Christ The True Vine
Audio Version of the Article
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 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.”
It is so fitting that I find myself revisiting such a promising verse of scripture, one that clearly speaks to me in such a profound way; for when I heard it so many years ago, I leaped with great joy and ran through the church world of my time, without understanding the full vibration of the words contained within John 15:1-2.
I knew within my heart of hearts that God had more for His people; however I failed to convey it in my messages of days gone by, because I did not fully realize it within myself. I do not wish to sound critical of myself, however I must be transparent when I say, “I had ears but heard not, and eyes and saw not.” The Holy Spirit waits patiently to proclaim in our ear, the message of this verse, a message that calls all who heed the call, to come and be one with Christ. Not in words, but in thought and in deed. Paul said it so fittingly when he ministered to the saints which were in Philipi, “Let this mind be IN YOU, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be EQUAL WITH GOD: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being fashioned as a man, he HUMBLED HIMSELF, AND BECAME OBEDIENT UNTO DEATH, even the DEATH OF THE CROSS” (Philippians 2:5-8).
The richness of Paul’s message to the Philippians holds great relevance even in this day, there are so many souls that speak of the Christ, yet how few there be that truly find themselves joined to the Christ, in thought, word and deed. In John 15:1 Christ proclaims two powerful absolutes:
1) He is the TRUE VINE
2) His Father is THE HUSBANDMAN
To the mere reader of this verse, one might ask, “What is the big deal?”
The significance that I see here is this, Christ is proclaiming, though there may be other vines, containing some level of life and sustenance, He (the Christ) is THE TRUE VINE of all vines. I find it very fascinating that in a world with so many different religions, and methods to get to God, we tend to forget one simple truth: CHRIST IS THE TRUE! I recall of those days of my youth when I sought for God, I looked for him in astrology, in the Methodist church, in the Baptist church, in the Pentecostal church, I even looked for him in the Non-Denominational church, but to my surprise I did not find Christ in either of those places.
By now, if you continue on to hear what else I have to say, you are probably scratching your head, wondering how it is that I did not find Christ in the churches I mentioned above? Before you go on a tangent in your thinking, understand, that I was not looking for the man Christ; I was looking for THE CHRIST who sits in the seat of power on the right side of the Father. I was not looking for the babe in the manger, or the Christ that turned water into wine; neither was I looking for the Christ that died on the cross; I was looking for the Christ that THOUGHT IT NOT ROBBERY TO BE EQUAL or ONE WITH GOD!
I found that religion speaks of the oneness of God with great rhetoric, in other words, it is something that we talked about, but never truly believed it could be experienced right here, right now!
Christ said in John 14:6 that he was THE WAY, THE TRUTH and THE LIFE and NO MAN COMETH UNTO THE FATHER BUT BY HIM (CHRIST: THE TRUE VINE).
Sunday after Sunday, revival after revival, conference after conference; religion presented a Christ that was no more: “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet, now HENCEFORTH KNOW WE HIM NO MORE” (II Corinthians 5:16). Surprising as it may be, Christ did not come from heaven to earth, from the earth to the cross, from the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky, so we can celebrate Easter, Christmas, have Mass, speak in tongues and remain unchanged, and be religiously emotional in connection with his fleshly form, for he wants to be connected to us in the spirit.
Thus the declaration: “I am THE TRUE VINE, AND MY FATHER IS THE HUSBANDMAN.”
I AM THE TRUE…
When we take time to go deep beneath the surface of what Jesus Christ is saying in John 15:1-2, we must keep in mind that the language of Christ is far richer than our very own speech. Christ speaks the language of the kingdom of God. Not English! Not Spanish! Not French! Not Bohemian! Or any other language descendant of the Tower of Babel, He speaks the language of the Spirit. Therefore when He states that he is THE TRUE VINE, he is speaking of something higher than some physical thing understood on an earthly plain. His speech is pointing to some dimension that cannot not be heard with the natural ear, or seen with the natural eye.
The word true in the Greek Lexicon is alethinos, pronounced al-ay-thee-nos, which means, that which has not only the name and resemblance, but the real nature corresponding to the name, in every respect corresponding to the idea signified by the name, real, true genuine. Not fictitious, counterfeit, imaginary, simulated or pretended. Christ says, I am NOT A COUNTERFEIT VINE! I am not A FICTITIOUS VINE! I am the genuine article!
