In John 15, Jesus “ups the ante”for those who know Him. We find out that Jesus doesn’t just want us to drift along. He actually requires something of us so that we won’t drift along.
This week’s sermon from Imprint Church in Woodinville comes down to us experiencing more from Jesus. If we want to have a significant life in Christ Jesus gives us a few things in John 15, really at the end of his own life, that will absolutely help us have a lot of meaning and transformation.
Part of the climax of this story is when Jesus says that we are his friends if we do what He commands. If we really know Him… we’ve moved beyond the simple religious duty and we are friends. Friendship implies a personal knowledge. Which mean that we give Jesus permission to do more in and through us… Things like:
- Prune us – we allow Him to!
- Abide in us and we abide in Him
- Bear fruit – we are supposed to!
These things require something of us. We find out here that a relationship with God is so much more than head knowledge. It’s intimate and intense. This entire passage in John 15 is about what happens when you really know Jesus as you should… like a friend… like someone who wants your best… it influences you and changes your life – it moves you from treading water to thriving in life in Christ. Knowing Jesus involves more…
What does He require?
Jesus tells us that when we know Him, we are to be fruitful people. In verse 2 of John 15, Jesus tells us that God cuts off every branch that does not bear fruit. In other words, if you’re a believer, you’re supposed to be bearing fruit.
So the question is: What does Jesus mean by bearing fruit? And how does a person bear fruit?
If you’re a church person, you might think that fruit is just evangelism… but it’s not scripturally. To bear fruit we have to abide in him. To ‘abide’ in Jesus is to live in Jesus or dwell in him, to see Jesus as in some sense your home.
Dr. John Piper said in his famous book Desiring God that, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”
Let that sink in.
If you find satisfaction in your relationship with Jesus, you will reveal Him as glorious in and through your life.
Ask yourself a question: Is your relationship with God the most satisfying part of your life?
So we are satisfied in Him first. If you want some specific instructions on fruit bearing:
- Walk as Jesus walked and you’ll abide in him
- Love your brother and you’ll abide in him
- Do the will of God and you’ll abide in him
Another thing that’s so important about abiding in Christ is the fact that we cannot do it without staying connected to the vine. God’s power through Christ is what helps us carry it out. As a branch, we just can’t do it alone, we need God’s help.
Jesus tells us is going to prune us! “Every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
What can we imply about this pruning?
- It could be painful. Kicking a habit, sacrificing something, or dealing with hidden sins, God will prune stuff out of our lives that does not belong. And it might not be pretty.
- It’s productive. It simplifies our lives… which is a very good thing! I believe God takes us down to our very core and then says, ok, that’s the starting point. Also, just like the tree, when we’re pruned- what grows back is even stronger than what was there before.
Is God pruning you? Let’s not miss the big promise of John 15:11: “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
Are we going to become part of the vine and start bearing fruit? Are we going to willingly let ourselves be pruned- that God may be glorified?
I think we’d all be surprised to see the abundance of life that Jesus desires for all of us. The Bible shows us that He wants to see all our lives connected to the vine- and in that vine is our power, our strength, and our fulfillment.
The only way this is possible is through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Soon after Jesus says this He will be going to the cross to die for all people. He made it possible to experience union and abiding in Him.
This was just a quick recap of what we learned at church in Woodinville this week. Feel free to download the podcast or watch the recording of our John 15 sermon below.
Take this time this week to think through the questions below on your own or in one of our small community groups that meet around Seattle’s eastside.
- What is significant about Jesus saying He is the true vine? What does it mean that the Father is the one tending to the vineyard and what does He specifically do to the vineyard? How does this apply to our lives today?
- Talk about the significance of Jesus’ phrases “abide in me” and “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5). How do these phrases influence your life?
- What is the stern warning that Jesus gives to His people in John 15:6? What does this mean?
- Does the promise of John 15:7 mean that you can ask God for ANYthing and He will do it? What do we learn from the context of this verse about prayer?
- What does it mean to “bear fruit?” What kind of fruit does God want to produce in your life?
- Is God pruning your life somehow right now? How and/or why?
- Why is the promise of the Helper so important in the context of John 15?