John 15:5, 8, 11 - Part 2 - The Blessings of Abiding In the Vine
*There can't be any fruit on a branch that doesn't remain on the vine. Only an abiding branch will bring forth good fruit. So every Christian bears fruit; there is no such thing as a fruitless Christian. Jesus said, "Every good tree brings forth good fruit" (Matt. 7:17)… He also said "You shall know them by their fruits" (Matt. 7:16). He says basically the same thing in John 15:5. Although it may be difficult to find, there will always be fruit in the life of a believer. There may be lapses when he doesn't experience the fullness of abiding in Christ, but there will be fruit in his life because the indwelling Christ will produce it.
Fruit is important. You may say, "Why bother with it? If I'm saved, why shouldn't I just hang around until I go to heaven?” Because God wants you to have a productive life, He produces fruit through your life by His own power. Two facts indicate its importance:
A. The Fruit of Believers (v.5).
1. It’s Importance.
a) God’s plan.
(1) Psalm 1:1-3 – Even in the Old Testament, the godly man was considered a fruit-bearing man. God's life was in him producing fruit.
(2) Galatians 5:22-23 – Fruit is an expected result in the life of a godly man or woman by God's design. It is the product of God's life within believers, whether in the Old Testament or the New.
b) God’s power.
(1) Fruit is also important because God is its enabling source. A man is not the source of fruit; he's merely the branch. It is God who produces life; it is His power that produces fruit.
(2) Hosea 14:8 – Look what God says in the Old Testament.
(3) Philippians 1:11 – Paul talked about fruit from the standpoint of salvation, saying were to be "filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ.” There can't be any righteousness unless a man is born again and receives the righteousness of Christ. The only way you'll ever have fruit is to be saved because the fruit in you is the product of Christ in you. In John 10:37-38, Jesus said that the Father was working through Him.
2. It’s Identity.
a) What it is not.
(1) Success (1Cor.3:5-8) – Nowhere in the Bible is success ever synonymous with fruit. Some people think that if something is big and there are many people involved in it, it must be produced by God. However, that is no guarantee that it is divinely produced fruit.
(a) For example, the ministry of a missionary shouldn't be evaluated solely on the basis of whether it looks like he has been successful. His many years of ministry may have been valuable years of planting and watering (1 Cor. 3:5-8) although they may not show much harvesting. You cannot effectively measure fruit by success.
b) What it is.
(1) Repentance (Matt.3:8)
(2) Being Christlike (Galatians 5:22-23; John 14:21, 27; 15:11)
(3) Praising God (Hebrews 13:5)
(4) Contributing to those in need (Philippians 4:17; Romans 15:26, 28)
(5) Doing good works (Colossians 1:10)
(6) Leading others to Christ (John 4:32-36; 1 Corinthians 16:15; Romans 1:13)
(7) Holy conversation (Prov.12:14; 18:20)
B. The Faithfulness of God (v.7).
1. Believing and following Christ (v.7).
a) “If you abide in Me…” (v.7a).
b) “And My words abide in you…” (v.7b).
C. The Glory of the Father (v.8).
1. Jesus’ statement.
a) Giving God glory.
(1) A believer who abides in Christ and bears fruit brings honor to God. Christians are here on this earth to do one thing: to give God the glory that He deserves.
(2) Everything that is produced in our lives by the Spirit is fruit that gives glory to the Father--not to us (Romans 15:18; 1Peter 2:12).
D. The Fullness’ of Joy (v.11)
1. The things that Jesus has spoken (v.11a).
a) The Christian who obeys the commandments of Jesus.
(1) John 15:1-10, which deals with abiding in Christ, bearing fruit, having your prayers answered, and continuing in Christ's love and obeying Him as true disciples, points to one final climactic blessing: joy.
(2) Jesus wanted the joy He experienced in fellowship with the Father to remain in His disciples. In verse 10, He said, "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." Jesus is the example of the perfect abiding life resulting in full joy.
(3) In the midst of all that Jesus suffered, He still had full joy because of His abiding relationship with the Father. When you abide in Him, you'll have the same joy.
b) The Christians who violates the commandments of Jesus (Psalm 51:12).
(1) When David sinned and no longer sensed the presence of God, he cried out, "Restore unto me the joy of my salvation" (Ps. 51:12). He didn't lose his salvation; he just lost the joy of it because he had ceased to abide in the fullest sense.
(2) Peter refers to abiding joy as "joy unspeakable and full of glory" (1 Pet. 1:8). That's the kind of joy that Jesus had and that's the kind of joy that can belong to a Christian. A Christian's joy should be so full that it has a controlling influence on the rest of his life.
(3) Unfortunately, I don't know too many Christians who are. I meet many grouchy Christians that don't experience joy because they aren't fully abiding in Christ. A Christian who is temporarily not abiding is usually easy to identify by his negative, defeated attitude.
(4) When you hear the blessings of abiding in Christ, I don't know how anyone could say no to Jesus Christ. Sadly, for those who do, there is an alternative to those blessings:
II. The Burning of the Non-Abiding Branches (v.6).
1. The casting forth (v.6a).
a) "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered…” (v.6a).
2. The consuming fire (v.6b).
a) “They gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned…” (v.6b).
(1) That is a picture of judgment. God's instruments of judgment are none other than His holy angels:
(a) Jesus makes mention of this (Matthew 13:30, 40-42, 49-50):
Jesus said in Matthews Gospel, "Let [the wheat and the tares] grow together until the harvest; and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn" (v. 30).
\We see that the "reapers" on judgment day are angels from verses 40-42 and 49-50: "As therefore, the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this age. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them who do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.... So shall it be at the end of the age; the angels shall come forth and separate the wicked from among the righteous, and cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
(i) Christ will send His angels to cast the ungodly and unrighteous into hell for eternity. That's the choice that every man has.
(b) It is very interesting what Paul says…
Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 "To you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power."
(2) There is coming a day when God is going to send His angels to gather the ungodly from around the world and cast them into an eternal hell. How tragic to appear like a believer, but to end up in hell separated from Christ for eternity!
(3) Peter gave this warning about people who have superficially attached themselves to Jesus or if you believe you can lose you salvation, whichever view you hold the point that Peter makes is very important:
Peter said that "If, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in [the world], and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, the dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire" (2 Pet. 2:20-22).