Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 17, 1970

A Time For Pruning

Carol Bates

As I write, it is a beautiful morning here in the lower Yakima Valley. To the south and west stand majestic Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier, as sentries standing guard over the valley. God has blessed this valley with the right combination of elements for producing a large variety of vegetables and fruits. The mint stills send an aroma of spearmint, the corn is being brought into the canneries and the grapes are soaking up sun and water. But we know that this did not all happen by itself. The very bountifulness of the crops tells us that man has had to irrigate, fertilize, chop weeds, prune and care for each field.

One of these, pruning, was done when the vines were dormant — in the early spring. Removal of the dead branches has several benefits, one of which is to allow the healthy branches to get the sun and water that they need. Dead branches are a burden to the vine.

We see the wisdom in this when it comes to grape vines and fruit trees. Why cannot we apply it to other things as well?

In John 15:1-8 we read the illustration of the vine and the branches. We find that Christ declared himself to be the vine and each of us is a branch. We read that the dead branches, being fruitless, were cut off and cast forth. The vine was pruned and the dead branches were burned. Why? Because they were non-productive; they were a burden. The result was that the vine then became more fruitful, more productive of fruit to God's honor and glory.

Brethren, the example is here for us to follow. We plant, water, and fertilize, but we fail to prune. This is a command of God. Romans 16:17, 18 "mark them that cause divisions and occasions of stumbling. . . turn away from them." I Cor. 5:7 "purge out the old leaven," 11 Thess. 3:6 "withdraw yourselves from," II Thess. 3: 14, 15 "have no company with him," Titus 3:10 "a factious man after a first and second admonition refuse."

It should be very clear then that God, the husbandman, would have us remove unfruitful branches. He would have us cast forth those who sap the strength of the church. When this is done as it should be done, the church will take renewed vigor and the harvest will be bountiful.

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