Friday, June 15, 2012

John 15

 1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
Jesus is not a plant. But it is a way to think of the Trinity, as hard to imagine as that is. God the father is the person who takes care of the plant, plans it’s growth, the vine itself is Christ Jesus. We are the offspring from Him, fruit.  In the OT see Ps80 Israel is a plant.

2Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.
When we sing ‘he gives and takes away’ this is what we are celebrating.  His pruning.  See Romans 11 for further elaboration.  But the word in the Greek means as much cleansing as pruning, which is why your bibles translate v3 as ‘clean’. God is doing this ongoing work of purifying your heart.
Now He adds that they are all clean, why? Because God has already pruned Judas out, leaving the clean.

4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
We cannot earn salvation because our evil nature makes us powerless to do good. Can man choose to submit to God?  No, because he is apart from God, and that would be a good work.   See Titus 1:15 “to the pure, all things are pure” On the other hand a plant doesn’t struggle to produce fruit, it simply does. If we accept Christ’s work on our behalf we are like a plant, God will do work through us.

6If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
This is the whole of humanity here, nonbelievers are not in Christ and so are cast out.  Every good deed we ever imagined was because Christ put it into our heart or mind

7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
If we ask according to the will of God that is.

8By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
Growing in holiness and goodness is something that brings Glory to God. We were created to bring glory to God, therefore, keep the commands, know Christ, have joy, be full.  It’s what we were created for, it’s the right order of things.

9As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
Of course that begs the question, how do we abide in Christ?  And He immediately answers

10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
Some people think that Christians don’t have to keep the law because they have grace. This is anti-nomianism.  We are given grace that we may keep the law, and by keeping the law, we are made into His image, the One who kept the law perfectly. But law keeping comes as naturally as plants producing fruit, because we are Christians transformed and loved by God.

11These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Boundaries are fundamental to the nature of the universe. I am me precisely because I’m not you.  Being what we are made to be, being what we are is supreme joy for us, don’t let the world tell you otherwise. It is in being what you are not that you are made miserable.

12"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
Here he speaks of Himself, so that we might see He is the highest love, for by seeing that He gave us His only Son we can know how much He loves us. Notice we are to love in the same way He does and in so doing, abide in Him.  By love we abide, and by abiding we love. It’s a circle. 
And this is the will of the Father, that we be like Him. That we love our brothers and our neighbors.

14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
‘I am a friend of God’.  This can not be more striking than it is.  Read Romans 1 2 & 3 and then this. 
Not all things that Christ knows, but all that He has been told to tell. 

16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
We do not choose Christ, He chooses us.  He appointed us to eternal life, waking us up from the dead.  In the final analysis some people die and face hell because they want to, while the saved who face heaven do so because God made them to.

17These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
And this fits very well with the things Jesus has said earlier in His ministry about love for the brothers.  See also 1 John 3.

18"If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.
Anyone who loves the world has no place in Christ. When we repent of our sins we turn our back on the world, and the world hates that. 

19If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
This thought is the continuation of above, the world loves itself, just as we love ourselves and people like us.  We find it natural, but we do not find Christians natural because they speak of the coming world.  The world also hates that Christians are chosen by God.  In a deep sense they know this, and hate this, although God does not bar the door against them.

20Remember the word that I said to you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know Him who sent me.
The argument is from the greater to the lesser, if they have the boldness to attack the Master they certainly will attack His servant.  Men who do evil and think they are doing God a service have no basis for their claim. 
All goodness comes from God, and is handed down by the apostles. The logic works in reverse as well, if we keep the word of the Apostles we keep the words of Christ.

22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.
When God says He hardens their hearts and blinds their eyes, there is a very strong sense He means it in this way.  He is keeping them from greater condemnation by His love by keeping their eyes closed. The Pharisees received the more horrible punishment in hell because they saw and did wicked anyway. To knowingly do wrong, and to have the facts of Christ in front of you and reject Him is much worse than to be genuinely ignorant.

23Whoever hates me hates my Father also.
This goes with ‘I am the way truth and life’. If you love Jesus, then you love God. If you hate Jesus, then ultimately you hate God.  You also cannot love the man and ignore the divine, Jesus is one person, and He cannot be split apart.

24If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: 'They hated me without a cause.'
From Psalm 35:19.  There is a special punishment for people who hear the truth of the gospel and reject it. It’s better to never hear than to hear and be guilty of rejection.

26"But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.
The work of the Holy Spirit is to open the eyes of the blind, to interpret scripture, to understand Christ. He lives in our hearts as a down payment of God’s good intention.  The Holy Spirit always bears witness to the nature of Christ. See 1 John 5.

27And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.
When Jesus rose from the dead the apostles were the ones who told the world. They were foundational in establishing the church

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