John chapter 15 Has a precursor and it begins in chapter 14 verse 23 Jesus answered and said to him, Jesus is answering Judas, not Judas Iscariot, the other one. Judas said, Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us and not to the world? Because Jesus has told them, you will see me. Well, the world will not see me.
So he says, how is this going to be possible? How is it that we’re going to see you and the world’s not going to see you? And Jesus answered and said to him, if anyone loves me, he will keep my word and my father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words and the word which you hear is not mine,
but the father’s who sent me much of what Jesus is going to say in John chapter 15 leads out of this statement right here where Jesus says, if you love me, you will keep my words. If you step back a little further in John chapter 14 in John chapter 14 and in verse 15 he says, if you love me, keep my commandments and I will pray the father and he will give you another helper that he may abide with you for forever the spirit of truth.
So Jesus is in the context of the upper room. He is there having observed the Passover with his disciples and now he is having this discussion with them, teaching them these things And he’s telling them that his time to be, to go to the cross is approaching. They don’t understand these things, but he’s telling them nonetheless so that when they occur they might believe that he is who he has said.
He w who he is and so Jesus is going to tell them a number of things they are not going to understand. But one of the things he tells them is that when he departs from them, he will send someone in his place. Who will that be? The helper? He’s referenced as the helper, the spirit of truth, the Holy spirit.
What was the function as we’re going to be reading this, we’ll, we’ll get to this more in chapter 17, but what was the primary function of the Holy spirit when sent by Christ to the apostles, The to give them the miraculous, but specifically keep them in the truth, to remind them of what he’s taught them and to tell them all or to reveal to them all the truth.
That because Jesus will say before the night’s out, there’s things I haven’t told you yet. There’s things that you’re not ready for yet, but the spirit will guide you into all truth. So he’s there to provide them a complete and perfect memory of what it is Jesus did and said he is there to provide them the knowledge they need to establish the church as far as physically speaking to,
to spread the gospel, to bring forth entrance into the kingdom. As Jesus told Peter and the others that they would be those who would do, they would use those keys of the kingdom, uh, and open up those doors of the kingdom. So Jesus is going to send a helper in his place. And this helper is going to be the Holy spirit from the father.
Now verse or chapter 15 verse one Jesus says, I am the true vine and my father is the vine dresser. In John chapter two, Jesus is the temple. In John chapter four, Jesus is the water of life. In John chapter six, Jesus is the bread of life. In John chapter eight, Jesus is the light of the world. That’s also John chapter one in John chapter 11 he is,
uh, the true life. In John chapter 15. He’s the true vine. You go back into the old Testament and you will find every single one of these things connected to the old Testament. And what he is saying is I am the complete fulfillment of prophecy. I am the complete fulfillment of everything God has done, has said, it all culminates here.
When Jesus described himself as the bread of life. What was the analogy? The man, the man and the wilderness. Here’s this old Testament example of the Israelites in the wilderness being provided the very sustenance of life in the manner that they were given. And Jesus says, I’m the true bread Of life. And so this idea is throughout the book of John,
where Jesus is being presented as not only the one who performs the works, not only the one who speaks the words of the father, but who is also the complete fulfillment of old Testament and of the pictures, the types and anti types of the old Testament to the new. Okay? So he says, I am the true vine and my father is the vine dresser.
Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, he takes away. And every branch that bears fruit he prunes that it may become or that it may bear more fruit. Uh, somebody who’s better at agricultural agricultural things than I am. Tell me what a vine dresser does.<inaudible> Okay, so there’s a process that, that the vine dresser goes through,
that if something’s not producing as opposed to allowing it to remain on the vine, where it just takes up the resources and the nutrition that the vine has, you cut it off, you take it off. Why it’s not producing anything, it’s a waste. And so by cutting it off, you provide better nutrients and sustenance to what does produce fruit. But then also there’s the,
he uses the analogy of the pruning. Um, someone told a story about, uh, they, they live over in England and he was telling the story of one year. They had gone on a journey, uh, on a trip of a number of months, and they had hired someone to prepare their, uh, their flower garden for the next year because I always kept a flower garden and a number of bushes and everything.
