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John Fifteen

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

I am. This is the seventh and last of the “I am” statements of Christ in John's gospel, all asserting His deity and complete ability to save and reign. The others are, in order: (1) “the bread of life” (John 6:35); (2) “the light of the world” (John 8:12); (3) “the door” (John 10:9); (4) “the good shepherd” (John 10:11); (5) “the resurrection, and the life” (John 11:25); (6) “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). As the seven “I am's” affirm His deity, the seven “signs” (see John 20:30-31) confirm it.

true vine. Israel had been pictured in the Old Testament as a vine that had become unproductive (e.g., Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 2:21), but Christ here asserts that He Himself is the “true vine,” whose good fruits last forever.

John 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

he taketh away. The true Christian will bear good fruit; the pseudo-Christian will not bear good, lasting fruit, and will therefore ultimately be cast into the fire and burned (John 15:6), just like the pseudo-wheat in the parable of wheat and tares (Matthew 13:28-30, 41-42).

beareth fruit. Note the threefold categories of Christians: (1) fruit-bearing (John 15:2); (2) more fruit-bearing (John 15:2); (3) much fruit-bearing (John 15:5). These seem to correspond to the three categories of wheat-producing Christians—those producing thirtyfold, sixtyfold and hundredfold returns (Matthew 13:8, 23).

purgeth it. The “purging” or “pruning” obviously refers to bringing whatever pressures on the believer may be needed in order to lead him into a more fruitful Christian life and witness.

John 15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

clean through the word. The cleansing power of the Word of God is often stressed in the Bible (e.g., Psalm 119:9; Ephesians 5:26).

John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

Abide in me. The verb “abide” is the same in the Greek as “continue” or “remain,” and is used no less than twelve times in John 15:4-16. The same word is used in John 8:31 when Jesus said those who “continue in my word” are “my disciples indeed.” See also John 15:7. Thus, abiding in Christ is not some mystical concept but simply adhering strictly to the words of Christ as found in the Scriptures, guarding them as true and authoritative in every respect, and seeking to obey them by God's help.

cannot bear fruit. There are various kinds of “fruit” which Christians should produce. There is the nine-fold “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23), manifest in gracious and consistent Christian character, as well as “the fruits of righteousness” (Philippians 1:11; Hebrews 12:11). Ephesians 5:9 says that “the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth,” and all of this will produce fruit in the form of others won to Christ. For example, Paul expressed to the people in Rome his desire to “have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles” (Romans 1:13).

John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

abideth in me. Certain outward evidences can be observed when one is truly “continuing” in Christ. “He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked” (xTerm 2:6). “Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not” (xTerm 3:6). “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7). There would be exceptions, of course, for no one is perfect, but these attributes can and should be generally evident in those who are really in Christ.

can. Here the word “can” here is the Greek dunamai, indicating “have the power to.”

John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

John 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

John 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

John 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

joy might be full. The word “fun” is never mentioned in the Bible, and “entertain” is used only in connection with hospitality. Such activities as “reveling” and “playing” only receive condemnation (except for children playing). But the Bible has many references to “joy” and “rejoicing.” Christians have something far better than worldly fun and entertainment. In Christ, they have heavenly joy! See such Scriptures as Jeremiah 15:16; Isaiah 61:10; Philippians 4:4; 1 Peter 1:8.

John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

John 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

fruit should remain. Although those who believe on Christ do so voluntarily, they have also been chosen by Him before they came to Him, if they are those who will “abide” (i.e., “continue”) in Him. And if they do abide (i.e., “remain”) they will bear fruit, and their fruit also will “remain.” They will also experience effective prayer, for they will be praying according to His will (see on John 14:14).

John 15:17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.

John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

it hated me. The world hated (and still hates) Christ because He “testified of it, that the works thereof are evil” (John 7:7), and because “the whole world lieth in wickedness (or, ‘the wicked one')” (xTerm 5:19). If we do the same, the world will hate us as well.

John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

John 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

John 15:21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.

John 15:22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.

John 15:23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also.

John 15:24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.

John 15:25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

written in their law. See Psalm 35:19, Psalm 69:4, Psalm 109:3, Psalm 119:161, and Lamentations 3:52—any or all of which might be the basis of this quote.

John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

proceedeth from the Father. This procession of the Spirit, as it has been called, is a key concept in understanding the interrelationships of the Trinity. The Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son, yet each is equally and totally the one true God. And when the Son sends the Spirit to us, He testifies of Christ.

John 15:27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.