Let God Prune You In His Garden

June 21, 2002 PM
Pastor Chris Abernathy
Columbus, Georgia

If you would turn with me in your Bibles to the book of Saint John chapter fifteen. The book of Saint John chapter fifteen. And when you reach the book of Saint John chapter fifteen, please signify by saying amen. Praise the Lord. Saint John chapter fifteen. We going to look at verses one through verse eight. Verse one through verse eight. Would you please stand for the reading of the Word? Jesus said,

1. I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

2. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

3. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

4. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

5. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

6. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

7. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

8. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

Let us pray.

Most holy and gracious heavenly Father, we thank You for who You are and for what You do. Father, hide Your son behind the cross, that Your people would see You and not me. Dear Lord, as I decrease I ask that You would increase. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, oh Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. In Jesus’ holy and blessed Name.

And the people of God said amen. You may be seated in the house of God.

In verse five He said,

5. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

In Palestine where Jesus lived vine dressing was a prominent occupation. It was a prominent choice of work. Although most people were not vineyard keepers, they were familiar with that line of work. In this environment Jesus made His last great statement of I AM. “I am the true Vine, and My Father is the Husbandman,” or gardener.

When we look at vines, vines were growing on terraces. This is where they grew. This is where (glory to God) the gardeners took care of the vines. And the vines required a lot of attention.

When we look at a young vine, it was allowed only to bear fruit after it had been a vine for three years. Within that three years it was not allowed to bear any fruit. This was in order that the root system of that vine might be strong.

It was prune drastically all the time. Even after the vine began to bear fruit it was still pruned. Because some branches would begin to produce fruit while others were only sucklings that sapped the vine of it’s strength and productivity.

When we look at Jesus as the true Vine, and we are the branches, many of us (glory to God) begin to bear fruit. But as we bear fruit God begins to cut on us. And as God cuts on us, we don’t understand. Because what happens is, we see that in our lives we are bearing fruit. Do you hear what I’m saying? We see that we’re getting things in order. “So God, why are You still cutting on me?”

You see, God is still cutting on you because there’s still more in you that He’s trying to take out of you. You see, the more God takes out of us, the more productivity we’re going to have. The more He cuts on us, the better we’re going to be. The stronger we’re going to be. The more we’re going to be able to produce for the Kingdom of Almighty God.

Even the most popular men and women of God get cut on. You see, we think (glory to God) that because they have a mighty Anointing that reaches thousands and ten thousands and hundreds of thousands, that God don’t cut on them no more.

But I beg to differ with that. God will cut on us any time He gets ready to cut on us. Any time He needs to cut on us He’ll cut on us.

They were not allowed to bear any fruit within the first three years. The branches were there and they were growing. But within that first three years it was critical for them to be kept a certain way.

You see, many of us are young Christians. And we don’t understand why we don’t get to do a lot of the things that we want to do. Because you’re at a critical point in your Christian walk with God. It’s critical that you are nurtured and you are taken care of in the matter in which God means for you to be taken care of.

Because after that period of time when God has cut on you enough, you and I will begin to understand that God is God all by Himself. And He can do whatever He wants to do, whenever He wants to do it, however He wants to do it.

You see, you’re bearing fruit. But you still don’t understand why God is cutting you. Who am I talking to? Somebody’s getting the Word tonight. See, you been in prayer. You been in fasting. You been in your Word. But God still wants to cut on you.

There’s more to you than you know there is to you. God sees the end from the beginning. And God said, “If I cut on him now... If he thinks he’s something now...” Oh, you don’t hear me. “Wait until I bring him to a place of maturity.”

See, we don’t want to be cut on. You see, once we start getting cut on, we start poking out our lip, pouting, wanting to bounce from church to church. You don’t hear me. Oh, that’s what I’m talking about. When we start getting cut on a little bit, I don’t like the vineyard over here. So I’m going to bounce to this vineyard over here. You don’t hear me tonight.

But we don’t realize what a lot of times we were getting is causing us to come to a place of maturity. I’m not saying all the time. But I’m saying some of the time. Sometimes I got to get into a place where I’m able to endure the cutting of the Lord.

Look at your neighbor. Say, “Neighbor, He cutting me tonight. Snip, snip, snip.” Come on, give Him a handclap of praise.

You see, if that vine with those branches are not taken care of properly they’ll start to get wild. Have you ever seen something that’s wild? It go all over the place. You can’t hardly tell where it begin and let alone where it’s ending. You can’t even tell (glory to God). It’s just everywhere. Who am I preaching to tonight?

See, but when that gardener begins to cut the branches, he begins to point the branches in the way that he wants the branches to go. Have you ever see a vine on a gate? They put the vine on the gate in a certain way, the way that they want the vine to begin to grow. And if it’s starting to go to the right too much, snip, snip, snip. If it start to go to the left too much, snip, snip, snip, snip, snip. Oh, you don’t want to talk to me tonight.

He’ll cut you. And He won’t say, “I’m sorry,” for it. Oh, you better talk to me tonight.

The gardener has a plan on how he wants his garden to grow. And see, the vines that are in the garden, they don’t know the plan of the gardener. But they got to follow how the gardener is causing them to grow.

You see, when God begins to move on us and God begins to cut on us, it causes us to get into a place of, “Wait a minute. What does God really want?”

You see, if I don’t allow Him to cut me then I will never know what He wants. I’ll just begin to do it the way I want to do it. I’ll say it the way I want to say it. I’ll preach it the way I want to preach it. I’ll sing it the way I want to sing it. I’ll dance the way I want to dance it.

But see, if I get hurt every now and then it’s going to cause me to stop for a moment and say, “Wait a minute. What’s going on? What’s really going on, Lord?” You don’t know what I’m talking about, because you ain’t never been hurt. You ain’t never been cut on. God ain’t never cut you. You?

