John Chapter Fifteen
The beginning of this chapter, and that which relates to the vine, belongs to the earthly portion-to that which Jesus was on earth-to His relationship with His disciples as on the earth, and does not go beyond that position.
"I am the true vine." Jehovah had planted a vine brought out of Egypt (Psalm 80:8). This is Israel after the flesh; but it was not the true Vine. The true Vine was His Son, whom He brought up out of Egypt-Jesus.  He presents Himself thus to His disciples. Here it is not that which He will be after His departure; He was this upon earth, and distinctively upon earth. We do not speak of planting vines in heaven, nor of pruning branches there.
The disciples would have considered Him as the most excellent branch of the Vine; but thus He would have been only a member of Israel, whereas He was Himself the vessel, the source of blessing, according to the promises of God. The true Vine, therefore, is not Israel; quite the contrary, it is Christ in contrast with Israel, but Christ planted on earth, taking Israel's place, as the true Vine. The Father cultivates this plant, evidently on the earth. There is no need of a husbandman in heaven. Those who are attached to Christ, as the remnant of Israel, the disciples, need this culture. It is on the earth that fruit-bearing is looked for. The Lord therefore says to them, "Ye are clean already, through the word which I have spoken unto you"; "Ye are the branches." Judas, perhaps it may be said, was taken away, so the disciples who walked no more with Him. The others should be proved and cleansed, that they might bear more fruit.
I do not doubt that this relationship, in principle and in a general analogy, still subsists. Those who make a profession, who attach themselves to Christ in order to follow Him, will, if there is life, be cleansed; if not, that which they have will be taken away. Observe therefore here, that the Lord speaks only of His word-that of the true prophet-and of judgment, whether in discipline or in cutting off. Consequently He speaks not of the power of God, but of the responsibility of man-a responsibility which man will certainly not be able to meet without grace; but which has nevertheless that character of personal responsibility here.
Jesus was the source of all their strength. They were to abide in Him; thus-for this is the order-He would abide in them. We have seen this in chapter 14. He does not speak here of the sovereign exercise of love in salvation, but of the government of children by their Father; so that blessing depends on walk (v. 21, 23). Here the husbandman seeks for fruit; but the instruction given presents entire dependence on the Vine as the means of producing it. And He shews the disciples that, walking on earth, they should be pruned by the Father, and a man (for in verse 6 He carefully changes the expression, for He knew the disciples and had pronounced them already clean)-a man, any one who bore no fruit, would be cut off. For the subject here is not that relationship with Christ in heaven by the Holy Ghost, which cannot be broken, but of that link which even then was formed here below, which might be vital and eternal, or which might not. Fruit should be the proof.
In the former vine this was not necessary; they were Jews by birth, they were circumcised, they kept the ordinances, and abode in the vine as good branches, without bearing any fruit at all. They were only cut off from Israel for wilful violation of the law. Here it is not a relationship with Jehovah founded on the circumstance of being born of a certain family. That which is looked for is the glorifying the Father by fruit-bearing. It is this which will shew that they are the disciples of Him who has borne so much.
Christ, then, was the true Vine; the Father, the Husbandman; the eleven were the branches. They were to abide in Him, which is realised by not thinking to produce any fruit except as in Him, looking to Him first. Christ precedes fruit. It is dependence, practical habitual nearness of heart to Him, and trust in Him, being attached to Him through dependence on Him. In this way Christ in them would be a constant source of strength and of fruit. He would be in them. Out of Him they could do nothing. If, by abiding in Him, they had the strength of His presence, they should bear much fruit. Moreover, "if a man" (He does not say "they"; He knew them as true branches and clean) did not abide in Him, he should be cast forth to be burnt. Again, if they abode in Him (that is, if there was the constant dependence that draws from the source), and if the words of Christ abode in them, directing their hearts and thoughts, they should command the resources of divine power; they should ask what they would, and it should be done. But, further, the Father had loved the Son divinely while He dwelt on earth. Jesus did the same with regard to them. They were to abide in His love. In the former verses it was in Him, here it is in His love.  By keeping His Father's commandments, He had abode in His love; by keeping the commandments of Jesus, they should abide in His. Dependence (which implies confidence, and reference to Him on whom we depend for strength, as unable to do anything without Him, and so clinging close to Him) and obedience, are the two great principles of practical life here below. Thus Jesus walked as man: He knew by experience the true path for His disciples. The commandments of His Father were the expression of what the Father was; by keeping them in the spirit of obedience, Jesus had ever walked in the communion of His love; had maintained communion with Himself. The commandments of Jesus when on earth were the expression of what He was, divinely perfect in the path of man. By walking in them, His disciples should be in the communion of His love. The Lord spoke these things to His disciples, in order that His joy  should abide in them, and that their joy should be full.
