Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin
April 5, 2019
There are Three Persons involved in John 15.
Vinedresser = God the Father
Vine = our Lord Jesus Christ
Branches = believers of the Church-age.
With these individuals working hard together to accomplish and fulfill the plan of God in a unique way, there is the ultimate manifestation of the glory of God revealed in the souls of man.
When believers fulfill the plan of God in the dispensation of the Church-age, they become like our Lord in a way that He did which is to “walk by means of love.”
Main Goal = the challenge to produce divine good and not human good or “legitimate Christian service” which is acceptable to God as it is found in the vine and the branch metaphor of Joh 15:1-8.
Bearing fruit is one of the main functions of the mature believers who love God and desire to please Him.
One of the main principles that our Lord is emphasizing is the importance of relationships and intimacy.
Our confidence is said to be “in Christ;” PHI 1:26 so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.
”in Christ,” there is encouragement in Christ, Phi 2:1.
Throughout this passage the apostle John uses the vine, the vinedresser and the branches as a metaphor to represent the relationship of the believer with the Lord Jesus Christ.
A metaphor is a figure of speech in which one thing is likened to another for the sake of understanding what is said in an easy way.
A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.
"her poetry depends on suggestion and metaphor."
Here we have the vine and the branches used as a metaphor to represent the unity between the Lord Jesus Christ and the Church-age believer.
The vinedresser metaphor refers to God the Father as the author of the Predesigned Plan of God.
The vine metaphor refers to the humanity of Jesus during the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union.
The branch metaphor is the basis for the production of divine good or fruit-bearing.
Fruit through the branch is a symbol of the Church-age believer producing fruit.
The obvious principle; No fruit or production can be any better than the vine which produces it.
Because of positional sanctification, our union with the Lord Jesus Christ plus the grace provision of God, it is possible for the believer to produce divine good.
The vine metaphor emphasizes the fact that all precedence and all production of divine good in the Church-age comes from the vine - our Lord Jesus.
"in me" is a reference to the believer in Union with the Lord Jesus Christ; Col 1:24-30.
We are the branches in Union with the vine, the Lord Jesus Christ.
"dead branches" representing dead works on the part of the believer or the production skills minus Spiritual skills.
When we see this phrase, production skills minus spiritual skills, it means that we know what we should be doing as far as our production skills are concerned, but the average believer lacks the spiritual skills needed to fulfill the production skills.
They are three of the following principles of doctrine:
1. Two Power Options.
2. Three Spiritual Skills.
3. Four Spiritual Mechanics.
The filling of the Holy Spirit is the first power option and the first spiritual skill in the spiritual life.
The filling of the Spirit converts human I.Q. into spiritual I.Q., so that we have equality to learn spiritual phenomena.
The third spiritual skill is the problem solving devices deployed on the FLOT line of the soul also known as the Forward line of troops which is a military acronym.
There are also the Four Spiritual Mechanics. This refers to the filling of the Holy Spirit (PSD#1 & 2), metabolized Bible doctrine (MD) circulating in the soul (10 PSD), the execution of the PPOG.
The "dead branches" represent dead works on the part of the believer or the production skills minus spiritual skills which means that we produce human good with human power.
On the other hand, as a branch with life from the Vine , the "live branches" represent the ability of the believer who knows that divine good only results from living by using the spiritual skills.
The spiritual skills refer to what the branch "in me" that does not bear fruit refers to the believer who does not produce divine good.
Dead works is not fruit-bearing and is punishable or subject to divine discipline.
In verse 2, God the Father removes and takes away all dead wood, dead branches, branches which produce dead works.
God the Father takes away or removes the dead works through disciplinary suffering in two categories:
- The law of volitional responsibility which produces a tremendous amount of self-induced misery;
2. Divine Discipline.
- The law of volitional responsibility which produces a tremendous amount of self-induced misery and divine discipline.
- We also have the principle of pruning which is necessary to redistribute where the energy for divine production should go.The branch that does bear fruit has to be pruned occasionally so that the spiritual skills will increase and maximize.
Prin: Just as God provides divine discipline and punitive action for the non-fruit bearer, so God provides suffering for blessing for the fruit-bearer.
In verses 3-4 of Joh 15, we are the cleansing of the branches for production.
Verse three is salvation cleansing of the branches.
Nothing in your life, including what you thought, what you said and what you do, can ever hinder your spiritual life = including your past.
ISA 43:25 "I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.
ISA 44:22 "I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud, And your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you."
Nothing that ever happened to you before salvation should be a hindrance to your worship of the Lord and the production of divine good.
Post-salvation refers to the cleansing of the branches from personal sins which took place after your salvation and that is which is found in 1Jo 1:9 for us as it was found in Psa 32 for the Old Testament believers.
Joh 15:4 looks like this; "abide in me [stay in fellowship], and I in you [mandate for understanding Bible doctrine].
Just as the branch cannot bear fruit from itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me."
The fact that "abide" is a command means that it is an experience after salvation and not a reference to positional sanctification.
”abide" = command to R &R (Rest and Relax);
Experience = lifestyle of the believer.
Positional = how our Lord looks upon all believers.
Sanctification = devotion and dedication to the PPOG.
We are never commanded to be in Union with Christ and this is a command to remain in fellowship with God through the use of 1Jo 1:9, so that divine good can be produced.
The branch in Joh 15:2 is positional sanctification, but the branch commanded to abide in verses 4, is the believer mandated to experiential sanctification through the filling of the Holy Spirit.
Verse 4, "I in you" which is a command for the believer to learn and metabolize Bible doctrine where the Lord and His thinking is revealed in us --- and that would be Gal 2:20 for every believer.