Characteristics of Jesus’ Disciples: Fruit-bearing (15:1-17)
Fruit-bearing and Communion (vv.1-8)
The “fruit” in John 15 refers not to acts of service, but the qualities of Christ reproduced in the life of the believer by the Spirit of God for the glory of the Father.
Love and Obedience (vv.9-17)
We have been brought into the confidence of Christ, such that He calls us His friends, if we obey His commandments. We cannot be His friends if we disobey His requests. A friend is different from a servant, because a friend can enjoy the full confidence of another. A servant is only told what he needs to know to fulfill his duties. A friend is told much more, those things that interest and are valued by another. A servant is left in the dark on many matters, but a friend is told the truth. So the Father and and the Son are in perfect communion about all that the Father is doing and will yet do (prophetic events, etc.). The Father and Son desire to bring us into that communion of thought.A nice example is Abraham in Genesis 18. How sad that many in the Church are dismissive of the truths that Christ desires our fellowship in. How often we hear expressions like, “why should I care about that? it has nothing to do with me”. J.N. Darby remarked, concerning prophecy:
It has been said, that the real use to be made of the prophecies is, to shew the divinity of the Bible by those [prophecies] which have already been accomplished. This is certainly a use which may be made of them, but this is not the special object for which they have been given. They belong not to the world, but to the church or remnant, to communicate the intentions of God to that church or remnant, and to be its guide and torch before the arrival of those events which they predict, or during their accomplishment. Shall we use the revelations of God merely as the means of convincing us afterwards that He has told the truth? It is as if someone were treating me as his intimate friend, heaping benefits upon me, communicating his thoughts to me, telling me all that he knew would shortly happen; and I should use all his confidence for no other purpose than to convince myself, when everything had come to pass, that he was a truth-telling person. Alas! alas! where are we? Have we so far lost the feeling of our privileges, and of the goodness of our God? Is there, then, nothing for the church in all these holy revelations? for certainly it is not the church’s place to be discussing whether God, its divine Friend, has told the truth. Dear friends, we wrong the goodness and friendship of God in acting thus towards Him. As Christians, we have no need to be witnesses of an event, in order to believe what God says to be true – that His word is true.7
Characteristics of the World, and the Believer’s Portion in it (15:18-27)
Very often in John when it says that the Father sent the Son, it quickly follows that the Son came into the world; e.g. John 1:8, 9; 5:37, 43; 6:29, 33; 15:21, 22. The Spirit is very careful to guard the deity of Christ.
- …the Vine, which is Christ Himself on earth, object of all the active and watchful interest of His Father Who looks for fruit. – Kelly, William. Exposition of the Gospel of John.
- The beginning of this chapter, and that which relates to the vine, belongs to the earthly portion — to that which Jesus was on earth — to His relationship with His disciples as on the earth, and does not go beyond that position. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
- The union which is in question here is association with Him as disciples. – Darby, J.N. On the Gospel of John.
- I do not doubt that this relationship, in principle and in a general analogy, still subsists. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
- The disciples would have considered Him as the most excellent branch of the Vine; but thus He would have been only a member of Israel, whereas He was Himself the vessel, the source of blessing, according to the promises of God. The true Vine, therefore, is not Israel; quite the contrary, it is Christ in contrast with Israel, but Christ planted on earth, taking Israel’s place, as the true Vine. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
- It is not here a question of the Father’s eternal love for the Son, nor of the unchangeable love that God bears to His children, but of the path in which these should enjoy divine love. – Darby, J.N. On the Gospel of John.
- Darby, J.N. Hopes of the Church of God, Lecture 1. Collected Writings, Vol.2
- The Lord does not limit His words to the Apostles, or even to such as follow them in the public service of His name. – Kelly, William. Exposition of the Gospel of John.
- The testimony was complete; the One Who is the sum and substance, the subject and object of all Divine testimony, was there; and they had seen Him, as well as the Father in Him; and they had hated both! They, the people of God once, had nothing but sin… – Kelly, William. Exposition of the Gospel of John.