Sunday, May 06, 2007

John 15:1-8: Abiding in Christ

Contextual Notes:
In the OT, Israel was often referred to as a vineyard (cf. Isaiah 5), most often in the context of being unfaithful. Here Jesus says he is the true vine, pointing to his Messiahship and divinity.

The word for Abide is meno, or remain, abide, dwell. God dwelt with his people Israel in the Tabernacle and the Temple. Now we have the privilege of His dwelling in us with power right now every day. Every believer is a temple, and we collectively are a temple of the Holy Spirit.

Exposition:
1. Union in Christ (15:4, 5)):
Union with him in salvation
Union with him in baptism
Union with him in discipleship (word, prayer)

2. Cleansing in Christ (15:2-3):
Cleansing of areas of sin
Pruning of relationships, vocations, hobbies, unhealthy attachments
Cleansing of deep wounds
Cleansing of demonic presence / inner healing

3. Bearing Fruit in Christ (15:4, 5, 8)
Much fruit (15:5, 8)
i. Fruit of the Spirit
ii. Who bears the fruit in a vine? The shoots, the branches? No. The Vine bears it through us.
Nothing apart from Christ (15:5)
i. Nothing of lasting value
ii. Nothing of eternity
iii. Nothing of real contribution

4. Warning to those who do not abide in Vine/bear fruit (15:2):
“(1.) The doom of the unfruitful (Joh_15:2): They are taken away. [1.] It is here intimated that there are many who pass for branches in Christ who yet do not bear fruit. Were they really united to Christ by faith, they would bear fruit; but being only tied to him by the thread of an outward profession, though they seem to be branches, they will soon be seen to be dry ones. Unfruitful professors are unfaithful professors; professors, and no more. It might be read, Every branch that beareth not fruit in me, and it comes much to one; for those that do not bear fruit in Christ, and in his Spirit and grace, are as if they bore no fruit at all, Hos_10:1. [2.] It is here threatened that they shall be taken away, in justice to them and in kindness to the rest of the branches. From him that has not real union with Christ, and fruit produced thereby, shall be taken away even that which he seemed to have, Luk_8:18. Some think this refers primarily to Judas.[1]

5. Authority in Prayer and Glory for God for fruit bearers (15:7-8)

Application:
Are you bearing fruit of Christ your Vine?
Are you in the vine? Do you need grafted in through the salvation that is a free gift from him?
Does your branch need some new life?
Are you abiding in Christ daily?

Invitation:

[1] Matthew Henry, John 15:1ff., e-sword.net