We see that it is not the salvation of a sinner that is the subject treated of here, but the path of a disciple, in order that he may fully enjoy the love of Christ, and that his heart may be unclouded in the place where joy is found.
Neither is the question entered on here, whether a real believer can be separated from God, because the Lord makes obedience the means of abiding in His love. Assuredly He could not lose the favour of His Father, or cease to be the object of His love. That was out of the question; and yet He says, "I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love." But this was the divine path in which He enjoyed it. It is the walk and the strength of a disciple that is spoken of, and not the means of salvation.
At verse 12 another part of the subject begins. He wills (this is His commandment) that they should love one another, as He had loved them. Before, He had spoken of the Father's love for Him, which flowed from heaven into His heart here below.  He had loved them in this same way; but He had also been a companion, a servant, in this love. Thus the disciples were to love one another with a love that rose above all the weaknesses of others, and which was at the same time brotherly, and caused the one who felt it to be the servant of his brother. It went so far as to lay down life itself for one's friends. Now, to Jesus, he who obeyed Him was His friend. Observe,He does not say that He would be their friend. He was our friend when He gave His life for sinners: we are His friends when we enjoy His confidence, as He here expresses it-"I have told you all things that I have heard of my Father." Men speak of their affairs, according to the necessity of doing so which may arise, to those who are concerned in them. I impart all my own thoughts to one who is my friend. "Shall I hide from Abraham the thing that I will do?" and Abraham was called the "friend of God." Now it was not things concerning Abraham himself that God then told Abraham (He had done so as God), but things concerning the world-Sodom. God does the same with respect to the assembly, practically with respect to the obedient disciple: such a one should be the depositary of His thoughts. Moreover, He had chosen them for this. It was not they who had chosen Him by the exercise of their own will. He had chosen them and ordained them to go and bring forth fruit, and fruit that should remain; so that, being thus chosen of Christ for the work, they should receive from the Father, who could not fail them in this case, whatsoever they should ask. Here the Lord comes to the source and certainty of grace, in order that the practical responsibility, under which He puts them, should not cloud the divine grace which acted towards them and placed them there.
They were therefore to love one another.  That the world should hate them was but the natural consequence of its hatred to Christ; it sealed their association with Him. The world loves that which is of the world: this is quite natural. The disciples were not of it; and, besides, the Jesus whom it had rejected had chosen them and separated them from the world: therefore it would hate them because so chosen in grace. There was, besides, the moral reason, namely, that they were not of it; but this demonstrated their relationship to Christ, and His sovereign rights, by which He had taken them to Himself out of a rebellious world. They should have the same portion as their Master: it should be for His name's sake, because the world-and He speaks especially of the Jews, among whom He had laboured-knew not the Father who had sent Him in love. To make their boast of Jehovah, as their God, suited them very well. They would have received the Messiah on that footing. To know the Father, revealed in His true character by the Son, was quite a different thing. Nevertheless the Son had revealed Him, and, both by His words and His works, had manifested the Father and His perfections.
If Christ had not come and spoken unto them, God would not have had to reproach them with sin. They might still drag on, even if in an unpurged state, without any proof (though there was plenty of sin and transgression as men and as a people under the law) that they would not have God-would not even by mercy return. The fruit of a fallen nature was there, no doubt, but not the proof that that nature preferred sin to God, when God was there in mercy, not imputing it. Grace was dealing with them, not imputing sin to them. Mercy had been treating them as fallen, not as wilful creatures. God was not taking the ground of law, which imputes, or of judgment, but of grace in the revelation of the Father by the Son. The words and works of the Son revealing the Father in grace, rejected, left them without hope (compare chap. 16:9). Their real condition would otherwise not have been thoroughly tested, God would have had still a means to use; He loved Israel too much to condemn them while there was one left untried.
