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Gospel of John - Chapter 15 - Lesson 1

Posted on June 21, 2016 at 10:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Abide in The True Vine

 

John 15:1 (ESV) “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.

 

Jesus now gives his disciples and us a portrait of Himself as the source of life and of those who are in relationship with him as recipients of this life. Jesus gives this in agricultural terms they would understand. Jesus was authentic, the real deal, God’s only Son. Jesus’ stating that He is the TRUE vine indicates that there were false teachers trying to pull people away from following Jesus, teachers who indicated they were the way or knew a better way. We encounter that today with the myriad of religions and cults claiming to have a clear path to their version of paradise. But as we learned in John chapter 14, Jesus is the ONLY way. This is the last of the seven I AM statements of Jesus found in the book of John, a clear claim of deity. Jesus is the true vine, and the Father is the one who cares for the vine along with all its branches. He supplies all we need in order to thrive.

 

John 15:2 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.

 

There are branches on vines that do not bear fruit. On tomato vines these are called “suckers,” and they must be removed to allow more nutrients to go to the fruit bearing branches. We liked this explanation of the branches to be removed:

 

The MacArthur Bible Commentary:

The picture is of the vinedresser (i.e., the Father) getting rid of dead wood so that the living, fruit-bearing branches may be sharply distinguished. This is the picture of apostate Christians who never genuinely believed and will be taken away in judgment, the transforming life of Christ has never pulsated within them.

 

God will never cut off and burn a true believer, one chosen by the Father whose life is surrendered to Jesus. However, He will prune believers. He will remove things from our lives that would keep us from fulfilling His purpose for us. That may be a sin, a habit, a possession, or even a person. His goal is that we will bear more fruit just like I pruned the suckers in order to have more and better tomatoes. What is the fruit Christians are supposed to bear? We are to produce the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) within our own lives; and we are to cultivate new believers, make disciples of them. As we allow the Holy Spirit to mold us into people bearing His fruit, we will draw others to us and be able to teach them to grow in Christ – and the fruit will remain and be multiplied.

 

John 15:3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.

The disciples, the eleven faithful, had listened to Jesus with the intent to obey. In John chapter 13, Jesus had told them they were all clean except the one who would betray Him. This would indicate that Judas Iscariot never truly believed in Jesus as the Son of God. Therefore, the listeners who truly believed what they heard were cleansed by the words of Jesus.

 

John 15:4 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.

 

If a branch breaks off the tomato plant, it dies and, of course, does not make any tomatoes. Anyone in this world who is not connected to Jesus is a dead man or woman walking around. They are not connected to the vine, to Jesus, to life. Once a person experiences salvation, they are permanently grafted into the vine. It is impossible to bear fruit if the branch is not connected to the vine to receive the nutrients carried from the roots through the stem. If one is not truly IN CHRIST, surrendered to Him, it would be impossible to consistently exhibit the fruits of the Spirit or to cultivate new believers. Without Jesus, we are powerless, limp, and lifeless. The lamp just won’t turn on unless it is plugged into the power outlet (switching analogies). However, if you abide in Jesus, you can do everything God has called you to do.

 

John 15:6 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.

 

Where you abide is where you make your home, where you dwell, where you reside. We can only abide in Christ if we truly trust Him for salvation, for life, for everything. The non-believer is not in Christ. They cannot abide. The people who reject Christ become the rejected branches thrown into the fire. Hell is not a popular subject, but it is real.  Hell is not propaganda to scare people or make-believe; it is a real place. People choose to end up in Hell when they choose not to trust Jesus.

 

John 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

 

Take a look at this verse in the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition:

 

John 15:7 (AMPC) If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.

 

This does not mean the believer can ask for frivolous or self-indulgent things. The person who is truly in this kind of intimate relationship with Jesus will not be praying for “me, me, me” but will be asking with the intent of pleasing the Father and bringing a smile to His face. Children are born to be a blessing to their parents and naturally seek to please them. As children adopted into the family of God our desire is to please Him. Many people, even believers, fail to realize that following God’s commands is for their benefit as well. If we solely go God’s direction, we will be happier than we have ever been because it is what we were created for. When we are truly abiding in Jesus, having an intimate relationship with Him, we will ask only for the things that will bring glory to God. Therefore, God will answer those prayers with the best action for us.

 

John 15:8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

 

We prove to be Jesus’ disciples when we are acting in line with His will. When we are obeying His word, bearing the fruit of changed lives, and helping others to do the same, we bring glory to our Father in Heaven. As His children, that should bring us great joy!

 

Q – Are you abiding in the Vine? Do you have the life of Jesus flowing through you? If not, or if you are not sure, please contact us via the Contact/Prayer Requests tab on this website. We would love to pray for you and answer any questions you might have. This tab generates an email that is private and seen only by us, Susan and Susie. If you are already a believer, submit to the Lord’s pruning in order to bear much fruit!