I Am The True Vine – Part 4

John 15:1-11 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 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. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.


What started out as a single sermon (in my mind) is now on part four, spread out over six weeks. While it was not exactly the route I imagined, it has been good for my soul to have more time to marinate in the awesome truths and blessings of this passage. I hope the Lord has encouraged you in a similar way.

With that, welcome to the final sermon on John 15:1-11. We’ll do a brief review and then look at the last five blessings that belong to those who are united to Jesus.

The big idea of this passage is that the Christian life is about being united to and abiding in Jesus in such a way that His mind, heart, and actions flow freely out of us, and all according to the superintending grace of God. The main takeaways are to pray in faith, actively abide in God’s Word and love, and to seek fullness of joy in Jesus.

Let’s pray.


If you’re just joining us, or if you’ve forgotten where we are in light of the two weeks we’ve been away from the passage because of mission week, you should know that we’ve already considered the first six verses of this passage. In them we saw that Jesus is using the metaphor of a vineyard to describe the relationship between God the Father, Him, and His followers. The Father is vinedresser, Jesus is the true vine, and we, Jesus’ followers, are the branches. In addition, we considered eight of thirteen blessings that Jesus come to branches connected to the vine.

In simplest terms, regarding the Father as vinedresser, the key idea is that God graciously superintends our spiritual lives from beginning to end in perfect wisdom, power, and goodness. Regarding Jesus as the true vine, it is through Him, through abiding in Him, that all spiritual life and fruit comes. And regarding God’s people as branches, we saw that our primary responsibility, perfect hope, and great blessing is to come to and remain in Jesus.


With all of that, I’m going to name the first eight blessings of remaining in Jesus that we’ve already considered and then turn to v.7 for the remaining five. Again, for those of you who are trusting in Jesus, as you hear me read these blessings, remember that they are yours. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you live more fully in light of them—to help you abide in them. And for those of you who are not hoping in Jesus, know that the very fact you are hearing them right now means that God is offering these things to you (and much more) if you will turn to Jesus in faith.

  1. God protects us. Fruitless branches are cut off, protecting God’s people from harm (2, 6).
  2. God prunes us for greater fruitfulness (2).
  3. We have received the Word of Jesus (3).
  4. We have been made clean by the Word of Jesus (3).
  5. We abide in Jesus, and Jesus abides in us (4).
  6. We bear good fruit (4).
  7. We bear much good fruit (5).
  8. We can do things. This is a blessing because apart from Jesus we can do nothing (5).

And now, again, let’s turn our attention to v.7 where we’ll see the ninth blessing for those who are in Jesus.

9. Jesus will answer our prayers (7).

7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

I hope this verse draws your mind back to 14:13-14, “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” In that passage, the precondition for answered prayer is asking in Jesus’ name. In this passage, it is abiding in Jesus and having His words abide in us. I encourage you to look back to that sermon for a fuller explanation of the manner in which Jesus does “whatever we ask in His name” and “whatever [we] wish.

For our purposes here, the main points are that (1) asking for something in Jesus’ name and abiding in Jesus are inseparably connected and (2) likewise, abiding in Jesus and abiding in His word are inseparable. It’s when both of these points are combined that we receive the blessing of having our prayers answered. In order that we might get the most out of this blessing, let’s consider each of these two points.

First, in my sermon on 14:13-14 I noted that “To ask for something in Jesus’ name is not to think of ‘Jesus’ as the magic word or secret password to unlock the power of prayer. It is not the proverbial rubbing of the lamp to get the genie to come out of the bottle…Instead, to ask for something in Jesus’ name is to ask for His sake. It is to ask as if He were asking for it. It is to ask for the things He wants. It is to ask for His purposes. It is to surrender our own will and desires to His. It is to ask in complete confidence that He alone is mighty to answer.”

Similarly, in my sermon on 15:5 I said, “The heart of what it means to abide in Jesus is to gladly acknowledge in every aspect of our lives—every thought, feeling, action, interaction, inclination, observation, and evaluation—that we are entirely dependent on Jesus. Abiding in Jesus begins with knowing and feeling deep in our bones that Jesus is King, Jesus is the life, Jesus is the way, Jesus is the truth, Jesus is supreme. To abide in Him means understanding, believing, loving, and whole-heartedly orienting ourselves around the simple and glorious fact that it is in Jesus that we live and move and have our being.” In other words, abiding in Jesus is the result of truly believing that we are united to Jesus through faith.

