John 15:1(ESV) "I am the rtrue vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
If our task as believers is to simply be the branches, then we only have two major functions. To be attached to the vine and to feed and hold the fruit. So many people feel like church is a casual thing that you have to do on Easter, Christmas and Mother's Day. I cannot be an active branch if I just get nutrients once a week, much less once a quarter. Branches disconnected from the vine for large amounts of time do not resemble the branches and that is a great picture of the current state of the Church in the US. We would much rather be entertained with a great program than to hear the rich words from Scripture. There must be immense frustration trying to be a branch without a vine, but we have playing church down to a science. Sadly enough, many have just enough "religion" to be miserable.
But if we are attached to the vine, what a life of freeedom, the vine produces the growth of the branch and produces the fruit. Once again, all we have to do is to stay close to the Lord and as clean as we know how, then we will bear fruit.
We don't need to judge one another, just check out the fruit. Come alongside one with wilted leaves and no fruit this week.