John 15:1 "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
Jesus makes His 7th “I am” statement, “I am the true vine.” While this is a simple allegory, its message is powerful. A vine grown in a vineyard is pruned by the vinedresser. When a branch of that vine stops producing fruit, it becomes useless and it robs nutrients from the other producing branches. So the vinedresser will cut off the fruitless branches so the good branches can produce more fruit. Also, the branches that are attached to the main vine can only exist as long as they are fed and supported by the vine. If they get cut off, they will wither up and die.
In our text, Jesus is the true vine and the Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Jesus refers to each individual Christian and not each denomination as some teach. It is strange some would claim the branch to be a denomination considering no denominations existed in the first century. There is only one church (Mt.16:18; Eph. 4:4), and Paul condemned the idea of denominations in 1 Corinthians 1:10ff. Just as a fruitless vine is cut off, if we are not being fruitful for the Lord, He will cut us off. So we should strive to produce fruit such as the fruit of the Spirit:
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Every Christian should be producing these fruits, and we learn how to produce these fruits by studying the Word of God. A person could learn to have similar fruits in their life and not be a Christian, but these fruits will not be pleasing to God if he is not in Christ. For example, there are weeds that produce similar fruit to that of regular plants. Even though the fruit of the weed is similar, it is not the same as the regular plant. The only way the fruit of the Spirit will have any meaning for us is if we are in the true vine of Jesus Christ. Any fruit produced outside Him, no matter how similar it may be, will not be the same, and it will not be pleasing to God.
If we want to produce the
fruit of the Spirit, we must be in Christ, which can only be achieved by
obeying God’s plan of salvation. We must believe that Jesus is the Son of God (Jn.
3:16), repent (Lk. 13:3), confess Jesus as Lord (
Since there is only one vine, the only thing it can produce is a Christian. When we plant a watermelon seed, we expect it to produce watermelons and not pumpkins. In a similar way, the Word of God is described as a seed (Lk. 8:11), and the book of Genesis teaches that everything produces after its own kind (Gen. 1:11), which means the Word of God cannot produce a Baptist, Methodist, or other manmade denomination. Instead, it can only produce a Christian. As Jesus said, if we abide in Him, His word abides in us.
Even though we cannot produce the fruit of the Spirit without Jesus, we still have our part in producing the fruit. If the fruit produced was entirely up to Jesus, then no branch would ever need to be cut off. So, we must learn to be fruitful by living our lives based on God’s Word, and we must continue to reach out to the lost so they might obey the gospel and be grafted into the true vine as well.
Sometimes bearing fruit can be discouraging and difficult, but we must press on. Paul said: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58). Paul is teaching us that no matter how hard we labor for the Lord it is never in vain. We need to take verse 8 in our text to heart because when we abide in Christ by producing fruit, it will glorify our Father in heaven.
Jesus’ allegory also teaches against the false doctrine “one saved always saved.” Jesus clearly teaches that if we are not bearing fruit while attached to the true vine, the Father will cut us off. This same idea is given by Paul with the use of olive branches (Rom. 11:17ff). Not only will the unfruitful be cut off, Jesus said: “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” In other words, once we get cut off from the true vine and we die in that state, our destination will be hell. As Peter said:
“For 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 them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: "A dog returns to his own vomit," and, "a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire."” (2 Peter 2:20-22).
As Paul said:
“…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thes. 1:7-9).
The Bible clearly teaches that a person can fall from God’s grace (Gal. 5:4), and we must continue to abide in Christ by producing fruit, otherwise we will be cut off.
Verse 7 offers some encouraging news, because Jesus said if we abide in Him, He will be in us, and whatever we ask for it will be done. We know this is a general statement because what we ask for must be in accordance with God’s will, but it is comforting to know that while we abide in the true vine, we have full access to God through prayer. When we pray, we can know that God will hear our prayers and answer them.
John 15:9 " As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 "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. 11 "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
The same love the Father has for Jesus is the same love Jesus has for His disciples, and He tells them to abide in His love. Since He is telling them to abide in His love, it means they could choose not to abide in it. If we choose not to abide in His love, we will be pruned from the vine.
How do we abide in His love? According to Jesus, we must keep His commandments just like He kept the commandments of the Father. As Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (Jn. 14:15). No one can rightly separate abiding in Christ’s love and keeping His commandments. This is a truth that many in the religious world need to understand because they think they can worship God their way and it will be acceptable to Him. They do not stress the necessity of keeping all of God’s Word because they think it makes us like the Pharisees. The Pharisees were strict law keepers, but they were not keeping the law of God. They were keeping their own law, and that is what Jesus rebuked them for. He never rebuked them for keeping the law of God. So, if we want to abide in the love of God, we must keep all of God’s commandments.
In verse 11, Jesus wants His disciples to experience the same joy He experienced in obeying God’s commands. The writer of Hebrews writes:
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus endured many hardships while He was on the earth especially when He had to endure the cross and be temporarily separated from the Father. He did this because He loves us, and it brought Him great joy to keep the Father’s commandments, which showed His love for the Father. Because of Jesus’ obedient love, He was exalted and is now sitting at the right hand of God.