If the Lord had not done among them the works which no other man had done, they might have remained as they were, refused to believe in Him, and not have been guilty before God. They would have been still the object of Jehovah's longsuffering; but in fact they had seen and hated both the Son and the Father. The Father had been fully manifested in the Son-in Jesus; and if, when God was fully manifested, and in grace, they rejected Him, what could be done except to leave them in sin, afar from God? If He had been manifested only in part, they would have had an excuse; they might have said, "Ah! if He had shewn grace, if we had known Him as He is, we would not have rejected Him." They could not now say this. They had seen the Father and the Son in Jesus. Alas! they had seen and hated.  But this was only the fulfilment of that which was foretold of them in their law. As to the testimony borne to God by the people, and of a Messiah received by them, all was over. They had hated Him without a cause.
The Lord now turns to the subject of the Holy Ghost who should come to maintain His glory, which the people had cast down to the ground. The Jews had not known the Father manifested in the Son; the Holy Ghost should now come from the Father to bear witness of the Son. The Son should send Him from the Father. In chapter 14 the Father sends Him in Jesus' name for the personal relationship of the disciples with Jesus. Here Jesus, gone on high, sends Him the witness of His exalted glory, His heavenly place. This was the new testimony, and was to be rendered unto Jesus, the Son of God, ascended up to heaven. The disciples also should bear witness of Him, because they had been with Him from the beginning. They were to testify with the help of the Holy Ghost, as eyewitnesses of His life on earth, of the manifestation of the Father in Him. The Holy Ghost, sent by Him, was the witness to His glory with the Father, whence He Himself had come.
Thus in Christ, the true Vine, we have the disciples, the branches, clean already, Christ being still present on the earth. After His departure they were to maintain this practical relationship. They should be in relationship with Him, as He, here below, had been with the Father. And they were to be with one another as He had been with them. Their position was outside the world. Now the Jews had hated both the Son and the Father; the Holy Ghost should bear witness to the Son as with the Father, and in the Father; and the disciples should testify also of that which He had been on earth.
The Holy Ghost, and, in a certain sense, the disciples take the place of Jesus, as well as of the old vine, on the earth.
The presence and the testimony of the Holy Ghost on earth are now developed.
It is well to notice the connection of the subjects in the passages we are considering. In chapter 14 we have the Person of the Son revealing the Father, and the Holy Ghost giving the knowledge of the Son's being in the Father and the disciples in Jesus on high. This was the personal condition both of Christ and the disciples, and is all linked together; only first the Father, the Son being down here, and then the Holy Ghost sent by the Father. In chapters 15, 16 you get the distinct dispensations-Christ the true Vine on earth, and then the Comforter come on earth sent down by the exalted Christ. In chapter 14 Christ prays the Father, who sends the Spirit in Christ's name. In chapter 15 Christ exalted sends the Spirit from the Father, a witness of His exaltation, as the disciples, led by the Spirit, were of His life of humiliation, but as Son on earth.
Nevertheless there is development as well as connection. In chapter 14 the Lord, although quitting the earth, speaks in connection with that which He was upon earth. It is (not Christ Himself) the Father who sends the Holy Ghost at His request. He goes from earth to heaven on their part as Mediator. He would pray the Father, and the Father would give them another Comforter, who should continue with them, not leaving them as He was doing. Their relationship to the Father depending on Him, it would be as believing in Him that He would be sent to them-not to the world-not upon Jews, as such. It should be in His name. Moreover the Holy Ghost would Himself teach them, and He would recall to their mind the commandments of Jesus-all that He had said unto them. For chapter 14 gives the whole position that resulted from the manifestation  of the Son, and that of the Father in Him, and from His departure (that is to say, its results with regard to the disciples).