And, uh, normally they would do it, but they just, they were going to be out of the country this time. So they hired someone to come in And to take care of that. They came back and it was before everything started, uh, blossoming and before all of the real growth started. But after the pruning time had come and they came back and they thought their,
uh, flower garden had just been destroyed. The, the individual who they had hired had come in and had been far more aggressive in pruning than they ever hadn’t been in the past. Uh, and they really looked at it and they thought that he, he’s just destroyed this. And, and they were very surprised because they hired someone that they thought to be reputable who had a good reputation,
uh, in these things. And he, he said, you know, the individual is telling the story. He said, I just was, was devastated just because of all the time and all the hours and all the, the care that we spend on this every year. And he said, then we came, it came time for things to start blossoming and growing.
And he said, we had the best flower garden we’ve ever had any year period. And he said, I, I, I felt bad for how I felt about the individual when I came back and thought it’s been over pruned. It’s been destroyed. The reality is it was exactly what it needed. God here is described as one who not only removes what’s dead,
not only removes what does not produce fruit by the way, that what does not produce life is that idea, But also he prunes and he makes sure that those things that are producing fruit are in the best condition they can be. Now, how are we told in the old Testament and in the new Testament that we grow spiritually?<inaudible> Through trials, through difficulty.
You go read first and second Peter and you’re going to find it over and over again. It is the struggles. It is the trials. It is the difficulties and the hard things that will produce growth. Yeah, Well, believe it or not, Jesus is preparing his disciples for a significant growth moment in their lives because the next four days will change their lives forever,
But they will struggle before they’ll grow and Jesus is preparing them to realize the importance of faithfulness to God and continuing to produce fruit that comes from God. Now go back into chapter 15 verse three he says, you are already clean because of the word. Do not miss as we go through this text. This is one of those texts where you just pay attention to the connection of life,
love, Acceptance before God and the word of God because it is the word of God that is this force that creates all of these things In the individual. Notice he says, he says, you are already clean because of the word. So what? How did they become clean to begin with the word because of the word which I’ve spoken to you, abide in me and I in you as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine.
Neither can you unless you abide in me. So he’s told them that they they’re clean and we’ll, we’ll get into that a little bit more in the tech text, but he says, you’re clean because of the word that I’ve spoken to you, the revelation that I have given to you. But then he goes on to say, you have to abide in me if you’re going to continue to abide in the vine,
if you’re going to continue to grow and have life in you and bear fruit. Verse six if anyone does not abide in me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered and they gathered them and throw them into the fire and they are burned. So he continues with the analogy, with the principle of the idea. Here’s the vine dresser he’s going through,
he’s taking off vines that do not produce fruit. And when he takes off the vine, I mean does he plan it in the ground and expect it to grow? What’s he do to it? Cast it aside. And the men come, the the servants come. There’s as it’s implied here and as the vine dressers going through, they’re picking up all of the branches that have been removed and they’re going out and burning them.
Why? They’re of no use. They haven’t fulfilled the singular purpose of their existence and that is to produce fruit. So then notice he says, if you abide in me, verse seven and my words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you. By this, my father is glorified that you bear much fruit.
So you will be my disciples. There is a connection here between their discipleship, between their position, between his promises to them, them bearing fruit as a result of these things and his words, they’re not going to abide in him unless his words abide in them. They’re not going to abide in the father unless his word abides in them. Okay? So many people will come to passages and they will say,
the Holy spirit has gone into a person’s heart, has changed. That person’s heart has made it to where they can hear the word of God. Here we are in a context about the spirit, the function of the spirit, and what did Jesus say made them clean to begin with. The word he could have easily said, it was the spirit who made you clean and made it possible for you to hear and understand the word.