Christ (THE BEGINNING) is the absolute VINE, the one that is opposite of what is imperfect defective, frail, and uncertain. Christ states, “I AM THE TRUE VINE;” not in name or in mere resemblance; but in great reality, evidenced by an unshakeable reality. Oh dear soul, Christ did not pass through forty-two generations to be held in frailty, and imperfect imagery, He passed through to ascend, and in His ascension, to BRING US (the believer’s priest) unto THE FATHER; or more to the point, unto that reality in our own experience.
The TRUE VINE connects with something that was stated in John 1:1, “In the beginning was THE WORD, and THE WORD was with GOD, and THE WORD was God.”
Oh can you hear it?
“In the beginning was THE TRUE VINE, and THE TRUE VINE was with GOD, and THE TRUE VINE was God.” Christ did not all of a sudden become the TRUE VINE; HE has always been the TRUE VINE. Therefore, it is absolutely vital that you and I connect with Christ in the spirit, because the essential ability for us to be fruitful depends on it. Religion gives us a rhetorical Christ to seek after, one that we will not be able to touch until we get to Heaven; but who wants to wait that long to be influenced by Him, who declares in John 14:2, “I go to PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU?”
Christ wants to manifest absoluteness unto us here and now, why? Because the KINGDOM OF GOD IS NOW (AT HAND)! How many believers attending church Sunday after Sunday finds them self struggling with sexual desires, and Adamic imperfections while singing, “Draw Me Nearer?”
When we understand that Christ is THE TRUE ABSOLUTE VINE, we will cease to wait on a someday/one day message of change, to cast down the old man Adam, we will press in to BECOME THE SONS OF GOD, because we will come to know that being attached to LOVE tugs at our heart strings to PUT ON CHRIST!
Christ is THE ROOT in whom we shall trust: “And again, Esaias saith, ‘There shall be a ROOT OF JESSE, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust’” (Romans 15:12). And in Isaiah 11:9-10 – “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a ROOT OF JESSE, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
In this period in which we live, things about Christ are everywhere, radio, T.V., books, magazines, newsletters, internet websites, and so much more, yet our churches and the people in them are less empowered than those in the Church at Antioch.
Why are we less empowered than our brethren from the early church? Why do we have so many believers dependent upon pastors and not seeking after THE TRUE VINE for themselves? I recall as a young man in the Lord, of my excitement regarding the move of the Holy Spirit during the church services, I recall of how I never wanted to leave, because I knew when I walked out those doors, and went home, and got up the next day to face another day, all the victory, all the peace, all the joy and all the love I felt would be lost, never to be experienced again, until I went to another power packed service at church, a ritual that continues to play out in the churches, the world over.
I found myself struggling to maintain victorious living, because after all my main motivation was to try to make it into Heaven, while begging in my prayers to God, not to send me to a burning Hell. I had no problem serving God during the winter months, but when spring and summer rolled around, I was once again, back on the path of unrighteousness.
The death, burial and resurrection of Christ had absolutely no power to keep me delivered 365 days a year, so I thought. My life of salvation was anchored in what I could feel at the moment. I had “church” joy, and “church” peace, and “church” victory; and anything occurring outside of the walls of the church, found me captivated by the old adamic nature.
I remember questioning God about my “inner” struggles. I did not understand how I could be so inconsistent in my walk with God. I want to challenge you to take an intense look at your current state in God; affirm for your own self, who you are attached to.
Religion of our day finds itself swimming in the waters of prosperity. Now, understand me here, there is nothing wrong with being prosperous, but let us agree with the Word’s description of what “kingdom” prosperity is to look like. John made a statement that is not something that Jesus said, however it pins to the bulletin board of our understanding as to what true prosperity is to look like. In III John 1:2 John states, “Beloved, I wish above ALL THINGS that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” Prosperity is connected to our thinking, our feelings and decision making; even as we prosper in our soul. When looking at the word prosperity in the Greek Lexicon, it is a compound word that speaks of being well off in the area of our thoughts, our feelings (emotions) and in our decision making.