Now, in chapter 15 He had exhausted the subject of commandments in connection with the life manifested in Himself here below; and at the close of this chapter He considers Himself as ascended, and He adds, "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father." He comes, indeed, from the Father; for our relationship is, and ought to be, immediate to Him. It is there that Christ has placed us. But in this verse it is not the Father who sends Him at the request of Jesus, and in His name. Christ has taken His place in glory as Son of man, and according to the glorious fruits of His work, and He sends Him. Consequently He bears witness to that which Christ is in heaven. No doubt He makes us perceive what Jesus was here below, where in infinite grace He manifested the Father, and perceive it much better than they did, who were with Him during His sojourn on earth. But this is in chapter 14. Nevertheless the Holy Ghost is sent by Christ from heaven, and He reveals to us the Son, whom now we know as having perfectly and divinely (albeit as man and amid sinful men) manifested the Father. We know, I repeat, the Son, as with the Father, and in the Father. From thence it is He has sent us the Holy Ghost.
 Compare, for this substitution of Christ for Israel, Isaiah 49. He began Israel over again in blessing, as He did man.
 There are the three exhortations: Abide in me; If ye abide in Me and My words abide in you ye shall ask what ye will; Abide in My love.
 Some have thought that this means the joy of Christ in the faithful walk of a disciple: I do not think so. It is the joy He had down here, just as He left us His own peace, and will give us His own glory.
 He does not say "loveth me," but "hath loved me"; that is, He does not speak merely of the eternal love of the Father for the Son, but of the Father's love displayed towards Him in His humanity here on earth.
 By choosing them and setting them apart to enjoy together this relationship with Him outside the world, He had put them in a position of which mutual love was the natural consequence; and, in fact, the sense of this position and love go together.
 Remark, that His word and His works are here again referred to.
 Observe here the practical development, with respect to life, of this most deeply interesting subject, in 1 John 1 and 2. The eternal life which was with the Father had been manifested (for in Him, in the Son, was life, He was also the Word of life, and God was light. Compare John 1). They were to keep His commandments (chap. 2:3-5). It was an old commandment which they had had from the beginning-that is, from Jesus on earth, from Him whom their hands had handled. But now this commandment was true in Him and in them: that is to say, this life of love (of which these commandments were the expression) as well as that of righteousness reproduced itself in them, by virtue of their union with Him, through the Holy Ghost, according to John 14:20. They also abode in Jesus (1 John 2:6). In John 1 we find the Son who is in the bosom of the Father, who declares Him. He reveals Him as He has thus known Him-as that which the Father was to Himself. And He has brought this love (of which He was the object) down into the bosom of humanity, and placed it in the heart of His disciples (see chapter 17:26); and this is known now in perfection by God dwelling in us, and His love being perfect in us, while we dwell in brotherly love (1 John 4:12; compare John 1:18). The manifestation of our having been thus loved will consist in our appearing in the same glory as Christ (chap. 17:22, 23). Christ manifests this love by coming from the Father. His commandments teach it us; the life which we have in Him reproduces it. His precepts give form to this life, and guide it through the ways of the flesh, and the temptations in the midst of which He, without sin, lived by this life. The Holy Ghost is its strength, as being the mighty and living link with Him, and He by whom we are consciously in Him and He in us. (Union, as the body to the Head, is another thing, which is never the subject of John's teaching.) Of His fulness we receive grace upon grace. Therefore it is that we ought to walk as He walked (not to be what He was); for we ought not to walk in the flesh, although it is in us and was not in Him.
