Summary: Jesus compared his disciples to juicy grapes attached to a healthy, living vine. How important is it to bear fruit? What happens when we become lazy or self-centered and stop bearing fruit? How dependent are we on being attached to Christ?
A Tour of John 15:1-17
We Are Planted and Pruned to Produce Juicy Fruit
1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned for greater fruitfulness by the message I have given you.
- Notice that the stage that Jesus is setting in this teaching is a vineyard. Vineyards contain grapes, which are cultivated into wine.
- Wine is representative of anointing (the power to operate in God’s call), an indwelling of the Holy Spirit, joy, abundance, and the absence of thirst.
Our Power is Dependant On Being Attached To Christ
4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful apart from me.
- There is a conditional statement made concerning Christ remaining in the life of a branch – it must remain attached to the vine, which is Christ.
- John 14:23-24 shows us what it means to be attached to Christ: 23 Jesus replied, "All those who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and live with them. 24 Anyone who doesn’t love me will not do what I say. And remember, my words are not my own. This message is from the Father who sent me.
The Importance of Remaining
5 "Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who parts from me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted!
- Remaining in Christ insures that you will continue to produce fruit and be “juicy”.
- Being attached to the vine also provides us with special insight into the will of God and brings our will into alignment. So, God grants us the things we ask for, knowing that they will be used for continued fruitfulness.
Producing Fruit Proves Discipleship and Brings God Glory
8 My true disciples produce much fruit. This brings great glory to my Father.
- The purpose of discipleship is to produce fruit. It demonstrates both the devotion of the believer and the power of God in his life.
What Does It Mean To Remain?
9 "I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey me, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father and remain in his love.
- Christ attaches obendience to love, and love to the disciple. Obedience, also known as works, is the evidence of true, live faith.
- Love is the firstfruit of obedience. Love becomes the natural response to being attached to the vine.
Remaining Produces Overflowing Joy!
11 I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!
- A lack of joy (fullness, gladness) in the life of a believer is a warning sign of connection problems with the vine.
- Juicy disciples are joyful because the evidence of God’s power in their life is manifest through the fruit in their lives. They are also freed through love and compassion, finding and extending God’s grace whenever possible.
We Are Commanded To Sacrificial Love
12 I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. 13 And here is how to measure it – the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends.
- Giving your life can be literal of figurative. There is a permanance to this love, showing us that it is a love that remains.
- Once you die for someone, you have given up your right to live, except by God’s grace and sufficiency.
There Are Conditions to Being Called a Friend of Christ
14 You are my friends if you obey me. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a master doesn’t confide in his servants. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.
- Again, obedience is the hallmark of a disciple of Christ. It is not language, external culture, or denomination.
- As friends, we have access to the heart and mind of God through the Holy Spirit.
Your Prayer and Authority is Connected to Producing Fruit
16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.