The True Vine

A Broadcast with R.C. Sproul

There is no such thing as a Christian who fails to bear any spiritual fruit. Today, R.C. Sproul examines several statements from Jesus on the importance of a changed heart and good works in the Christian life.

When We Feel Frustrated

Philippians 4:10-13

10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked an opportunity to act. 11 Not that I speak from need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with little, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

In difficult seasons, it’s natural to want to make changes—such as quitting a job, ending a friendship, or moving away—in order to resolve frustration. But first we should investigate the cause. Discontentment may come from:

Inability to accept ourselves as we were created. The talents, personality, and physical attributes God gave us are exactly what we need to follow His will for our life. Dwelling on the things we lack or would change distracts us from our purpose.

Reluctance to deal with our past. We can’t move beyond painful memories and mistakes until we confront the emotional or psychological issues that resulted from them.

Holding on to ungodly behaviors or attitudes. Sin naturally breeds discontentment. But Psalm 119:165 says, “Those who love Your Law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.”  

The key to contentment lies not in our circumstances but in God Himself. The next time you’re frustrated and want to change your situation, take a moment to look inward: Do you accept who God made you to be? Are you in need of His healing? Should you approach Him in repentance? Whatever the case may be, turn to the Lord—He is the source of true peace and fulfillment.

A God You Can Count On

Hebrews 10:19-23

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, through His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let’s approach God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let’s hold firmly to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;

People come and go, and each season turns into the next; continual change is normal in our life. Thankfully, this is not the case with God, who is “the same yesterday and today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). We can completely depend on the Lord’s steadfastness because He is:

Omniscient. Our Father knows what is happening for every person at every moment (The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
Watching the evil and the good. Prov. 15:3). His knowledge is complete—no circumstance is hidden from Him; there is no motive or thought process that He does not discern.

Omnipotent. God has power over all things; nothing is outside His control. No authority in heaven or on earth can thwart His purposes (I know that You can do all things, And that no plan is impossible for You. Job 42:2).

Omnipresent. There’s no person, place, or thing in all of creation that’s outside of the Lord’s presence (Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take up the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will take hold of me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
12 Even darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You. Ps. 139:7-12). All space and time are within His sight.

In addition to these excellent traits, God always speaks the truth ( in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, Titus 1:2). We can fully trust the reliability of His Word and His responses to our prayers.

Because God’s character is not affected by time, place, people, or circumstances, He is more trustworthy than even the closest human friend. When our plans have failed and people have disappointed us, He is always there, steady as a rock. For all our days, God is the One we can count on.

Barnabas is key in the missionary work of the Spirit in Acts 11

When God Wants Our Attention

1 Samuel 3:1-21

Now the boy Samuel was attending to the service of the Lord before Eli. And word from the Lord was rare in thosedays; visions were infrequent.

But it happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to be poor and he could not see well), and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was, that the Lord called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.” Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down. And the Lord called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son, go back and lie down.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor had the word of the Lord yet been revealed to him. So the Lord called Samuel again for the third time. And he got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. And Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 Then the Lord came and stood, and called as at the other times: “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” 11 Then the Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am going to do a thing in Israel, and both ears of everyone who hears about it will ring. 12 On that day I will carry out against Eli everything that I have spoken in regard to his house, from beginning to end. 13 For I have told him that I am going to judge his house forever for the wrongdoing that he knew, because his sons were bringing a curse on themselves and he did not rebuke them. 14 Therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the wrongdoing of Eli’s house shall never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.”

15 So Samuel lay down until morning. Then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord. But Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. 16 Then Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” And he said, “Here I am.” 17 He said, “What is the word that He spoke to you? Please do not hide it from me. May God do the same to you, and more so, if you hide a single word from me of all the words that He spoke to you!” 18 So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, “He is the Lord; let Him do what seems good to Him.”

19 Now Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and He let none of his words fail. 20 And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord. 21 And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, because the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord.


Have you ever felt restless, as if something’s not quite right? At times God will use that feeling to get our attention. Take Samuel, for example. He literally couldn’t rest because a voice kept calling his name in the dark, and he assumed it was Eli the priest calling out. Finally, after the third interruption, Eli realized the boy was hearing God’s voice.

For Samuel, the sense of restlessness was physical, but it can also manifest as a mental or emotional feeling. This can be something God uses to guide us toward new insights, as He did in revealing Samuel would become a prophet. At first, this information made Samuel anxious—he was afraid to tell Eli about God’s judgment and didn’t sleep that night. He might even have wished he’d ignored that feeling of uneasiness. Ultimately, though, the distress proved worthwhile: Scripture tells us that “Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and He let none of his words fail” (1 Sam. 3:19).

No matter how or why God lets us feel unsettled, His purpose is always good. So we can trust the Lord and safely investigate our feelings of restlessness without fear. Seek to listen and obey. Then even if you, like Samuel, aren’t sure where the uneasiness is coming from, God won’t let you miss out. He is in control and His plans cannot be thwarted.

Beloved Children, Pleasing to God

Ephesians 5:1-10

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

But sexual immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness or foolish talk, or vulgar joking, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no sexually immoral or impure or greedy person, which amounts to an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

See that no one deceives you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 as you try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.

As believers, we’re supposed to imitate Jesus. That might seem impossible to us. After all, He was the Son of God! In fact, God the Father even attested several times, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Matt. 3:17). How can we possibly live up to that?

Thankfully, God doesn’t expect us to be perfect. He knows we’re still learning. Just like a parent who rejoices over a baby’s first steps, so our heavenly Father delights in our steps as we seek to walk with Him. The goal is growth. Once a toddler walks, the parents’ delight shifts to more mature achievements. As long as we keep growing in our faith, we will never cease learning new ways to please our Father. He loves us and patiently cheers us on at each new level.