── John Darby《Synopsis of John》
Christ the true Vine. (1-8) His love to his disciples. (9-17) foretold. (18-25) The Comforter promised. (26,27)
Commentary on John 15:1-8
(Read John 15:1-8)
Jesus Christ is the Vine, the true Vine. The union of the human and Divine natures, and the fulness of the Spirit that is in him, resemble the root of the vine made fruitful by the moisture from a rich soil. Believers are branches of this Vine. The root is unseen, and our life is hid with Christ; the root bears the tree, diffuses sap to it, and in Christ are all supports and supplies. The branches of the vine are many, yet, meeting in the root, are all but one vine; thus all true Christians, though in place and opinion distant from each other, meet in Christ. Believers, like the branches of the vine, are weak, and unable to stand but as they are borne up. The Father is the Husbandman. Never was any husbandman so wise, so watchful, about his vineyard, as God is about his church, which therefore must prosper. We must be fruitful. From a vine we look for grapes, and from a Christian we look for a Christian temper, disposition, and life. We must honour God, and do good; this is bearing fruit. The unfruitful are taken away. And even fruitful branches need pruning; for the best have notions, passions, and humours, that require to be taken away, which Christ has promised to forward the sanctification of believers, they will be thankful, for them. The word of Christ is spoken to all believers; and there is a cleansing virtue in that word, as it works grace, and works out corruption. And the more fruit we bring forth, the more we abound in what is good, the more our Lord is glorified. In order to fruitfulness, we must abide in Christ, must have union with him by faith. It is the great concern of all Christ's disciples, constantly to keep up dependence upon Christ, and communion with him. True Christians find by experience, that any interruption in the exercise of their faith, causes holy affections to decline, their corruptions to revive, and their comforts to droop. Those who abide not in Christ, though they may flourish for awhile in outward profession, yet come to nothing. The fire is the fittest place for withered branches; they are good for nothing else. Let us seek to live more simply on the fulness of Christ, and to grow more fruitful in every good word and work, so may our joy in Him and in his salvation be full.
Commentary on John 15:9-17
(Read John 15:9-17)
Those whom God loves as a Father, may despise the hatred of all the world. As the Father loved Christ, who was most worthy, so he loved his disciples, who were unworthy. All that love the Saviour should continue in their love to him, and take all occasions to show it. The joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment, but the joy of those who abide in Christ's love is a continual feast. They are to show their love to him by keeping his commandments. If the same power that first shed abroad the love of Christ's in our hearts, did not keep us in that love, we should not long abide in it. Christ's love to us should direct us to love each other. He speaks as about to give many things in charge, yet names this only; it includes many duties.
Commentary on John 15:18-25
(Read John 15:18-25)
How little do many persons think, that in opposing the doctrine of Christ as our Prophet, Priest, and King, they prove themselves ignorant of the one living and true God, whom they profess to worship! The name into which Christ's disciples were baptized, is that which they will live and die by. It is a comfort to the greatest sufferers, if they suffer for Christ's name's sake. The world's ignorance is the true cause of its hatred to the disciples of Jesus. The clearer and fuller the discoveries of the grace and truth of Christ, the greater is our sin if we do not love him and believe in him.
Commentary on John 15:26,27.
(Read John 15:26,27.)
The blessed Spirit will maintain the cause of Christ in the world, notwithstanding the opposition it meets with. Believers taught and encouraged by his influences, would bear testimony to Christ and his salvation.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on John》
 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
That it may bear more fruit — For this is one of the noblest rewards God can bestow on former acts of obedience, to make us yet more holy, and fit for farther and more eminent service.
 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Ye are clean — All of you, to whom I now speak, are purged from the guilt and power of sin; by the word - Which, applied by the Spirit, is the grand instrument of purifying the soul.
 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
Abide in me — Ye who are now pure by living faith, producing all holiness; by which alone ye can be in me.
 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
I am the vine, ye are the branches — Our Lord in this whole passage speaks of no branches but such as are, or at least were once, united to him by living faith.
 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
If any one abide not in me — By living faith; not by Church communion only. He may thus abide in Christ, and be withered all the time, and cast into the fire at last.
He is cast out — Of the vineyard, the invisible Church. Therefore he was in it once.
 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
If ye abide in me, ye shall ask — Prayers themselves are a fruit of faith, and they produce more fruit.
 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
So shall ye be my disciples — Worthy of the name. To be a disciple of Christ is both the foundation and height of Christianity.
 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
Abide ye in my love — Keep your place in my affection. See that ye do not forfeit that invaluable blessing. How needless a caution, if it were impossible for them not to abide therein?
 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.
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love — On these terms, and no other, ye shall remain the objects of my special affection.