He illuminated your heart so that you could hear and understand. Well, that’s not what Jesus said. I mean of all passages in the scripture where it would have made sense to say it. If that were the way it worked, this would be a great one to do it. He doesn’t say that. He says it’s the word which I’ve spoken to you that has done this and it is the word that continues to do this.
It is the word that allows you to grow and it is a word that allows you to abide in me. All of these things are functions of the word. Notice he says this, by this, my father is glorified that you bear much fruit so you will be my disciples. Now, Jesus has said back over in chapter 14 has spoken to them about,
or sorry, chapter 13 about the father being glorified in chapter 13 how is the father described as being glorified? Through what action? What’s Jesus going to do that the father will be glorified? Chapter 13 verse 31 down through 35 they’re going to glorify each other, but what’s what? What’s he saying is going to happen? That’s going to bring about that glorification,
His death. Him going to the cross. Him leaving this life, And yet here he again talks about the father being glorified, but it’s now not by his death, but by their, what? Their lives. They’re continuing to bear fruit. He’s going to die and he’s going to leave so that they might have life and bear fruit and through all of this,
the father is glorified. Then notice verse nine as the father loved me, I also have loved you. Abide in my love. Tell me a passage in the book of John that talks about the father’s love. John three 16 for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Here’s, here’s the father’s love for us, but here’s in this passage. Here’s Christ’s love for us as the father loved me. I also have loved you. Abide in my love if you keep my commandments. Now there are people who would argue that love and commandments love and law don’t go hand in hand, but those are two opposite ideas. If you’re going to talk about the law of God,
you can’t be talking about the love of God. The love of God is something that surpasses all the law and just just makes everything fine. Ignoring what the law says, that is not the love of God and is not the picture of the love of God anywhere in scripture. Most especially not the night that Jesus is going to the cross. The night that Jesus is going to the cross,
the picture of love is, I’m doing this because I love you. You will show me you love me by keeping my commandments. And that statement and that idea is reiterated over and over and over again. But then he goes on to say, and you will be known by your love for one another. Well tell me, how should we treat one another so that our love for one another is made known With love,
with kindness. Could we not just sum it all up in treating one another the way Christ said we ought to, as a matter of fact. Isn’t that what he actually said? That you’ll be known when you love one another as I have loved you. Well, That’s when you’ll be known as my disciples when you have loved one another as I have loved you.
So then again, he says, as the father loved me, I also have loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love. How do you abide in the love of God? Keep his commandments. How do you abide in the love of Christ? Keep his commandments. When you step over to first John and you read first John,
amazingly big surprise, you read over and over and over here by do we know that we know him? Who’s the him? God the father. He says, hereby do we know that we know him if we keep his commandments, if the love that he has abides in us, if we love one another. All of these things are statements over in first John,
where John is just applying what Jesus has already said and trying to get that first century church to realize how they can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that their salvation is not only there but is secure because they’re keeping his commandments because their faith is abiding because their love is abiding and because that faith conquers the world. First John chapter five so then he says,
if you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love. Just as I have kept my father’s commandments and abide in his love. Jesus isn’t asking us to do anything he didn’t do. As a matter of fact, that’s the whole standard. That’s the whole idea. Here you are. You’ve got Christ telling the disciples, this is what I require of you and this is what my father required of me.
I’m passing on to you the standard that I have lived to abide in the father’s commandments. He says these things, I have spoken to you verse 11 that my joy may remain in you and that your joy may be full. It is unfortunate that through out in history many times it has been said, well, I know about some situation. Sometimes it’s about marriage,
divorce and remarriage. Sometimes it’s about some other sin. Well, I know that that that’s what God’s word says, but God would want me to be happy, So I’m just going to keep living the way I’m living. No, as a matter of fact, God never said he wanted you to be happy. What he did say is he wanted your joy to be full,
and if your Joy’s full, it only happens one way. If you abide in his love, and that only happens if you keep his commandments. So if you want to have full joy to the fullest extent that God says is even possible to experience, it begins with abiding in God’s love, which begins with keeping God’s commandments. It is the person who says that that is actually keeping themselves from living a life of joy because they’re choosing sin over righteousness and over God’s love.
