Jesus replaces Israel as the Vine

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Jesus Vine

Sunday 09/03/23

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Jesus replaces Israel as the Vine

W started at the beginning of the year, looking at out pursuit in knowing Jesus more intimately. 

We read how Peter said that if we would do certain things then we would not be unproductive or unfruitful in our ongoing pursuit of knowing Jesus more intimately.

More recently we dove into Jesus‘ parable of the Heart soils and last week we began looking at being a branch in Jesus our Vine. 

I think however, that we may have missed the depth of this metaphor because we are not Jews of the 1st century with a rich history of knowing the Old Testament.

As I have told you once before, the Vine analogy was very telling to His Jewish disciples.

You can get an idea of what it spoke to them when you look at Isaiah 5 taken together with Ps. 80. They paint the picture for us in capsulated form. 

Isaiah 5:1-7, “(1) Now let me sing to my Well-beloved A song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard: My Well-beloved has a vineyard On a very fruitful hill.  (2)  He dug it up and cleared out its stones, And planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, And also made a winepress in it; So He expected it to bring forth good grapes, But it brought forth wild grapes.  (3)  “And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, Judge, please, between Me and My vineyard.  (4)  What more could have been done to My vineyard That I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, Did it bring forth wild grapes?  (5)  And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned; And break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.  (6)  I will lay it waste; It shall not be pruned or dug, But there shall come up briers and thorns. I will also command the clouds That they rain no rain on it.”  (7)  For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, And the men of Judah are His pleasant plant. He looked for justice, but behold, oppression; For righteousness, but behold, a cry for help.”

A more complete and colorful account can be found in Jeremiah 2:1-26,

Asaph prophesied in song form of Israel as a degenerate vine and God Who would save them by the One He chose Who would save the whole plant.

Psalm 80:1-19, “(1) O shepherd of Israel, pay attention, You Who lead Joseph like a flock of sheep! You Who sit enthroned above the cherubim, reveal Your splendor!  

(2)  In the sight of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh reveal your power! Come and deliver us!  

(3)  O God, restore us! Smile on us! Then we will be delivered!  

(4)  O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies! How long will You remain angry at your people while they pray to You?  (5)  You have given them tears as food; You have made them drink tears by the measure.  (6)  You have made our neighbors dislike us, and our enemies insult us.  

(7)  O God of Heaven’s Armies, restore us! Smile on us! Then we will be delivered!  

(8)  You uprooted a vine from Egypt; you drove out nations and transplanted it.  (9)  You cleared the ground for it; it took root, and filled the land.  

(10)  The mountains were covered by its shadow, the highest cedars by its branches.  (11)  Its branches reached the Mediterranean Sea, and its shoots the Euphrates River.  

(12)  Why did You break down its walls, so that all who pass by pluck its fruit?  (13)  The wild boars of the forest ruin it; the insects of the field feed on it.  

(14)  O God of Heaven’s Armies, come back! Look down from heaven and take notice! Take care of this vine,  (15)  the root Your right hand planted, the shoot You made to grow!  

(16)  It is burned and cut down. They die because You are displeased with them.  

(17)  May You give support to the One You have chosen, to the One Whom You raised up for yourself!  (18)  Then we will not turn away from You. 

Revive us and we will pray to you!  (19)  O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies, restore us! Smile on us! Then we will be delivered!”

Now I did not introduce the context of this passage last week. For that we need to go back one chapter to John 14.

John 14:15-27, “(15) If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. (16)  And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. 

(17)  He is the Spirit of truth

The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you

(18)  I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you. 

(19)  “In a little while the world will see Me no longer, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live too. 

(20)  In that day you will know that I am in My Father, you are in Me, and I am in you

(21)  The one who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father. I also will love him and will reveal Myself to him.” 

(22)  Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it You’re going to reveal Yourself to us and not to the world?”  

(23)  Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 

(24)  The one who doesn’t love Me will not keep My words. The word that you hear is not Mine but is from the Father who sent Me. 

(25)  “I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. (26)  But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit–the Father will send Him in My name–will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you

(27)  “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.”

So before offering them a living illustration of the nature of their union and relationship, He told them about it AND the giving of the Holy Spirit of Truth Who would remind them of all Jesus said and reveal the understanding of it to them (See John 16:12-13).

Many years after these things were recorded from the life and teachings of Jesus, John wrote the epistle we call 1 John and in it he mentioned these things again, only in greater detail. We may get to that later in this study.

