We shall discuss two important questions: A) WHAT ARE THE CONTENTIOUS THEOLOGICAL ISSUES? We shall explore the following
1. Is John 15 talking about the possibility of believers losing their salvation? Apparently verse 6 gives this impression to us. * We should not squeeze too much spiritual truths out of an analogy
2. Does spiritual fruit-bearing constitute a powerful evidence of a saved person? We should be aware that Jesus was speaking to his disciples or believers here. Some commentators maintain that this is the case. - Fruit-bearing may not be so evident immediately - But sooner or later, the fruit of the Spirit will appear (Galatians 5:22-23)
B) HOW DOES SPIRITUAL GROWTH TAKE PLACE? We shall examine several questions here: 1. What is the role of God the Father as the ‘vinedresser’? Denoting his tender and loving care towards his spiritual children
2. Why does Jesus describe himself as the ‘true’ vine (verse 1)? Implying that Israel failed to play this role
3. What does the pruning process involve (verse 2)? Viticulture is slightly different from horticulture Lifting up the grape vines from the ground for better quality grapes
4. What is the meaning of the Greek word ‘meno’ (verse 4)? Translated into English as either ‘abide’ or ‘remain’ Occurs 11 times in John 15
* Several important truths The ‘branch’ may remain connected to the vine, but it may not be abiding in the ‘vine’ This implies that spiritual growth does not happen automatically While God engenders the growth, we have to discipline ourselves to grow. See 1 Timothy 4:7-8
Application: What personal efforts have you and I made to ensure a continuous spiritual growth?
5. How do we actually abide in Jesus each day (verse 5)? By abiding in his words and spending time in prayer (v 7) By abiding in Jesus’ love (v 10).
What does a spiritually fruitful believer look like?