John Chapter 15
Jesus is the True Vine:
(Read John 15:1-10)
John's Gospel chapter 15 is all about Christian relationships. Here we see our relationship with Jesus and with one another (John 15:12-17). The image of a vine and branches highlights how our salvation works from beginning to end. Jesus is the true vine and believers are the branches. The Holy Spirit unites us to Jesus as branches. In the Old Testament vine is the symbol of Israel. We did not choose Jesus, but he chose us and appointed us that we should bear fruit (John 15:16). Our calling is to simply abide in Jesus. Jesus is the life giver. He is the living water. He is the bread of life and the source of eternal life. Christians cannot bear fruit unless they have an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ (John 15:5). To abide means to live by faith in Christ by immersing in His Word. It means to remain or continue in Christ. God desires that every Christian should be fruitful and not barren or unfruitful. This fruit could be godly character or soul winning (Galatians 5:22-23; Romans 1:13). We become the branches of true Vine when we believe in Jesus Christ. By the Holy Spirit we have been united to Jesus as branches. This relationship between Jesus and the believers is invisible but real. When we abide in Christ, we become fruitful. Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing. When we bear fruit, God is glorified. Fruit bearing is the proof that we are his disciples (John 15:8). We should stay close to the Master to be fruitful. God the Father is the Gardner. He prunes the branches to bear more fruit. Pruning is a painful process, but it is necessary to produce more fruit (Hebrews 12:6-11). It is done through the Word of God (John 17:17). But every branch that does not bear fruit is removed from the vine and thrown into the fire (John 15:6). This does not mean that believers can lose their salvation. This verse should be understood contextually with the exit of Judas Iscariot. The fruitless branches are counterfeit Christians who are not saved. True Christians will persevere in the faith. God who began the good work within us will continue His work until it is finally finished on Christ's return.
The secret of fruit bearing is abiding:
(Read John 15:11-17)
Jesus defines the life of abiding as a life of love. This love begins with God's love for us. We love God because he first loved us. We must depend on Christ to bear fruit. Every Christian should be fruitful. Fruit speaks of godly character or soul winning (Galatians 5:22-23; Romans 1:13). Apart from Jesus we can do nothing. We do not bear fruit in order to be accepted by God but accepted by him. We obey Christ because we love Him. “The secret of fruit bearing is abiding, the secret of abiding is obeying, the secret of obeying is loving, and the secret of loving is knowing Christ”. John gives secrets of how to abide in God's love. Realize that you have been loved by everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). If we love God, we will obey his commands. Jesus Christ is the perfect model of obedience to the Father. Christians are called to experience the blessing of obedience. Remember that the obedient Christians are the joyful Christians. When we abide in Christ our prayers will be answered. Jesus said, "You are my friends if you obey me" (John 15:14). We cannot earn His love or forgiveness by good work. They are given freely by grace. His friendship towards us is constant and real. He does not stop loving when we fail. Christ commands us to love one another as he loved us. Love is more than an emotional feeling but a sacrificial act of giving. The secret of Christian joy is obedience (John 15:11). When we abide in Christ, we are assured of his love. His love motivates us to serve one another. Christ commands us to love one another. Because of Christ's amazing grace His commands are not burdensome but a delight. Jesus called His disciples friends. Grace transforms our status from servanthood to friendship. Jesus came to reveal all that he heard from the Father (John 15:15). Knowing Christ intimately gives assurance of salvation and confidence in life. Disciples are chosen and appointed to bring forth fruit. Fruit produced through union with Christ only will remain. Only grace can free us to obey Jesus out of love. They no longer worship God out of fear but out of love for what He has done for them. Are you a fruit bearing Christian?
The world would hate us:
(Read John 15:18-27)
The more we abide in Jesus, the richer our fellowship with the Father. Grace came to us so that it might flow through us. Christians should not be surprised at the growing opposition in this world. The world that rejected Christ will reject His followers also. We are entrusted with the gospel so that it should flow through us. Our personal relationship with God strengthens us to share the gospel with the hostile world. The world system is under the control of Satan. The world loves its own. Christians are chosen out of the world to represent Christ. Why does the gospel draw opposition from the world? Because it points out sin. We are not of this world, but just passing through. We should not be surprised at growing opposition or persecution. Even though Christ has performed many miracles, many Jews rejected Him. They are without excuse. Christ promised the disciples that they are not alone in this world. He will send the Holy Spirit to comfort them. The Holy Spirit will give them the power to witness Christ. The evidence of our love for Christ is our obedience to his commands. Those who obey Christ will experience the overflowing joy. The obedient Christian is the happy Christian. The more we abide in Jesus the richer our fellowship with God. This is true in the case of churches also. Those who don't follow Jesus will not rejoice in the work of Jesus. Pray that Christ would give you the strength and courage to face opposition as you become his witness in this world.