Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Bible Study Notes in John- Chapter 15

John 15

-Jesus now begins to teach about His abiding relationship using the Vine and branches metaphor. The Christ is the True Vine and the Father is the Vinedresser. Every branch that is in the Lord not bearing fruit, the Vinedresser takes away. Every branch that bears fruit (spiritually speaking), The LORD prunes (kathairĊ- to cleanse from filth and impurity, we get our English word “catharsis” from this root) so that it may bear more fruit. Jesus claimed that His disciples were already clean because of the word He had spoken to them. They had received His message. In other words, they were believers in Him. He goes on, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the Vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” This is the ultimate form of discipleship as the Holy Spirit of Christ Jesus leads. The Messiah goes on to tell them that if anyone does not abide in Him, that person is thrown away as a branch and dries up. Those are gathered together and cast into the fire and burned. This He mentions with regard to the eternal torment of those who reject Him as the Messiah, the Living Word of God (Matthew 25:41, Luke 16:19-31, John 15:1-6, Hebrews 10:26-31, Revelation 20:10-15).

-The Lord continues by stating the fact that if the disciples would abide in Him and His words abide in them, they could ask for whatever they wished, and it would be done for them. This is Divine alignment, not some “name it and claim it” theology that is set up against the will of the Father. Jesus told them that the Father is glorified when they bear much fruit. Fruit bearing was the proof of their growth in discipleship. Then, He spoke of the all-powerful love shared between the Father, Himself, and all who abide in Him. Keeping His commandments was stressed. This was the mark of abiding in Him. Just as He kept the Father’s commandments and abided in His love, His disciples should do the same. He spoke to them so that His joy would be in them and that their joy would be made full. He summed it all up thus, “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.” He then brought them to a new level of understanding in relationship with Him, “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My Name He may give (notice the subjunctive case verb here) to you. This I command you, that you love one another (John 15:7-17).” This most important point He could make revolved around the disciples love for one another. This was the crux of all the LORD’s command.

-Now He lets them know their relationship with the fallen world on account of their belief of Him as faithful-following disciples. He states matter-of-factly, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” He reminded them, “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not great than His master (John 13:16).’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My Name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.” After saying this, the Lord recognizes that judgment has come upon those who would not believe in the Messiah, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have 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 not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.” This too was in fulfillment of prophetic Scripture (Psalm 35:19; 69:4). The Christ was hated without good cause. Demonic deception was prevalent in this world. Now, Jesus finishes up the chapter with more talk on the Holy Spirit’s role. The Christ promises to send the Helper from the Father. He is the Spirit of truth proceeding from the LORD testifying about His Son. The disciples will join in this effort testifying themselves because they had been with Jesus from the beginning of His ministry (John 15:18-27).

-*Application*- The oneness, or unity, we have with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is an incredible joy and comfort to our hearts as believers. This steadfast love should be in us and abounding out of us if we are truly His. His pruning, or shall we say discipline, is always for our benefit and shows us that He does truly care about our direction in life (Hebrews 12:5-14). Abide in the Vine knowing that there will indeed be persecution but blessing with it in the end (Revelation 11:18). Keep a Heavenly perspective on things and continue to trust in the Savior.  

Verses to Memorize: John 15:5, 19, 26

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