5||He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.
What does it mean to abide in the Savior? The Master answers this question in these words:
|John 15:10||If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love.
Faithfully keeping the commandments of YaHuWaH is the very first secret a believer must learn. That is what is meant by the term 'abiding in the Father and the Son. I repeat: obedience is abiding in YaHuWaH Elohim.
The second secret is based on the first. Indeed it will not work unless that first step - obedience - has been taken. The second secret concerns some of the most astonishing promises in all Scripture, promises about prayer. Here are a few texts which contain invaluable information concerning this vital secret.
|John 15:7||: If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.|
This is an amazing promise by any standards. To ensure that we are not reading it amiss the Savior repeats it several times. Note his words:
|John 15: 16||Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My Name, He may give it you.|
|John 16:23||And in that day ye shall ask Me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My Name, He will give it you.
24: Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My Name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
|John 14:13||And whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14: If ye shall ask any thing in My Name, I will do it.
Pause dear friend and try to take in the content of these weighty, divine promises. Read them over and over and over and over again, because they present the greatest prayer guarantees in all Scripture. What do they mean? They mean exactly what they say:
Ask the Father for anything yes - anything - in YAHUSHUA's Name and you will have it.
Also carefully note the words: that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Millions of Christians (including myself) often deceive themselves into thinking that what we are asking for is for the Father's glory; when all the while, quite unbeknown to ourselves, we are seeking our own glory. Such prayers, I have learned by bitter experience, accomplish nothing. If anything, they are a waste of breath and time. My sincere advice to you is: Make every effort to understand and meet those two parameters:
The Most High is patiently waiting for believers to avail themselves of these amazing offers. He has promised virtually everything of real value to the obedient, unselfish and humble petitioner. It is now up to us to avail ourselves of these staggering promises. Are you big enough to believe them, to meet those mandatory conditions and to ask? For more detail see Promises About Prayer.
Strange as it may seem there are some who are extremely jealous of YaHuWaH 's success. They hate everything He stands for and they detest His commandments. They are unable to personally attack the Most High, so they vandalize His property and vent their anger on His vineyard. They seek to demolish His work and break the branches off the true vine.
|Jer. 12:10||Many pastors have destroyed My vineyard, they have trodden My portion under foot, they have made My pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.
But the Almighty is ever watchful of His vineyard. Besides the constant care and attention He gives it, He sends spiritual rain at the right time. Notice His promise concerning the Holy Spirit.
|John 15:26||But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of Me.
The Holy Spirit is to the gospel work what literal rain is to a garden or vineyard. We believers are told to 'ask for rain - at the time of the latter rain.' And YaHuWaH will send the rain. Are you asking for the latter rain?
|Zech. 10:1||Ask ye of YaHuWaH rain in the time of the latter rain; so YaHuWaH shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.
Let me close by inviting you to the Vineyard of YaHuWaH Tz'va'ot; to become a successful, fruit-laden branch on YAHUSHUA the Messiah - the True Vine!