What’s important to the Lord is our heart. Amidst all our frailties, failures, and temptations, God sees our inmost thoughts and motivations. He knows how much we love Him and desire to obey. Even in our stumbling, He helps us up and encourages us with His Word.

If you’re prone to perfectionism, give yourself grace and time to grow. That’s what the Father does, so learn to see yourself through His eyes. He’s waiting—not to berate your efforts but to help you develop into the person He designed you to be.

Becoming a Generous Giver

2 Corinthians 9:6-8

Now I say this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows generously will also reap generously. Each one must do just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace overflow to you, so that, always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;

We know we should be generous, but have you ever thought about all the ways the Lord has been generous to us? He formed us in our mother’s womb with tender, loving care and gave us life (For You created my innermost parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. Ps. 139:13). He created the world in which we live and provided air, water, food, and other essentials—as well as sunsets, butterflies, flowers, and laughter.

At salvation, we received additional gifts—the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, adoption into God’s family, and a heavenly home. We’re also given the Holy Spirit, who indwells us and provides wisdom, guidance, and comfort. We don’t deserve any of this, nor could we earn it. It’s been freely given to all who believe in Jesus.

When we think of how generous God has been to us, we should want to extend that generosity to others. To become a generous giver, remember these truths. We are …

• Imitating Jesus when we give sacrificially.

• Honoring God when we obey His commands to give.

• Extending His work through our support of the church.

Being a generous person requires a heart that loves the Lord above all else. The Holy Spirit will also transform each of us into someone who finds pleasure in giving. And God loves a cheerful giver.

Great Significance

On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied.1

Nothing in the Bible was written without being inspired by God Himself, which means that He had a reason for everything, and everyone mentioned in Scripture; even though they may seem insignificant. While Jesus walked this earth, He personally spoke with people who were considered insignificant by others but mattered greatly to our Lord; nothing or no one went unnoticed. Everyone we read about in the Bible, God used to forward His plan of Salvation, and He gave their stories to us as lessons so that we might learn from their lives.

We’ve read about Jesus’ ministry and the ministry carried on by His twelve disciples. Then the disciples chose another seven men to help them further their ministries (Acts 6). Their stories are few and only occasionally mentioned today. Then we come across random verses like Acts 21:9 — He [Philip] had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied — and that is all we know about these four daughters! However, this verse actually has a much greater significance. These young women are second-generation Christians. Their father was a believer who was part of a significant ministry (Acts 8) and these four daughters had followed in their father’s footsteps. God had something to say for parents who raised their children for the Lord, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”2 He also had something to say to those children,

Be careful to obey all these words that I command you, that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God.3

These young women were taught to serve the Lord and they continued in their faith into their adult life. Although this little verse was hidden within this chapter and easily looked over, it was placed there as an important reminder to fathers and mothers alike — our role is to raise our children for the Lord, lighting a fire in their souls that will remain with them forever. In turn, our daughters and sons will carry on that torch furthering the kingdom of God.

Suggested Prayer: Dear Lord, Your Word holds so much more than just stories and I’m so thankful that the smallest of verses can speak to me and teach me. Help me to be a faithful example to my children of your grace and love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  1. Acts 21:8-9 (ESV).
  2. Proverbs 22:6.
  3. Deuteronomy 12:28.

from Daily Encounter

The Grace of Giving

2 Corinthians 8:1-7

Now, brothers and sisters, we make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, 2 that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. 3 For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave voluntarily, 4 begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God. So we urged Titus that as he had previously made a beginning, so he would also complete in you this gracious work as well.

But just as you excel in everything, in faith, speaking, knowledge, and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you also excel in this gracious work.


In verse 7 of today’s passage, Paul wrote, “See that you also excel in this grace of giving” (NIV). Let’s look at some people in the Bible who were examples of this kind of generosity.

In Mark 12:41-44 (41 And Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and began watching how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large amounts. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two lepta coins, which amount to a quadrans. 43 Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”), Jesus praised the poor widow for her sacrificial giving. Contrasting her with those who gave out of their surplus, He said, “She, out of her poverty, put in all she owned” (vv. 44). When we trust the Lord with our finances as this woman did, then no matter how little or how much we have, we’ll excel at the grace of giving.

A sacrificial mindset can be found in the early church, too. Those new believers eagerly sold their possessions and property to meet the needs around them. (and they would sell their property and possessions and share them with all, to the extent that anyone had need. Acts 2:45) Because of their generosity, God blessed them with glad hearts, favor from people, and increasing numbers.

The Macedonian churches from today’s passage also understood the importance of giving. Even though these believers were very poor, Paul says“their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.”He even says they considered it a privilege to share in this way (In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity., they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. NIV).

God expects us to give, and to do so cheerfully (Each one must do just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Cor. 9:7). In His grace, He’s provided biblical role models to help us learn how. What’s one way you can become a more giving person?

Above All Else, Be Kind

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Think back to a time when someone treated you with kindness. Don’t you warmly recall that moment in detail? Likewise, others will remember when you respond to them that way.

Kindness isn’t supposed to be something we express only when we feel like it. It is fruit of the Spirit and should be a defining characteristic of who we are as God’s children. Just as the Lord pours out His kindness on us, He expects us to be kind as we interact with others (Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and restraint and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? Rom. 2:4; Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Eph. 4:32).

The apostle Paul tells us, “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience …  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Col. 3:12; Col. 3:14 NIV). Notice how he describes these traits as clothing—something we can put on, something we can grow into.

Kindness may not be innate, but thankfully, it can be learned. Ask the Holy Spirit to point out moments where a kind touch is needed from you. And always remember that it not only blesses others but also delights our heavenly Father.