Why Jesus Said, “Keeping His Commands Shows Our Love For Him!”

“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.

John 15:1-9

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.

Being Fruitful!

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.” (John 15:4 NLT)

Sometimes, The Word–all by itself–convicts us to the very core of our being. This entire chapter tells us everything we need to know about how our relationship with God works.

It is not enough to come to the cross and allow the blood of Jesus to wash us cleaner than snow; we have to remain there, soaking it up, always remembering the sacrifice He made. When we remain–staying put–in the arc of safety He provides, then we will be able to produce good fruit–help develop other believers by what they hear us say.

Whenever we get off track–attempting to promote our own version of the Gospel–God then prunes us, cuts off the dead leaves and branches that are no longer productive, so that the healthy part of us can thrive and we can bring others into the glorious light of Jesus Christ.

This is why we must speak God’s Truth and not our own.

This has never been made clearer to me than when I moved into a new house. There was a rose bush that had been tended by the previous owner, but it was being neglected. Since I am not overly fond of gardening, I simply cut back all the dead branches, thinking that would be the end of it. Within a few weeks, green growth sprouted and rosebuds appeared. Every time I cut off the old, spotted leaves, new ones grew. And even though, I keep thinking that bush is going to die, whenever it is pruned, it thrives.

I thank God for His constant pruning  in my life–cutting away all the dead stuff that does not work or bring Him glory–and keeping me from receiving new insight from Him, giving me more to share with others that they, too can walk in the light and receive His many blessings.

Whenever new people start following my blog, I give thanks. I don’t always know why they are following me, but I do know that I will keep promoting The Gospel and sharing what God gives to me. So, the fruit that is being developed–is the act of someone deciding to follow me on social media and hopefully, they are developing a relationship with God and allowing Him to prune them, so they will also grow and be fruitful.

Lord Jesus, I thank You daily for speaking to my heart and allowing me to share what You give me. Bless all those who follow me as I follow You and create in them a heart to want to be pruned, so we may thrive to Your glory, producing more and more fruit!

Different Kinds of Trees!

“Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit” (Matthew 7:17 NIV).

There are different kinds of fruit, different kinds of vegetables, different kinds of flowers and different kinds of trees. Good trees–those who are nourished and get all they need to produce good fruit, usually produces good fruit. Bad trees–those who lack appropriate care and nourishment, water, sunlight, pruning, and watching, may produce withered, dried out fruit, abnormal sized fruit, or no fruit at all.

Every thing that grows–including people–need appropriate nourishment, pruning, and watching. We need the love of parents who know how to be parents. We need appropriate environments in which our health will not be impaired or our growth stunted. And we need pruning–the cutting away of all the stuff that will not help us mature as reasonable human beings. It is the pruning that most dislike and rebel against.

The Word of God prunes–reveals to us all that is hurtful to our growth and cuts it away to make room for healthier thoughts, ideas, and actions. Those who rebel against the Word, hold onto all the stuff that hinders growth and maturity and then they get mad at the world because they do dumb stuff and wonder why they can never get anywhere. These are the bad trees.

The good trees–patiently endure the scraping and cutting away of all those things that will hinder growth and they get a chance to see the abundance of productivity that results as the cutting away of the old and making room for the new. They will usually have a harvest of growth that leads to production of other harvests. One plants, one waters, and God gives the increase.

I recently watched a neighbor prune branches of one of his peach trees and cut off those that were not producing edible fruit. Last year, they only grew to the size of a walnut. At the beginning of this spring, only a few leaves blossomed. After his pruning away all the “dead” stuff, leaves are all over the place and I’m sure, the peaces will be much bigger, producing good fruit.

Now, considering all that was said, which kind of tree of are you?

Lord Jesus, help us to endure the pruning and cutting away of all the dead stuff in us, making room for the new growth so we can be productive in every area of our lives, to Your glory!

 

Just Stay Put!

“…If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear (produce) much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NIVb)

John’s revelation of the person and personality of Christ is rich and draws most people in like the warm sunshine. He shows us how Jesus relates to each of us on a very personal level, as He did those disciples travelling with Him.

He is the vine from which all fruit (gain/wealth/people) is produced.  When the branches of a rosebush are pruned, the roses will bloom in what appeared to be a barren, unproductive spot. When God prunes us, cutting away all the dead stuff in our lives and removes it (and people), we have an opportunity to blossom when most would have given up on us.  The problem for most of us is that pruning hurts and we tend to move away from anything that hurts us.

When we are confronted with truth about the things we do, some will run and hide or go find someone (another church) that will condone our wrongdoing.  Dead things do not grow and when we continue to pile on “death” we eventually stink and rot away and nothing will grow in the midst of the deadness.

When we hear truth, we need to stay put and allow the pruning process to work in our lives, cutting away all that we do not need. If we don’t, our lives become worthless and like the unproductive branch that is cut off and burned, so do our lives–we do it to ourselves.

Stay in position with Christ–withstand the correction and enjoy the fruit of your labors with all of His many benefits.  There is no place to hide from God, “for His eyes are in every place, seeing the good and the evil.” With Him, we can accomplish much, without Him, we can do absolutely nothing worthy of pleasing Him. Stay in The Word and allow The Word to stay in you!