HERO CENTRAL August 7-11 Vacation Bible School

April 27/John 15

This chapter is about relationships and responsibilities. As branches we have the privilege of sharing Jesus’ life and the responsibility of remaining in him. As friends we have the privilege of knowing his will and the responsibility of obeying him.

Verse 1 > This verse is very encouraging to me because it shows that Jesus and the Father treasure us enough to take special care of us. Jesus is going to be our nourishment and the Father as a master gardener will see to it that we have all that we need to flourish and live a life that brings honor to his name. He will get the Blue Ribbon at the fair for us so to speak!

Verse 2 > The first couple of meanings of the word ‘cut’ in the Greek is to lift up, to carry. I believe the gardener will first lift the vine up off the ground and prop it up so that it has a chance to bear fruit. This would be the work of a true gardener. He would try to help a plant instead of cutting it off. He prunes it or cleans it by washing it off and getting rid of dirt, moss, bugs etc.

The Father first lifts us close to himself and puts within us a desire to know Him. He gives his own a chance to grow and bear fruit for him because we are part of Jesus, we are his. We know this because Jesus said, “Every branch of mine.”Isaiah 40:11 (NLT) — 11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.

Verse 3 > Pruned means to clean. We are cleaned by the word of God. As we read it and obey it and meditate on it so that we get it on the inside of us; it then becomes natural to obey. When we do this the filth automatically falls off, it leaves us. As we grow up and mature the toys of our youth are no longer part of us. A girl no longer plays with her dolls. Other things have captured her attention. So it is with the word of God. It becomes a vital part of us and we become involved in living it out and the other things in life just sort of drop off or leave us. There was no straining to produce good fruit it just happens as the word is obeyed. No fruit tree strains to produce fruit it is just a natural part of its makeup. When the word of God becomes a natural part of our makeup we produce the fruit of the Spirit > love joy peace patience etc.

Psalm 119:9 (NLT) — 9 How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word.

The word cleanses us as we obey it.

Ephesians 5:25–26 (ESV) — 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
As we obey the word of God it transforms us into better husbands and wives.
Verses 4-5 > Remaining in Jesus is like remaining in water. If I am in the water I take on a characteristic of the water which is wetness. I become wet. When I am in Jesus I take on his character. This like people saying that they can tell we have been in the water because we are wet. People can tell we have been in Jesus because my life now begins to express the life of Jesus in speech, attitude and action. When I was a kid my speech, attitudes and action mimicked those kids I hung around with.
If you’re not abiding in Christ. If you are not close to him and carrying out His will, whatever you are doing is a waste of time. It will not be there in eternity.
What you do must be done as you are abiding in Christ, for the glory of Christ, and because you were led by Christ. People can do many good things for many different reasons which have nothing to do with absolute goodness.  They can be a Rotarian, join Kiwanis, work for the Peace Corps, help out at an Agape Pregnancy Center.

Only what you do in Christ and for Christ and because of Christ will count in the ages to come. Jesus is saying, “If I am not at the center of what you are doing, what you are doing is worth nothing.” This is my life expressing the life of Jesus in speech, thought, attitude and action. Literally we can do nothing without Jesus. He gives everyone the very breath that they breathe. Everyone in the world should bow in honor to Jesus because any ability, any intellect, anything that they have all comes to them via the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.Acts 17:24–28 (NLT) — 24 “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, 25 and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. 26 From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. 27 “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. 28 For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’Verse 6 > The role of Christian fruit bearing is being discussed in this chapter not the Christian’s salvation.  The fruitless branches, the works not done in union with Christ,  are what is being burned up , not the Christian losing his salvation on judgement day. An example of this would be Lot.  He was saved but his fruitless works were burned in Sodom.

Jesus is saying that the fruit bearing part of you will be burned up. It will be unproductive. You are either bearing fruit or burning up the clock, killing time, no purpose, no direction, no satisfaction, a big emptiness inside.
Verse 7 > In Ps 119:11 The psalmist hides God’s word in his heart and not his mind because the mind can be very fickle. It has so much information coming at it that it can change it self real easy. The heart does not change easily.
Example: Our dog Levi died. He was Cleo’s dog. She loved him. Her mind knows he is dead and is not coming back. So the mind can release him. However, it has been years since he died and her heart has not released him.Hide the Word in your heart by meditating and  contemplating and developing a relationship with it. Let the Word sink in and permeate your soul and spirit. Let the Word capture your heart. Let the Word go from being written on paper to being written on your heart. Cleo spent a lot of time with Levi. He even slept on her bed. When Cleo was around Levi was close by. Levi had her heart. Let the Word of God have your heart!
Verse 8 > Everything we do as followers of Jesus is to bring glory to the Father. It is to bring honor to his name.

Leviticus 22:2 (NLT) — 2 “Tell Aaron and his sons to be very careful with the sacred gifts that the Israelites set apart for me, so they do not bring shame on my holy name. I am the Lord.

Verse 9 > If I remain in the love of Jesus his love will remain in me and will come out in my speech, thinking and actions.
Verse 10 > Commandments comes from the root word [en/en] to rest. Keeping God’s commandments is not a striving to do it. It is a relationship of rest. I would call this relaxed obedience. As we take the step to obey we draw all the nourishment we need to do this from the vine that we are attached to. The power of the Holy Spirit will energize us to keep carrying out God’s will. The Holy Spirit is like the sap that flows from the vine into the branch to give it all it needs to produce fruit. Stay in God’s word daily and continually so that you don’t cut off the supply of sap that produces the friut.We don’t have to fight it, it is a naturally response. A branch on an apple true does not struggle to produce fruit. It comes naturally because it is attached to the vine. It just drinks the sap that is provided.We are attached to Jesus. This pleases the Father who is the vinedresser. He sees to it that we have the strength and patience to do His will.
Wow there is so much in this chapter! I think I am going to stop here. Go on and discover the privilege of friendship with Jesus. Jesus and the Father are here to take care of us  and nature us. Drink responsibly of the sap provided by the Holy Spirit and bear much fruit!
Be Inspired Hilltop!

Comments

  1. Mark Gundersen says:

    The first half of the chapter deals with the benefits of being connected to Jesus. We will be trained, dissplined, and fed to make us more fruitful. The second half of the chapter warns of the consequences of the connection. Those who are not connected will be thrown in the fire but may hate you while you are in, not of, the world. The recent presidential decision about the first Thursday in May suggests that we should honor our leader but still follow Daniel’s example. The separation of church and state, as noted in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson, expressly stated that the state should not limit religious expression. A day of prayer is just a day of prayer. There was no provision in designating the day who you prayed to. It just sets aside a day for honoring God like the 3 main festivals in the old testament. We know from the Gospels that Jesus is the one way to God and therefore we will continue to pray for others eyes to be opened, but since we are connected to the vine we should interact with love not hate.