So then he says this, he says, this is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you. So here’s this train of love. The father loved me. I’ve loved you. Now you love one another, And it may seem easy to read that, but remember, these were the same disciples that were arguing about who was going to be the greatest in the kingdom.
Just a few minutes ago. He says, Now you love one another the way I’ve loved you. He’s already shown them what it means to be a servant. He’s already told them who will be the greatest in the kingdom and now he tells them to love one another by his standard. Whenever we look at our lives and our relationships, especially with brethren and those in the member members who are members of the body of Christ,
we never ever, ever get to say properly, well, I’m not going to do such and such to so and so because she or he didn’t do it to me. They didn’t treat me right, so I’m just not going to treat them right. Sorry, you’ve got the wrong standard. How did Christ treat you? Now there’s your standard. What did Christ do for you?
There’s your standard. Doesn’t matter what they’ve done. It doesn’t matter how they’ve treated you. It doesn’t matter how I’ve been treated or what’s been said about me by some brother somewhere or some sister somewhere. What matters is what did Christ do For me? Now there’s my standard of how I have to act, but then he says this Greater love has no one than this than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
Christ is going to go to the cross and he is going to go to the cross for the entire world, but it gets a little more personal than that. He will go to the cross as well for those who will. The next verse, You are my friends. If you do whatsoever, I command you. He went to the cross, he shed his blood,
that atoning blood so that anyone who will be obedient to his commandments and follow his commandments and love him and love the father as they have loved them can have salvation And that is the love that we are to have that there’s the standard lay down your life for someone else, but there’s more than just laying down your life. It’s not as though Christ said,
you know what? I’m going to go out in the battlefield and I’m going to lay down my life and and that’s going to be it and tomorrow it’ll all be over. He spent his entire life in a figurative sense, laying down his life for his brethren, for his friends. It wasn’t a point action. It was an action that brought forth a manifestation of his entire life being that of service To others and to those who could not do for themselves.
He says, no longer do I call you servants for a servant does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends for all things that I heard from my father. I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain and that whatever you ask the father in my name,
he will give you these things. I command you that you love one another. Now, as we’ve said all the way through this chapter in the last chapter and the chapter before that, we always have to take these things in their context. We always have to remember he’s speaking to the apostles. He’s speaking in the context of the Holy spirit and the things that would come and he is not saying it is not to be interpreted.
If you asked the Lord for a million dollars, you should expect it to show up tomorrow Or as some TV evangelists would would prefer. If you send us $50,000 you can expect a million some future date. That’s not the promise. That’s not what this is. This is about their relationship, the Apostle’s unique relationship with the father and with Christ. It is to the apostles that Jesus said,
whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, which grammatically is whatsoever you bind on earth has already been bound in heaven. You see, there’s one thing that can’t be separated here and that is what they ask and the word they’re abiding in just like the love of God and the abiding in the word can’t be separated. The asking the father for something and the word can’t be separated,
so there’s already the assumption built into the whole context that they would not ask for that which God would not provide. This is a preparation for them to take over Jesus’ position in a sense in leading the disciples and Jesus wants them to know they’re not by themselves. The father is with them. Now I want to mention something before we get through the rest of this chapter and that’s this.
