Living and Flourishing in Christ






TITLE: Living and Flourishing in Christ

TEXT: John 15:1-17

TONE: Encouragement

TARGET: Believers

TASK: To encourage believers to abide in Christ for life, nourishment, and strength.

TRUTH: A skillet with burnt eggs will be hard to clean in the morning. An alternative to scrubbing is soaking the dish in hot water and dishwashing liquid. Letting a dish abide in the solution will allow a hard cleaning job to become a lost easier. This is what abiding does for a Christian.

TEACH: In the time of Jesus a great golden vine hung over the entrance to the Jerusalem temple. Josephus describes it: ‘The gate opening into the building was, as I said, completely overlaid with gold, as was the whole wall around it. It had, moreover, above it those golden vines, from which depended grape-clusters as tall as a man’ (Jewish War v.210–212). If the second part of Jesus’ farewell discourse was given en route from the Last Supper venue to the Garden where he was betrayed, his teaching on the true vine may have been given in the temple courtyard with the great golden vine glinting in the light of the Passover moon.[1]


I.         Jesus is the Source of Life.

a.     In the famous “Song of the Vineyard” in Isa. 5, the prophet makes the point that God carefully cultivated his vineyard (Israel) and in due time expected to collect fruit from it, but Israel yielded only bad fruit; hence, God would replace Israel with a more fruitful nation. Yet it is not the church that serves as Israel’s replacement; rather, the true vine is Jesus, who is the new Israel…It is He who embodies God’s true intentions for Israel; Jesus is the channel through whom all God’s blessings flow.[2]


b.     Jesus as the true vine signifies that He is the source of spiritual life and sustenance for His followers. Just as a vine nourishes its branches and enables them to bear fruit, believers must remain in fellowship with Jesus.


c.     Jesus presents two kinds of branches as “in” him; a fruitless branch that Father removes and a fruitful branch he prunes to be more fruitful. The fruitless branch represents/stands for the unsaved person (i.e. Judas). Throughout Scripture to be fruitless indicates the absence of divine life. Additionally, the context teaches that fruit bearing is the test of true discipleship. The life that Christ gives is to flow out of us to others. Jesus said to woman at the well, “The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”


d.     Fruit bearing is the result of faith and fellowship. John also stated in 1John 1:2-3 “the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us- that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too many have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”


e.     Abide in me means to continue in a daily personal relationship with Jesus characterized by trust, prayer, love, obedience, and joy. This is the life Jesus produces in us, the fruit we are to bear. Bearing fruit is the true test of the Christian life, the true revelation of the inner state.


Quote: If we would bear fruit, it can only come as the life and the power that work in the Vine work in us. This alone is the secret of effective service.[3] -Andrew Murray


Illustration: Psalm 1 …Jesus is the tree planted firmly by the streams of water which bears fruit in every season. Our spiritual roots run deep when we are united in Him.


Application: Cultivate a deep, ongoing relationship with Jesus to experience His power and guidance in all areas of life.




II. Jesus is the Nourishment of our Souls.

a.     As we abide in Christ, the vinedresser who represents God the Father, cares for the vineyard (believers) with love and attention. It is the vinedresser’s role to prune, cultivate, and tend to the vine to ensure its health, productivity and fruitfulness. God works in the lives of believers to shape and refine them, forming in them a life that bears abundant fruit for His glory.


b.     Pruning in a spiritual sense represents the various ways in which God works in the lives of believers to remove sin and hindrances, to correct attitudes and to refine character traits that may be inhibiting our spiritual growth or fruit-bearing capacity. Just as a gardener prunes a vine to enhance its overall productivity and health, God prunes believers by allowing them to undergo challenges, trials, or discipline meant to shape our character, increase our dependence on Him, and deepen our faith. The Father works by the Spirit through Christ to nourish our souls in Christ. The Lord’s aim is first to reveal the true inner state of man. Second, to progress the believer from bearing fruit, to more fruit, too much fruit, and ultimately abiding fruit.


c.     God’s pruning knife is His Word, “sharper than any two-edged sword, a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Christ says: “Ye are clean through the word I have spoken to you.” [4]


Quote: In the whole parable Christ does not speak of anything that the Husbandman seeks or does, but this one thing—He seeks more fruit, and directs His pruning or cleansing to this one end.[5] -Andrew Murray


Illustration:  Imagine a tall, majestic oak tree standing in a peaceful forest. Over the years, this tree had grown thick branches that stretch out in all directions, creating a dense canopy of leaves. However, some of these branches have become weak and burdened with dead weight, hindering the tree’s ability to thrive.


One day, a skilled arborist comes to the forest and carefully inspects the oak tree, with a sharp pruning saw, the arborist begins to remove the dead branches, cutting away the unnecessary weight and allowing the tree to redirect its energy towards healthy growth. As the dead branches fall away, the oak tree appears lighter and more radiant, its true beauty shining through.


