I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
Now I exhort you, brethren, by the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren... that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, 'I am of Paul,' and 'I of Apollos,' and 'I of Cephas,' and 'I of Christ.'
John 15 is about our relationships: to the Lord, each other and the world.* Clearly, Jesus is the Vine and we are His Branches: extensions reaching out in all directions.
Consider these extensions as Christian denominations: old and large, moderate and established, or new and growing. From each branch come smaller branches bearing fruit. At least, that's the plan. But in some places, the plan is compromised.
Denominations lie at cross purposes with each other. But it's not the Cross of Christ.
To regain the higher ground, we must unite on key points:
1) The Top of the Cross is Heaven with God our Father.
2) The Man on the Cross is Jesus: our Lord and Savior.
3) The sides of the Cross bear His Arms: an outreach of love.
4) The base of the Cross bears His Feet: a Rock-solid stance.
5) Underneath the Cross is a world in need of His grace.
As a result of cross attitudes instead of Cross-bearing, many Christian branches are broken, twisted, withered or fungal. But in certain areas (like China), new branches are growing directly toward the Son. They're vigorous and fruitful, pushing upwards through thorns in their path.
They look down at the older branches with curiosity, because the ground around them is clear, but this freedom is wasted by infighting. It's not the Good Fight.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Ignore pettiness and seek holiness. Endure persecution and reach directly toward the Son. A path opens for you through the mire of media. If thorns prick you on this path, consider them part of your crown.
Your King endured far worse.
## Fellowship: Church Branches (Part 23)
* John 15: A vital Chapter about our relationship to Jesus, each other and the world: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%2015&version=NASB
NOTE: This series is a republished edit of a 2015 series called, 'Fellowship.' In these devotions, you may see notes to 'Actors, Models & Talent for Christ.' I have not changed this designation. Because in a greater sense, every disciple of Christ acts for Christ, models Christ and stewards His talents, from which God expects a profit.
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Fellowship series.