What was the biggest mistake that the Israelites made when they came out of Egypt and then went from Egypt to Sinai and through the wilderness? Single biggest repeated mistake,<inaudible> Murmuring and complaining and every single time what you see is this picture of God trying to get them to realize if you would, but Ask You would have what you want and what you need,
but instead of asking you grumble and complain and turn your heart away from me and Jesus is telling his disciples, if I can borrow another passage, ask and you shall receive. Seek and ye shall find, knock and the door shall be open to you, Eddie<inaudible> Absolutely. That is a privilege you now have in Christ.<inaudible> Absolutely. Now all of this leads to a discussion of you do all of these things,
all these things that sound great, the love of God, abiding in him, keeping the word of God, growing in him, producing fruit, all this sounds great, right? And Jesus is then going to bring on the other side because these things are how you get the people around you to hate you And if you wanted to check box, if you want to make a list of how to get the world to hate you,
here you go. Notice he says, you did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain and that whatever you ask the father in my name, he may give it to you. These things, I command you that you love one another. If the world hates you, you know it hated me before it hated you.
If you were of the world, the world would love its own. If you live like the world, the world would have no problem with you. They’d love you for it Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world. Therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you? A servant is not greater than his master.
If they persecuted me, they will persecute. If they kept my word, they will keep your word also. But all these things they will do to you for my namesake, because they do not know him, who sent me. Jesus is telling them, you do all of these things and you’re going to abide in the love of God, but if you abide in the love of God,
you can’t abide in the love of the world and the world will not choose to be passive toward you. If you love God, the world will choose to hate you because you love God And you don’t have to go very far in this world To see that. What is it on me? In many places, uh, termed, if you tell the biblical truth about homosexuality,
what’s it called? A hate crime. They’ve literally even turned the very idea of hate and flipped it on its head to say it is hateful to speak the truth, but that’s born out of hate for the truth. But that’s where the world is. If verse 22 I had not come. Isn’t it an interesting passage? This is one I’ve struggled with for a little bit and I’m not going to tell you I’ve got it all figured out,
but I’m going to give you an idea of what I think it is and let you go study it on your own. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin. But now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me, hates my father. Also. If I had not done among them the works,
which no one else did, they would have no sin. But now they have seen and also hated both me and my father. But this happened that the word might be fulfilled, which is written in their law. They hated me without cause. But when the helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the father, the spirit of truth, who proceeds from the father,
he will testify of me. And you also were will bear witness because you have been with me from the beginning. Jesus says, if I hadn’t come, they wouldn’t have sent. Alright, go ahead. Somebody explain it. Uh, he says they now have no excuse for sin. And here’s there’s, there’s two pieces to this that I think that are important.
Number one is Did were there individuals who committed sins they never would have committed, had Christ not come<inaudible>? Would they have ever put the son of God on the cross had Christ not come? But here’s the thing that the word of God does. When revelation comes, when law comes, and when light comes, you go back to John chapter one.
And what do you find those three things? Make people’s deeds known. And when the deeds of those who are wicked are made known, what do they do? They lashed back out. Scribes, Pharisees, the chief priests, their sin that they would not have committed had Christ not come. It’s putting Christ on the cross. That’s my understanding of it.
But he did come and they will put him on the cross and notice he says, but this happened that it might be fulfilled, which is written in their law. They hated me without cause. The connection here. The fulfillment is, I came and I spoke the truth and they hated me for it. They’re going to hate you for it, But the sin they’re about to commit wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t come.
But I did go and their reaction to the truth, their reaction to revelation, the reaction to the light was to try and keep their deeds in darkness because instead of repenting, they heaped more sin on themselves by killing the son of God. That’s my understanding of the passage. Like I said, feel free to uh, to correct me if I’m wrong,
but that’s what I believe he’s talking about is I believe he’s talking about the cross<inaudible>. Yes. A very narrow picture of a sin. They would not have committed because let’s face it, you go to John the Baptist before Jesus ever starts preaching and John calls them what? A brood of Vipers. Okay, so sin isn’t is a non, the gateable issue.
They have sin. He’s talking about a sin that would not have had What they do because they hated it. You’ve been listening to good news brought to you by the Collierville church of Christ. You can join us in person at five seven five Shelton road. Call your Ville, Tennessee on Sunday morning at 9:30 AM for Bible class and 10:30 AM for worship. Our afternoon services are at 1:30 PM.