The Book of John is unique among the Gospel accounts. You may read it when you are yet in shallow waters near the shore, and you will find Jesus there. You may read it and find yourself totally immersed in deep truths about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I will go deep, and if it is too much, don’t worry! Stay in the shallow waters for a bit. He will take you deeper, as you get to know Him!
Oh, to abide in Jesus Christ, to remain in Him, to bear fruit for Him, to love with His love! It is an indescribable joy to have a front-row seat while He works His works through you, because you are filled with Him! But what if you don’t abide? Jesus doesn’t sugarcoat the consequences. You will be thrown into the fire. And for those who abide, the world will hate and persecute you because you are His.
Verse 1 — Look back at Jesus’ words in John 14:31. “Come, let us go from here.” Now picture in your mind that He and His disciples pass the Temple. Along the top of its walls is a relief of a grape vine.
And what does He say as they pass by? It is another I AM statement from the always existent God the Son. “I am the true Vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.”
IMPORTANT POINT: If He is the true Vine, then there are false vines. The Temple at Jerusalem and the Law were just a preview, of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God. He is the fulfillment, and believers are to be His temples (1Corinthians 6:19), filled with His love (Romans 5:5). But the Jewish elite had made the Temple into something false, and they themselves were false vines because they rejected and wanted to kill the True Vine.
Jesus Christ is the true Vine. And His Father is the Vinedresser. A Vinedresser prunes, trains and cultivates grape vines. Jesus is already perfect and needs no such thing. So who does the Father prune, train and cultivate? BELIEVERS!
IMPORTANT POINT: Believers are the branches of the True Vine (verse 5). Pruning may be a painful at times, but who is a better Vinedresser than God the Father? All that He prunes, all the ways that He trains you and cultivates you are perfectly done by His wise hands! Hallelujah!
Verse 2 — Branches either bear fruit, or they don’t. Jesus says branches that don’t bear fruit are taken away. What does that mean? In this case, the Greek word airo means “lifted up.” That way the vine gets more light and thus, may begin producing.
The Father lifts up believers who don’t bear fruit because they are not filled with the Holy Spirit, so that more of His spiritual light is shed on them. He lifts them up so they might come to know that they cannot bear His fruit unless they are filled, and that His great salvation through Jesus Christ is but the first step toward being a fruit-bearer.
Every branch that bears fruit, the Father prunes, so it may bear more fruit. He cuts away “suckers,” which are shoots that do not produce fruit, but rob the plant of energy. As a gardener, I pruned them from tomatoes and other fruit-bearing plants. Removing the suckers encourages more fruit, and more fruit-bearing shoots!
IMPORTANT POINT: The Father prunes Spirit-filled believers who already bear His fruit. He does it so they are not robbed of energy by useless “suckers” and so there is plenty of room for even more fruit-bearing shoots. For all of their time on earth, they continue to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Remember, grace is the divine influence on the heart, and the reflection in the life. And this word for knowledge is complete, perfect knowledge. It is intimacy with the True Vine! Hallelujah!
SPECIAL NOTE: It is not sin (willful disobedience against God) that the Father prunes from Spirit-filled believers, because their hearts have been purified (Acts 15:9) and their sin nature is dead (Galatians 2:20), replaced with Christ’s divine nature (2Peter 1:4). But there is no limit to the ways the Father will prune them to make them even more fruitful. O Father, prune away! May I ever bear more fruit for Your glory!
Verse 3 — This pruning process is sometimes called “cleansing.” So Jesus’ next statement pertains to that. He told His disciples they were already clean (pure) because of the word which He had spoken to them. He is speaking as if Pentecost, when their hearts would be purified, had already happened.
IMPORTANT POINT: The disciples were cleansed because they received His words into themselves, and stayed in that upper room, hungry and thirsty to be filled with God’s righteousness (by being filled with His Spirit), just as the Father promised. When they were filled with His Spirit, their hearts were purified (Acts 15:9). It is the same for you, if you will believe this promise!
Verses 4 — This abiding is a command. “Abide in Me and I in you.” You can produce His fruit, the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) only if:
—You abide in Him, having a continuous vital connection to Him.
— For Him to abide in you, literally, as He promises in John 14:23.
This abiding happens when you are filled with His Holy Spirit.
IMPORTANT POINT #1: You must be vitally connected to (“in”) Jesus by being filled with His Spirit. When you are filled, He is in you, and you are in Him. Thus, you continually receive His life-giving sap, and bear His fruit. You cannot bear His fruit until you have His sap flowing through you. His sap cannot flow through you unless He literally dwells within you and you are vitally connected to (“in”) Him.
IMPORTANT POINT #2: This is an essential truth that today’s churches often miss or disbelieve. But He holds you responsible to go into the Word of God yourself, and to learn from Him. So the fact that it is not taught doesn’t mean the Lord won’t teach you directly, if you sit at His feet in His Word. Don’t let the naysayers stop you!
