Grape Expectations – JRC Sermon Notes 11/03/2013

John 15:1-17

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 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. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things as I command you, so that you will love one another. (John 15:1-13, 15-17 ESV)

(Be Warned – Rough Cut Sermon Notes Ahead)

  • Jesus is talking to the disciples in the upper room.
  • He is wanting to prepare the disciples for what lies ahead.
  • Key Word – Abide / Remain
  • Jesus is leaving the disciples physically, but he is calling them to abide in him, and he in them.
  • Meno – remaining in relationship.
  • A connection to him –
    • Live,
    • favor,
    • ability to remain in Christ.
  • The begining of Abiding = being born again, faith, and making Christ lord in our lives.
  • John 3:7 – You must be born again. – This is the foundational begining.
3 Blessings that come from abiding:

  • 1) Fruitfulness: 15:1
  • Jesus is the vine – He is the one that is grounded – all comes from Him.
  • God (The father) is the vine dresser – He is the one that places us where we are needed.
  • A branch without a connection (to Christ) will wither and die.
  • Fruit – What will we produce
    • Christlikeness – Illustrating the Character of Christ
    • All of the fruit of the Spirit
    • Actions based on Christlikeness – “Thy Will, not My Will…”
    • 15:2,6 – Live an abudant life fruitful for God’s glory – “Fruity Freaks for Jesus :)”
  • 15:2 Not everyone is going to bear fruit…
    • If you don’t produce you get burned.
      • Eschatalogically – end times / judgement
      • In our daily lives. We won’t have power, strength & passion for the mission.
  • ? – Does your life bear fruit?
  • ? – Is is obvious that you spend time with Christ?
  • ? – Is there a difference in your life compared to lives in the world (evidence of salvation)?
  • Can there be faith without works…NO
  • On the other hand, there can be works without faith. This is called religion. It is not the “relationship” that Jesus is after. It leads to cynicism, hypocrisy, bitterness.
  • 1 John 2:5-6 – Those who abide in him, will walk in the way in which Christ walked.
  • Don’t be deceived…There is no such thing as a Christian who doesn’t bear fruit.
  • There is no value in adopting the “philosophy/ethics” of Christianity. A pseudo-faith that will not last.
  • Proof = fruit.
  • 1 JOHN 2:19 – They went out from us, but were not of us.
  • Eternally Security – doesn’t work. Our relationships with Christ are conditional – based on the consistency of OUR WILL to remain in and with Christ.
  • Col 1:21-23 Jesus is the one who presents us as holy – If you don’t continue in the faith, then you are not truly saved.
  • Once we become “saved” we become part of the “mission” of evangelization and discipleship…How are you involved in the “mission?”
  • Growth involves pruning – sometimes to get more from us, God will have us travel through seasons of “less” so that we may grow. “Consider it all joy my brethren when you experience trials.”
  • God prunes us to help us grow…especially if we don’t proactively prune our own priorities, attitudes, and actions to more accurately align with the “mission” and “purpose” God has for our lives.
  • John 15:4-5 – The closer we walk to God, the more fruit we will bear. – The further way we walk, the less fruit we will bear, and the greater danger of severance (self-severance).
  • 2) Favor: – Excessive kindness, preferential treatment – Grace
  • When we walk in the favor of God – we get preferential treatment
  • Acts 6:8 – When we abide in Jesus we live in Grace
  • John 5:7 – Conditional – We will have as much of God as we want.
  • It is relational – Investment = growth, closeness, and benefits.
  • 15:7b – If you will take time to learn the heart of God, then you will know what He wants to do and then you can get in line and “ride the train.”
  • Pray – God you are my father – Children = relationship = close knit community.
  • The longer, and closer one walks with God (Doing life with God) the more knowledge of his “mind”/”will” we will know.
  • 3) Friendship – John 15:9 – As the father loves me, so I love you.
  • Abide in his love – “Jesus loves me…”
  • Love God & realize that He loves you. – Don’t get caught-up in the details, rules, and regulations than we want to apply as systemize, process, and organize our relationship, discipleship, and growth in Christ.
  • We “do” that our Joy might be full.
  • Joy = closeness to Jesus.
  • Happiness doesn’t equal joy. Happiness is often based on happenstance, not Joy.
  • 15:12 This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you.
  • Be nice to your friends friends.
  • Don’t rip-up your brothers and sisters in Christ (gossip/judgement/condemnation). Love God – help people / help people heal…
  • 15:13-15 – Greater love has no man than this…lay down his life for his friends.
  • Loving people means letting them into our lives.
  • If we don’t let people into our lives – beyond acquaintance – we cannot build community – and we won’t be effective as “the body of Christ,” “the church.”
  • Fellowship is more than frivolous fun times.
  • Christian fellowship = intentional conversation, occasional confrontation, fun, & “community-making”.
  • Psalm 25:14-15.


  • Discussion Questions: For questions with multiple parts, find an answer to the first part before you read thenext part to the group. These types of questions are designed to build on the answer of the previous part beforemoving on.
  1. In v.2 Jesus says the Father “prunes the branches that do produce fruit so they will produce even more” (NLT).What does Jesus mean when He says Christians will be “pruned”? Why is it necessary for us to be pruned inorder to be increasingly productive for God? Have you ever experienced a season of “pruning”? Explain. Whatdid you learn from that season?
  2. In v.2 Jesus says every branch which does not bear fruit is cut off and taken away. Read Matthew 7:16-20. Inwhat way do a person’s actions, over the course of time, betray their heart? Why is it more important to changeones heart rather than ones actions? How can we clearly communicate this truth to those who are trying tochange the actions before changing their heart?
  3. Read vv.4-8. What are the results of remaining in Jesus? In our daily lives, what are some ways we can ensurewe are remaining in Christ? What has been your biggest challenge in this area?
  4. Read vv. 12-13. How is the love Jesus speaks of here different from love in the world? How should this effect theway that we show love towards people? Who are some people in your life which God has been challenging youto show love toward?
  5. In vv.12-14 we are called to lay down our life for the sake of Christ. Why do you suppose Jesus calls for suchradical obedience? In our context today, what does it look like to lay down one’s life for Christ? What has beenyour biggest struggle in laying your life down?
  6. In v.16 Jesus says, “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit” (NLT).Read Ephesians 1:4 & 1:11. What does it mean to be chosen by God? How does knowing God chose you to beholy and without fault (Eph. 1:4) before He made the world give you confidence? Knowing these things, howdoes this empower you to produce “lasting fruit”?
  7. Jesus says in v.15 we are no longer servants, but friends. What is the difference between a servant and a friend?How does being a friend help us to keep Jesus’ commands? Why is it significant to you that Jesus calls you Hisfriend?

One response to “Grape Expectations – JRC Sermon Notes 11/03/2013

  1. Pingback: I AM the True Vine | Overisel Reformed Church

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