Application: Embrace seasons of pruning as opportunities for spiritual growth and transformation.



III.            Jesus is the Strength of our Walk.

a.     By saying, apart from me you can do nothing, Jesus places emphasis on the truth that without Him, believers are unable to bear fruit or accomplish anything of lasting value in their own strength. He is the source of spiritual life, growth, and strength for believers, and apart from Him, our efforts are futile.


b.     What is it specifically that we cannot do apart from Him? Bearing fruit. When Jesus spoke about believers bearing fruit, He was referring to the spiritual results, the outward manifestations of a person’s faith. In the context of the metaphor of the vine and the branches in John 15, bearing fruit symbolizes living a life that reflects the character of Christ. The fruit includes traits such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It also encompasses acts of service, sharing the gospel, and making disciples.


c.     Throughout, Jesus commands His followers to abide and to obey His commandments. He said, if you keep my commandments you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love….This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.


d.    Bearing fruit is not about performance or trying to earn salvation, but rather about allowing the life of Christ to flow through believers and impact the world around them. Ultimately, fruit bearing is the natural outcome of abiding in Christ, as believers draw their strength, wisdom, and guidance from Him. When we are connected to the source of life and power, we are empowered to bear fruit that glorifies God and enriches the lives of others. As our life is the manifestation of the hidden life of the Vine.


Quote: And this spirit we cannot have by any imitation or effort, but only by receiving it fresh from Himself every morning and all the day. An intense devotion to God and an entire yielding up of ourselves to His service for men, and giving up of our life to live, and love, and die for men, as Jesus did[6] -Andrew Murray


Illustration: We would never go without our phones; this is why we are always charging them. We must stay plugged into Christ if we are going to be fully charged.


Application: Prioritize prayer as a means of finding strength and growing closer to Him.


IV.           Jesus is the Friend of Sinners.

a.     My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. This is the fruit that Jesus empowers His disciples to bear, a deep sacrificial and selfless love toward one another. This reflects the essence of Christian living.


b.     Jesus illustrates by stating Greater love has no one this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Demonstrating the depth of love Jesus has for His followers. Jesus also elevates His disciples by calling them friends. He shares His teachings and insights with them, inviting them into a closer, more intimate connection. In the OT, only Abraham and Moses are called friends of God (Ex. 33:11; Isa. 41:8). Jesus extends this privilege to all obedient believers.  


c.     Jesus also reminds His disciples that He chose them for a purpose, You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit. All disciples of Jesus throughout the ages are both chosen and appointed to bear fruit.


d.    “The knowledge that we have been “appointed” to bear fruit is a mighty power; but there is something deeper. Christ points to the Divine origin of our calling to bear fruit. It might have been that we had chosen Him as Lord, and offered ourselves for His service. The appointment would then have had its rise in our will. But no—“Ye did not choose Me, but I chose you.” As little as a branch chooses the vine on which it grows, did we first seek or choose Christ. As each vine brings forth and sets the branch in the place it chooses, so each branch in Christ has become such in virtue of His election. To believe this with our whole heart, to allow the Holy Spirit to work this faith into our inmost being, is of more practical consequence for the Christian life than we think.”[7]


Quote: Whether in God, or in Christ, or in us, the Divine life is love to men. This is the life-sap of the True Vine, the spirit that was in Christ Jesus.[8] -John Murray


Application: Show your love for Jesus by walking in obedience to His Word and displaying His love to others.




1.  Bear Fruit that Abides.

2. Pray Prayers that Prevail.


The abiding was to bring the double blessing—power to bear much fruit, power to prevail in prayer.[9]


TIE-UP: The planet Mercury is hot. Pluto is cold. Why is Pluto cold and Mercury hot? Mercury is really close to the sin and Pluto is a long way off. The farther you get away, the colder things become, but the closer you get, the hotter the things are. You may say that you are not a Pluto Christian or a Mercury Christian. Maybe you are an Earth Christian where things get hot and cold. You may be a seasonal Christian who has changes depending on whether it is wintertime, summer time, spring-time or fall. God is looking for some Mercury Christians. He is looking for some folks who want to get close and stay hot all the time because they stay close to the SON.[10]










[1] Colin G. Kruse, John: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 4, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 310.


[2] Andreas J. Kostenberger, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: John (Grand Rapids:  Baker Academic, 2004), 448.


[3] Andrew Murray, The Fruit of the Vine (New York; Boston: Thomas Y. Crowell & Company, 1898), 7.

[4] Ibid, 29.


[5]Ibid, 20.

[6] Andrew Murray, The Fruit of the Vine (New York; Boston: Thomas Y. Crowell & Company, 1898), 8.


[7] Ibid, 38–39.


[8] Ibid, 7.


[9] Ibid, 44.




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