April 15, 2011

Fruitfulness to the Glory of God

 1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 “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 15:1-5, New King James Version)

The scene takes place right after the Last Supper.  Judas has gone off to do his wicked deed, and Jesus has just washed the feet of the disciples, teaching them a lesson about servant leadership.  Jesus and His disciples left the Upper Room and walked toward the Garden of Gethsemane.  Passing the temple, they could not help but notice that one of the chief ornaments on the gate was a golden vine with a cluster of grapes as large as a man, which, to the Apostles, represented the nation of Israel.  Jesus is about to change the direction of their focus.  He told them that they were the branches, that Jesus was the true vine, and the Father was the vinedresser.

I read of a man visiting a greenhouse where luscious clusters of grapes were hanging on every side.  When he asked the owner how they came to be so healthy and full, he replied; “When my new gardener came, he said he would have nothing to do with these vines at all unless he could prune them right down to the stalks.  He did just that, and we had no grapes for two years.  The fullness you see here before you is the result of that pruning.”

As believers, we are nourished by being attached to the true vine, Jesus.  To keep us healthy and fruitful, the Father, the vinedresser must prune us, which is not pleasant but is very often painful.  Many of the richest blessings that have come down to us are the result of past pruning, skillfully and lovingly applied by the tender hand of the Vinedresser.  All believers who are truly branches that are receiving their nourishment from the true vine will be pruned.  It must be so.  It cannot be otherwise.  The intention of the vinedresser, as the parable goes on to describe later, is to produce, “fruit”, “more fruit”, and “much fruit”. 

At the time of sharp pruning, when the knife of the Lord is cutting deep, and the pain is sore, and you are burdened with the load, it is a comfort to read and understand; “My Father is the vinedresser”.  Take heart precious believer.  If you are being pruned, you are being prepared.  If you are being prepared, you will produce fruit to the Glory of God.  Oh the depth and breadth of the Grace of God to His own!

Pastor Al and his wife Louise are long time residents of Southbury, CT.  They are blessed with their adult sons Aaron and Joshua and daughter in-law Natasha.  Al trusted in Christ for salvation in 1981.  He worked at Southbury Training School as the Power Plant Chief Engineer for 34 years.  He served as a Deacon in his former AG church for 22 years.  During this time he took courses at the Berean School of the Bible.  He became a Certified Minister in 1987, and became a Licensed Minister with the Assemblies of God in January 2005.  Pastor Al became First Assembly's Minister of Pastoral Care in February 2009.  His passion is preaching, teaching, reading, evangelism, and serving God's people.

Louise has been a RN at Danbury Hospital for the past 10 years and takes every opportunity to minister to the sick and their families.


During this season before Easter, First Assembly of God will be publishing devotional messages, in conjunction with the book 40 Days with Jesus, compiled by Randy Hurst.  Members of our team are contributing short devotionals based in the campaign daily readings.
What IS 40 days with Jesus? Simply, a church-wide campaign to prepare our hearts and reach out to our friends at Easter 2011. From March 14th through Easter Sunday everyone at First Assembly is being challenged to read together through a series of daily Bible readings about the life of Jesus and the prophecies about Him from the Old Testament.  Then a couple of weeks before Easter we're asking everyone to give away a second book, "The Risen Savior", to a friend or family member with a personal invitation for them to come to church on Easter Sunday morning.

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