Good morning, happy Thursday, and many blessings.
In John 15:1-8 we learn that the key to effective Christian living, and powerful, fruit-producing lives is not how much of the Bible you know, or how long you pray, or what church you go to. The key to being used greatly by God is abiding in Christ. This theme is one of the apostle John’s favorites. His book of 1 John is written entirely around the importance of abiding in Christ. And his gospel is the only one which goes into great detail about what Jesus told His disciples during the last supper in the upper room. John 13-17 is called the Upper Room Discourse and is the most intimate and loving sermon of Christ in the Bible.
Jesus knew his time was short, and so He gathered His disciples together and gave them his final teachings. In a sense, it was their graduation ceremony from Christ’s seminary, and Christ was the keynote speaker. This was the commencement address. He summarized everything he had taught them, told them what they must not forget, and reminded them of the essential truths they must remember. He warned them of the trials that were coming but encouraged them to stay strong in the faith.
If you want to understand the heart of Jesus, the place to start would be the Upper Room Discourse. However, in the middle of this passage, there is a section where Jesus illustrates what he has been teaching. As He so often does, he uses a common, everyday picture to vividly portray the lesson He has taught. In John 15, He gives us the picture of the vine and the vinedresser.
John 15 deals with the intimate and living relationship that believers share with Christ. Believers as God’s branches are vitally connected to Christ. As a result, we draw our life from Christ. The promise of this text is that in an abiding relationship with Jesus, we bear “much fruit” (v.8) which brings glory to our Father. However, without Him (i.e., Christ) we “can do nothing.”
For me the most powerful message in this biblical narrative today is that life results from being connected to Jesus. We draw our life from Christ as Paul said, “‘For in him we live and move and have our being’” (Acts 17:28). Jesus is the true source of life. Common sense tells us that oranges do not grow on apple trees and strawberries are not produced from pear trees. Like begets like. It is terribly frustrating, in fact it is impossible, to try to live the Christian life if you are not one. The life you were created to live is impossible to see realized without Jesus, the true source of life. Because Jesus is the true source of life, it is imperative that I am connected by faith to Jesus Christ, “the true vine” (v.1). Are you connected to God through Christ?
There is a relationship between our remaining in Christ and our producing fruit. Jesus refers to the importance of remaining in him at least six times in these eight verses (vv.4, 5, 6, 7). To remain in him is to see fruit produced in your life. To fail to remain in him is to remove yourself from the source of life and wither and die!
What kind of fruit can we expect to see when we remain in Christ? This spiritual fruit is most clearly described in Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Now I ask you; Could you say that you are bearing good fruit?