 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
That my joy might remain in you — The same joy which I feel in loving the Father, and keeping his commandments.
 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
Your joy will be full, if ye so love one another.
 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Greater love — To his friends. He here speaks of them only.
 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you — On this condition, not otherwise. A thunderbolt for Antinomianism! Who then dares assert that God's love does not at all depend on man's works?
 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
All things — Which might be of service to you.
 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
Ye — My apostles, have not chosen me, but I have chosen you - As clearly appears from the sacred history: and appointed you, that ye may go and bear fruit - I have chosen and appointed you for this end, that ye may go and convert sinners: and that your fruit may remain - That the fruit of your labours may remain to the end of the world; yea, to eternity; that whatsoever ye shall ask - The consequence of your going and bearing fruit will be, that all your prayers will he heard.
 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Because ye are not of the world, therefore the world hateth you — Because your maxims, tempers, actions, are quite opposite to theirs. For the very same reason must the world in all ages hate those who are not of the world.
 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
 But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.
All these things will they do to you, because they know not him that sent me — And in all ages and nations they who know not God will, for this cause, hate and persecute those that do.
 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.
They had not had sin — Not in this respect.
 He that hateth me hateth my Father also.
He that hateth me — As every unbeliever doth, For as the love of God is inseparable from faith, so is the hatred of God from unbelief.
 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
When the Comforter is come, whom I will send from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me — The Spirit's coming, and being sent by our Lord from the Father, to testify of him, are personal characters, and plainly distinguish him from the Father and the Son; and his title as the Spirit of truth, together with his proceeding from the Father, can agree to none but a Divine person. And that he proceeds from the Son, as well as from the Father, may be fairly argued from his being called the Spirit of Christ, 1 Peter 1:11; and from his being here said to be sent by Christ from the Father, as well as sent by the Father in his name.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on John》
The usual practice in viticulture, the care of vines, is for the branches to be pruned back each year in order to cleanse them. A vine produces certain shoots called “sucker shoots,” which start to grow where a branch joins the stem. If allowed to continue to grow, they would dissipate the life of the vine through so many braches that the vine would produce little or no fruit and would produce mainly leaves instead. Every vinedresser knows it is important to prune away these little sucker shoots to ensure plentiful fruit. Since the shoots grow right where the branch joins the stem, creating a tight cluster where dirt, leaves, and other debris collect, the pruning is basically a cleansing process.
The Father’s work in our lives is to find a branch that is beginning to bear fruit, beginning to produce the likeness of Christ, and then to cut it back. He trims off the troublesome shoots, so that we may bear more fruit.
John 15:4 Abiding
One year the peaches were especially abundant. The fruit was big and juicy, and it was one of the best crops in memory. While harvesting the crop, a picker noticed a limb that had fallen from a tree. Its fruit was rotten and shriveled. Because the limb was detached from the tree, it was no longer producing the good fruit that it should. The same is true of the Christian who ceases to abide in Christ—he ceases to produce good fruit.
Chapter 15. Branches of the Vine
Abide in the
I. The Vine and the Branches
II. Members Love One Another
III. The World Hates Believers
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
Fruit-Bearing Discipleship (15:8)
1. What does the Lord desire of His disciples...?
a. Surely He desires their heart (faith) - He 11:6; Jn 8:24
b. But He also desires their hands (works) - Lk 6:46
2. Works are an important part of our discipleship...
a. We are created in Christ for this very purpose - Ep 2:10
b. By them we glorify God - Mt 5:16; Jn 15:8
[Good works are an indication of "bearing fruit" as disciples of Christ.
As we focus our attention on the theme of "Fruit-Bearing Discipleship",
let me reiterate that...]
I. BEARING FRUIT IS NECESSARY TO BEING A DISCIPLE
A. AS TAUGHT BY JESUS...
1. Glorifying God by bearing fruit is a mark of discipleship - Jn
2. Disciples have been "appointed" to bear fruit - Jn 15:16
B. OTHERWISE WE ARE CUT OFF...
1. From Christ, the true vine, and His Father as the vine dresser
- Jn 15:1
2. As branches that no longer bear fruit - Jn 15:2
3. Whose end is to burned - Jn 15:6; cf. He 6:7-8
[The end of unfruitful disciples is dreadful to contemplate. Like the
Hebrew writer (He 6:9), I wish to be more confident of better things
regarding our discipleship. We can be, by remembering that...]
