Summary: John 15 continues Jesus discourse on the way from the Upper Room to the Cross.
The Union of Christ and the Redeemed
We have been looking at the teachings to His disciples of Jesus in the hours preceding His betrayal, arrest, and crucifixion, beginning in the Upper Room. John 14:30-31, Jesus says: “I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, 31 but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me. "Come now; let us leave.” So Jesus and His disciples are probably walking with his disciples and comes upon a grapevine and uses it as an object lesson that they would never forget.
In John 15 Jesus says: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
15:5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 15:6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 15:7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 15:8 This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” 15:9 "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.”
1. Jesus’ Work as the Vine: To Provide Life
Let’s look at the the PARTS of the PICTURE for a moment, three works or functions. First of all is Jesus, himself, whose work it is to Provide Life as the True Vine. In the Old Testament, Israel was referred to as the Vine, but they were judged for not bearing fruit; now Jesus says, I AM the true vine. Remember all the “I AM” statements we read last week appearing in John. Now Jesus tells His disciples: I AM THE TRUE, THE ORGINAL, THE GENUINE VINE. Well, the vine is the source of life- it’s how the branches and the fruit get their nourishment. It is very basic to FRUIT-BEARING, and there is no life apart from the vine. The trunk of any vine or fruit tree serves the same purpose and same importance.
Psalm 80 gives us a prophetic picture: Psalm 80 : 7 Restore us, (used 1050 times in the OT-REPENT US! TURN US!) O God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved. 14 “Return to us, (REPENT US! TURN US) O God Almighty! Look down from heaven and see! Watch over this vine, 15 the root your right hand has planted, the son you have raised up for yourself. 16 Your vine is cut down, it is burned with fire; at your rebuke your people perish. 17 Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand, the son of man you have raised up for yourself. 18 Then we will not turn away from you; revive us, and we will call on your name. 19 Restore us, (REPENT US! TURN US!) O LORD God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.” No longer is a man blessed by being in Israel, any more than you are TRULY blessed by being in America or a citizen of any other country. A person is only truly blessed when he is in Christ: Israel bore no fruit and the true vine, the true Israel of God is the Lord Jesus Christ. LORD TURN US to you that we may be saved and sustained by the TRUE VINE.
You have to notice the word that is used 10 times in 10 verses: the word REMAIN or ABIDE (Meno.) We probably would use the word “stay”, DON’T MOVE! It is used here in the sense “to be held continually”: It is a condition of permanence. JESUS ALONE IS the ONLY WAY to receive life that is permanent and fruit-bearing, God-glorifying: To REMAIN continually in Christ is to have life. Jesus would shortly GIVE HIS OWN LIFE for those who would believe IN HIM (BY FAITH), and they WOULD have eternal life, remaining in Him. HE HAS THE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE.
2. The Work of the Father is to PRUNE and PURGE branches