John 15:1-4, (1) I am the true Vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper. (2)  Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. 

(3)  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” 

I like what Spurgeon said about this. He said that if we would respond quicker and with more complete surrender to the word Jesus brings to us by the Holy Spirit, we would require far less pruning by the means of affliction and suffering.

By this he was meaning that God primarily uses His word to clean and chasten us. If we would be children whose hearts are longingly seeking Him and quick to respond in obedience to the first promptings of the Holy Spirit, then the pruning work would be done. We would then, according to Hebrews “produce the peaceable fruit of righteousness”. But when we are too caught up in our daily, earthly lives and do not sit like Mary at His feet, listening to His words, then God must take out pruning shears of another sort. Ones we WILL listen to.

If our attention was on the things above rather than the things beneath as we are encouraged to do, spiritual pruning would be sufficient. But when our attention is on things on the earth – things associated with the interests of this life – then God will use things of this life to do the pruning. 

Then Jesus said, 

“(4)  Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.”

Remember that the Message translation has verse 4 like this.

“Live in me. Make your home in Me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with Me.”

So it is that we are joined to Jesus our Vine.

I’ve always had difficulty with the notion of “in Me” rather than something like “with Me”. “Joined” however is more of a marital word.

So-in-so has been “joined in marriage” to so-in-so and I find that easier to wrap my head around.

(5)  “I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me.”

“(6)  If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”

“(7)  If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. (8)  My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.”

There is a secondary meaning to the word Abide and it speaks to the endurance which leads to producing fruit we spoke of earlier and last week regarding the ‘Good heart’.

It is found in this last verse we are reading today – verse 9

John 15:9, “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; remain in My love.

We are told to remain in Him, allow His words to make their home in us and remain or abide in His love.

This word Abide carries its secondary meaning of steadfast perseverance or endurance. 

John 15:10-27, “(10) If you keep My commands, you’ll remain intimately at home inMy love. That’s what I’ve done–keptMy Father’s commands and made Myself at home in His love.  

(11)  “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that My joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature.  

(12)  This isMy command: Love one another the way I loved you.  

(13)  This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends.  (14)  You are My friends when you do the things I command you.”  

Like Jesus does SOOO often, He hid the truth of this statement in plain sight.

He is saying that in order to keep His commands you will have to surrender your life. Your life can no longer be your own. THAT is of course the call of the Gospel.

Jesus addressed this earlier on in His ministry among these men and it is recorded in Mark 8:34-38

It says – 

“(34) And Jesus called the throng with His disciples and said to them, If anyone intends to come after Me, let him deny himself [forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of himself and his own interests] and take up his cross, and [joining Me as a disciple and siding with My party] follow with Me [continually, cleaving steadfastly to Me].”

This is just fat with good wordage! 

Joining Him is exactly what we just covered in John 15 which John said is what makes you bear fruit and prove that you are His disciple.

A disciple is someone who commits themselves not only to another’s teaching, but to their lifestyle. It is the goal of a disciple to become like their master. We have relationships like that even today.

  • Some children with their parents.
  • Apprenticeships.
  • Mentoring programs.
  • The relationship of a student with their Sensei. In fact, the word Sensei, a Japanese word, means “who who had gone before

Also included in this verse is the phrase “siding with My party” which is literally what the word “Christian” means ~ To be of the Party of Christ.

Finally this verse includes that attribute we learned two weeks about was made for Good Heart soil and that is that this person CLINGS to Jesus.

“(35)  For whoever wants to save his [higher, spiritual, eternal] life, will lose it [the lower, natural, temporal life which is lived only on earth]; and whoever gives up his life [which is lived only on earth] for My sake and the Gospel’s will save it [his higher, spiritual life in the eternal kingdom of God].  

(36)  For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life [in the eternal kingdom of God]?  

(37)  For what can a man give as an exchange (a compensation, a ransom, in return) for his [blessed] life [in the eternal kingdom of God]?  

(38)  For whoever is ashamed [here and now] of Me and My words in this adulterous (unfaithful) and [preeminently] sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when He comes in the glory (splendor and majesty) of His Father with the holy angels.”

John 15…

“(15)  I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.”

Why did He do this? The previous verse 14 told us why.

They had given their lives up for Him. This means they loved Him, listened to and received His words and had kept them. 


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!