John 15

For New International Version

 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.  If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.  These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:  And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

In this chapter of John, Jesus gives believers hope in privileges of believers and responsibilities.  We are a part of Him, branches of the Vine.   Branches alone are worthless. Dry, dead and only fit for burning. If we remain a part of the Vine, God lovingly prunes each branch so we can bear fruit which glorifies Him.

We are called by Him and called friends if we abide in Him.

It’s mind blowing to think of the creator of the universe, that He not only calls us out of the world but calls us His friends.  Many of us here have never met face to face, but we are friends and a part of each other who are in Him.  That’s an awesome thing to think about.  We are called to love one another as He loves us. Love in caring, sharing and bearing each other’s burdens, encouraging each other and sharpening each other.  All the good things that we can do because  of Jesus.

Out of all of the gifts we are given,  these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. And love never fails (1 Corinthians 13).  Is it any wonder that Jesus reminds the disciples multiple times to love God and love one another.

It’s easier to face persecution when we abide in Jesus.  He mentions the word abide 11 times in this chapter.  When we abide in Him, or remain in Him, have fellowship with Him and each other, we are a part of each other in Jesus. When we love God, and each other in Christ, we will be able to remember how much Jesus Loves us, and even those who persecute us- as He laid down His life for all of us.  He reminds His friends that while He was hated, so will we be, as the world hated Him first.

The disciples didn’t understand or know at the time what the Holy Spirit would accomplish in those He came/comes to, but Jesus tells them and reminds us that the Spirit of Truth, testifies of Him, and gives believers a testimony of Him as well.  The Holy Spirit comforts us, when we abide in Christ, and He gives us the strength to withstand hatred and persecution from the world through His peace, comfort and knowledge of the Truth and through the Word.  Apart from the power of the Spirit of God, we cannot give a clear witness for Jesus.

As we see more and more persecution of Christians around the world in our time, we’ve seen how in some of those places where persecution is the most severe, the church is thriving and growing. Times of persecution have always been times of tremendous witness for the church. We must be “ready always to give an answer” when unsaved people attack us (1 Peter 3:15). The Spirit witnesses to us so that we can witness to the world (Mark 13:11).

 

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