We are reading in John Chapter 15, where Jesus is speaking about the vine and the Father being the vinedresser or gardener. God comes with His hoe to remove things which ought not to be in out lives and He comes with His Pruning Knife to cut us back and even to cut us down.

We do not speak about this aspect of the work of Almighty God the gardener very often, but it is important, so that when it happens to us personally we know exactly what is happening, and why God is acting in such a positive manner.

This is one of Jesus’ visual aids and sometimes we only pay attention to one side of the illustration – the appearance of fruit later on – and we may tend to remain silent on the painful pruning and the look of death which can be the consequence.

When God the Father comes to prune us – in love He comes – if I can just cut him back here – if I can just snip her back there – then within a short while he and she can become even more fruitful.

If we sometimes find some days very difficult, that does not mean that God has deserted us. He may be even closer than He has ever been, and now He is pruning you and shaping you up.

Prune is the same word as clean. Pruning is cathartic, as that which is bad or dirty or rotten is removed. There is a pain which comes from disobedience, and there is a pain which comes from pruning.

Remember that picture of the roses. The nearest you are to your roses during the whole year is when you are pruning them and looking for that bud which will produce the finest flower – some weeks and months later.

We have to remain in Christ, and we have to have Jesus Christ in us, and we have to be properly related to all the other branches in the vine. One branch on its own is absolutely useless.

People, on their own, can do virtually nothing. An isolated Christian was never the intention of the Father. Being out of fellowship can mean disaster.

There are times when Jesus comes and re-aligns the branches – when He readjusts – so that we can receive the right amount of light – and not be blocking out someone else – nor be blocked out by someone else. We need constant care and attention. We need to be watered and fed and protected and pruned and cultivated.

In the Church of Jesus Christ, miss out on nothing. Have all that God wants you to have. Be filled with all that Jesus has to fill you.

Verse 5 – Jesus teaches that without Me you can do nothing. Now, that is strong.

Some people like to think that they can do worthwhile things without Jesus – not according to this word. It is possible to do all sorts of physical things without Jesus. You can drive a car – make money – do all kinds of things – but unless you have Jesus, and are obedient to Jesus, the Gardener does not get the fruit for which He is looking.

Fruitless branches are useless for any other purpose, and as a carpenter Jesus knew what he was saying. This is why He repeatedly says – Be in Me – Be attached to Me. Remain there.

Verse 6 – If a man is not in continual and continuous contact with Christ, he can drop off – wither away – disappear, and vanish. There is no room for unproductive suckers.

It is good to remember too that we are a branch – not the whole vine!

Jesus is after fruit – more fruit – much fruit. If you remain in Me – this word ‘remain’ or ‘abide’ is the same word used in Chapter 14 for ‘mansion’. In my father’s house there are many abiding places – resting places – dwelling places. Jesus is teaching those who are His – remain – abide – dwell – and allow the fruit to be produced.

Many like to sing “Abide with me” – but Jesus turns it round the other way and commands – you abide with Me, and in Me.