II. BEARING FRUIT IS CONTINGENT ON ABIDING IN CHRIST
A. AS TAUGHT BY JESUS...
1. We must abide in Him, as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself
- Jn 15:4
2. Abiding in him, we bear much fruit; without Him we can do
nothing - Jn 15:5
3. As confessed by Paul in Ph 4:13; 2 Co 3:5
B. HOW WE CAN ABIDE IN CHRIST...
1. First, by putting Him on in baptism - Ga 3:27
2. Then, by abiding in His love through keeping His commandments
- Jn 15:9-10; cf. 14:15,21-23
[To be a disciple, we must bear fruit. To bear fruit, we must abide in
Christ. To abide in Christ, we must keep His commandments. But what
kind of fruits will disciples bear...?]
III. BEARING FRUIT IS MANIFESTED IN VARIOUS WAYS
A. WINNING SOULS TO CHRIST...
1. As expressed by Paul in his desire to go to
- Ro 1:13 Rome
2. Disciples creating more disciples is a natural indication of
bearing fruit - cf. Mt 28:19-20
B. SHARING WITH THOSE IN NEED...
1. As explained by Paul in describing the contribution to poor
saints - Ro 15:25-28
2. Which was evidence of God's grace at work in the givers - cf.
2 Co 8:1-2; 9:12-14
C. DEVELOPING CHRIST-LIKE CHARACTER...
1. Indicating that one is walking in the Spirit - Ga 5:16,22-23
2. Evidence that is diligent in growing the true knowledge of
Jesus - 2 Pe 1:5-8
D. PRAISING GOD AND GIVING THANKS...
1. The fruit of our lips in praise and prayer are spiritual
sacrifices - He 13:15
2. Which we are to offer continually - He 13:15
[As we bear fruit in these different ways, we not only glorify God and
prove to be fruitful disciples, we also experience the "abundant" life
of which Jesus speaks (Jn 10:10)...]
IV. BEARING FRUIT LEADS TO THE FULFILLED LIFE
A. WINNING SOULS PRODUCES JOY...
1. As Paul found to be case with the Thessalonians - 1 Th 2:19-20
2. As John realized with his "children" - 3 Jn 4
-- One reason many Christians do not live a life of joy is that
they never bear fruit in leading others to Christ!
B. SHARING WITH OTHERS PRODUCES HAPPINESS...
1. Those who give are "blessed" - Ac 20:35
2. The word "blessed" can be translated "happy"
-- If Christians are so materialistic and selfish that they do not
share, they will never know the blessedness of giving!
C. DEVELOPING CHRIST-LIKE CHARACTER PRODUCES ASSURANCE...
1. Growing in the true knowledge of Christ ensures an "abundant
entrance" into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord - 2 Pe 1:8-11
2. Developing a Christ-like love gives assurance of one's
discipleship and salvation - Jn 13:34-35; 1 Jn 3:14,18-19
-- Many Christians have no assurance; and no wonder, if their
character remains unchanged as evidenced by little love for the
D. PRAISING GOD AND GIVING THANKS PRODUCES PEACE...
1. Prayer is the antidote for anxiety - Ph 4:6
2. For in response to prayer God will guard our hearts through His
peace - Ph 4:7
-- Failing to bear much fruit in regards to prayer, Christians
will be filled with anxious lives, not abundant living!
1. Why is "Fruit-Bearing Discipleship" so important...?
a. It is necessary to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ
b. It is necessary to be a fulfilled disciple of Jesus Christ
2. If you desire to be both a faithful and fulfilled disciple of
a. Abide in Him by keeping His commands
b. Produce fruit that glorifies His Father
"By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you
will be My disciples." (Jn 15:8)
If you are not yet a disciple of Jesus, then let His own words lead you
to become one - Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15-16