Dear Student of the Word,
We continue our journey through John's gospel this week and look at Jesus' last words to His disciples. This week we look at Jesus famous words about bearing fruit and abiding in the Him as a branch would abide in a vine. On the fifth day of this seven-day study, which you can download below, I wrote:
v. 15 – If Jesus no longer thought of the disciples as servants but friends, then the disciples should see themselves as friends as well. The same is true for you. There may be a time of training and discipling when you are a servant and God directs you very specifically. Yet the goal isn’t for that to be perpetuated, but that you graduate to become a friend at some point in time. Jesus wants to share the Father’s business with you – the ways and things of God – and once He does and you prove your faithfulness, you can be a friend and not a slave. Does this make sense? Do you want to be a friend of God?
Friends are not ordered to do this and that. They do things out of love, not compulsion. They also do things from the heart. Are you a friend of God or a servant of God? Yes, you are both, but the ultimate goal is for you be a friend in your service to Him.
v. 16 – Jesus stated that He chose you and me to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last. There are some who see this as a statement that the Lord made only to those present at the Last Supper and that they in turn went and bore fruit all over the world. I would think that this address was given to those men on behalf of all disciples everywhere for all time. That is why the Spirit had John record this: not as a historical report but as a mandate for the future.
If that is true, then it leads to a few questions you must ask yourself:
- What is my fruit? What has God appointed me to produce?
- Where should I go? What is the sphere or world in which God wants me to bear fruit?
- Are my prayers being answered where my fruit is concerned?
- Is my work and fruit glorifying the Father?
This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:38-40).
Do you love your brothers and sisters? How can you tell that you do?
v. 18 – Jesus warned that the world, those not part of God’s family, would not love the disciples. They hated Jesus and would hate His followers. Does this hatred surprise you? It should not, for the hatred, while directed at you, is really hatred toward God! It is hard to imagine that anyone would hate our God, but they do and they take their hatred out on His saints.
As always, I welcome your comments to this week's study. You can write them or find the studies to Corinthians, Colossians, First Timothy, and Matthew's and Mark's gospels on the site where this week's entry is posted. You can also go there to sign up to receive each week's study.
Plus my website archives contains a complete collection of all my verse-by-verse Bible studies from Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, Romans, 1&2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1&2 Thessalonians, 1&2 Timothy, Hebrews, James, 1&2 Peter, Hebrews and Revelation, along with the unpublished volumes of The Faith Files.
1. GOOD NEWS FOR THE REVELATION PROJECT! Hallelujah! We reached our goal! Enough money came in to get the matching grant with a little extra left over. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your help, giving and prayers that enabled us to see this campaign come to a successful conclusion. Now I will work on cleaning up the manuscript and will try to have it published by year's end. I will keep you posted.
2. THE SOPHIA FUND UPDATE: I will be in Kenya from September 28 to October 4 and have set a time to visit the orphans and those overseeing The Sophia Fund when i am there. I am excited that the fund continues to grow. Last week about $200 came in again and I am truly grateful. You can read my latest report on The Sophia Fund here (written about three weeks ago). You can also read about my rationale for The Fund here (named after my late mother).
Now that the Revelation Project is complete, please consider a contribution of at least $5 toward the fund and hopefully more. You can use the "Chipin" widget on the Monday Memo site to contribute, or go directly to my website to contribute there through PayPal, or send a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 91099, Pittsburgh, PA 15221. Make sure you let me know it is for The Sophia Fund. Don't delay; give today and make a difference in the world.
3. DAILY PROVERB: I am now posting a short daily devotional focusing on one verse every day on my blog site. If you would like to read it or subscribe to receive it, just go to my site and register there. I promise to have it updated every day.