You’ll know when He’s cutting on you, because you’ll begin to feel uncomfortable. And every now and then when He cuts on you you’ll even get mad about it. Say, “I don’t have to take this.” But you better take it. And if you’re really saved, you’ll like it. “Cut me some more, Lord. Cut me some more, Jesus.”

See, that’s when you’ll know where you’ve come to in your walk and your place of maturity. That when it cuts, though it hurts, I’m not going to try to get out the garden. I’m going to stay right there and say, “Now Lord, what are You saying to me? Oh, I know, Lord. You must be trying to cause me to grow a little bit more.”

The gardener has control of the garden. We cannot control the garden. And we cannot control the Gardener. So why do we even try? How come we can’t just let Him have His way? How come when He’s tugging on our hearts, we’ll stiffen and harden our hearts instead of saying, “Lord, where You lead me I will follow. Not my will but Thine will be done, Lord.”

When Jesus was in that Garden of Gethsemane, the Bible said that sweat like drops of blood began to come down His forehead. And He said, “Lord, if this cup could pass from Me...” He said it three times. He said, “Nevertheless, not My will but Thine will be done.”

He was in agony. And he was going to receive the ultimate cut. But in spite of what He was getting ready to endure, He said, “Not my will, Lord. Thine will be done.”

See, you’ll know you’ve come to a place of maturity in the ministry in your walk with God, that you’ll say, “Lord, whatever You want.”

You see, if you were back in the Old Testament and I was back in the Old Testament a lot of us wouldn’t be able to endure what God told them to do. He told the prophets to lay on their side for days and days at a time. He told Isaiah to run through the street butt naked with a yoke of oxen around his neck. You don’t hear me tonight. We say, “God, You’ve got to be out of Your mind.”

All these absurd things that God had them to do. And we can’t even take a little rebuke, let alone a little reproof. We can’t even let the shepherd’s staff lead us in the right way.

But let Him cut you. It’s only going to help you. It’s not going to destroy you. He’s not going to let it destroy you. It’s only to help us grow. It’s going to help us grow. You might not like... I was telling, you might not like what I say all the time. But if you just take it for a little while...

I know a man of God that... You know, in his school of the prophets, let me tell you what he did. If I did half the stuff that he did to us... You could be a woman, and you call yourself a prophet or a prophetess...

I remember he called this one prophetess up. And he began to lay it to her. And he knew what would push her button, because there was a spirit of anger that would rise up in her every now and then. He grabbed her by her necklace and pulled her necklace off of her neck, and stood there and looked at her.

But she had come to a place of maturity. And she was able to say, “Lord, whatever You want to do, do it.” And she wasn’t talking to the man. She was talking to that Man.

See, the little trivial things that we go through... “Pastor said this. Pastor did that. Sister so and so, brother so and so did this. Well, I’m going to go to the Lord.” How am I going to grow through that? I can’t grow like that, especially while I’m crying like that. Somebody come pat me, “There you go, baby. It’s going to be alright.” No, it ain’t going to be alright until I get it together, and suck it up.

See, there’s a cold, cruel world out there. And though you may receive all this hugging and kissing from your pastors, let me tell you something. The world ain’t going to hug and kiss you. He said, “If they hate you know that they hated Me.” Oh, I must be preaching tonight.

See, the world when you really go out into ministry, it’s not going to be like sitting up in the church with your little air conditioning. You know what I’m saying. You might get called on a mission field to Africa. You ain’t going to have no air conditioner there. And you better look out for the witch doctor. Because he’s coming after you. And he ain’t trying to lovey dovey you. He’s trying to take you out.

Let Him cut you. If He’s called you to a greater work, baby, He got to cut you. And sometimes when He cuts me I say, “Lord, I know that You said this. But in the process of what You have said You’re doing this for my good.”

Though it’s cutting me to the bone right now, one of these old days somebody’s going to look at this old branch on the vine and start picking from me. “Oh, I like that. I want that. I have that. Give me another helping of that.

But if I don’t get into a place where I’m growing, where I’m able to allow Him to cut on me, then I’ll be at always stage one, level one. I’ll always be the one talking about God is going to do great things, and never the one that He does great things with. I’ll always be the one talking about God is going to take us to another level, but I’m never the one He’s take... Oh, you don’t hear me tonight. I’m never the one He’s taking to another level.

Let Him cut you. Let Him cut you. It’s going to make you uncomfortable, but let Him cut you.

Jesus was trying to get a point across to them. He said, “I’ve got to do this or you won’t be ready for what I’m calling you to.” He said, “I’ve got to do this. Because I need you to do a work for Me.”

He said, “I am the true Vine.” And if we are truly the branches we’ve got to understand that the true Vine is our source. You see, sometimes we want the true Vine, but we don’t want Him to be the total source. You see, He’s the source of me receiving all the love that I can ever need from Him.

But I want my job to be the other source to sustain me. Do you hear what I’m saying? I want immoral sex to be the... Oh, you don’t want to talk to me. Do you hear what I’m saying? I want alcohol. I want drugs to be the other source.

But if we allow Him to be the source, the source of everything in our lives, then I don’t have to worry. Because I know that every one of my needs will be met.

You are going to be cut on. And remember it’s going to be a lot of times at that very point where it seems like you got fruit bearing all in your life. Something’s going to happen to cause you to get back on your knees. Because if He don’t make us get on our knees again, that big old head is going to go... But He’ll cut us so that head won’t...

Let Him cut you tonight. Let Him cut you. Let Him cut on that pride. Let Him cut on that haughtiness. Let Him cut on that arrogance. Let Him cut on it. Let Him cut it. So that you and I can produce the fruit that He has called us to produce.

Now tonight I want you to bow your head, and I want you to close your eyes...

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