When we combine these two ideas (what it means to ask for something in Jesus’ name and what it means to abide in Him) we can see that we will never ask for something in Jesus’ name if we do not first abide in Him. If we aren’t actively seeking to orient every aspect of our lives around that fact that Jesus is life (abiding in Him), then we will not want Jesus’ will to be done in every aspect of our lives (praying in Jesus’ name). In that way asking for something in Jesus’ name and abiding in Him are inseparably linked.

Receive the blessing of abiding in Jesus and fight to live in it, therefore, Grace Church, in order that you might truly ask for things in His name, in order that you might ask whatever you wish and have it done for you.

And second, abiding in Jesus’ Word, means gladly acknowledging the entirely unique authority, inerrancy, clarity, necessity, and sufficiency of Jesus’ Word. It means acknowledging that it is only through Jesus’ Word that we can have a right understanding of God, His will, His creation, His story, and ourselves. It means understanding and accepting its teaching, believing its promises, and obeying its commands. It means making sense of all things by looking at them through the lens of Jesus Word. Abiding in Jesus’ Word means longing and loving to read our Bibles and being nourished by them in ways that nothing else can. It means learning to taste the unparalleled sweetness of the Word of Jesus, sweeter even than honey (Psalm 119:103).

Again, in this we can see that abiding in Jesus and abiding in His Word are inseparable. We cannot abide in Jesus apart from abiding in His Word, for we do not know what it means to abide in Jesus apart from His Word. And if we do not abide in His Word, we will not, indeed cannot, abide in Him.

Abide in His Word, therefore, Grace Church, in order that you might abide in Him, in order that you might ask for things in His name, in order that your you might ask for whatever you wish and have it done for you.

Abiding in Jesus Word in this way requires help. God has designed it that way. The three groups of people most responsible to teach you what it means to abide in Jesus’ Word are parents, elders, and the church.

God commands parents to train up their children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6), to teach them God’s Word at all times (Deuteronomy 6), and to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).

In similar fashion, God commands elders to teach His Word to His people (1 Timothy 3:2), to preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:2-3), and to feed His people with the Word (John 21).

And God commands the Church—fellow Christians—to spur one another on in the Word of Christ (Ephesians. 4:15; Colossians 3:16).

Parents, dads especially, help your kids develop the discipline of reading their Bibles and teach them to understand it so they might abide in it. Kids, make it easy for your parents to teach you the Word of Jesus. Listen carefully, sit still, ask questions, remind them gently if they forget.

Adults, come to Berea and bring your kids to Sunday school. Listen carefully to the sermon each week, and teach your kids to do the same. Take notes. Focus on application. Be ready to discuss it in DG. Don’t make decisions apart from understanding the biblical principles God has given to guide you in it. Admonish and encourage one another with the Word of Jesus. Talk regularly about what you are learning and how it is turning you to God in worship and obedience and to the world in love.

And then, out of all of that, out of abiding and teaching others to abide in Jesus’ Word, and have them abide in you, turn together to God in prayer if complete confidence that as we do, He will hear and answer.

One more time (follow this chain of events), as you grow to accept the blessing of abiding in Jesus’ Word, you will inevitably grow to accept the blessing of abiding in Jesus. And as you are drawn to abide in Jesus, you will inevitably turn to God in prayer, asking for Him to glorify His name and for His will to be done. And as you do that, you will receive the blessing of receiving “whatever you wish” (which is, more importantly, what Jesus wishes for). And that is the ninth blessing of being united to Jesus.

10. We glorify God (8).

8 By this my Father is glorified…

The tenth blessing that belongs to all who are united to Jesus is nothing short of the fulfillment of the very purpose for which we have been made: glorifying God. We’ll see in just a minute that there’s a specific way that being united to Jesus leads to the blessing of glorifying God, but it’s right to slow down for a moment and acknowledge the awesome reality that’s here.

Have you ever really, really wanted something that seemed to be perpetually out of your reach—maybe a spouse or a promotion or a golf score or entrance into a certain college or some larger purchase or the healing or salvation of someone you love? If so, you know how frustrating that can be. How sweet would it be, therefore, if someone told you how to get that thing? That’s the heart of this blessing.

We are born dead in our trespasses and sins. We are born sinful by nature and, therefore, we quickly turn to sin by choice. We reject God as God. We are enemies of God. Therefore, even though God is infinitely and eternally glorious, our sin keeps us from seeing and believing that. Instead, we despise His glory. Instead of delighting in it as supremely valuable, God’s glory seems foolish and ugly to us. And because of that we cannot do the very thing we were created to do—glorify God and enjoy Him forever. It is out of our reach.

