Summary: To be connected to the Vine means that the life of Jesus is flowing in us & through us, & this leads to fruitfulness. Fruitfulness will be the inevitable outcome of an inner spiritual life with Jesus.
JOHN 15: 7-11
HOW TO ABIDE [DWELL] IN JESUS’ LOVE
[John 8: 31-35]
We have learned that fruit-bearing is a byproduct of abiding in Christ for as Jesus said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (15:5b). Having an inner relationship with Jesus (as a branch is nourished and strengthened by a vine), is a nonnegotiable feature of following Jesus. To be connected to the Vine means that the life of Jesus is flowing in us and through us, and this leads to fruitfulness. Fruitfulness (Gal. 5:22–23) will be the inevitable outcome of an inner spiritual life with Jesus.
Jesus concludes the metaphor of the Vine and branches in these verses by drawing out some of the results that come from “remaining” or abiding in Him, [many of which repeat what we already have learned in chapter 14].
I. ABIDING IN THE WORD, 7-8. [PRAYER THAT BEARS FRUIT]
II. ABIDING IN LOVE, 9-10.
III. ABUNDANT JOY, 11.
Verse 7 now compares remaining in Jesus with remaining in His Word.“If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
Effective prayer is based on faith in Christ and on His words remaining in believers. Do not overlook the importance of the reference to “My Words.” The teaching of Christ is important. The Lord Jesus lives and works in us only if we are constantly abiding, meditating on His words [John, NIC, 672]. If you are abiding in Christ (the Logas) you will been continually in the Word (the rhçma) because it is the way God speaks to you and you want to hear His voice so that you may obey it.
Christ’s words develop and direct a believer’s mind so that his prayers conform to the Father’s will. Since his prayer is in accord with God’s will, the results are certain—it will be given you (1 John 5:14-15). If our wills are to be harmonized with God’s will in the requests that we make, we will need to abide in Christ and allow His Words to abide in us.
Receiving answers to prayer is one form of spiritual fruit bearing. Fulfilled prayers bring glory to the Father because, like Jesus, His disciples are doing the heavenly Father’s will [“Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth”( Mt. 6:10)].
Those whose live in harmony with Jesus will find their prayers controlled by His word, and such prayers will be answered and bring added glory to God (15:7b; 14:10-12).
In verse 8 Jesus teaches us that the proof of discipleship is spiritual fruitfulness (Mt. 7:20). “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.
The branch produces what the life coursing through its limbs empowers, which is the “fruit of the vine.” But it is not a mechanical production of fruit. The disciple connects into a relationship of love with both Jesus (v.9) and the Father (v. 10), out of which a transformed life, a fruit-bearing life, will flow. And God will be glorified by believer, by the fruit of believers, who are abiding in Christ and in His words.
The fruit the Father is looking for is spiritual. The Lord Jesus is looking for more than the "leaves" of mere words professed by His followers. He wants them to mature in Him and bear spiritual fruit. Thus the Father, like a good farmer, will do what is necessary to make us fruitful.
ORCHARD EXPERTS say that occasionally a fruit tree will give all its energy to growing wood and leaves but little or no energy to bearing fruit. To correct this condition, the farmer takes an ax and makes a deep wound in its trunk close to the ground. That severe procedure almost always produces a change. The next year the tree gives an excellent yield. It could be called "the fruit of suffering."
Oftentimes God uses a trial as an axe, or suffering as a pruning knife, so that we may stop channeling all our energies into the pursuit of temporal things. Sorrow, tribulation, ill health, and disappointment have a way of stimulating spiritual growth and fruitfulness. Our attention is then redirected toward eternal things, and we produce the fruits of righteousness that glorify His name. - H.G.B. Spiritual fruitfulness often comes through the pruning knife of affliction.
Those that manifest or product the Fruit of the Spirit demonstrate conclusive proof that they are Jesus’ disciples. But the fruit or production of new believers is also a Fruit of the Spirit.
Jesus didn’t ask you or me to EVANGELIZE THE WORLD all by ourselves. We can’t. But He did ask us to bear much fruit. One way is to lead someone to Christ. If we bring even one person to the Lord, and that one brings one, and so on, there is great potential for multiplying just as a planted seed reproduces.