NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.
Bible Passage: John 15:1-17
Discussion Questions: How is Jesus a vine? What does it mean to be a branch attached to the True Vine? What does it look like to abide or remain in Christ? Why must one be attached to the Vine to bear fruit? What happens when one doesn’t bear fruit? How do Christians sometimes act as if they can grow apart from abiding in Christ? Since the one who remains in Jesus produces “much fruit,” what evidence of bountiful fruit do you see in your life?
Food for Thought:
Did you hear about the pumpkin that didn’t want to be connected to the vine any longer? It got its wish but wound up sitting on the front porch glaring at everyone who came by.
All attempts at humor aside, God designed pumpkins to grow on vines. And they can certainly grow — as long as they are attached to the vine. Earlier this fall an Illinois man set a North American record when his pumpkin tipped the scales at 2,145.5 pounds. That’s nearly 150 pounds more than a ton! But even it has to settle for second place overall to the world record holder — a hefty 2,323.7 pound gourd grown by a European farmer last year. Both of these pumpkins, and each one you will see between now and Thanksgiving, have at least one thing in common. They all can grow only so long as they are attached to the vine.
On His final night before the crucifixion, Jesus identified Himself as the True Vine and His followers as branches (John 15). Like pumpkins, Christians only grow and produce fruit when we are attached to the Vine. We Baptists readily acknowledge that there is no salvation apart from Jesus, a gift received by faith. Unfortunately, we Baptists also have a tendency to act as if our spiritual growth and maturity after salvation depend on us and our ability to work it out ourselves. But every aspect of the Christian life, not just its beginning, involves Jesus. Like those monster gourds, we can only reach our potential if we remain attached to the Vine.
MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at www.lifeway.com/masterwork.
Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.