Therefore, the promise of Jesus that we can glorify God, that we can fulfill the purpose for which we were made, is a blessing indeed!

Would you take some time to thank God for this greatest of blessings? Would you consider the magnitude of the blessing it is that by being united to Jesus, God is glorified in us?

11. The next blessing that belongs to those who are united to Jesus is bearing much fruit (as we’ve already seen) and therein (the new part) proving ourselves true disciples of Jesus (8).

8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

One of the most significant ways (there are others, like loving one another and dwelling together in unity) that we can prove to ourselves that our faith is genuine (that we are not unbelieving believers), and prove to the watching world that Jesus is who He said He is, is by bearing much fruit. And as we do, we glorify God.

Let me say that in a slightly different way. I had a friend in middle school who claimed to be related to Miss Michigan. She wasn’t known for lying or exaggerating, but I was initially skeptical. What could she do to prove it? She brought me in a picture signed and personalized for me. In that she proved that she really was the sister-in-law of Michigan pageant royalty.

But how do we prove that we are true disciples of Jesus (to ourselves and others)? The answer is the blessing: we hold fast to Jesus, to His word, and in that think as Jesus thought, feel as He felt, talk as He talked, live as He lived, seek the things He sought, and take on the character He possessed (that’s the heart of what it means to bear much fruit).

As we see these things coming out of us in increasing measure, we glorify God by manifesting His character and we grow in our confidence that we really are in Jesus. Another name for this blessing is assurance of salvation. It is only the Holy Spirit that can bear the fruit of the character of Jesus in us. The Spirit only bears that fruit in those who are in Jesus. Therefore, where we find the character of Jesus growing in, we prove that we really are Jesus disciples. No fruit over time, no assurance/no proof of salvation, and not glory to God. Increasing fruit over time, assurance/proof of salvation, and glory to God.

In a similar way, the watching world can hear our gospel claims, but what is the proof that it really is the power of God to save? Again, the answer is our transformed lives. Would anyone who knew you before claiming to be a Christian be shocked by how much differently you think, talk, and live now? If so, it’s because you are bearing the kind of fruit Jesus was talking about in v.8, you are glorifying God, and in those things you are proving to them that the gospel is true and powerful.

And so, once again, like every aspect of abiding in Jesus, this is first an indicative and then an imperative. It is first who we are and then it is what we do. It is a statement of fact and then it is a call to act. It is passively received and then it is actively achieved.

Jesus bears much fruit in us, which glorifies God and proves that we really are in Him. And we fight and strive and strain to walk in righteousness, to put off sin, to share the gospel with unbelievers in truth and love, and determine to praise God for His greatness and majesty…and all of that is a blessing from Jesus for all who abide in Him.

Becoming more like Jesus, sharing that with the world, and glorifying God through those things is the blessing.

12. We get to abide in Jesus’ love (9-10).

There are two more blessings from this passage that we’ll consider this morning. The first (which is the twelfth overall) is that those united to Jesus have His love and ought to abide in it. There are two keys to this blessing. First, we need to grasp the nature of Jesus love (v.9) and second, we need to learn what it means to abide in it (10).

The love of Jesus is an inherent aspect of being united to Jesus. If we are united to Jesus, He loves us. That’s the heart of v.9.

9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you…

So what’s the nature of Jesus love for those who are in Him? It is the same (in many ways) as the Father’s love for Him. Rightly understood, that ought to take our breath away. Just imagine the love that God the Father has had for His Son—infinite, eternal, perfect love. And now, imagine that Jesus loves us in much the same way.

Jesus loves (ongoing) and has loved (perfectly completed) all of His people. His full love for us was completed on the cross and the implications of that carry on into eternity.

Grace, please listen carefully to this. If you are trusting in Jesus, He loves you. His love for you never waivers, as the Father’s love for Him never waivers. In your sin, in your sorrow, in your sickness, in your doubt, in your loneliness, in your best efforts, and in your most righteous acts alike, Jesus’ love for you remains perfect and complete. There’s nothing you can do to alter, change, or lose Jesus’ love for you any more than Jesus could alter, change, or lose the love of God. Your experience of that love might vary, but the fact of it never does. What a blessing indeed.

But what does it mean to abide in His love? The end of v.9 and v.10 give us a significant part of the answer. V.9 ends with a command to abide in the love of Jesus. V.10 tells us what that means.

