Today: Interpretation & Correlation
I’ve chosen one of the most vivid passages of Jesus: JOHN 15:1-17
Read it. Then model how to get the right meaning…
Heard: “God doesn’t expect us to be successful, just faithful.” Only ½ right!
God expects us to be FRUITFUL! (one of the great themes of NT)
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no FRUIT, while every branch that does bear FRUIT he prunes so that it will be even more FRUITFUL. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear FRUIT by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear FRUIT unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much FRUIT; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much FRUIT, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has LOVED me, so have I LOVED you. Now remain in my LOVE. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my LOVE, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his LOVE.
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: LOVE each other as I have LOVED you. Greater LOVE has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear FRUIT- FRUIT that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: LOVE each other.”
4 months of sermons in 17 vs! Chock-full. Must limit our study
Show how a vs can be misinterpreted if we ignore the rules of interpretation
Problem Verse: Vs.6 “If anyone doesn’t remain in me, he’s like a branch that’s thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”
ILL: Radio preachers “The fruit of a Christian is another Christian. If you don’t
bring people to Christ, God will throw u away & you’ll burn in hell.”
Is that what that verse means? Not at all! A gross misinterpretation.
Using this passage, I want you to learn…
SOME BASIC RULES OF BIBLE INTERPRETATION
1. Consider the historical context: WHO is being spoken to? WHY?
o Ask: What did it mean to them?
Ch. 13 to 17 = Jesus’ final words of comfort to his disciples before his arrest
I want to take time for you to see the importance of context. (surrounding words/events)
o Had invested 3 ½ yrs. LOVES THEM! Farewell instructions! Last
o Concerned for them. He knows they’re going to be devastated….
o Takes them privately to an upper room for Passover (intimate)
READ JOHN 13:1-15 (Jesus models serving each other)
It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.
The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No Lord,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet!” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
For the rest of the chapter, Jesus emphases the importance of loving each other!
He knows the tough time they’re about to go through!
JOHN 14 NEXT JESUS MAKES A NUMBER OF PROMISES TO THEM;
1. Don’t worry I’m going to prepare a place for you in heaven!
2. You’re going to be able to pray & ask for anything in my name (vs 12-14)
3. I’m going send my Holy Spirit to live in you & comfort you (vs 15-25)
4. I’m giving you the Gift of Peace. Don’t be troubled or worry! (vs 27-31)
Screen JOHN 14:31 “Come now, let’s leave this place.”
As they walk through the vineyards to the Garden of Gethsemane
Jesus gives the illustration of the vine & branches ( read earlier)
He concludes his object lesson with these words:
Vs.11 “I’ve told you these thing so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete!”
Q: What’s the odds of Jesus giving his last words of encouragement to his
dearest friends by saying: “You’ll lose your salvation & burn in hell if you
don’t bear fruit” THEN “I’ve told you this so you’ll be full of joy!!”
THE CONTEXT MAKES THAT INTERPRETATION NONSENSE!
2. Define the key words
ILL: Ever had an argument because you meant different things with same word?
CARD: MULTIPLE MEANINGS
(By the way “fire” here is the Greek word “pur” – not Gehenna /Sheol)
“Love” = mentioned 9 times “Fruit” = mentioned 9 times
“Fruit” & “Fruitful” = 44 times in New Testament Karpos
YOU CANT JUST ARBITRARILY DEFINE THE WORD!
Mt.3:8 “the fruit of repentance”
Mt.26:29 “the fruit of the vine” (communion wine)
Rom.7:5 “we bore fruit for death” (sinful lifestyle)
Rom.15:28 “received this fruit” (offering of money)
Gal.5:22 “fruit of the spirit” (9 godly attitudes)
Eph.5:9 “the fruit of light” (truth, righteousness, goodness)
Col.1:6 “this gospel is bearing fruit and growing” (new believers)
Heb.13:15 “praise to God – the fruit of our lips”
So what is the definition of “fruit” in John 15?
What is Jesus meaning when he says we must bear fruit in this context?
3. Interpret unclear verses with clear ones!
In this passages we find 3 clear characteristics growing spiritual fruit:
Vs.4 “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by
itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you
remain in me.”
o BEARING FRUIT is produced by remaining in Christ
Fruit is an inside job! Can’t just tack it on!
Not imitation but inhabitation: God’s Spirit flowing IN you.
“REMAIN” = to stay, continue, abide, endure, lasting (MENO)
Vs.8 “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
o BEARING FRUIT brings glory to God
Bearing fruit … is produced by remaining in Christ …. Brings glory to God
Vs.11 “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your
joy may be complete.” Jesus tell us his motive for saying all of this: JOY!
o BEARING FRUIT will give me complete joy.
We’re still left with the question: So what is fruit?
4. Look for the most obvious meaning.
Not some esoteric, mysterious! Purpose God’s Word” to reveal, not conceal!
ILL: FALSE: Assign a number to letters in Kissinger’s name = antichrist
o Don’t try to make every detail in a story mean something.
ILL: “I bought a red fire engine at Wal Mart for my son Joshua”
Don’t try to force a meaning. (Eisegesis)
Let it speak for itself.
WHAT’S OBVIOUS ABOUT VS 6?
A fruitless fruit tree loses its purpose! Can only be used firewood!
When you let the text speak for itself, the meaning of fruit becomes obvious:
15:7 “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may
ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you!”
o REMAINING IN CHRIST PRODUCES answered prayers!
Prayer can do anything God can do!
But don’t expect a $1000 answer to a 10cent prayer!
If God doesn’t give u what u ask for- it is always something better.
Don’t ask God for what you think is good for you. Ask God for what HE thinks
is good for you!
14:13 “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring
glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will
do it.” o Answered prayers brings glory to God!
When your knees are shaking, kneel on them!
When you’re swept off your feet – Get on your knees!
When you feel the sky is falling – hold up your hands!
16:24 “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and
you will receive, and your joy will be complete!”
o Answered prayers GIVES ME COMPLETE JOY!
James 4:2 “You do not have, because you do not ask God!”
God never shuts his storehouse until you shut your mouth!
When you don’t pray – you don’t cheat God. You cheat yourself!
Just in case you didn’t get it, Jesus ends his talk with 1 last mention:
Vs.16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go
and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever
you ask in my name!”
I BEAR FRUIT BY ASKING IN PRAYER!
Prayer is the root of all fruit! All other virtues come thru prayer
Prayer is the password to all God wants to do in your life!
Prayer is not your spare tire – It’s your steering wheel!
Problem: We never have trouble praying in trouble.
But we have trouble praying when we’re not in trouble!
MY PERSONAL APPLICATION
Matt. 7:24 “Everyone who hears these word of mine and puts them into
practice is like a wise man who built his house upon the rock.”
We need to stop talking about prayer and just pray!
Write out an application statement on what you intend to pray about this week.
PRAYER: Jesus thank you.. that you loves us… that you created us to bear fruit…
that you allow us to talk to you… that you want to answer our prayers.
that you want us to be filled with you. Forgive us for not rely on the
tremendous resource you have given us in prayer.
PRACTICE THE MEMORY VERSE / WRITE OUT APPLICATION