“If you keep my commands, you remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in His love.” (John 15:10 NIV)
This entire segment in the 15th chapter of John is Jesus talking, most of the 16th chapter and all of the 17th chapter which is His prayer (I’ll expound on that later). The point I’m making here is that Jesus had a great deal to say and the only way ANYONE can know that is by reading “all of His Word” and not just selected phrases that appear to justify a person’s behavior. If I was to take the time to expound on every verse noted of Jesus speaking, I’d have more to write than time to write since I probably won’t live that long. I have chosen the selections used to make a point–to refute what groups of people are saying that Jesus just said, “love” and “don’t judge.” I know when they say such things, they have no clue as to who He is or His purpose in our lives.
But getting back to His teaching–using the analogy of the vine and branches, something the disciples walking with Him, understood and so would most gardeners. It’s about relationships that grow, with correction and instruction.
v.1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.
v.2 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,
v.3 You are already clean because of the WORD I have spoken to you.
v.4 Remain in me, as I also 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.
v.5 I am the vine; you are the branches, If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; APART from me you can do nothing.
v.6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers, such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and BURNED.
v.7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
v.8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, SHOWING yourselves to be my disciples.
v.9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
Walking with Jesus–in the spirit–since He is no longer physically here walking with us–means that we demonstrate our love for Him, by keeping His commands (obeying His Word) to love God and love one another. Of course, in order for anyone to understand this, they must be in relationship with Him–accepting His love and knowing who He is and how He wants us to live.
It’s not enough to accept God’s unconditional love–if we truly love–we know that love is reciprocal–we must love Him. If we love Him, we must be willing to accept the occasional pruning, His correction, so we’ll become more like Him. If we reject His correction and instruction, we reject His love and risk missing spending eternity with Him.
I’m not a gardener, but I have rose bush in my back yard that for some reason, has a mind of its own. The branches dry out and break off and when I have the time, I cut them back to a spot where I can tell there is still life (green on the outside and pulpy on the inside). No matter how much of the branch I end up cutting off, they grow back and roses blossom. As long as I prune off the “dead” part, this rose bush will live.
When God uses His messengers–then and now–to correct people about their behavior, He’s trying to cut off the DEAD part (the rebellious part) so we can have life and blossom under His guidance. Teaching His Word in truth, not selectively distorting it, is about a love relationship–not judgment as some believe. Actually, I don’t believe they think we’re judging them, they just need something to say in an attempt to justify their opposition to living according to God’s Word. Deep down, they know–that sin is killing them on a daily basis and if they will not heed righteous instruction, they will die off and nothing will be left of them in the earth.
When people know they are wrong–they are quick to justify their actions–as we can see with lawsuits, false claims of discrimination against those who will not support a celebration of sin. And now, the great oxymoron of them all is the production of the “Queen James Bible” which removes any reference to homosexuality as a sin. If they didn’t know they were in sin, they would have had no need to “re-write” the bible. The very production of the book demonstrates they KNOW they live in sin, but they want to “feel” better about it.
People have been “adjusting” The Word for generations–so much so that not many even know which translation is right. I can tell which translation is right–THE ONE IN WHICH GOD HAS REVEALED THE TRUTH OF HIS WORD TO EVERYONE IN RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM. An experience with God, reveals who He is and how we are to live. We don’t need a book to validate us–we need to know truth to grow and bear much fruit. For the Believer, the experience with Him, leads us to insight and revelation and He’ll show us which Bible speaks Him.
If we truly love Him, we make no excuses and choose to live right because our desire is to please Him, not people or our flesh.
More about what Jesus said and why, next time.