Verse 5 — Jesus repeats, I AM the Vine. You are the branches. If you abide in Me, if My life-giving sap is coursing through you, then you will bear much fruit. But apart from Me, you can do nothing. Jesus repeats to us what He already said in Verse 4. You cannot bear fruit without Him dwelling in you, when you are filled with His Holy Spirit.
IMPORTANT POINT: The fruit of the Spirit, which you will produce when you are filled with His Spirit, is: His love, His joy, His peace, His patience, His kindness, His goodness, His faithfulness, His gentleness, and His Spirit’s control. You are not a robot, but His Spirit is large and in charge in your life.
Verse 6 — What if you are a branch that, despite the Father lifting you up to the light, still doesn’t bear His fruit? How can that be?
If you still don’t bear His fruit, then you are not filled with the Holy Spirit who provides you with life-giving sap. You are physically attached to the Vine, but nothing is flowing. It is possible to be saved and yet not go on to be filled with the Holy Spirit who makes the sap flow and His fruit appear.
What does the Vinedresser do with such a branch? That branch is thrown away (ballo, forcefully cast off, with no care as to where it falls). Later, it dries up, is gathered up, and then is cast into the fire, so it is burned.
Why? If you are not bearing the fruit of the Spirit, what fruit do you bear? The fruit of the flesh, of the carnal nature, of the sin nature you were born with. Galatians 5:19-21 tells us what you will produce — immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities (hostility toward others), strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, heresies (false teaching), envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
IMPORTANT POINT: It is God’s will that you be filled with the Holy Spirit. It is a command from Jesus Christ. To refuse His Spirit is to refuse Him. What if you say you are already filled? If you do not produce the fruit of the Spirit, you belie your own words. What if you say the Holy Spirit is not “for today?” Then you know neither the God of the Word nor the Word of God. I can find no time limitations there.
Verse 7 — But what are the promises for Spirit-filled believers who are vitally connected to Him, who have His sap flowing freely through them and who produce His fruit? If you remain in Him and He indwells you by His Spirit, whatever you ask will be done for you. Whatever! Hallelujah! And you have no selfish desires. Those died when your sin nature was crucified. Now your desires are the same as God’s desires. Of course He will grant them!
Verse 8 — What is the purpose of bearing much fruit? God the Father is glorified, is honored, is praised, and is worshiped, because the fruit you produce is HIS. There is no way you could produce it on your own. Others see that God is real, Christ is real, and is living in you, and that the promises of God are true.
Verse 9 — Now comes the love part. If you abide in Him, vitally connected and receiving His sap that produces His fruit, one of those fruits will be love. Not natural love, not human love, not the love you were born with, not even your love for Christ. The fruit is HIS love, which is far, far greater. To have His love in you is to love with the same love the Father has for the Son!
And Jesus says to you today, just as the Father has loved me, I love you! So I command you to abide in My love (not your love for Me). I command you to be vitally connected to me, filled with the Holy Spirit whom God has given you (Romans 5:5), so you are filled with My love!
Verse 10 — If you obey My command to be filled with My Spirit, you will abide in My love, Jesus says to you today. You will have My love flowing through you and from you to others, because you are vitally connected to Me, receiving My sap so that you may bear My fruit.
IMPORTANT POINT: How do you love with God’s actual love? Be filled with His Spirit, which is a command. Then His love will flow from you to others. And His love does not wink at sin. His love causes us to call people to repent, to turn from their sin. It is what He did for all of His ministry (Matthew 4:17, and throughout the gospels).
Verse 11 — The result? His joy will be in you, because of this vital connection! Your joy will be made full, complete, perfect, an overflowing cup that flows out to others.
IMPORTANT POINT: I pray that you are able to see His joy in me! It is not excitement, it is not emotion, it is not happiness. It is the bubbling up, the welling up! It is His joy that overflows! Hallelujah!
Verse 12 — Again, it is a commandment from Jesus Christ. Love one another just as I have loved you. Just as. That means His love, in you, because you are vitally connected to Him and He dwells in you, because His Spirit has filled you.
Verse 13-14 — Greater love has no man than this, that you lay down your life for another.
John 12:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
To bear His fruit, you must fall to the earth. Your sin nature must be crucified. You must be filled with the Holy Spirit. Then you will bear much fruit — His fruit!
And you are His friend if you do what He commands you to do.
IMPORTANT POINT: When you lay down your life and take up His, you become His friend and bear His fruit.
Verse 15 — You are no longer called a slave/servant by Jesus, if you obey His command. Slaves do not know what their Master is doing. But Jesus Christ has shared with His disciples, and with you, all things that He has heard from His Father. Now you know what to do. Now you know what your Master’s plan is for your life. It is to set you free from your sin nature and fill you with His Spirit so you can produce His fruit.
IMPORTANT POINT: If you read all of the words of Jesus, in the context in which they are written in the Gospels, you will know all things that Jesus heard from the Father. Is reading God’s Word important? You betcha. By doing so, you will become His friend.
