Sunday School Lesson March 19, 2017 Manifesting God’s Love
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Time: A.D. 30 – Place: Jerusalem
Golden Text: This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you”
Lesson Outline – I. Command to Abide
John 15:1 – I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. The grapevine is a prolific plant; a single vine bears many grapes. In the Old Testament, grapes symbolize fruitfulness. Israel never fulfilled God’s purpose for her. Jesus, therefore, calls Himself the “true vine”, the One who is productive, He and the branches are under the personal care of the Father, pictured as a husbandman, or gardener. In this chapter, Jesus dwelt with three particular subjects regarding His disciples: their relationship with Him, their relationship with other believers, and their relationship with the world.
John 15:2 – Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Jesus makes a distinction between two kinds of pruning: separating and cutting back branches. Fruitful branches are cut back to promote growth. In other words, God must sometimes discipline us to strengthen our character and faith. But branches that don’t bear fruit are cut off at the trunk because they are they worthless, they often infect the rest of the tree. Those who won’t bear fruit for God or who try to block the efforts of God’s followers will be cut off from the divine flow of life. Many are professing to be believers, but they have no life in them; they are dead branches. No plant produces fruit instantaneously; fruit is the result of a process.
John 15:3 – Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Once the fruit is on the vine, the vinedresser cleanses the fruit of bugs and diseases. The Spiritual counterpart is cleansing which is done through the Word. As we read and study the Word of God, it cleans our thoughts the mind can only be renewed by the Word of God. Jesus is not speaking about salvation at this point but what is necessary to make a Christian fruitful. To be disciples of Jesus Christ and instruments for His usage, we have to stay connected to the Vine, to dwell, to live, a continuous conscious of the presence of Jesus.
John 15:4 – Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. For the branch to produce more fruit, it must abide, which means to dwell, to stay, to settle in, to sink deeper. The way to abide in Christ is to obey. Branches cannot produce apart from being grounded in the vine neither can believers produce spiritually as the Father intends unless they stay firmly grounded in Jesus. When we try to serve in our own strength, we minister weakly and most often fail. It is one thing to teach or preach effectively in our own strength and give good information. It is another to teach and preach and reach with power into the hearts of listeners.
John 15:5 – I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. Salvation does not necessarily equal abiding. Not every believer is abiding in Jesus; it is possible to be a lukewarm Christian who fails for a time to grow deeper in love with Him or have a wholehearted desire to be obedient to Him and God’s Word. Fruit is not limited to soul-winning, fruit can be in the category of answered prayer, wisdom, knowledge, humbleness, and other characteristics of the Spirit which is the Fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, forgiving.
John 15:6 – If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If any man abides not in me, he is cast forth as a branch” is a description of the fearful state of hypocrites that are not in Christ. They are cast forth as dry and withered branches which are plucked off because they cumber the tree. It is just that those who reject Him should be rejected by Him. Those that abide not in Jesus in a little time wither and come to nothing. Those that don’t abide in Jesus Christ will be lead away in religious doctrine that will eventually lead them to hell, we’re either going live according to the Word of God, or we will reject it. If His Word is rejected, the person is rejecting God and Jesus which will make them candidates for hell.
Lesson Outline II Result of Abiding
John 15:7 – If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Jesus equated abiding in Him with abiding in His Word. Every believer who is continually abiding in the Word and in Jesus demonstrates a degree of love and obedience which marks the difference of others who are professing to be Christians. Those who are abiding have an intimate relationship with Jesus, and that is the one whose prayers are answered. Those that abide in Jesus as their heart’s delight shall have through Jesus their heart’s desire. When we have the heart of God and the mind of Jesus Christ, we will only pray according to His Word because we know His Word is His will.
John 15:8 – Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. When we live according to the Word of God, He is glorified, we will produce fruit by drawing others with loving kindness, we will exemplify our Father by shining light in the darkness. We will be an example of our Father, His DNA will be on display, and our character and behavior will be an example of whose our Father. We will not have to inform people we’re saved our presence will represent it.
John 15:9 – As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. Jesus knew the depth of His Father’s love for Him, and now He declares that His love for His disciples is of the same intensity. It is in that love that He wants His followers to abide. The Father loved Jesus as His Son, the Father was well pleased with Him, that He might be well pleased with us in Him; and loved Him, that in Him, as beloved, He might make us accepted. God and Jesus love remain constant, He has a deep love for His children who obey as well as those that are disobedient, they have His love, but they will lose their inheritance and enjoying a relationship with Him that leads to peace and contentment in their lives.
John 15:10 – If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. Jesus kept the commandments of the Father. Therefore, He’s abiding in God’s love, and His love for God’s people are unconditional, as believers we too should have unconditional love not only for the believer but the unbeliever as well. This is how we draw them with loving kindness as God did with us. As we obey the Word of God and abide in His love, the more we come to experience and understand His love for us then we too can express genuine love for each other.
John 15:11 – These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. Jesus’ command to abide was not a self-centered requirement; rather, it was the means by which His disciples would find their greatest joy. If we bring forth much fruit and continue in His love, He will continue to rejoice in them as He has done. If we want to get any one’s attention, it should be the Father, if we’re trying to make anyone happy it should be the Father and the Son. It is through them we have joy that man can’t take.
Lesson Outline – III Command to Love
John 15:12 – This my commandment , That ye love one another, as I have loved you. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are to keep His commandments to love one another as He has loved us, that love should be expressed to other no matter what situation, circumstance or issue we may be going through it should not keep us from showing love towards others.
John 15:13 – Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Jesus loved us to the point He went to the cross for us, His love was self- sacrificing love that will most effectively display the love God has for us. Just as Jesus went to the cross for us, we have a spiritual cross that crucifies us through persecution, rejection, lies and other emotional behaviors by unbelievers as well as our sisters and brothers that are in the body of Christ but this should not keep us from loving unconditional towards other. If our love is only shown in the good times then are love is not genuine.
John 15:14 – Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. A friend is a faithful they are trustworthy, one we can depend on; one we can contact at any time when we need them. When we keep the commandment of Jesus by loving unconditional, we are exemplifying His commandments through our lifestyle. Jesus is our model for love, intimacy with Him is the motive for loving as He loves. It believers obeys His command to love; they enjoy the intimacy of His friendship. Keep in mind that friendship, unlike sonship is not a once-for-all-gift, but develops as the results of obeying Jesus’ command to love.
John 15:15 – Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you friend; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Until this point, Jesus had called His disciples servants. A servant does what he is told and sees what his master does, but does not necessarily know the meaning or purpose of it. Friends know what is happening because friends develop deep fellowship by communicating with one another.
John 15:16 – Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name he may give it you. What a privilege to be chosen by Jesus. It was common for people in Jesus’ day to choose a rabbi to follow, but in the case of the disciples, Jesus initiated their position as He has also done with us. Each of us has been given a position and it’s our responsibility to carry out the work Jesus has assigned to us. Just as the disciples were chosen and given a mission, so have we been chosen with the expectation of service and spiritual production.
John 15:17 – These things I command you that ye love one another. Jesus completed the subject with a reminder that answered prayer is tied closely to obedience and abiding and that the greatest proof of our relationship with Him is love when we have love for others.