Amidst such turmoil that we are experiencing in our world, we have solid truth that we can stand upon and know that good will prevail. We are very fortunate my friends. We will see from today’s study that God has impeccable timing. He will teach us how to live in this dark world.
Last week we studied John 14. I want to encourage you to reread the past two blogs on this chapter. Jesus makes it very clear on who He is. We don’t want to miss out on what He is saying to us. He helps us by giving us the Holy Spirit. Now, go ahead and read John 15:1-17 to see how we should live in this chaotic world.
It might be helpful to have a bowl of grapes sitting before you as we study. Jesus likens Himself to a grapevine. Have a snack of them, if that helps.
QUESTION: From verse 1, who is God? Who is Jesus?
We see from verses 2-3 that God is an active God. He doesn’t sit idly by watching us from above as we go our own way. No, we see how He is in the trenches with us helping us battle the ways of this world. The Gardener cuts off the parts of our life that weigh us down, those sins that keep us locked up and enslaved.
Think of a flowering plant. To keep it blooming, we have to cut off the old flowers and dried up leaves so it can keep flourishing. God prunes us the same way. His love can’t flourish when we have the world’s ways draped upon us. When we walk with Christ, we become new creations. Look at 2 Corinthians 5:17, “The old life is gone; a new life has begun”. So, God tends to His garden and He prunes His children so we take on the image of His Son and become fruitful for His Kingdom.
Jesus continues on stating in verse 4 how we are to remain in Him and He will remain in us. This shows how unified our relationship is with our loving God. He is always committed to us and our well being.
We are never alone!
QUESTION: What happens when we do not remain in Him?
We become severed from the vine and are unfruitful. I want us to stop here and think about that. It is possible to walk away from God. We can and do turn our backs on God when we look at the world instead of Him. I want you to know something, God never walks away from us! We may ask Him where He is. Like Jesus did right before He died, “why have You abandoned Me?” This is Matthew 27:46. Jesus felt the abandonment but God never left Him. Google scripture on God never leaving us and read truths on how faithful God is to us.
Jesus understands what loneliness feels like.
QUESTION: Look at verse 5. What is the pertinent words of Jesus that should cause us to stop and reflect how we live our lives?
We are incapable of being fruitful for God without Christ. Any fruit we do achieve is from ourselves and from this world and we know that the world will end someday. We also know that the things of God are eternal.
QUESTION: What happens when we do not abide in Christ, see verse 6?
We need to listen and take heed to this reality. Pay attention to the fact that Jesus wants everyone to follow after Him so He can give us eternal life. The very next verse Jesus restates that IF we remain in Him AND we live out scripture, He will hear us and honor our hearts desires. What a wonderful promise He gives us!
We all have dreams and desires, hopes and wishes. God placed them there for a reason. When we align ourselves up to Him and become new in Him, He transforms our offerings into things of beauty. We will have fulfilled lives.
QUESTION: Reread verse 8. What are we called to do? Who do we become?
This is the greatest attribute we can have placed upon us; to be His true disciples. It brings glory to the Father. Everything we do should be for the glory of God. When we live this way, we are living rightly. We are living in the realm where we are making a difference in this world.
We become world changers when we are His true disciples.
Again, Jesus says to remain in His love. This is important since He is repeating it over and over and over.
KEY QUESTION: To remain in His love, what do we have to do? See verse 10. Why? Does Jesus do the same thing? What is the result from obeying, look at verse 11?
Who couldn’t use a dose of overflowing joy right about now? I am having to dig deep in remembering that God is in control while racism, rioting and destruction are plaguing our nation. I believe that God is allowing COVID-19 to slow us down to relook at what is important in life. These new tensions that have ensued this past week could be more eye-openers so we look even more closely at how we are living. It’s time for some changes.
Look at verses 12-15. We are all searching for answers. God gives us the antidote that would heal our sick land.
QUESTION: What can we learn from these verses in lieu of George Floyd’s death?
If we lived this way, we would see an end to injustices. We would see an end racism. We would see an end to many things. Our world would be a happy, peaceful place if we chose to follow Jesus.
QUESTION: Who chose who first, according to verse 16? Jesus appoints each of us to do what?
KEY INSIGHT: At the end of verse 16, Jesus says something vital that we need to remember. This is where we see the hand of God really move in our prayers! “The Father will give you whatever you ask for, USING MY NAME.”
There is power in the name of Jesus! Read Philippians 2:9-11 to see why the name of Jesus is so powerful. Jesus is on our side when we abide in Him. No matter what gets thrown at us in this world, in Christ, we are victors! The enemy has no hold on us!
Let’s rise up and stand united in love and live out the final words of Jesus in this study time: “Love each other.”