John 15 Part 2: Be Fruitful

We have been walking with Yeshua through the book of John. We’re at the end of the life of the Most Important Man who ever lived. That man is also the Messiah and the Son of God and the one and only Savior of humanity, able to rescue us from the real and deadly forces of Satan and the demons, sin and the sin nature, death and Hell.

It’s Yeshua’s last day on Earth. It’s a special day – the first day of Passover. It’s the day Messiah will die a very special death, as God’s Passover Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. That makes this day one of the most important days in history.

Yeshua will eat a final meal, a Passover seder with His most important followers, the men He will entrust with His on-going mission of world salvation. During the meal, Yeshua will give His disciples His final teachings. He will pray. Then, He will be arrested, tried, tortured and crucified.

Yeshua knew He was about to die. And He knew that He would be raised from the dead, and ascend to the right hand of God the Father in Heaven. And He knew that His disciples would carry on His mission of world evangelism. They would need to be connected to Him in order to have fruitful lives. They would need to continually draw life and energy from Him, as a branch does from the vine it is attached to.

To have fruitful lives, they would need to remain in Messiah’s love. As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love. The Son of God has the same kind of love for us that God the Father has for Him – pure love, intense love; devoted love.

Who would not want to experience the pure, intense, devoted, caring, beneficial love of the Son of God, now and forever – love that helps us, elevates us, enriches us, protects us?

Messiah tells us that it is possible to remain in His love; which means that it is also possible to unremain in His love. We must make sure we remain in His love.

And He tells us how to do that. If you keep My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love. Obedience to the commands of Yeshua enables us to remain in His love.

Think about it: if you have a child, and you teach your child what is right and what is wrong, what to do and what not to do, the right way to live to be a productive member of society, and the child disobeys you and becomes a criminal, and embarrasses you, his disobedient behavior will affect the way you feel about your child. You will look at him differently. You will relate to him differently. If you keep My commands, you will remain in My love.

Just as we feel and act differently toward a criminal than we feel and act toward an upright citizen or saint, so does Yeshua. He loves those who obey Him. They are faithful to His teachings and He is able to accomplish more with them. And the opposite is true: those who disobey His commands, remove themselves from His love. He knows He can accomplish nothing with them. They are disloyal. Disobedient. Yeshua sees them differently, feels differently about them. Their lives will not be fruitful.

If you keep My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love. The Son was loved by the Father from eternity. Of course, the Son was perfect, holy, flawless, glorious, majestic – which made Him easy to love. But then Messiah came to Earth and was still able to remain in His Father’s love. How? By being obedient to His Father’s commands.

The Father commanded the Son to do what was right and the Son never strayed from doing what was right. The Father commanded the Son to act according to the nature of the Father, whose nature is holy and pure, and the Son never deviated from acting according to God’s nature. It was obedience to the commands of the Father that enabled the Son to remain in His Father’s love.

And, in the same way, Yeshua commanded us what to believe and what not to believe; the values to choose and the way to live. Obedience to Messiah’s commands keeps us in His love. Disobedience removes us from His love – love which helps us, protects us, elevates us, enriches us. Why would anyone want to remove himself from Messiah’s love?

Yeshua had told them that He would die and rise from the dead and be the all-present living Lord, the ruler of Heaven and Earth; that they could be united to Him by their faith in Him; that they needed to remain in Him by being obedient to Him. That if they did, they would produce a lot of fruit. And spiritually useful and productive lives creates joy. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. Fruitful lives produce happiness.

Not a happiness that is dependent on circumstances, on things going well; not a temporary happiness that comes and goes, but a quieter and deeper kind of happiness, a happiness not dependent on circumstances, a happiness that is full and complete and enduring, a happiness that is enjoyed by the Son of God Himself and is able to be shared by the Son of God with His followers. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. You want to be happy? Really happy? Be fruitful.

And be loving. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Although we are to love everyone , we are to especially focus our love on the members of Messiah’s Community, on our fellow Christians and Messianic Jews. Love each other.

And they were to love each other in the same way the Messiah loved them. Love each other as I have loved you. How did Messiah love them? By helping them in practical ways and in spiritual ways. He cared for them. He protected them. He taught them. He spent time with them.

And He loved them with a sacrificial kind of love. He loved them to the maximum degree possible. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. There are various kinds of loves. There is love for things: for example, I love a salad with Wishbone Italian salad dressing. It’s one of my favorite things to eat. There is love for people, like romantic love between a man and a woman. There is familial love – the love between parent and child, husband and wife. There is brotherly love – the affection shared by friends. The greatest kind of love is the kind of love that sacrifices itself for the one it loves. That’s a noble kind a love. That’s the kind of love Messiah has for us. Love each other as I have loved you.

Be fruitful. Be loving. And be Messiah’s friend by being obedient to His commands. You are My friends if you do what I command. Friendship is one of the greatest things you can have. Friendship is characterized by intimacy; by sharing interests and concerns; by mutual support. Having a friend is one of the greatest things life has to offer. And, you only need a few friends. And, most people only have a few friends. On Facebook, you can “friend” people. A recent study by Robin Dunbar was recently released about those friends. The average Facebook user in the UK had 150 Facebook friends, but those users would only reach out to four of them for support in an emotional crisis. Most of the friends did not give any emotional support in a crisis. And those numbers hold up in real life. The average person only has several real friends. You only need a few friends.

Now, think about this: the One who created the universe and everything in it; the One who became a man; lived a perfect life; died on the cross; the One who rose from the dead, and who is now the all-powerful, all-wise Lord of Heaven and Earth, wants to be your friend! What an amazing thing!

Friendship needs to be cultivated. It needs time. It needs effort. It needs attention. And, our friendship with Yeshua requires something else – obedience to the commands of Yeshua. You are My friends if you do what I command. Again, Messiah’s friendship is conditional. It is conditioned on obedience. Obedience to what? All 613 laws of the Sinai Covenant? No. Yeshua’s commands. What are His commands? Know God and serve Him with all Your heart, soul, mind and strength. Don’t be materialistic, things-centered, money-centered. Love your neighbor as yourself. Have godly character and high ethics and morality. Be holy. Be righteous. Tell a dying world the Good News. Be an active participant in Messiah’s Community. If we obey His commands, we remain His friends. If we don’t, we lose His friendship, and what a friendship to lose. You want Yeshua to consider you to be His friend? Know His teachings and live according to those teachings.

Messiah wanted His disciples to know that He was changing their status from servants to friends. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you. Faithful service over time can elevate one’s status from servant to friend. These disciples had been with Yeshua for years. They had faithfully served the One they considered their Rabbi and Lord. They had proven they were faithful, responsible, trustworthy. They were now Yeshua’s friends.

And, one of the marks of friendship is sharing confidential things. Because your friend is loyal to you, you are able to share things with your friend that you would be foolish to share with others. Because they had been faithful servants, and now were friends, Yeshua felt free to reveal to these men everything His Father had revealed to Him – all the great truths the Father had given Him, He shared with them. He held nothing back. And, they in turn, shared those precious truths with us, because we are their friends and we are Messiah’s friends.

God takes the initiative in our salvation, not us. Yeshua takes the initiative in our salvation, not us. You did not choose Me, but I chose you. Those whom Yeshua chooses for salvation are given the responsibility to bear fruit, to produce results that will last – right thinking, right belief, right actions, good character. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.

Those who are living spiritually productive lives will be able to pray effectively. They are close to Yeshua. They remain in His love. They know Him. They know what is important to Him. They know what He wants. They will be able to pray for the right things, pray in Yeshua’s name, pray for the things He approves of, pray so that God the Father answers their prayers. I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in My name the Father will give you.

Yeshua repeated His command to love. This is My command: Love each other. Everything Yeshua said was important. If He said something once, it is important. When He repeated something, it’s especially important. It very important that the sons and daughters of God form a loving fellowship in which they are committed to each other and help each other in practical and spiritual ways.

Have a fruitful life by remaining close to Messiah; by being loving; by being Messiah’s friend by being obedient to His commands. And, to have a fruitful life, Messiah’s disciples will need to endure persecution. If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed My teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of My name, for they do not know the One who sent Me.

Messiah warned us to expect to be hated and mistreated by the world. Why? The world does not know God. The world is far from God. The world rejects the Son whom the Father sent. The world hates Yeshua. Because the world despises the Son, they reject God, and since we are connected to the Son who is connected to the Father, the world will hate us and mistreat us. We should not expect to be treated differently than Yeshua was treated by the majority of His generation.

Messiah chose us and separated us from the world. We belong to Him. We no longer belong to the world. We share Messiah’s values and Messiah’s destiny. We no longer share the world’s values or its destiny, and the world resents those who have rejected its values and are no longer part of it.

