Posted On March 19, 2019

Reflections on John 15

by | Mar 19, 2019 | Featured, The Gospel and the Christian Life

John 15:11, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

The world promises pleasure; it knows it cannot sustain the thirst within. So it continually offers new, fresh trinkets, ideas, pleasures, anything, and everything to entertain its adherents. These please for a time, but today’s iPhone’s are tomorrow’s junk.

There is a logical progression from abiding in Christ as the vine to our joy being full in Him. He tells us to abide in Him because He is the true vine. If He is the true vine, then all others must be counterfeit.

A counterfeit is worthless. A counterfeit was made by someone with only themselves and their profit in mind. They care not if the counterfeit has the same function or value as the original, only that it looks like it.

A counterfeit $100 bill looks in nearly every way like the real tender, but you can purchase nothing with it. IIf you attempt to, fines and even jail time await. It is the same when someone does not abide in Christ but attempts to purchase salvation by the fruit of their works.

The only thing works can purchase is Hell (Romans 6:23).

God the Father is the vinedresser who carefully prunes each branch connected to the true vine. If trees could feel pain, that process would bring many tears, groans, and cries. Pruning cuts away anything that hinders the branch from bearing good fruit. Those of us in Christ are the branches. When God cuts away former pleasures, when He wounds us, brings hardships, and takes away the comforts of this life we enjoy, we feel it. Unlike a tree, God’s pruning hurts us. It cuts deep into the heart to remove ungodly desires; it breaks the right hand that grasps long-held sin and plucks out the diseased eye that lusts after the flesh.

His pruning hand disciplines our desires shapes our longings and molds our souls into the image of His Son. That discipline hurts. And if we did not know the promise found in Romans 8:28, we might despair. But He prunes us for our good. He prepares our desires not to long after a dead and decaying world, but to long after the world to come, where our longings and desires will be fulfilled always and completely in Christ.

The vine of the world is dead already. There is no root that nourishes the vine the world offers. What the world offers, the entertainment it brings is the very poison that kills the soul through its tempting lure to worship the things of the world rather than the Creator.

Vines that root in poor soil produce poor fruit. The soil of the world is sin and death, and its adherents produce plentiful crops whose pleasing looks betray the decay within.

But Christ’s vine is life, the worlds is death; His vine is peace, the worlds is war; His vine renews and restores the soul, the world’s is the very death and destruction of it; His vine leads to joy everlasting, the world’s leads to momentary pleasures that end in regret, death, and Hell.

Abiding in death leads only to death.

But if we abide in Christ, His words will abide in us. His words are Scripture. We read Scripture, we study Scripture, and we memorize Scripture so that it sinks into our very hearts and affects the way we pray, talk, and live (v. 7). We pray for God’s kingdom to come because we read the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:1-4). We speak the truth in love so that we can build one another up to the praise of God (Ephesians 4:15-16). And we live to the glory of God because Paul tells us it’s the very purpose of our lives (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Christ’s words abide in us. And because of that, we abide in Him. And since we love Him, since we abide in Him, we will keep His commandments and continue abiding in His love because Christ kept God’s commandments and abides in the Father’s love.

That’s why Christ can say our joy may be full. God’s love is perfect, and Christ’s obedience the same. Perfect love casts our fear. What remains, what Christ will consummate in Heaven, is pure, unadulterated, complete joy in Christ.

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