Just suppose you were walking through a grape arbor, and suddenly, you come upon a most amazing thing. You look, and you are astonished, because what you see is this: a perfectly formed grape vine — only one branch is producing apples, another is producing oranges, another – pears, another – figs, another – bananas, and yet another – pomegranates. You are flabbergasted; left utterly speechless. You’ve never seen anything like this before — never in your entire life! You exclaim — UNBELIEVABLE!!! And you would be correct! Such a plant would be unbelievable. In fact, it is an impossibility. Such a plant WILL NOT be seen in the physical world, or in the spiritual world.
Quite often, we hear someone say:  “Jesus talks about the vine and the branches, and that means that all the different churches are alright with God.  So, just attend the church of your choice. After all, you can serve God acceptably in ANY church!” In effect, what these people are saying is that this sort of plant DOES, in fact, exist in the world today. Yes, Jesus talks about the vine and the branches, but He does NOT say that the branches are churches. Let us look at the passage of Scripture which mentions the vine and the branches. In John 15:5-8, Jesus states: “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples.”
Now, let me ask a question. Does this passage really teach that all churches are the branches?  I submit to you that it does not teach this idea!  When Jesus says: “He that abideth in Me, and I in him,” He is not talking about any church, but a person. The same is true with the phrases: “YE are the branches” (verse 5); and “If a MAN abide not in Me, HE is cast forth as a branch” (verse 6). These two verses go along with verse 7, which states: “If YE abide in Me, and MY words abide in YOU.” In no way can this simple passage of Scripture be construed in such a way as to get churches into it.  Churches just are not there. The Lord is talking about people! He is saying that If we (as individuals) will learn His will, which is revealed through the gospel, the Word of God, and then do it, He will abide with us. In fact, He goes on to say that IF people will do this (learn the will of God and OBEY it) then the Father is glorified in that, and other people will know that we are disciples (followers) of Christ  (verse 8). And in truth, this is what we should WANT to do, IF we truly love the Lord. Remember, Jesus plainly states: “He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will Manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21).  We show our love for the Lord when we keep His commandments, ALL of His commandments, which is stated very clearly in John 14:9-10.
Religious division (which is what we are talking about) is wrong according to the Scriptures. The apostle Paul wrote to the church in the city of Corinth, and said: “I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the SAME THING, and that there be NO DIVISIONS among you; but that ye BE PERFECTLY JOINED TOGETHER in the SAME MIND and in the SAME JUDGMENT” (1 Corinthians 1:10). The Lord doesn’t want religious division! He wants everyone to believe the same thing — teach the same thing — and practice the same things! Paul asks this question in 1 Corinthians 1:13: “Is Christ divided?” By the looks of the religious world, the answer to this question would have to be YES! And that is contrary to the Lord’s expressed will. Abiding by what God’s Word says would mean that we all could be acceptable to the Lord.
James Strickland