Bible Study from Calvary Chapel Newberg
with Tom Fuller
Becoming a Sprinkler
The themes in this chapter are: abiding in the vine, pruning, bearing fruit, experiencing love, joy, a new type of relationship with Jesus, persecution, and the witness of the Spirit speaking out of our lives. We?re going to talk about abiding mostly?abiding in Jesus, in His Word, His love, His joy, and His fellowship.
The word ?clean? here is a form of the same word ?prune? in verse 2. From hearing and believing in the words of Jesus, we are already connected to the vine, beginning the pruning process and are bearing fruit. The life comes from believing the Word. The disciples worried that they might be ?cut off? so Jesus reassures them that they are already in Him and tells them the real quality of this relationship is permanence.
4 ? 6 Abiding in Jesus
The word ?abide? appears 11 times in this chapter. They are all the same word: meno. It means to ?stay? and is translated in other places ?tarry? ?remain? ?continue? ?dwelleth? as in ?the Father dwelleth in me?.
In various places it describes the enduring nature of our election (Romans 9:11), the city that remains in heaven that we look forward to (Hebrews 13:14), and the continuance of faith, hope and love (1 Corinthians 13).
Notice verse 5: ?Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit.? The idea is yes, we can?t bear real fruit in our lives apart from him, but it also means that in Him we WILL bear fruit. This is important to remember as we go through the rest of the chapter.
Oddly, a grape branch can survive for a time cut off from the vine, and produce some leaves, but no fruit. In the same way, we as humans appear on the outside as if we are okay apart from Jesus. We go to work, we have families and life goes on. But two things happen: 1-life cannot last and death has already begun and 2-there is no fruit, nothing produced that will last or have a positive eternal effect.
Judas did not abide in the Words of Jesus but rejected them and Him. In the same way the Jewish religious leaders rejected the coming of the Messiah, rejecting Jesus and His Word. Their interpretation of the Old Covenant is good for nothing but to be discarded in the burn pile.
7 ? 8 Abide in His Word
We love the first part of this: ?ask for anything and I?ll give it to you.? ?Yeah, give me a Porsche and constant health, and great friends who will always stand by me and an Xbox 360 and, oh, let?s see?a couple hundred million dollars would be nice.?
But keep in mind several key things:
1)????? Abiding in Jesus means his life is flowing through you, changing you into a different character, one that thinks and acts like Jesus
2)????? So the more you abide the more what you wish for is what Jesus wishes for too
3)????? The purpose is two-fold: bring glory to God and proof to the world that God loves and saves people
9 ? 10 Abide in His love
I think this speaks to us of the closeness of our relationship with Jesus. Jesus had a very close relationship with the Father while on earth. The Father told Jesus what to do and say and that?s what He did and said. As we enjoy and focus on our relationship, we are better able to hear and obey his commands. The kind of love the Father has for Jesus comes through to us, a love that transforms us into people who think and act like Jesus. Who would want anything other than abiding in that?
Abiding is an ongoing process. It?s not just that we plug in for a recharge then go about on our batteries. We need to always be plugged into that source?always worshipping and praying and learning and growing and serving.
This isn?t legalism; it?s actually freedom to live a joyous life!
11 ? Abide In His Joy
Did you know that Jesus is happy? He isn?t sitting up in heaven frowning down at all us stupid humans and shaking his head. Jesus is full of joy. He is full of joy because he is good, pure, and holy. Joy comes when we are free from the evil that spoils everything.
Jesus wants that joy to be ours! And not just any joy but full complete joy. ?joy? means ?a calm delight.? Now cram that joy until it is overflowing and you have ?full? or ?complete? joy.
Christians, contrary to popular belief, are not sour and dour but joyful and at peace. We can be that way because of our relationship of abiding in God?s love and knowing that we can just live day to day enjoying Him and letting Him walk us through difficulties on the way to an eternity uninterrupted by sorrow.
12 ? 13
So it is perfectly natural then, that this kind of love and joy flows out of our lives and brings us to a place where we, like Jesus, are willing to lay down our lives for our friends. For us that might mean becoming vulnerable to a brother or sister in need of encouragement through a dark place. It might mean not doing something for ourselves but instead doing something for another, looking to their needs above our own. And, of course, this is exactly what Jesus did for us.
14 ? 17
In those days, the disciples of a rabbi were his servants. Jesus is changing that relationship, sharing freely with them what the Father has shared with Him so that we can share it with the world. And what are we sharing? How much God loves us. How do we share it? By loving freely!
I won?t get into a big thing on predestination here but Jesus makes it clear here that He was the one who did the choosing, we then chose as well and it all worked out. And what?s really cool is that the fruit we bear lasts. The things we do for Him will have eternal positive effects on others.
As wonderful as it is to live in the choice that God made and in his love, we realize that the road we walk on here is not always easy. Along with the hope and joy come persecution and trial.
18 ? 21
I suppose you could put it this way ?they will know you are my disciples by the hate the world has for you.? When you come into this wonderful love relationship, you automatically make an enemy of the world.
Humans are by nature evil. When you come to Jesus, you are no longer following along with the program. You are being changed. You love Jesus and shun all other philosophies that seek to be god in your life.
Although this isn?t very comforting on the surface, knowing that the same hatred towards Jesus will also be turned towards us?there is also hope here in that some will listen, some will turn to Jesus and will also experience the love relationship with the Father!
22 ? 25
The words and works of Jesus are the single measuring rod for sin. Jesus came and spoke the truth about sin and the way out of it. Then he put his money where his mouth was and died in order to provide a way to be with God and proved that it worked by rising from the dead.
This is the central truth of the gospel and it doesn?t get much more complicated than that. We argue over the minute points of theology and philosophy but in reality ?all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God? (Romans 3:23) ?the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
Matthew 7:21-23 \"Not everyone who says to me, \'Lord, Lord,\' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.? 22? On that day many will say to me, \'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?\'? 23? And then will I declare to them, \'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.\' ESV
All that matters is if you have a relationship with the Father through the Son. Are you connected to Him, abiding in Him? If not, then you have been put on notice and when you stand before God all He will want to know is what you did about His Son.
I have such a hard time understanding a hatred for Jesus. How could you hate someone that loved you so much he died for you? But it happens all too often.
So you might say ? if there is so much hatred coming towards me, then how does the gospel from my life and lips stand a chance? Look at verse 26:
26 ? 27
That?s the beauty of this whole thing. The life of God, flowing through you, will also flood out of you. The Holy Spirit will take your life and wash the world around you with a witness of Jesus? words and works.
To me this chapter is about just two things: Relationship and Relinquishing.
Relationship ? plug into the vine of life. Love Jesus, learn from Jesus, cling to Jesus, abide in his love and word and joy. As you do that you will find yourself
Relinquishing your will to His will, your character to his, your thoughts to his, your actions to his?and you will see that incredible love flow in and through you like a fire hydrant. It?s not flashy, and it starts with pruning. You get turned into a gnarly old branch from the vine, but one that produces an excellent vintage, one that others around you who are responding to God?s love call will taste and see that the Lord is good!
Jesus Chose You ? and He wants to know you as a friend. That alone ought to be encouraging.
You Share Jesus? Pain ? but you also share His life and joy and love and fellowship.
Don?t fight the transformation ? though you have been conditioned by the culture around you to think it foreign to become like Jesus.
Don?t be surprised when you make enemies in the world (but not in the church. That?s division)