John 15-The Vine and the Branches
Icebreaker: Did you ever go through a difficult trial or struggle that in the end you came out a better person?
Read John 15:1-3; “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 it so that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
Note: In these verses Jesus explains the divine-human relationships by the analogy of a grapevine.
Who is the true vine? Jesus is the true or main vine.
Who is the vinedresser? God the Father is the vinedresser.
Who are the branches? The branches are the disciples and all people.
What does God the vinedresser do with the branches? -Every branch that does not bear fruit is taken away. I believe this means that the fruitless (non productive) branches are taken away and destroyed. This would apply to all pseudo-believers (fruitless Christians). This would include all people who have knowledge of God but not a true relationship with Him. They aren’t living lives that are productive for God’s kingdom. -Every branch that bears fruit, God prunes like a vinedresser would.
The purpose of the pruning is so that the vines produce more fruit. God does this pruning in the following ways:
1) God uses Godly discipline/correction on us when we do things out of His will to turn our hearts and minds back to Him.
2) God uses trials and tests of life to bring us closer to Him.
3) God uses His word to prune us. We can receive God’s word in various ways: reading, hearing, sermons, bible studies, and praying. We will discuss that more in the following question.
In verse 3 Jesus says; you are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. What is Jesus saying in this verse? God uses His Word to clean (prune) us. That is what Jesus is saying in this verse to the disciples. The disciples have been pruned like a branch from Jesus’ teachings. Jesus has used the word of God to mold and shape (prune) the disciples to prepare them for their evangelism ministry.
Read John 15:4-8; 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. 5 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. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.
What is Jesus teaching when He says “Abide in Me”? Jesus is telling us that abiding in Him depends on keeping His commandments. (Jesus confirms this in verse 10.)
What do you think Jesus is teaching in verses 5-6? Jesus is telling us that we are like a branch. A branch can’t bear fruit without the vine. Without Jesus we can’t produce (bear fruit) for God’s kingdom. To be productive for God’s kingdom (bear fruit) we must surrender our will to His will. We must be obedient to Jesus Christ. The person who does not abide in Christ cannot do what pleases God; therefore, their works will be useless. Like the useless branch that is thrown into the fire and burnt up, the non-believer will be cast into the fire of hell.
What is Jesus teaching in verse 7? In verse 7 Jesus is teaching that knowing His words will control and guide our prayers so that He can answer them. Jesus is saying that when we abide in Him and when His word abides in us, our prayer life will be according to God’s will and not ours. We will pray so that God is glorified.
What is Jesus teaching in verse 8? Jesus is saying that God is glorified through our lives when we are obedient to His will because we will produce (bear fruit) that brings honor to Him. Let’s look at a verse in Matthew that supports this verse. Matthew 5:16; Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Read John 15:9-11; Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also 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 so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
What is Jesus teaching in these verses? Jesus is saying: just as the Father has loved Him, He loves us. Jesus is saying we will show our love for Him by keeping His commandments. Jesus obeyed the Fathers commandments showing that He loved the Father. We show our love for Jesus by obedience to His word and commandments.
How do you think we get the joy Jesus is talking about in verse 11? I believe we can only experience the true joy Jesus is talking about in verse 11 when we are walking in obedience to Him. That means we have surrendered our will to His. This means we have given Jesus total control of our lives.
Read John 15:12-15; “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. 14You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15No 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.
What do you think Jesus is teaching in these verses? Jesus wants us to love one another in the same way He loves us. Look at the example of love Jesus provides. Jesus died on the cross for sinful mankind. I don’t think you can find a greater example of love than this.
Key learning: Jesus said we are His friends when we do as He commands us (verse 14). Friendship speaks of mutuality and love, respecting one another. To me this means if we continue to willfully disobey Jesus’ commands we can’t think He will still consider us as a friend.
Note: I don’t know about anyone else, but I want to be considered Jesus’ friend.
Read John 15:16-17; 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 to you. 17 This I command you, that you love one another.
What is Jesus teaching in these verses? I believe Jesus is summarizing what He taught in the first fifteen verses.
1) Jesus is telling the disciples that He chose and appointed them to be used to bear fruit. They would bear fruit when they went out and preached the gospel, the Great Commission.
2) Then Jesus tells them that whatever they ask the Father in Jesus’ name will be given to them. I believe this was fulfilled in Acts when God worked miracles through the apostles so that the name of Jesus was magnified and glorified.
3) In verse 17 Jesus is commanding that they love one another following the example He provided. Remember that example of love was Jesus dying on the cross for sinful mankind.
Let’s look at more teaching by Jesus on bearing fruit.
Read Matthew 7:15-20; “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will know them by their fruits.
What is Jesus teaching in these verses? The warning and teaching Jesus provides in these verses about false prophets/teachers can also be applied to people who claim to be believers and followers of Christ. Like we just read in John chapter 15 Jesus is teaching in these verses about bearing fruit (being productive) for God’s kingdom. In these verses fruit can refer to the actions of one's life, or what are the results of that person’s life. Does the life they live reflect their love for God? Does the life they live honor, please, and glorify God? Does their life produce fruit for God’s kingdom?
-The answers to these questions are very important. These verses tells me that every bad tree that doesn’t bear fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. This means that every person that doesn’t live according God’s will (produce good fruit) will spend eternity in hell in eternal punishment.
Note: Only those who are obedient to God’s commandments can bear the good fruit (the godly lives) that He wants from all of us.
What is the significance of verse 20? To me this verse says it all. We can tell ourselves and everyone else how much we love God. But the lives we live prove how much we love Him. Jesus told us in John chapter 15, we show our love for Him by obeying His commandments (15:10). Jesus will consider us His friend if we obey Him (John 15:14).
Matthew 7:21-23; “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’
What do you think Jesus is saying in these verses? I believe in verse 21 Jesus is saying not everyone professing to be Christians (people who know Him) is going to heaven. Jesus is making it clear in verse 21 that only those doing the will of the Father will enter heaven. I believe Jesus is teaching in this verse that an outward verbal acknowledgment of His lordship is not enough to get a person into heaven.
I believe Jesus is clearly teaching in these verses that only a person that is continually living in obedience to the will of God as their normal course of life will get to heaven. That means we have to be doing what God wants us to do and not what we think He wants us to do. I believe Jesus confirms this in verse 22 where He gives examples of people doing what appear to be great (godly) things. But look at what Jesus says in verse 23. Jesus says; “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”
Wow! These are not the words a person wants to hear from Jesus on our judgment day. Because the day we die we will all stand before God to receive our eternal destination. Either we will go to heaven to spend eternity with Jesus, or we will go to hell to spend eternity with Satan. The choice is one we must all make while we are living. Once we are dead it’s too late.
Closing thought: We all have decision to make in life. We can allow Satan to destroy our lives and lead us into eternal damnation or we can believe and trust in Jesus Christ as Our Lord and Savior and spend eternity in heaven. The decision is ours to make in life before we die.
How do you ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior? Below is a sample prayer that you can use as a guideline. If you decide to say this, the prayer must come from your heart. You must mean what you pray or nothing will change. It’s not the prayer that saves; it’s the sincerity of whether or not you really mean it in your heart when you pray.
-Pray something like this: Jesus, I believe that you are the Son of the Living God and that you died on the cross that I may now have forgiveness of my sins and receive eternal life. Please forgive me for every sin I have committed or done in my heart and come into my life as my personal Lord and Savior. Today I surrender myself to you.
-We are available to answer any questions you may have regarding salvation. We are also here to pray for any needs that you may have. -You can contact Kevin & Jocelyn at - Second in line Ministries –218-428-3087.