21 February 2017

BSF 2016-2017: John 15:1-16:4

At the end of chapter 14, Jesus instructed the disciples to leave with Him. His conversation and teachings with them continued, whether it was still in the Upper Room or on the road as they traveled to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus continued to comfort His disciples before His death.

Jesus called Himself the true vine. As the original vine, Israel was supposed to make God known to the world. Israel was God’s righteous representatives to the world. Now Jesus was the true vine; His mission was to make God known to the world.

Jesus called God the gardener. He cuts off every branch that doesn’t bear fruit, and He prunes every branch that does bear fruit to make it more fruitful. Judas (an unbeliever) was cut off; he lived and worked among the disciples but never placed his faith in Jesus. The other disciples (believers) were pruned; sin was removed from their lives so they could be more fruitful for God. To be pruned is to be cut back not to be cut off. Every Christian will be pruned.

Jesus commanded His followers to remain in Him. How? Through worship, studying His Word, meditating on His Word, prayer, and service. The Holy Spirit helps us accomplish all of this.

We cannot bear fruit unless we stay connected to Jesus, the vine. We cannot remain alive without the vine. Without Jesus, we cannot bear spiritual fruit. We can do nothing without Him.

All believers are called to bear the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. All believers are called to obey God’s commandments. All believers are called to display Christ-like characteristics. All believers are called to be united with each other.

Jesus began to warn His disciples about hatred and persecution from the world. He told them this so they wouldn’t fall away from Him and so they would have peace.

“The world” here is people who reject Jesus and His followers because they do not believe Him or the Father who sent Jesus. Jesus promised His disciples they would be hated and persecuted, but He encouraged them to remain in Him. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to empower and remind His followers about Jesus’ teachings.

Things to Think About
  • God tenderly and purposefully prunes believers.
  • Every Christian will be pruned. Ask God what He wants to produce in you through this pruning.
  • God prunes us with grace and kindness. He doesn’t use a hatchet but carefully and kindly examines us and removes the bad from our lives.
  • Christians do not belong to the world. We belong to Jesus. Because we belong to Him, we will be rejected and hated by the world.
  • God empowers believers to persevere through hardships, hatred, and persecution.
  • Troubled times are coming, but cling to Jesus and remain in Him and His promises.

This Week’s Memory Verse
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 NIV