I am still preaching through the Gospel of John on Sunday mornings. I am currently in John 16. Here are some thoughts from John 15.
Chapters 13-16 of the Gospel of John is Jesus’s final discourse with the disciples before his death. His public ministry ended in chapter 12. Chapter 13 Jesus demonstrates amazing humility by washing the disciples’ feet. He then tells them one of them is a betrayer, that He is leaving, and that Peter will deny Him. No doubt, they all must have felt like they were just hit by a ton of bricks!! The news hit them hard and they were saddened by this discourse. In chapter 14, Jesus starts to encourage them. He tells them how He will come again and receive them. He tells them is preparing a place for them. Jesus tells them even though He is gone, they will do even greater works then He did on the earth. He informs them of the coming of the Spirit, the power of prayer and the peace of God. Chapter 15 Jesus gets even more practical in how they/we are to succeed while Jesus is in heaven and we are here.
John chapter 15 deals with our relationship with God, with other believers and with the world. In dealing with our relationship with God, Jesus said we are to abide in Him. Jesus tells us here that without abiding in Him, “we can do nothing.” (vs 5) He explains that without abiding in Him, we will not produce lasting fruit. (vs 5,16) The question is, how do we abide in Christ? Jesus answered it by using a metaphor. He said we abide in Him as a branch abides in the vine. Jesus gave this metaphor, so we could picture exactly what He meant by abiding in Him. The only reason the branch produces fruit is because it abides in the vine. The branch receives all of its strength, food, and power from the vine. The vine is the life of the branch. Jesus needs to be our life. He needs to be the source of our strength, not positive thinking. He needs to be our food, not our self esteem, and He needs to be our power, not our own intellect and education. He needs to be our life! In this process, the Father is the husbandman who will purge us. (vs 1,2) Purging, many times, involves pain. The Father will cut away anything that is hindering our growth and ability to produce fruit. This is not an easy process, but it is necessary for us to accomplish the will of God. The key to us being successful here on this earth, while Jesus is heaven, is to abide in Him as the branch abides in the vine.
By verse nine and ten, Jesus then tells the disciples to abide in His love. This would affect their relationship with each other. They were to abide in Christ as a branch abides in a vine, and here they are to abide in His love by virtue of their obedience:
(John 15:10) “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.”
Jesus told them in chapter 14, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Our love for God is directly tied to our obedience. You can not separate the two, although many try and do that in the day we live in. In Chapter 15, Jesus mentions a specific command of His in relation to abiding in His love, “that ye love one another as I have loved you.” Wow! Jesus Christ loves us unselfishly, humbly, and even to the point of giving of Himself unto death. These are to be our actions toward fellow Christians. Jesus also demonstrated His love toward us by being a servant. Don’t forget, minutes before this discussion He washed the disciples’ feet! This was the work of a common servant before a meal. Yet, Jesus took on this role. We need to love each other by our service.
We need to abide in Christ’s love by being obedient to Him. Especially, by our love for each other. The fact is, if we love each other as Christ commanded us, we will not be lying to each other; we will not be coveting from each other; we will not steal from each other; there would be no adultery, etc... We would be obedient to our Lord in all areas!
Abiding in Christ produced fruit, abiding in His love, by obedience, produces closeness to our Lord, a friendship.
(John 15:14) “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”
Why is it some are closer to God than others? Because they are abiding in His love by being obedient.
Are you abiding in Christ and in His love?