Jesus was with his twelve disciples. It was during the Passover feast. It was just before the time of his arrest and crucifixion. He washed his disciples’ feet, and then he told them that one of them would betray him.
Without saying Judas’ name, he let them know it was Judas who would betray him, but they didn’t understand what he was saying. And then, after Judas left, Peter declared that he would lay down his life for the Lord. And Jesus told him, “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!”
Then Jesus comforted his disciples by telling them that when he left the earth and went back to the Father that he was going to prepare a place for them, and that he would come back and take them to be with him, so that they could be where he was.
Then he talked with them about who he is, and he told them that he would send them the Holy Spirit. And, then he said this:
John 15:1-6 ESV
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every 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. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide 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. I 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. If 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.”
Abide in Him
Jesus, at this point, was speaking to just the eleven disciples, for Judas had already deserted and had gone off to betray the Lord to his death. When he said that they were clean, he meant that spiritually they were clean because of the words he had spoken to them and because of their belief in him.
But they must abide in him – endure with him, remain steadfast in faith, and continue in him and stand with him. For, it was of necessity that they bear fruit (outgrowth, results, evidence) showing themselves to be his disciples. And they could not do that unless they would abide in him.
In other words, the actions (works, deeds) we show forth resulting from our faith in Jesus Christ must be from God and not from ourselves. It must be the result of lives surrendered to Jesus Christ – repentant, obedient, and submissive to Christ as Lord. This is certainly not saying that we will be perfect, but that we should bear fruit in keeping with repentance.
We should no longer walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the flesh, but we must walk according to the Spirit, in walks of holiness and purity of devotion to our Lord, making obedience and not sin our practice. For, if what we practice is sin, we will not inherit eternal life with God (Gal 5:16-21).
And this takes me back to the beginning of this chapter. If we do not bear fruit (actions revealing our faith to be genuine), we are taken away. Where? Vs. 6 tells us that anyone who does not abide in the Lord, and thus does not bear fruit consistent with a genuine walk of faith in Christ, he/she is thrown into the fire and burned, which is the same as not inheriting eternal life.
Those of us who do bear fruit, because we are abiding in the Lord, are pruned so that we will bear more fruit. This is the Lord’s divine correction, discipline and training he provides for us so that we will remain in him and in his word. This pruning helps us to grow to maturity in Christ.
John 15:7-11 ESV
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
Prove We are His
If we abide in him. If we continue steadfast in our faith in him, in honoring him as Lord of our lives, in showing him due respect, and in obeying his commands to us, as a matter of practice, and if his word lives within us, not just in our intellect, but in application of its truths to our lives, then he will hear and will answer our prayer requests.
And this is because we will have the mind of Christ, and we will desire what he desires, and we will want to do his will. So, we aren’t going to ask for anything contrary to his divine will and purpose for our lives. We will ask for what we know is consistent with what we know to be his will.
Not only that, but we will prove ourselves to be his disciples. For our actions speak louder than words. We must not be just hearers of the word, but we are to be doers of the word. We must put the word of God into practice in our daily lives in doing what it teaches us (as applicable).
Jesus summarized the law and the prophets into two commandments: to love God with our whole being and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Although the New Testament spells out for us in detail regarding what we are to not do (to put off) and what we are to do (put on), if we are loving God and others as we ought, it will take care of all that is spelled out.
For, we won’t cheat on, lie to, lie about, commit adultery against, gossip about, steal from or murder anyone deliberately and habitually, in order to do them harm, if we are loving them and if we are loving God. And we won’t continue living in sin while ignoring the Lord if we are loving him.
The Scriptures teach that if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life. But if we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction. For God is going to judge us by what we do, not just by what we profess (Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 2 Co 5:10; 1 Co 6:9-10).
So, to abide in Christ and to have his word abide in us so that we bear much fruit, and thus show ourselves to be the Lord’s disciples, it requires of us that we deny self, daily die to sin and to self, and that we follow our Lord in obedience to his commands. For, our lives must be surrendered to Him.
A Believer’s Prayer
An Original Work / July 31, 2012
With my whole heart, Lord, I pray
To be Yours, and Yours always.
Lead me in Your truth today.
May I love You and obey.
Lead me in Your righteousness.
When I sin, may I confess;
Bow before You when I pray;
Live for You and You always.
Love You, Jesus, You’re my friend.
Life with You will never end.
You are with me through each day,
Giving love and peace always.
You will ne’er abandon me.
From my sin You set me free.
You died on that cruel tree,
So I’d live eternally.
Soon You’re coming back for me;
From this world to set me free;
Live with You eternally.
Oh, what joy that brings to me.
I will walk with You in white;
A pure bride, I’ve been made right
By the blood of Jesus Christ;
Pardoned by His sacrifice.