John 15, and Jesus’ final discourse to His Disciples. It’s 2 parts, and goes to the heart of our relationship with Him. The first part begins at verse 1, and ends at 17. Verses 1 thru 8 bear the unmistakable concept that Jesus wants His own to bear fruit; and that in order to bear fruit, believers must establish a deep, vibrant and vital relationship with Him. What is this fruit? It could be said to be everything that can be identified as being thoroughly Christian, but, perhaps, most specifically, it would have to do with bringing others to faith in Him. Verse 7 offers the believer hope in prayer. We can ask, and He will answer! If 1 thru 8 was of fruit, then 9 thru 17 is beyond question about Christian love for one another, and its link to our fruitfulness in verse 16. Verse 16, also, along with verse 7 previously, only serves to increase our confidence in prayer unto God!
If the first part linked our fruitfulness and relationship in Christ to our love, one for another, then verses 18 thru 25, go in the opposite direction, and speaks to our relationship to all the world without, and their hatred toward believers and Jesus. It needs to be understood and expected, and withstood; by our remaining in Christ, and loving one another! The very means of being able to do so goes right back to the Spirit, in verses 26 and 27. By means of Him, we will be able to testify of Jesus, in order to bear more fruit! Three relations are here; first our relationship with Jesus, then our relationship with our local church, and finally, our relationship to all the rest of the world around us. This is all #9, New Life in Christ instruction.
With chapter 16, we have 3 more parts. The first 4 verses really is an extension of the last part of chapter 15, and just explains that we must expect hatred and persecution, even from the religious, who are not in Christ. Verses 5 thru 16 are incredible! Jesus explicitly explains the sovereign role of the Spirit in the work of our fruit-bearing with verses 5 thru 11! And, He was to continue teaching the disciples in what Jesus wanted to instruct them in verses 12 thru 16! Chapter 16 closes with verses 17 thru 33. Verses 16 thru 22, however, are a clear allusion to #5, the Gospel and its two matters of His death and resurrection. Add verses 23 and 24 to 15:7b+16c, as they relate to our faith and confidence in prayer unto God, like Hebrews 4:16, or Ephesians 3:12 do. Of incredible help to us is verses 25 and 29+30, especially when applied to chapter 6, verses 48 thru 58. Rome is critical of Evangelicals for taking the Bible literally. Yet, the very passage they insist must be taken literally, Jesus said was figurative! The chapter closes with words of comfort and encouragement. This life here on earth will be difficult, but by establishing that deep life He first spoke of in 15:1-8, and with fellow-saints in 15:9-17, along with the comfort that will come of the Spirit seen in 14:15-21; we can know a supernatural inner peace that comes from Jesus alone! It’s all #9, New Life in Christ instruction, and… It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell