1 "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 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. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. 9 "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 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. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 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. 16 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, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.
Questions to Consider:
I believe we live in a time of appease-ment. What I mean by that is that too often, Bible teachers have a tendency to water-down some of the harsher teaching in the Bible to make it more appealing to both those we are trying to reach with the Gospel message and those who are critics of the Church. This happens to be one of those passages that gets manipulated so that it does not offend. Note: When we manipulate God's Word by either adding, subtracting or changing it; it is no longer God's Word; it is a man's opinion.
Let's take an honest look at this analogy. v.1 Jesus is the true vine (John 14:6) and the Father oversees the vineyard. v.2 Every branch that does not bear fruit, the Father takes away. Every branch that is fruitful, the Father prunes.
v.3 Scholars are not sure which "word" Jesus was referring to that made the disciples clean. Some believe it is the totality of His teaching. It might be Jesus' emphasis on obeying His commandments in Chapter 14. Most likely He is referring to the idea that He further explores in v.4. "Abide in Me, and I in you." Certainly, post the atoning work of Christ, it is in Christ that we find the forgiveness of sin and are clothed in His righteousness.
v.5 If we do not abide in Christ we will not be able to bear fruit. Jesus makes this clear with His declaration: "Without Me you can do nothing." v.6 Those who do not abide in Christ, wither, die and are gathered together and burned. (Now you know why there is a temptation to water-down this teaching)
The word "abide" is the key to understanding what Jesus is communicating. Jesus uses the word "abide" or the plural "abides" nine times in the first 10 verses of chapter 15. What comes from abiding in Christ? (Fruit, Answers to Prayer, Love, Joy and ultimately, Salvation)
v. 12 Jesus reemphasizes the need for His disciples to love one another. This is a continuing theme from John 13:34,35.
Jesus talks about the great love that would cause someone to lay down their life for friends; and then He calls the disciples His friends. This had to be a somber moment. Jesus is about give this teaching a real life example. In a matter of hours Jesus will indeed be giving His life in order to "save" His friends.
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