About 4 years ago a storm blew this tree over to the point where it was at about a 45 degree angle. If you look close you can see some rope attached to the tree. I cut out a circle of the sod, dug 2 small holes, filled them with cement, and put an eye bolt in each one. After it set up I backed up my truck, with some chain I pulled the tree up straight, ran some rope around the tree and into the eyebolts. After everything was secure I back filled it with dirt and put the sod pieces back in. Now all you see is rope coming out of the ground securing the tree and everything looks pretty…except the tree.
Dead is dead
This tree is basically dead. I am not a horticulturist, so this analogy may break down a little bit, but here’s the deal; every year more and more branches face the reality that they are not getting any valuable nutrients from the vine of this tree. For a while this tree looked alive and pretty good, the vine even deceived the branches in to believing that it would take care of them.
In John 15:1 Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser.” Logic would have to dictate that if there is a “True Vine”, there are false vines, and the truth is, there are many false vines, and many deceived branches attaching themselves to them. Apart from the “True Vine” (Jesus Christ), there is no hope for redemption from our sin, there is no hope for eternal life. Religions give the false hope of eternal life, or utopia, or whatever other empty promises that are made; some of them even use the name of Jesus. Many worldviews and junk science have deceived people in to believing, either, that there is nothing after we die, or whatever that something is, “we all end up there.”
I understand that the above paragraph is very general, but the only point I would like to make on that is, whatever “false vine” a person attaches itself to is of the devil. The devil is the father of lies, master deceiver, and the world’s best counterfeiter. He has deceived well-meaning people to follow false religions and false teachings; however, unless they repent they will perish in the same way as the most evil person in the world. If you don’t like the sound of that, your argument isn’t with me, it is with God. Jesus said in John 14:6 that He is the only way to eternal life. If He is the only way to eternal life, that means there are many ways to eternal death. We can do nothing of any eternal value apart from Jesus Christ and He makes that clear in John 15:5:
John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
That is hard for us to get our mind around. After all, we look at Buddhist and they are some of the most meek and humble people we have ever seen, and God tells us to be meek and humble. God tells us to be gentle and Buddhists are very gentle. If humility, meekness, and gentleness are fruits of the Spirit how can Jesus say that apart from Him we can do nothing? Answer: Apart from Him we can do nothing of any eternal value, it is only a work of the flesh.
Case in point, I have seen many people speak to addiction recovery groups and although I have seen some share solid Biblical truth, many of them only speak of how they (the “chemically dependent”) can get sober and lead a “productive, happy life”. But the reality is, people can quit drinking, drugging, using pornography, being promiscuous, or any other addiction through self-will, an accountability partner, or other means. I am not saying it is a bad thing to be freed from addiction, but what I am saying is that a person can get freed from addiction and still be in bondage to the law of sin and death. On the other hand, when someone gets set free from the law of sin and death, God prunes out the garbage that you may bear fruit of eternal value.
If you belong to Christ and He promises that if you abide in Him you will bear fruit. He also promises that if you bear fruit the Father will prune out the garbage so that you may bear more fruit. If this is true, would He leave you in bondage to addiction? NO! All the “nutrients” to produce fruit come through the Vine so the branch only has to abide in the Vine. So whether we are talking about religion, world view, or addiction; the branch (us) need to seek to know and love Jesus more every day through prayer, study of His Word, keeping our eyes on Him and not the lusts of this world, and staying in fellowship with the Body of Christ (His church, not a building, but believers).
Ignorance doesn’t hold up on Judgment Day
Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 15:6-8 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
Revelation 20:1-3a Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. 2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer,
2Peter 2:1-14 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. 4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, 11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. 12 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, 13 suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. 14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!