If Jesus had to endure and keep God’s commandments, how can people possibly think they do not have to keep His commandments? Are we better than the Son? Absolutely not! So, if we want to abide in the love of God and experience the joy that Jesus had in keeping God’s commandments, we must follow Jesus’ example and keep the commandments of God. One thing that will help encourage us to endure as Jesus did is by reminding ourselves of the reward that we will receive in heaven (1 Cor. 9:24-27; Rev. 2:10).
John 15:12 "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. 14 "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 "These things I command you, that you love one another.
This commandment was called the new commandment in John 13:34, which is a deep love because we are told to love one other as Jesus loves us. Jesus proved how much He loved us by enduring the painful cross. Sometimes Christians say they love their brothers and sisters in Christ, but they are not willing to lift a hand to help them with their burdens much less lay their life on the line for them. It takes more than mere words to show our love because our actions prove our love, and Jesus is teaching that we must strive to have this same active love for one another.
Jesus clearly states in verse 14 that if we want to be His friend, we must obey His commands. In verse 15, Jesus is not saying that His apostles are no longer servants; He is saying they are much more because they are His friends. Many times a servant has no idea what their master’s overall plan is, and they would simply follow his instructions without knowing. However, the apostles’ relationship was different with Jesus because He treated them as His friends, and He told them what His overall plan was and what He expected from them.
This friendship applies to all Christians because God has given us His entire plan in His Word. So, when we choose to obey God’ commands, it should encourage us to know that we are more than servants, we are Jesus’ friends.
In verse 16, Jesus points out how He chose His 12 apostles, but this does not mean they did not have a choice in the matter. They were appointed to be Jesus’ eyewitnesses, and they were to go out into the world and bear fruit, which points back to Jesus’ allegory He made about the vine. We learn in The Great Commission that the fruit they were to produce was disciples of Christ. They were to produce these disciples by teaching them the Word of God and by baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Mt. 28:19-20). To help them with their work, Jesus told them that whatever they pray for, the Father will provide for them.
In a similar way, God has
called us to be Christians through the gospel (2 Thes. 2:13-14). However, we
cannot be a witness for Christ like the apostles because they were
eyewitnesses, but we can share with others what Christ has done for us by
showing them from the Word of God. We can produce the same fruit the apostles
did by teaching others about the Word of God and baptizing them. When we pray
to God for help, we must pray without doubting (
In verse 17, Jesus repeats the command to love one another.
John 15:18 " If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 "But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.
Whenever we become a Christian and follow the ways of Jesus, we have to separate ourselves from the way of the world. When we do this, the world will hate us because we are different, and we oppose the many sinful things the world has in it. Just as the world hated Jesus by rejecting Him, the world will reject us because we are not greater than Jesus.
Sometimes the world’s hatred can cause us to be persecuted because they do not like what we stand for, but other times our stand for God can cause some in the world to embrace Christianity. A good example of this comes from when Paul spoke at Antioch where the Gentiles wanted to hear God’s Word and embrace it while the Jews wanted to oppose it (Acts 13:32-45).
Verse 21 teaches us not to think that people are rejecting us when we stand up for God, they are rejecting us for what we stand for. So, ultimately they are rejecting God’s message when they are rejecting and persecuting us.
John 15:22 "If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 "He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 "If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 "But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, 'They hated Me without a cause.'
Is Jesus saying that if He had not to come to the earth and worked His miracles that we would have no sin whatsoever? If so, Jesus did us a great disservice by coming. I do not believe this is what Jesus is saying because we have all sinned and fell short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). So, Jesus is not saying these people would be free from sin, He is saying they would not be guilty of rejecting the Son of God, but since they heard Him speak and saw Him work miracles and signs that no other man had ever worked, they were guilty of this sin. His words and miracles proved that He was the Son of God. To reject the Son is to hate Him and Father, which proves that Jesus and the Father are one, and it proves Jesus’ Deity.
Verse 25 teaches that this rejection and hatred of Jesus was prophesied. Jesus calls it their law because they believed in what the Law of Moses said, yet they refused to accept what it said about Jesus. It is also worthy to note that this prophecy came from Psalm 35:19, which shows that the book of Psalm is part of the old covenant.
John 15:26 " But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 27 "And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
Once again, Jesus tells His apostles how the Holy Spirit will be sent to them. He will work miracles through them, which will prove their testimony about Jesus is true. One of the qualifications of an apostle was they had to be with Jesus from the beginning. Only those that were with Him and saw His works with their own eyes could witness to people about Jesus. So, those who say they are witnessing to people today are just using modern day terminology, but Biblically they cannot witness to people about Jesus because they are not eyewitnesses of Jesus. However, as I stated earlier, we can teach people about Jesus and what He did for us from the Word of God.
The promise of sending the Holy Spirit to guide them into all truth was only given to the apostles. Today, the Holy Spirit does not guide us directly or give us new revelations. Instead, the Holy Spirit operates on us through the fully revealed Word of God because it is the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17), and it tells us everything we need to know to be saved and to live a faithful lives that are pleasing to God (1 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:3).