Verse 16 — You did not choose Me. I chose you. You didn’t “make a decision” to follow Me. I chose you. And I have an appointed duty for you. It is to go, filled with My Spirit, bearing My fruit, and it is fruit that remains because you have a vital connection with Me and I am in you. So whatever you ask for in Jesus’ name, He will do.
IMPORTANT POINT: Is the phrase, “In Jesus’ name” a guarantee that your prayer will be answered? Can you use it like a talisman or a chant, to get what you want? You cannot live like the devil and expect to get what you ask for because you say, “In Jesus’ name.” Whatever you ask for in His name means you have His character in you, and His reputation, not the devil’s. This is a truth. “In His name” means you stand in the position Christ gave you when you were filled with His Spirit. You are spotless and blameless, pure of heart, standing before the Lord. Then you ask, and you receive.
Verse 17 — Jesus Christ is really emphasizing this command — LOVE with My love! Love each other with My Love!
IMPORTANT POINT: Why does the church bicker? They are not filled with God’s actual love. How many times does Jesus command us? Four times in John 15 alone.
Verses 18-19 — If you love with the love of Jesus Christ, you may be sure that the world will hate you. But the world hated Jesus first. Why do they hate Him? Because He tells them to repent, to turn from their sin. He convicts them that they are sinners.
Why does the world hate you? You are not of it. You are of Christ. He chose you. He is in you, you are vitally connected to Him, the world hates Christ, so the world hates you. The Holy Spirit in you convicts the world regarding sin, righteousness, and the coming judgment (John 16:8). The world rejects that message.
But He chose you, took you out of the world, made you holy when He filled you with His Holy Spirit, put you back in (but not of) the world, and He keeps you holy, by His power through faith in Christ, for a salvation ready to be revealed at the end of things (1Peter 1:5). You are forgiven and saved, you are filled, but there is yet a final salvation, at the end of things.
IMPORTANT POINT: Beware of churches that adopt the ways of the world to try to attract people. Beware of churches that try to change the Word of God so that it is palatable to the world. Beware of churches that seek the world’s admiration. If you are His, the world will surely hate you.
Verses 20-21 — A slave is not greater than his Master. Do you remember Him saying that in John 13:16? So if they persecuted Me, they will persecute you. If they kept My Word (took it into themselves and obeyed My commands), they will keep yours also. Why? You are filled with Me, and you will speak My words, because the Holy Spirit will give them to you.
Why will they persecute you? Because you are Christ’s. Because of His name, and because He speaks through you, they will persecute you. They do not intimately know God the Father. Therefore, they do not intimately know God the Son. It was true of the Jewish elite, and it is true of the world today.
IMPORTANT POINT: Do not seek to make the world love you. They will not. But speak the truth of Christ to them, because He was sent by the Father to offer salvation to the whole world. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting light.” The one single expression of God’s love toward the world was to give them the Savior them the Savior they so desperately need. If they reject Him, they remain under God’s wrath (John 3:36). They will perish eternally if they do not repent and turn to Him.
Verses 22-23 — If Jesus Christ had not come and spoken to the Jewish elite and to the world, they would not have sin (be guilty). But they have no excuse for their sin, because they rejected Him. They hate Him. And he who hates God the Son also hates God the Father.
IMPORTANT POINT: There is no excuse for those who hate Jesus Christ. They will bear their guilt, unless they turn to Him.
Verses 24-25 — Jesus Christ performed many God works. No one else did them. They had never been done before, from John 9 onward. No one, including the Old Testament prophets, had ever healed a man born blind, and no one had ever raised a man who had been dead four days. But the Jewish elite (and the world today) reject these things which were seen and recorded, and hate God the Father and God the Son.
But their hate is the fulfillment of this word from the Old Testament, “They hated me without a cause.” Jesus Christ quotes Psalm 69:4, which contains several prophetic verses related to Christ. Before the world was formed, before anything was, God knew that much of mankind would reject Him and His Son. But He sent Him anyway, because He also knew some would come to Him through Jesus Christ.
IMPORTANT POINT: Most of those who came to Him were the “unlikelies.” Prostitutes and tax collectors, the unknown and the ones who had been hostile toward God — these are the unlikely citizens of heaven.
But the religious, those who think they can do enough good deeds to please God? We pray they see and repent, but if they do not, they will perish in their self-righteousness.
Verses 26-27 — I think these verses really belong in the next chapter, but I will talk about them here. The Helper, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father (thus, is part of the Trinity), is coming. And when He comes into you and fills you, He will testify about Jesus Christ, through you.
And the disciples who were eyewitnesses of Christ from the beginning of His earthly ministry will testify of what they have seen and heard. Look at what happened when the Sanhedrin arrested Peter and John for speaking the name of Jesus and teaching His words to the people —
Acts 4:18-29 And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; 20 for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
IMPORTANT POINT: It won’t be just words that He will give you that will testify of Him. It will be the fruit of His Spirit. And you will not be able to stop speaking about what you have seen and heard!!!