The Upper Room Discourse 27 Rabbi Michael Weiner
John 15:4-6 Abide in Me, and I will abide in you. The branch cannot itself produce fruit, unless it abides on the vine. Likewise, you cannot produce fruit unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for apart from Me, you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away like a branch and is dried up. Such branches are picked up and thrown into the fire and burned.
I’m breaking this all up into some illogical sections. The entire teaching on being grafted in (abiding in the vine) and bearing fruit is contained in the first 8 verses of John 15. After that, Yeshua goes from abiding in the vine to abiding in His love. Immediately, He makes the connection between love and obedience. We’ll get to all of that in a couple of days.
In the Scriptures before us (John 15:4-6), we find eternal truths.
- John 15:4a Abiding in Yeshua is reciprocal. That means if we are in Him, then He is will be in us.
- Branches are not (and cannot) be fruitful by themselves, they must be nourished by the vine. This teaching is made in 4 parts … more on these in sessions to come.
- John 15:6 The conclusion tells us what happens to such unfruitful branches.
It’s easy to get lost in all the details. Abide and be fruitful, sounds like a simple formula for success doesn’t it. But if it is so simple, why are there so few people getting it right? Must be that while it is simple, it is not easy. I can sum up the rest of what I want to say today in one word, (how’s that for simple?) and that word is “dependence.”
In America, we are well known for “independence,” but in the kingdom of God, the key to fruitfulness is to remain dependent on Him. Prophet after prophet provided warning after warning.
Deuteronomy 8:17-18 You may say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand has made me this wealth.’ Rather you are to remember Adonai your God, for it is He who gives you power to make wealth, in order to establish His covenant that He swore to your fathers – as it is this day.
These words were spoken to a people who had been wandering in the desert for 40 years. For 40 years they had depended on God for everything. So as we read these words, we must remember to always depend on God. The following verse provides a warning to those who might be tempted to forget.
Deuteronomy 8:19 Now if you do forget Adonai your God, and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you will certainly perish.
Sounds a lot like Yeshua’s words … John 15:6b Such branches are picked up and thrown into the fire and burned. To have Yeshua living in us (and bearing fruit in our lives), all we have to do is get out of the way, submit to His authority and give Him the reigns of our hearts. Paul gives us a good description of this in the command to “use sound judgment.”
Romans 12:2-3 Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God- what is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given me, I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think – but to use sound judgment, as God has assigned to each person a measure of faith.
To abide in the vine means depend on God. We can only have one head. Be sure yours is God, and I’ll do the same./p>