Welcome to the Bible Study series! Today we are talking about the process of bearing lasting fruit. Grab your Bibles and turn with me to John 15:1-17, I have provided a lesson summary and copied my exact notes from my journal for you. Let's dig in!
Overall Lesson: We are created to bear more and more lasting fruit so that those around us may consume this fruit rooted in Christ and their posture toward Christ be changed for their eternal benefit. In order to produce lasting fruit, the Word of God prunes us, exposing our true selves as we are tested to be proven and matured. The more we mature in Christ, the more we find ourselves bearing fruit, and we know that at the least we ought to be bearing the fruits of the Spirit which are love, joy, peace, patience, discipline, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness as seen in Galatians 5:22-23. So we have to ask ourselves as believers, do I have a fruitful life? What changes have occurred around me that prove that I am fruitful?
It is important to answer these questions after you've done this study, and pray to become fruitful because any branch not bearing fruit will be cut off.
vs. 1-3 "I am the true vine and my father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn't bear fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so that they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you."
--> Being unfruitful in Christ gets me cut off, if we know nothing else we know our lives should display the fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance/patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23).
--> Fruit producing Christians, should expect to be cleansed and priced in order to bear "better, richer and more excellent fruit (AMP)." Those who are fruitful will get tested more because Romans 3:5 AMP tells us so, "...knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation]." This should even change our perspective of tests, we ought to rejoice because testing matures us and that maturity causes us to produce even more fruit. God examines our lives and tests us where we need to be pruned.
-->The word of God prunes us. Hebrews 4:12-13 tells us that God's word is sharper than any two-edged sword, dividing our fleshly desires from our Spiritual needs (the soul from the Spirit) and discerning the thoughts and intents of the heart. God's word exposes, sifts, analyzes and judges our true selves, and exposure allows for refining and adjusting.
vs. 4b "...A branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in Me."
-->The Bible tells us that those who do not have the Spirit of God are unable to understand what it means to live for God (1 Corinthians 2:14 "The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.") So outside of Christ a person is fruitless because they cannot see the value in even trying to live for Christ with their whole hearts.
-->To live in Christ is to obey the Word, the same Word that prunes and matures us enabling to produce fruit, therefore obedience inspires obedience. To live in Christ is to live as Christ (1 John 2:6).
vs. 8 "This is my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."
--John 8:31 "If you hold to my teaching then you are my true disciples," therefore we have the key to being Jesus' true disciples, because we bear fruit through living as Jesus did and that is according to the will of God the Father. Verses 1-3 already tells us that we produce more fruit by the pruning of the Word, so just as Christ was proven again and again (the Pharisees, the wilderness, the miracles He performed, His sacrifice on calvary) we have to be proven again and again in order to bear much fruit.
vs. 13 ""There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends."
-->If we treat others the way the Word says they ought to be treated: loved, forgiven, graced, cared for... then we die to our flesh and therefore have laid down our lives. We have to go beyond what people deserve, as Jesus did for us (He asked for the cup to pass from Him but took it anyway because it was God's will Matt 26:59). We have to deny our need to be right or first in order to show others Christ.
Probing Question: Should you cut someone off just because they don't meet your happiness needs?
vs. 14 "You are my friends if you do what I command."
--> Obedience in relationship with Christ = promotion to friend. Remember that we are able to love God because He first loved us, and obedience to His word and living like Christ lived is the response we have that says "God, I love You too."
vs. 16- 17 "You did not choose me, I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit... This is my command: love each other."
--> The fruit we produce ought to keep producing in the lives of others, you can't produce lasting fruit in yourself. Look at yourself as a tree, the fruit you bear feeds those around you, especially those closest to you. Given that a fruit-filled diet helps to maintain a healthy body so a fruitful lifestyle aids and increases the spiritual health of those around you because they consume the byproducts of your actions, reaction, attitudes an words. if you keep producing peace, you help to quiet the war around you between and within others, making them not only lovers of peace but purveyors also.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for this Word and showing us the importance of living fruitful lives. Because Your life was fruitful we can have eternal life, joy and a peace that surpasses man's understanding. We ask that you expose the fruitless areas of our lives as we study Your Word, helps us to maintain our environments to avoid contaminating the fruits we do produce. Jesus, we want to be Your friends and true disciples, so please let Your Word inspire obedience in us, and that obedience inspire obedience in others. Let Your Word divide from us the desire to be right and first, so that we can deny the flesh and let our lights shine so others will see and glorify you. Thank You Jesus. Amen.