Before we consider that, however, let me say one quick thing. As I hope you’ve seen, the heart of what it means to abide in anything (whether in Jesus, His Word, His love, or something else entirely) is to understand, believe, and be drawn to it such that it shapes who you are and how you live in every way. We can abide in our hobbies or our relationships or our struggles or in anything else—in that we can be shaped and molded by them; in that we can live out of them. To be a Christian, however, is to abide in the things of God. And that, again, is to believe God’s Word, to love Him with all we have, and, as we’re about to see to live according to His commands. With that, consider vs.9-10 with me.

9…Abide in my love. 10 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.

The essence of abiding in Jesus’ love according to this passage is keeping His commandments. This too we saw earlier (14:15-21). The heart and proof of Jesus abiding in the Father’s love was His perfect obedience to the Father. Again, in the same way, the heart and proof of our abiding in Jesus’ love is our obedience to Him.

We don’t tend to link obedience and love, but that is ordinarily because we’ve bought into the lie that love is mere emotion, sentimentality, passion. As I hope you’ve heard many times at Grace, a more biblical definition of love is certainly not emotionless, but it is also truthful. Biblical love is the affectionate pursuit of that which is best for someone. And the familiar key is that Jesus only commands that which is best—best for Him, for us, and for the world around us.

With that definition, I hope it’s easy for you to understand how abiding in Jesus’ love is obeying His commands. And so we seek His commands together, we are careful to understand what they mean, and then we prayerfully and eagerly help one another obey in the knowledge that as we do, we are abiding in Jesus’ love.

What would your life look like if you really believed that? Kids, you too; what would change in your life if you were able to better connect love and obedience? It’s not fully loving if it isn’t filled with affection, but it isn’t loving at all if it’s entirely disconnected from obeying Jesus’ commands.

What a blessing it is, therefore, that Jesus has given us commands! And what a blessing it is that one of His commands is to teach the world to obey all His commands, which is just another way of calling the world to abide in Jesus’ love! How’s that for a perspective on missions?!

The twelfth blessing of remaining in Jesus is that we get to abide in Jesus’ love, which is, in large measure, to obey His commands as He obeyed the Father’s commands. And glory to God that the Father loved us such that He commanded Jesus to die for our failure to obey His commands so we could obey His commands and abide in His love.

13. We get Jesus’ joy (11).

Finally, those who remain (abide) in Jesus will have the awesome blessing of Jesus’ joy.

11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you…”

One thing that’s common to all mankind is our ultimate motivation. There are a number of ways to say it, but all people everywhere do what we do to maximize our joy. More often than not, we are confused about what that means and how to get it, but the motivation is the same.

Perhaps the most famous version of this comes from Blaise Pascal who wrote (Pensees, 425), “”All men seek happiness (or joy). This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.”

Again, the only question is where we will seek it.

Of all the joys we might long for, Jesus’ joy, rightly understood, will always be at the top. Jesus’ joy, of course, is far, far above all the forms of counterfeit, sinful, match-like (quick to flame and flame out) joy that we so often pursue. But Jesus’ joy is also far above food joy, sports joy, relationship joy, friendship joy, sexual joy, success joy, book joy, shopping joy, religious joy or any other righteous joy.

The thing that we often miss to our great detriment is that the joy of Jesus is the only true and satisfying joy. And He has promised to bless us with it as we abide in Him, His word, and His love. The end of our v.11 makes that clear and it explains why: because Jesus’ joy alone is full joy!

11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

All of the other blessings lead, ultimately, to this blessing—fullness of joy in Jesus. This is the great end and highest blessing of God—eternal, everlasting, complete joy in unbroken, unending, fellowship with God and all the saints.

Grace, receive this blessing! Receive it by repenting of chasing your joy in places it cannot be found and receive it by looking to Jesus as He has commanded. When you do His promise is sure. You will know true joy, beginning now and building unto eternity.


If we are united to Jesus by grace, through faith, God protects us (2, 6), God prunes us for greater fruitfulness (2), we have received the Word of Jesus (3), we have been made clean by the Word of Jesus (3), we abide in Jesus, and Jesus abides in us (4), we bear good fruit (4), we bear much good fruit (5), we can do things (5), Jesus will answer our prayers (7), we glorify God (8), we glorify God and prove ourselves true disciples of Jesus (8), we get to abide in Jesus’ love (9-10), and we get Jesus’ full joy (11).

All of this is through Jesus and sovereignly and graciously superintended by God the Father. Receive these blessings, Grace Church. They are yours now and forever if you will trust in Jesus.