Summary: In John 15 we find three titles or positions granted to believers by Jesus Christ.
THREE GOD-GIVEN TITLES
INTRO. In this chapter we find three titles given to believers. They are not empty titles, for they were given by the Lord Jesus Himself. But each one is conditioned with something else.
I. AS BRANCHES WE ARE TO ABIDE. (vs. 1-5)
A. The process and privilege of receiving and enjoying the fullness of Christ cannot begin until we have been grafted into Jesus (this is salvation).
1. This may sound like an elementary point to most of us, but consider how many people want to call out to God only in times of trouble when they have never had a personal experience with Jesus Christ.
2. We are the branches only if we abide in Christ and He in us.
3. The precious sap of this Vine (which we may liken to the Holy Spirit) will never minister to the pride of the old selfish sinful life.
4. The manifestation of the branch receiving sap from the vine is it’s fruitfulness.
B. To be filled with the Spirit is to be filled with the fruit of the Spirit.
1. As it is possible to grow apples of different quality on the same stock, so by the same Spirit there may be different manifestations according to the character of the branch.
2. While our union with Christ is the death of our sinful life, it is not the death of our individuality.
3. In every Christian life the whole fruit of the Spirit should be found (Gal. 5:22-23), but, as a rule, in the lives of Christians some one or two aspects of this fruit are often found prominent, this may be partly due to the nature of the recipient.
C. In any case, it is clear that the one purpose in the vine is fruit-bearing.
1. Notice how Jesus accentuates the need for "fruit" (vs.1), "more fruit" (vs.2), and "much fruit" (vs.5).
2. This is why it is important that each one of us seriously ask ourselves, "Am I bringing forth fruit unto God? There may be orthodoxy in my doctrine, correctness in my life, and even heartiness in my service; but is there fruit, more fruit, and much fruit?"
3. Notice also that nowhere does the Lord sanction a little fruit! A berry here and there. A thin bunch of sour, unripened grapes!
4. We must be very careful to remember what happened in Matt. 21:19 when the Lord came to a fig tree looking for fruit and found none.
II. AS DISCIPLES WE ARE TO FOLLOW. (vs. 8-12)
A. In continuing the metaphor of the vine and branches here, the idea is that the branch truly follows the vine. When the branch abides in the vine and when the vine imparts power or life to the branch, then the branch faithfully carries out the purpose for which the vine was intended. (explain)
B. (Jn. 8:31) -- "If ye continue in my Word, then are you my disciples indeed."
1. True discipleship implies a readiness to sit at His feet, like Mary, and to learn of Him who is the Great Teacher come from God.
2. It implies also a willingness to believe every word He says.
3. How can His words abide in us if they are not received by faith? (vs. 7)
4. How can we follow His example if we do not live and walk by faith in the Word of God as He did?
III. AS HIS FRIENDS WE ARE TO COMMUNE WITH HIM. (vs. 14-15)
A friend comes closer to the heart than a servant. It is a very sacred and humbling privilege to walk among men as the friends of Jesus Christ. As His friends, living in communion with Him, we become......
A. Sharers of His Secrets.
1. (Psa. 25:14) -- "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him."
2. (Illus.) Abraham -- "Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?"
3. The deepest heartfelt purposes and desires of the Son of God are revealed to those who live in fellowship with Him.
4. The friends of God are able to live in a condemned world because they know the secrets to life, peace, and eternal glory.
B. Sharers of His Sympathies.
1. To love what He loves and to hate what He hates.
2. Prov. 6:16-19; Prov. 8:13
C. Sharers of His Sufferings.
1. Jn. 15:18-19
2. The more we become like Him the more we will feel the power of those forces in the world which were opposed to Him.
3. James 1:2 -- note the reality of trials "when".
4. I Pet. 2:21
D. Sharers of His Consolations.
1. (II Cor. 1:5) -- "For as the sufferings of christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ."