[SW293] 08/18/2017 message notes by
Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2017
“Jesus, the True Vine”
Text: John 15:1-17
Jesus Christ is the true Vine, the life-giving Vine, the Vine to which all believers must be continually individually attached, for we can do nothing apart from Him!
He must be in us! I consider Him faithful who promises.
As I began to say at the end of last weeks’ teaching, it is likely that when Jesus said, “Get up, let us go from here,” He knew it was time to go to the Garden at Gethsemane, at the foot of the Mount of Olives.
So when they were walking toward the Garden, the Temple would have been visible, with its great golden grapevine, the national emblem of Israel, on the front of the Temple (see Expositor’s Bible Commentary, page 150).
So Jesus’ first words are especially meaningful, now that you understand what He and His disciples were likely looking at —
Verse 1 — I am the true Vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. God was not pleased with Israel, the grapevine He had planted and tended through His own powerful works, because most of His people had grown up to be wayward, pursing false gods and seeking deliverance from other nations, rather than from God (Isaiah 5). And even when Christ spoke these words, Israel pursued the Law instead of the Author of it, and refused to recognize His Son!
God the Son means that unlike God’s people (and me), who strayed, He is the faithful and true Vine, planted by the Father on this earth, to make the way for us to become attached to Him, and for Him to be in us, so that we would bear His fruit!
Every grapevine needs a vinedresser, one who tends the vines and makes them produce the greatest harvest. And Jesus says the vinedresser is “My Father.” Oh, who better to tend to you and me!
Verse 2 — In this parable, the disciples (and all who follow Jesus) are the branches. We either bear fruit, or we do not bear fruit.
Grapevines bear grapes, but what fruit do we bear? Galatians 5:22-23 — the fruit of the Holy Spirit! It is not your love that you bear — it is His! And likewise with joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness/humbleness, and self-control (Spirit control)!
So, some of the branches, and thus, some who follow Jesus, do not bear the fruit of the Spirit, so the Father takes them away.
What does “take away” mean? The Greek is airo, and it means “take away,” but another of its meanings is “lift up.”
In His amazing mercy, and because of the difference in Greek words in this verse and Verse 6, I believe the Father lifts up barren branches into His light so they are able to see that they need the Holy Spirit in order to bear His fruit.
It is like the parable of the unfruitful fig tree in Luke 17:9 — let it grow another year, and “if it bears fruit next year, fine, but if not, cut it down.”
So the branches that don’t bear fruit are lifted up to His light. And what about the branches that bear fruit? God the Father prunes them, so they may bear even more fruit!
Beloved, My Father continues to prune me, so I may bear a greater degree of His fruit and go from one degree of Christlikeness to the next and the next! It is wonderful to be pruned by His expert hands!
Verse 3 — Jesus tells the Eleven that they are already clean (pure) because of the word Jesus has spoken to them, just as He said in John 13:10. But remember, their walk still needed to be cleansed — they needed to be filled with the Spirit!
Verse 4 — Jesus says, Abide (dwell, are present, stand) in Me, and I in you!!! Do you see it? “I in you!” That is how we become His fruit-bearers! He must be in us, just as He promises in John 14:23! If you stay and wait, He will fill you with His Spirit and the Father and He will come to dwell IN you!
A branch of a grapevine cannot produce fruit unless it is attached to the vine. Jesus says to His disciples and to you, “So neither can you (bear My fruit) unless you abide (dwell, are present, stand) in Me.” We have no ability to bear His fruit on our own. We must be filled with the Spirit, so the Father and Son permanently dwell in us! Then we are able to bear His fruit!
Verse 5 — Again, He says, I am the Vine. You are the branches. If you dwell, are present, stand in Me and I dwell permanently in you (again, John 14:23), you will bear much (an abundance of) fruit. But apart from Me, you can do nothing.
Do you see it? You must be filled with His Spirit, with Him dwelling permanently in you, in order for you to bear His fruit. Otherwise, all the good deeds you may do are done by you alone — apart from Him. Beloved, it is HIS fruit in you, because He is in you, that draws people to Him and to salvation!
Verse 6 — Jesus further emphasizes this truth. If anyone does not abide in Me, He says, He is thrown away as a branch (Greek: ballo, an intense, forceful casting out, throwing down). Thrown away as a branch!
The one thrown away WAS a branch, but that one has not borne the fruit of the Holy Spirit because that one does not dwell, is not present, and does not stand in Christ, and Christ does not dwell in Him.
Jesus says the one who bears no fruit, once thrown away, dries up, and just as with an unproductive grapevine branch, he is gathered up and cast (again, ballo) into the fire and he is burned (see Matthew 13:40-42)!
Beloved, if you have said words at an altar and said a sinner’s prayer, and you try not to sin and agree God’s laws are good and right, yet you continue to live a sin-filled life, like the wretched man in Romans 7, may this word be His light for you, that you may become a bearer of His fruit.
