Summary: Jesus, the vine and the Father the vinedresser and the Holy Spirit the witness all work to help us bear fruit that will last
Abiding in Jesus means:
1. Bearing fruit
2. Answered prayer
3. Obeying the commands
4. Facing opposition from the world
5. Holy Spirit witness
In the Bible we see that stories have principles. The Jews called this the haggadah and the halakah. The haggadah is the story or narrative part of God’s word. The halakah is the principle or rule. The way these work is very important to our interpretation and application of the Bible.
Everybody loves a story. A good story builds identity. It makes the word relative to our lives in a way that we connect. God’s word is filled with stories. These are not just historical news items. The stories themselves are also the law of God. Usually after or sometimes during the story we see the rule or principle. It sometimes comes in the form of a commandment. The halakah is not just a “moral of the story,” but a God authorized application. Jesus uses haggadah and halakah in our text. First he pictures himself and the Father and his disciples in a story of the vine and branches in verses 1-6. Then he makes application in verses 7-17. He also tells us what to expect from the world: 18-25, and how we will be helped by the Holy Spirit: 26-27.
Let me read this with this in mind and see if it is helpful.
What do we find here? To begin with, Jesus gives us another “I AM” statement here to illustrate another aspect of our relationship with him. “I am the true vine.” Notice also Jesus’ inclusion of the Father as the vinedresser and his disciples as branches. Where does the fruit come from? Is it on the vine, or on the branches?
The vine is the source of life for the branches. The Father makes sure the branches on the vine are producing, otherwise he cuts them off.
The concern of this section is first, that the branches that are on the vine bear fruit. Who did Jesus say the branches are? Who are you in this story?
Second, we get this promise in verse 7 that is repeated again down in verse 16. If we abide in Jesus, we can expect him to answer our prayers. He is going to help us bear fruit. We ask for fruit, he helps us. Do you see that?
Third, we see what Jesus means by abiding in the vine. It means obeying his commands.
And what commands do we hear over and over and over from John 13 on through here? Follow me and love each other! Look at 10,12,14,17.
Fourth, we discover that when we follow Jesus, his enemies become our enemies. The world opposes us. And the whole world that is in sin is his enemy. Not because we do anything to produce this enmity. We only expose the enmity that is already there. James 4:4 later says, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” And John warns, 1 John 2: 15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides forever.
Finally, fifth, Jesus promises the help of the Holy Spirit to bear witness to Him. He will say more on this in chapter 16. But suffice it to say that we have God’s help to accomplish what God wants from us.
There you have it. What wonderful words Jesus gives us. We are in a relationship with him that is no less that life-giving and life-sustaining. Jesus, the vine supplies all the nourishment and supply we need to produce fruit for him. The Father is watching to see that we do produce fruit, more fruit and much fruit! He will prune and clean us. If we are false to him we can not produce fruit and the Father will indeed cut off every branch that fails to produce fruit.
If that seems unfair, think about what Jesus also promises to make sure we can and do produce fruit.
1. We do what he says and he will see that fruit comes.
2. We ask for help and he guarantees he will supply what we ask so that we will bear fruit.
3. The Holy Spirit will help us witness in fruit bearing ways.
If we fail to produce fruit, it will not be because we could not, but that we would not obey, pray, and bear witness to Jesus.