The world opposed Messiah and His teaching, and we represent Him and teach what He taught. Therefore the world will oppose us and reject us and our teaching. That is to be expected. We must be willing to go against the world. We must not follow the crowd. We must not seek to be popular. We must be willing to be unpopular, to be part of a despised minority. We must be willing to stand out, be different, speak for Messiah and for His teaching and endure persecution. If you are not being opposed by the world, it may be that you are still part of the world and do not really belong to Messiah.

If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates Me hates My Father as well. If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. To whom much is given, much is required. Those people who lived when Yeshua walked among us were given much revelation. Yeshua identified Himself as the Messiah and the Son of God. And He was full of great wisdom, and lived in such a way, and taught in such a way, and did many miracles that proved He is who He claimed to be. Those people would not be guilty of the sin of rejecting the Messiah, which is a very great sin, if He had not lived among them spoke to them the way He did. They would still have been guilty of other sins, but not that great sin of rejecting the Son of God.

And this principle applies to others. Anyone who has heard the Good News about the Messiah and ignored it has no excuse. And, almost everyone in Western Civilization has heard about Yeshua. The truth about Him has permeated the culture for centuries. People in Western societies have no excuse. If they ignore Yeshua, they too are guilty of a great sin.

And we Jewish people, who have lived in Western Civilization and have heard about Yeshua, have no excuse. In addition to hearing about Yeshua from the culture, we have Moses and the prophets. We have the messianic prophecies in our Bible like Isaiah 53. We too are without excuse. If we ignore Yeshua, we are guilty of a great sin.

And Yeshua repeated that to reject Him is to reject God. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both Me and My Father.

And, the hatred directed to Him by the majority of His generation was irrational. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated Me without reason.’

Yeshua was good, holy, righteous, sinless, flawless, full of divine wisdom and power. He was sent by God. He is the Messiah – Israel’s true king; the greatest prophet who brought us the precious words of God; the priest of a new covenant, bringing us closer to God than ever before, and bringing God closer to us. He helped us, healed us, taught us, corrected us, did miracles that blessed us.

In spite of all this, the majority hated Him. Their hatred was irrational. There was no reason for it. Yeshua was treated just like the one described in Psalm 69, king David, our greatest king, who was hated by many of his generation without reason.

Yeshua wanted His disciples to know that they needed to be fruitful; and they would be able to be fruitful because a Helper will be sent to them. When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father – the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father – He will testify about Me. And you also must testify, for you have been with Me from the beginning.

Advocate means one who is called along side of someone else, called along side to help. Without the Advocate, Christians and Messianic Jews would be overpowered by a godless world. If we were on our own, we would be intimidated into a cowardly silence. Messiah’s mission of world evangelism would fail.

Yeshua won’t allow that to happen. He promised to send the Advocate who helps us, the Advocate who is the Spirit. And who can send the Spirit of God anywhere, except God Himself? Which lets us know that Yeshua is again claiming to be God.

Note that the Father and the Son work together in the sending of the Spirit. The Son sends the Spirit, but the Spirit is the Spirit of the Father as well as the Spirit of the Son. The Son sends the Spirit, the Spirit who is from the Father and who goes from the Father.

The Spirit whom the Son sends from the Father, comes to the disciples, and give them a greater understanding of who Yeshua is. The Spirit helps them testify about Yeshua.

The Spirit helps them speak the truth about Yeshua. He helps them understand Yeshua and be convinced about Yeshua’s reality and tell a hostile world about Him. He helps them live fruitful lives. Does that describe you?

Let’s pray:

Father, help us remain in Yeshua’s love by keeping His commands.

Help us to live fruitful lives so that we can enjoy a happiness not dependent on circumstances, a happiness that is full and complete and enduring, a happiness that is able to be shared by the Son of God with His followers.

Father, help us love each other in the same way the Messiah loved us. Help us to help others in practical ways and in spiritual ways. Help us to love with a noble, sacrificial kind of love.

Father, thank You for elevating out status from that of mere creature; that of servant, to that of friend, to that of son or daughter.

Father, even if we don’t have any other friends, make us aware that we have a friend, a great friend in Yeshua. Help us do what we need to do to nurture that friendship, especially by being obedient to Yeshua’s commands.

Father, help us learn how to pray effectively, to know Yeshua so well that we know what He wants and are able to pray for the things Yeshua approves of, so that You are able to answer our prayers.

Father, help us understand that the world will hate us, and help us to be courageous to speak the truth and endure the world’s opposition.

Father, thank You for the Advocate, Your Spirit who helps us in so many ways; who helps us speak the truth; who empowers us to live according to the truth. Help us be filled with Your Spirit, and do nothing to grieve Him.