If this is the case, and Christ is the TRUE VINE, then we must acknowledge something else that is associated with this understanding of being joined, or connected to Christ THE TRUE VINE: “…the branch (the believer) CANNOT bear fruit of itself, except it ABIDE IN THE VINE.”
All that we are and all that we have has to have its origin in CHRIST THE TRUE VINE. How is it that we cannot see this? Why are so many of us pushing all these different movements in the church failing to BRING A PEOPLE TO BE JOINED TO CHRIST, FIRST?
The Church realm or “Candlestick” realm has never been about strengthening our allegiance with a church, but rather, becoming OVERCOMERS (A BRANCH) that is joined to the Christ that enables us to ascend to that TRUE dimension of prosperity, of healing, of victory, of wealth, of KINGDOM OF GOD living!
The “Candlestick” or church realm is revealed to us in Revelation 2, and 3 laying out for our instruction the benefits of being joined unto Christ. Each encounter of Christ in the middle of the church conveys a benefit available to the overcomer. Many only view this scriptural account as something that speaks of a span of time in the church’s history; however there is much more in this account than some historical association. These two chapters in Revelation further highlight the importance of being attached to the Christ in order to ascend out of the realm of the candlestick into the realm of TRUE PROSPERITY.
We are to encounter Christ that is in the middle of the Church, who indeed has the church (YOU) in His right hand, ready to deal with you in seven unique ways: HE THAT HAS AN EAR, LET HIM HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT SAYS UNTO THE CHURCHES!
As dear followers of Christ there must be a complete trust in the absoluteness of Christ. We must adhere to His various self declarations that solidify our need to COME UNTO HIM! Christ declared himself on one occasion as THE TRUE BREAD (John 6:32), and along with that he said in John 6:57, “As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, EVEN HE SHALL LIVE BY ME.” Why do we busy ourselves, seeking life among dead things, when the life and the substance we need is contained in Him that is THE TRUE?
That word “LIVE” is Zoa, which is a life that emanates from THE FATHER. Strive after houses, land and cars and so many other lifeless distractions and you will find yourself void of life; a life that only comes from THE TRUE SOURCE OF LIFE: GOD THE FATHER.
I love the passage in John 1:4 which reads, “In HIM (THE TRUE VINE) was life (zoe: the absolute fullness of life); however this is a life that can only be experienced based on our attachment to THE TRUE VINE, through which this life flows.
Christ is not engaging in a debate in regards to his absoluteness, he just simply says: I AM!
The “BREAD OF GOD – (THE TRUE VINE) which cometh down from heaven, and giveth LIFE UNTO THE WORLD” (John 6:33). Until one adheres to the “true” vine and the “true” bread, there will be no experience of the fullness of His life; a life that is available to those who want more than church activity.
Many have succumbed to the message of gathering more stuff unto them selves. Acquire the land, buy houses, drive the best car; become educated in the best of schools, obtain your Masters and Bachelor degree; better your self, - for all of this is evidence of the abundant life.
Christ when dealing with covetousness (in Luke 12:15), which is the desire to have more; especially that which belongs to others, he stated: “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life (zoe) consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth (possessions, goods, wealth, property).” No my beloved, your “zoe” will never be measured by what you own in the material; for the things that you own are temporal and subject to decay. Own it, buy it, and obtain it, if you must, but never for one moment believe it to be an indicator of the abundant life.
To be linked to THE TRUE VINE has to do with becoming AS HE IS!
Many of us have been taught by the old man Adam, and though we may not look at our neighbor’s property and wish it to be our own, we are nonetheless covetous. We are seeking after something that is the display of the Adamic man, the lower man or FALSE VINE, if I may be permitted to place such emphasis. We strive after what Adam strove after, settling for life outside of the Garden of Eden; when there was so much available to him there, had he chose THE TRUE over that which is NOT TRUE.
Christ said that he came to GIVE LIFE, yet life is lacking from so many that follow after Him, because they do so after the letter and not after the spirit. What happen to our religious institutions that exchanged their love of the spirit for another spirit? Why have we settled for the spirit of the world (I Cor. 2:11-14), a spirit that does not know the things of God?
The answer lies in the fact that many have refused the invitation to be attached to THE TRUE VINE, settling for another gospel that is not the gospel.
To be continued…