True Vine, True Fruit
False Vine, False Fruit
by Sandy Simpson, 2/2/05

John 15:1-10  "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
There is one true Vine, that is Jesus Christ.  Those attached to this Vine, who have a connected relationship to the Vine through obedience, will be branches that bear true fruit.  Fruit here is talking about the fruit of the Spirit and fruit of the Gospel.  Those who love the Lord and demonstrate that love by obeying His commands will exhibit the fruit of the Spirit in abundance in their lives, and will bear the fruit of multiplying the Kingdom of God through preaching the Gospel.  God is the only One who can save, but we are to roll away the stone and unbind anyone God raises from the dead (John 11:39-44).  That means we are to preach the Gospel and prepare the hearts of people to believe in Christ.  But Jesus is the only One who can save a person, cause them to be born again.  When a person is born again we must continue to help him to grow, deal with the habitual sins in his life that cling to him like death garments, and teach him the truth so he can grow to maturity in Christ.

Those who remain in Christ will produce true fruit.  But we must never forget that God does not force the branches to remain or "abide".  That choice is left up to the individual.  There will be branches that do not produce fruit because they do not remain, do not love the Lord enough to obey His commands. Jude speaks of those who have no fruit, and in this case he is speaking of false teachers.

Jude 1:12  These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm— shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted— twice dead.
It is a clear warning from Jesus Christ Himself that there are branches, those who claim to be followers of Christ, who end up dead and fruitless.  These branches will be gathered up and thrown in the fire--the fire of eternal judgment.  Some Christians would interpret John 15:1-10 to mean that those attached to the Vine who do not produce fruit will have their false works burned up in the fire, but they will be saved in the end.  But this is not what this passage is addressing, because those who remain in the Vine and have works need pruning.  Pruning continues through the life of a believer, but the final pruning will occur at the time the saint's works are judged.  We have to remember that the branches are individuals, not their works.  Those individuals who choose not to take their nourishment from the Vine and thus produce fruit will end up in the fire, thrown away, discarded.

The John 15 passage is clear about those who bear no fruit.  But since there is only one True Vine, and that Vine will produce true fruit through the branches that remain in Him, there are also false vines that produce false fruit.

Luke 6:43  "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.
Romans 7:5  For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.
According to the Bible, in fact according to Jesus Christ Himself, there are also those who bear bad or false fruit.  They bear fruit, but it is not the fruit of the Vine.  It is fruit of another vine, a false vine.  It can be fruit of the sinful nature (Rom. 7:5).
Gal. 5:19-23  The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
But it can also be fruit of other false vines. There are other trees, other fruit.
Luke 3:9  The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."
Watching Benny Hinn on TV the other day reminded me of false vines. Hinn just went to India again and claimed seven million people came to his crusade. This estimate was exaggerated, as are all his claims, as the attendance was more in the order of one and a half million. But the people in India who follow Hinn clearly worship him, and they are clearly encouraged by Benny to do so. Hinn stands there in his white outfit, always the center of attention.  He drums into his followers minds that he is the "anointed" individual who can dispense the Holy Spirit to them, bring healing, bring spiritual growth. Clearly Hinn has set himself up as another vine. Those who follow Hinn claim to be followers of Jesus Christ, but they are first and foremost followers of Hinn. All you have to do to find this out is say one negative thing about Benny to them. They will blast back that he is a "holy man of God" and we should not "touch" the Lord's anointed.  R.W. Schambach called Hinn "the Anointed One of God" on the "This Is Your Day" program on TBN some time ago.

What we need to remember is that any fruit from a false vine is going to be false fruit.  Those who follow Hinn are quick to point out that "he is doing so many good things".  They like to mix their error with the truth.  They cannot see that heresy and false prophesy do not produce ANY good works in the eyes of the Lord.  Look at what Jesus Christ says on Judgment Day to those who claim to have done good works in His name:

Matt. 7:21-23  "Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Notice they call Jesus Christ "Lord".  Yet they have not obeyed Him.  They are not attached to the Vine.  God does not see their "good" works as good, but sees it ALL as "evil". Those who claim to follow the Lord yet teach heresy and make false prophesies are "evildoers" in the sight of the Lord, as they should be to any true believer who is connected to the True Vine.  We don't just swallow the evil with the "good". We reject heresy (Titus 3:10) and get away from false prophets (Matt. 7:15, 2 Pet. 2:1).

Those attached to false vines such as false teachers and false prophets will not produce ANY good fruit.  The only way to produce good fruit is to be attached to the True Vine.  Those who follow heretics and false prophets are living in disobedience to the clear commands of the Lord Jesus Christ not to do so.  Therefore they have detached themselves from the True Vine and the love of Jesus Christ.  To remain in the love of the Lord you must obey His commands.  That is the biblical criteria.  No excuses will do.  You cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24).  You cannot be attached to two vines at once.  There are only three realities: (1) you are attached to the True Vine by living in obedience and remaining in the Vine, (2) you have never been attached to the True Vine or (3) you have detached yourself from the True Vine through disobedience and attached yourself to a false vine.

False vines have this in common.  They represent anything that sets itself up against the knowledge of the True Vine.  This includes false teachings, false religions, cults, false prophets, and many other "vines".  But true believers, attached to the True Vine in a love/obedience relationship, will demolish the ideas and beliefs associated with false vines.

2 Corinthians 10:5  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Notice that true believers take captive their thoughts in obedience to Christ.  They are careful about what they believe and accept.  They stand on the eternal, living Word of God and demolish strongholds of false thought and false works.

Those attached to the True Vine take seriously the admonition to remain, to abide, in the True Vine through obedience, thus proving their love of the Lord Jesus Christ.

John 14:15  "If you love me, you will obey what I command.
John 14:23  Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
John 14:24  He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
John 15:10  If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
1 John 5:3  This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,