John 15

1 Jesus is the true vine -- the original and only source for spiritual truth. There are counterfeits, and there are other vines, but they will not allow people to bear the kind of fruit that God desires. People choose which vine to attach themselves to, so each one of us must choose carefully. On Judgement Day, only those branches attached to Jesus will survive.

God is the gardener who tends and nurtures the branches.

2 Thinning and pruning are still done today in modern agriculture to maximize fruit production.

This does not appear to be a picture of Judgement Day. This is a picture of spiritual dependence, that begins in this lifetime. Those who reject God are cut from the vine. Their soul can do nothing but wither and die. During their lives, they may do things that are considered "good works," but to God, they have no value.

Those who accept God and depend on Jesus for their spiritual life are able to produce the kind of fruit (faith and good works) that please God. As we endure the spiritual adversity of the times (the pruning), we learn to depend more on Jesus, and we have more opportunities to do good works.

3 The disciples were already saved because of their belief. Their continued relationship with Jesus would lead to fruitful lives that please God.
4 The disciples had already been saved by their faith in Jesus. To continue in that faith they must consciously "live" in Him. In addition, Jesus lives within the believer, which indicates the firm and deep relationship between the two.
5 If a Christian tries to do something to please God in his own power he will fail. When we depend on Jesus, we can not help but do things that make God happy.
6 On Judgement day, those people who rejected Jesus will be destroyed by fire.
7 The popular concept of prayer in the world is to ask God to give us things that will satisfy our selfish desires. Jesus is not speaking of that kind of prayer. When the Christian lives in Jesus, he desires the things that God wants. The Christian will pray without selfish motives for the betterment of others. For ourselves it is right to ask for a closer relationship with Him, more love for others, and the strength and understanding to do what is right.
8 God is the gardener, and He is glad when the branches He has carefully tended produce good fruit.
9 God loves Jesus with a perfect love, and Jesus invites us to share in that love.
10 In their perfect relationship, Jesus submits to the Father because of the structure within the Godhead. As Christians, we should expect to submit to Jesus because He is our Savior and God. Jesus came to earth to teach us the truth. Those who love God will listen and obey the words of Jesus.
11 We often recognize joy as a display of extreme happiness. The joy that Jesus gives us in not merely external, but permeates the spirit and attitude. What's more, this joy is permanent because we know that the work that Jesus did for us will last forever. It is not governed by the outside world where emotions ebb and flow with circumstances.

Jesus has joy when we obey His commands because this restores our relationship with Him and saves us from destruction.

12 This command is an all-inclusive command. When we love someone perfectly, we do not want to harm or steal from that person. Instead, we want to care for them, insure their safety, help them to prosper, and encourage them to follow God. Jesus gave everything and endured everything that we might come to know God. Christians should do the same. True love is selfless and unconditional.
13 The greatest expression of love one person can give is to sacrifice his life so that others who would have died would instead live. There are several dramatic examples of this, such as a story of a soldier who jumps on a grenade to save the lives of others nearby. Jesus willingly gave up His life on the cross so we would not have to suffer the ultimate penalty for sin.
14 Just as a soldier who is friends with his commanding officer would be careful to obey every order, we too should willingly obey Jesus.
15 A servant may obey his master but have no further relationship with him. Christians, however, have a personal relationship with Jesus. This friendship allows us to see and participate in God's greatest work: saving men from the penalty of sin.
16 Jesus specifically chose these disciples to carry out the immense task of telling others the Good News of Jesus. Their "fruit" would be the people who came to believe their testimony. By extension, Christians still carry on this mission.
17 Jesus repeats this command because of its critical nature. Love is what holds Christians together, it is what holds us to God, and it is what draws others to God.
18 Being good Christians and law-abiding citizens does not mean that the world will accept us. The world does not acknowledge or love God and therefore rejects those who follow Him.
19 The world often displays the attitude, "if you are not with us, you are against us." When we are devoted to God, we can not be devoted to the world or promote worldly philosophies. The world feels threatened by Christians because they do not know or understand God. When someone feels threatened, he will avoid, decry, or even react violently to the other. We, on the other hand, are not to react that way to the world. We are to continue to love them in the hopes that some of them may join God's side and have eternal life in Him.
20 A country is often represented by ambassadors. If one country despises another, the ambassador is often the first to feel the consequences. The other country may be "untouchable," but the ambassador is easy to find. This does not mean we are to flee, since our positions as ambassadors compel us to continue to call for peace. In spiritual terms, the only way peace with God is possible is if people believe and submit to Him.
21 We can not expect rational behavior when insecure people lash out against things they do not understand. Others will mistakenly think they can strike a blow against God by mistreating Christians. If they knew God, they would see that such actions are futile. If they really understood God's power and love, they would want to be with Him too. Since Christians are God's representatives, we must be the best examples we can be so that people will understand God.
22 If God had never spoken to people, there would have been no sin, since no one would have known how to please or displease God. However, at the very beginning God gave Adam and Eve a choice to love and obey Him. They chose not to obey Him and the whole universe has suffered the consequences. Since that time, God has pleaded with people to restore relationships with Him. Jesus came to provide the clearest message and the proper path of faith to restore this relationship. If people hear the message and refuse to believe it, then there is no excuse. God could not do any more for us than what Jesus' death and resurrection accomplished.
23 It is absolutely clear that one can not claim to love God and yet hate Jesus.
24 People from Jesus' time on would not be able to claim ignorance. Jesus has provided the best evidence in the form of miracles, teachings, sacrifice, resurrection, and salvation for people. These evidences are indisputable proof that Jesus and the Father are the same Being. To hate one is to hate the other.
25 God is good and does only those things that will help people, whom He loves. It was people, encouraged by Satan, who rebelled against what was good and consequently brought evil into the world. Ironically, though, many people continue to reject the only source of goodness, God, even while they claim they prefer goodness to evil. Worldly people continue to look for goodness in themselves and in the world, but the search is futile because they reject the only source of goodness, God.
26 When Jesus returns to the Father, He will send the Holy Spirit, who will continue to testify on Jesus' behalf.
27 With the assistance of the Holy Spirit, the disciples would be able to tell others what they had seen in an effective manner. They were not to witness by their own power, but by the power of God. Each Christian today has had his own experience with God. He too must rely on the Holy Spirit to help him share his experience with others. The hope is that others might seek and find God for themselves. This not only saves people from eternal misery, but it glorifies God. These are the Christian's primary motives.