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Saturday, August 10, 2002

Edifier du jour:Romans 11:16-24(NASB)
16 If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too. 17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in." 20 Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; 21 for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. 22 Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?
I'm not a botany expert, but I remember that many fruit plants provide much better fruit when grafted. Ungrafted apples are generally good only for cider (hard or otherwise) while it's grafted trees that produce the good eating apples. European grapes need to be grafted onto native species to be successful in the US, thus avoiding an native root louse. Grafting seems unnatural to people unfamiliar to plant botany, yet it is the core of a lot of our fruit-bearing industries. We bear fruit much better when we're connected to the Vine, a.k.a. Jesus. John 15 was the jumping off point for four sermons a while back in my Midland church on the theme "I am the vine, you are the branches." Like the examples in botany, we thrive as a grafted plant as long as we stay connected. A bad graft won't allow nutrients to flow; likewise, a bad connection between us and God will create less nurture from the Holy Spirit. As long as we're still alive, we can be regrafted into the root Vine. The branches can't do anything on their own; while they have the pretty fruit, leaves and flowers, it's the root that brings the water and nutrients. This applies to the Church as well; people who try to be Lone Ranger Christians usually don't bear much fruit, as we need the encouragement of a local congregation to fully thrive.

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