Saturday, January 4, 2014

Full of Jesus's Joy

This was the lesson from 2013-12-29. We may have covered as much as half of it.


Can we be the enemy of someone and the friend of him/her at the same time?


  • 15:1–3
  • 15:4–6
  • 15:7–8
  • 15:9–11
  • 15:12–15
  • 15:16–17
  • 15:18–20
  • 15:21–23
  • 15:24–25

The vine (1–11)

  • This chapter is not the first place in the Bible that the “vine” language shows up.
    • Isaiah 5:1–7. Here’s verses 1 & 2: “Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it ith wchoice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.”
    • In contrast to the “false” vine of Israel, Jesus is the “true vine.” (This doesn’t mean every individual Israelite was false, but the nation as a group.)
  • ASK What are the 2 kinds of branches? (Unproductive & productive)
  • ASK What happens to the unproductive branches? (v. 2: taken away; v. 6: thrown away and burned.)
    • ASK What does “burned” mean? (Eternal punishment – hell)
  • ASK What happens to the productive branches? (v. 2: pruned to bear better fruit)
    • SAY Let’s talk about pruning: Does anyone have an example of how you have been pruned, of some part of your life being taken away so that you can be more productive in something else?
  • ASK What other word do you have for “abide” (v. 4)?
    • Remain
    • Stay joined
    • Live in
    • Remain united to
    • Go on growing in
  • Each word tries to get to the idea. My idea: Stay planted in me, and just as the soil the vine is planted in becomes part of the vine, I become a part of the believer. The longer and deeper you’re planted in that soil, the more it becomes a part of you and the firmer your roots take hold of it.
  • Every analogy fails at some point. It can’t help it. SAY If you think I take this too far, call me on it.
  • ASK But now, what does “abiding in Christ” mean in practical terms?
    • Bible reading/study
    • Prayer
    • Worship
    • Service
    ASK Does Jesus single out any of these? (Bible: “my words” in v. 7)


  • ASK In v. 7, does anything worry you about “ask whatever you wish”?
  • ASK What if you ask for something God doesn’t want? Is he obligated to give it to you anyway?
    • What about James’s “You ask and you do not have because you ask wrongly”?
    • The key is abiding in Jesus and his words abiding in you. Then you are aligned with what God wants.
    • SAY Get to know God’s word.
      • Start on a Bible reading plan and don’t give up on it.
      • Memorize big chunks, not just cherry-picked verses. Ideas:
        • Psalm 139
        • Romans 5
        • 2 Corinthians 4
      • For more on the benefits of Bible memorization & meditation, see Psalm 1.
  • This abiding thing is the key to bearing fruit (v. 8)


  • SAY In v. 9, Jesus says one of the most astounding things he ever said: The Father’s love for me is like my love for you. I have a hard time comprehending the depth of that. In Chapter 17, Jesus in his prayer talks to the Father about the love the Father had for him “before the foundation of the world.” (17:24)
  • SAY And Jesus loves his own people that much.
  • ASK In v. 10, how does Jesus tell us to abide in his love? (Keep his commands)
  • ASK In v. 11, what is the result of abiding in his love? (His joy in us, filling us up)
  • ASK What does he mean when he says “My joy”? (The joy that he has) And you thought v. 9 was something.
  • ASK Which commands is he talking about? (v. 12: Love one another)

The command: Love each other

  • ASK What is the greatest love? (Lay down your life for your friend.)
  • ASK How does this work in light of Romans 6:7–8 (“when we were sinners Christ died for us”)?
    • If Jesus laid down his life for his friends
    • AND we were sinners, enemies of God (Romans 5:10)
    • How did we get changed into Jesus’s friends?

(*Extra points to anyone who points out v. 16)

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