What’s in a name? A name is more than just something by which we are called; in a sense, it is our reputation. Did you know there are a multitude of names for God? Each name unique and powerful; the list is endless.
Join us on this exciting adventure through Scripture, where we will learn some amazing verses, talk about how those verses should affect our lives, and discuss some practical ways to make these names “real”.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also 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.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” - John 15:1-8
Here in sunny California we are blessed to be surrounded by fields of growing things. A drive up the 5 freeway will have you passing any number of farms, groves, and vineyards. We have festivals dedicated to our grapes and wines. Here, vines abound.
My father-in-law has taken to planting his own vines. He started out with only a few, but, I believe, has now gotten up to several dozen at this point. Most of his grapes are for making wine, but he made sure to plant at least one table grape for our kids to enjoy.
If you spend any time around vines, you quickly learn how important pruning is. If you fail to prune you’re robbing those branches which are producing good fruit the nutrients they so deserve. Your vine will become sickly, overrun, and eventually be no good at all.
I find it amazing that here, in the book of John, we are once again reminded of another name for God; the vine. He is the main source and we are the branches. The Bible warns the branches, us, of the dangers in bearing no “fruit”. Those who lack fruit are cut off, having no fellowship with Him at all. This begs the question: What is this fruit we should be bearing? In Galatians 5:22-23, we are given a specific list of fruits which we are expected to have:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
If we abide in Him (reading, praying, fellowshipping, being obedient), we are safe. These fruits will naturally be grown and will be evident for all to see. In fact, you can’t help but bear fruit; it’s almost impossible not to!
I can always tell when I am not as close to the Lord as I should be. I am spiritually weak, my decisions are not what they ought to be, and my fruit is bitter or nonexistent. Vice-versa, I can tell when I am right where I am supposed to be. I feel at peace, confident in my choices, and I can see all that the Lord is accomplishing through the tasks I am given. Being one with God, our vine, is essential for life.
Yet again, I wanted to bring this thought home for our kids. Thankfully, I didn’t have to go too far! A quick reminder at their Yayo’s house was a helpful lesson reinforcing this principle. We also made sure to grab some grapes to enjoy and drank some grape juice.
Week one of What’s In a Name has been so much fun! I can’t wait for week two, there are so many exciting memories to make and opportunities to share with our kids. I can’t wait!
How can you tell when you are not abiding in Christ?