The Vine and the Branches

John 15 has got to be one of my favorite New Testament passages to study. When we came to these verses in the First Church bible study, On The Rock, I typed up my notes for it.
Working on these bible studies is typically a long process for me. This set of notes was probably the last version. Not all notes have been checked for theological accuracy but were thoughts and concersation starters. Just something I thought I would like to post.

1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.
Picture the image-God is the gardener, He planted to garden, he selected the spot of it to grow, he planted the seeds, He did this and that, all the work for you to grow has been done!
Great image that God takes such specialized care growing us.
2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
When we don’t bear fruit we get attention from the gardener. Whether to be removed or to be lifted up. But we know God’s motive is to have us bear more fruit.
Why would God want us to bear more fruit?
What is this fruit we bear?
What does FRUIT mean?
You can still bear fruit after being pruned. So trouble doesn’t mean the end for the person who abides in Christ. Realistically it’s the beginning of a deeper place of intimacy with God. Good news for us walking along rocky roads, they don’t mean the end!
3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.
Our cleanliness is related to the position of the WORD in us.
Hypothetical: Can we ‘sort of’ abide without being cleansed by the word?
High on religion- low on salvation?
Does the importance of the Word in our life give us an indicator to the temperature
of our faith and our priorities?
4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
How do we bear fruit? ABIDE
Well, what does ABIDE mean? It’s so important.
Conduit, Pipeline, Extension cord
The can’t run without God, Laptop or Light-The Power Source.
Because our growth, maturity and depth as Christians is so related to our abiding in Christ.
How does this indicate our priorities? What gets the majority of my time?

What gets the majority of my thoughts? What gets the majority of my money?
5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him,
he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

I think it’s called a conjunction- The opposite of
Philippians 4:13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
When you don’t remain, you aren’t bearing fruit. Bad branch- not fulfilling the only purpose to be on the vine!
Can a person abide then un-abide? Are you really saved?
Does this speak of losing ones salvation?
Does it speak to the unsaved?

John Darby's Synopsis of the New Testament
"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."

7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
Remember last time? There is a change or personal desires that occurs quite naturally as we are abiding with God! What good news! We cant force it the fruit just develops!
8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
God’s glory is for us to bear fruit that we may share our discipleship with others.
9"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
10If you
obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.
11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

Milk jug filling an 8 ounce cup
12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
As if that wasn’t clear enough. Note that this is also a reference to the extent of His love for us. Meaning he knew he was to die for his people. Knowing the future usually means a CTD! [Claim to Divinity-a subtle way Jesus claims to be God]
14You are my friends if you do what I command.
15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

The proactive friendship of God in our lives!
Proactive love reached down, Grace means getting what we don’t deserve. And we certainly aren’t good enough to be considered friends of the God of the Universe!
16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
WE ARE CHOSEN BY GOD [Adopted], not only that but we are chosen to bear fruit!
17This is my command: Love each other.
A personal relationship is what God desires. Salvation is just the beginning. We mature as we abide in God and that relationship. It’s a complex but good process.
Even when the brokenness of our existence weighs on us the process is still good because when you get past that time you will be able to recognize God’s sovereignty in your life and how you were able to draw nearer to God in those rough times.


Anonymous said…
So glad you posted these. Do you mind if I save them?
Pixie Ears said…
I remember quite well the night I attended this Bible study. I thought the lesson was excellent, the water jug visual was creative, and the evening was full of insightful points. I probably also thought you were an amazing teacher and quite the dapper fellow..... I love you! :)