Through the words My Father gives me, He lifts you up so you may see the light of His truth. Cry out for Him to come in!
Verse 7 — But if you dwell, are present, stand in Jesus, and His words dwell in you (because He dwells in you), then you are able to ask what you will, and it will be done for you!
Ask what you will? If you are in Him and He permanently dwells in you, then you will ask according to God’s will. Therefore, what you ask for will be given, because you always request that which will give God the Father and God the Son glory, honor and praise! That is the only desire of His fruit-bearers!
It is like Psalm 37:4 — Delight yourself in the Lord (be soft and pliable in His hands), and He will give you the desires of your heart. Your desires will be the same as His, so He will gladly give them to you!
Verse 8 — Jesus says, My Father is glorified in this. In what? My Father is glorified when Jesus’ disciples bear much fruit. That is the proof that you are truly dwelling, are present, and are standing in Jesus Christ, and He is fully dwelling in you! It is the proof that God keeps His promises (Acts 1:4-5)!
And because people see the promise fulfilled in believers who are full of the Holy Spirit, God’s promise is shown to be true, and He is shown to be faithful, they honor, revere and praise Him!
Verse 9 — And Jesus says He loves the disciples with the same love God the Father has for Him — agape! And He commands the disciples, “Abide in My love.” That is, permanently dwell, be present and stand in My agape. You can only do that if His agape is in you!
Verse 10 — And whoever keeps (holds fast) His commandments (authoritative prescriptions) to stay and wait, WILL abide in His agape. Jesus says it will be just the same as with His Father and Him, because He keeps His Father’s commandments, even to the point of death on a cross (Philippians 2:8)!
Verse 11 — Jesus speaks these things so His joy may be IN them! It will be, when they are filled with His Spirit, and therefore are filled with His fruit. This joy is His joy, not human joy. It is joy unspeakable and full of glory (1Peter 1:8)! And Jesus says that when His joy is in them, it will fill them (be crammed into them)!
Verse 12 — Then He speaks a commandment that we cannot possibly do unless He is dwelling permanently in us. Jesus says, Love one another just as I have loved you. His command to them and you and me is that we must love each other with God’s actual love, His agape, just as Jesus has loved us with God’s agape.
That happens for the disciples at Pentecost in Acts 2, and for you, it happens at your own personal Pentecost!
Verse 13 — What will someone filled with agape do? Jesus says, greater agape has no one than this, that you lay down your life for your friends (phileo, someone dear, a friend or neighbor).
Is He speaking of physically dying in the place of someone else, of “taking the bullet” to save the life of one of your natural friends?
It is far deeper than that. He is speaking of all mankind. He is speaking of losing your life — laying it down — to gain His life, life as God has it. (Matthew 16:25ff). Then you will hold all mankind dear!
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. 25 “ He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.”
When you lay down your life and take up His, you are able to bear His fruit so all mankind may have eternal life through Jesus Christ who indwells you and shines from you!
Verse 14 — Whoever does what Jesus commands is His friend. If you throw down your old life, and take up His, you have become one of whom He holds dear.
Verse 15 — He no longer calls His disciples slaves (servants). But He calls them friends. Why? Because they have listened to all the things the Father gave Him to speak to them. Servants do not know the plans of their masters. They simply serve them by doing what they are told to do. But friends know the plans of their friends. And Jesus has told them His plans.
Verse 16 — He tells His disciples that they did not choose Him. He chose them. You have been drawn by the Father. If you hear His voice in this message, you are being called by Jesus. That is what it means to be chosen by Him.
And He appointed (planted) them!
For what purpose? So they and we would go and bear abundant fruit that remains, that stays, that does not fade or perish.
Again, what is this fruit? I tell you, followers will come and go. Some to whom you minister will leave. So people are not the fruit of which Jesus speaks.
But this fruit is His fruit — the fruit of the Spirit, which is everlasting, eternal, forever! That is the kind of fruit that is eternal!
And what happens when you bear His fruit? Then you are able to ask in Jesus’ name, having His divine nature (2Peter 1:4) in you, and His character.
So, whatever you ask of the Father, in Jesus’ name, He gives it to you (the word “may” is not in the original Greek)! Again, you will ask according to the Father’s will, and He will gladly give what you ask for!
Verse 17 — Again, Jesus repeats His authoritative prescription for them and us — love one another with My agape, not human love.
Has this word shown you that you are not dwelling, standing, and present with Jesus Christ? Has it shown you that you do not love with God’s love, nor bear the rest of His fruit? Have you found that you are struggling with sin, even though you agree that God’s laws are good?
Then Jesus has the answer to your dilemma! Cry out to Him! Ask your Father in heaven and He will fill you with His Spirit. God the Father and God the Son will permanently dwell in you! Then you will find that bearing His fruit is as natural as breathing, and you will continue to be pruned for greater and greater Christlikeness!
Peter says —
2Peter 1:8 For if these (fruits) are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.