John 15:6
If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers. Such branches are gathered up, thrown into the fire, and burned.
Cast ForthC. H. Spurgeon.John 15:6
Five Steps to JudgmentR. Besser, D. D.John 15:6
Jesus and the Only Means of RighteousnessMatthew Arnold.John 15:6
WitheredR. Besser, D. D.John 15:6
The Vine and the BranchesD. Young John 15:1-6
The Vine and the BranchesJ.R. Thomson John 15:1-8
The Union of Christ and BelieversB. Thomas John 15:5-8
Our Lord does not say, "Apart from my doctrine ye can do nothing;" important though it is that Christian people should apprehend and receive his truth. Nor does he say, "Apart from my Church ye can do nothing;" though, if we understand the term "Church" aright, this would be manifestly true. But he says, "Apart from me." Christ is, then, himself everything to his people. He is the Power, the Wisdom, the Salvation, of God, and consequently, could we be sundered from him, we should be rendered poor and powerless.

I. TO BEAR FRUIT, IS THE END OF TRUE RELIGION, AND THE RESULT AND PROOF OF SPIRITUAL LIFE. When substituted for faith, "doing" is bad; but when it is the effect of faith, it is good and precious. Where do we look for evidence of the goodness of the tree? Is it not sought in fruit, good fruit, much fruit? The doing, or fruit-bearing, here commended by the Lord Jesus, is the performance of the will of God, is the imitation of the Master's own example, is the fulfillment of the behests of an enlightened conscience. It comprises personal holiness and active usefulness.

II. SEVERANCE FROM CHRIST RENDERS MEN POWERLESS FOR GOOD WORKS. The conduct and service which are distinctively Christian are only possible through personal union with the Savior.

1. This assertion places in a clear light the unequalled dignity of the Lord Jesus. This is a declaration which none but he could make. Yet, being the Son of God and the Source of spiritual life to men, he could justly advance a claim so vast. The disciple is nothing without his master, the servant nothing without his lord, the soldier nothing without his commander, the hand nothing without the head, the Christian nothing without Christ.

2. This assertion brings out into clear light the absolute dependence of Christians. Without our Lord's teaching and example, we, should have no conception of the highest moral excellence. Without his love, we should not feel the mightiest motive that can influence the soul to consecration and service. Without his mediation, we should not enjoy the favor of God, our Ruler and Judge. Without his Spirit, we should be strangers to the spiritual power which alone can enable feeble man to do the will of God. Without his promises, we should lack the encouragement and inspiration we need to cheer us amidst the difficulties, perplexities, and trials from which no earthly life is ever exempt. Without him, there would be no deliverance from the bondage of sin, and no prospect of what is truly the eternal life. "Neither," says Peter, "is there salvation in any other."

III. UNION WITH CHRIST IS THEREFORE UNSPEAKABLY PRECIOUS, AND FOR THE CHRISTIAN ABSOLUTELY NEEDFUL. As to the nature of this connection, there should be no misunderstanding. External privileges and professions are all insufficient. A spiritual and vital union is necessary, such as in the vegetable kingdom joins the branch to the vine-stock, such as in architecture unites the temple to its foundation. This union is effected on the human side by a believing reception of the gospel of Christ; on the Divine side by the impartation of the quickening Spirit of God. Such union is capable of increase in degree; a closer spiritual fellowship with the Divine Redeemer is the means of increased fitness for holy and acceptable service. The experience of the Apostle Paul was an illustration of this principle. He could say, "I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me." He who would work more diligently, and wait more patiently, must come nearer to Christ, and so obtain the spiritual power he needs.


1. If this union with the living Vine be not formed, let it be formed at once.

2. If it be suspended or enfeebled, let it be renewed.

3. If it be existing and vitally active and energetic, let it be prized and cultivated. - T.

If a man abide not in Me he is cast forth.
God is the author of righteousness, and Jesus is the Son of God, because He gives the method and secret by which alone righteousness is possible, And that He does give this, we can verify from experience. It is so I try, and you will find it to be so! Try all the ways to righteousness you can think of, and you will find no way brings you to it except the way of Jesus, but that this way does bring you to it. This is a thing that can prove itself, if it is so; and it will prove itself, because it is so.

(Matthew Arnold.)

Just as abiding in Christ infers grace for grace, fruit for fruit, so not abiding in Christ draws after it the judgment of being rejected, the successive steps to which are presented to us in the words: cast forth, wither, gather, cast into the fire, burn. These are the five steps in the judgment; the complete execution of which is, by God's long suffering, delayed.

(R. Besser, D. D.)

One year when I was travelling towards my usual winter resting place I halted at Marseilles, and there was overtaken by great pain. In my room in the hotel I found it cold so I asked for a fire. The porter came in, and he had in his hand a bundle of twigs. I called to him to let me look at it. He was about to push it into the stove as fuel with which to kindle the fire. As I took the bundle into my hand, I found it was made of vine branches — branches that had been cut off now that the pruning time was come. I solemnly thought, will this be my portion? Here I am, away from home, unable to bear fruit, as I love to do. Shall I end with this as my portion? Shall I be gathered for the fire? Those vine shoots were parts of a good vine, no doubt, branches that once looked fair and green; but now they were fuel for the flame. They had been cut off and cast off as useless things, and then men gathered them and tied them in bundles, and they were ignobly thrust into the fire.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

And is withered.
The cast-out branch withers; whatever remains of sap it might have had so long as it hung on ever so slightly to the vine, now quickly dries up; it becomes a hard piece of wood, which can no longer be bent, only broken. A man may refuse to be bent by grace, but he cannot hinder himself from being broken by wrath. Judas is a fearful example of this: he withered in one day. We may indeed place a cast-off branch in water, and by that means keep it for a time from completely withering; but it is of no lasting good: so it is no use for a man inwardly dead and forsaken by the Holy Ghost to force forward for a while the appearance of a pious life from his own strength; it cannot last long, seldom until his end, and then his withered state is manifest.

(R. Besser, D. D.)

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