Reconnections Ministries
Home Page
Laodicea's Forbidden Fruit
Men's Ministry Focus
The man in the back row
Shephards and Sheep
Revival In America
The Fellowship of the Marketplace
Reconnecting Retreats
Books to Help You Run
Blog
Poems of Joy and Lament
Links & Resources
Contact Us



OUR FOUNDATION: JOHN 15:1-17


Our Foundation John 15: 1-17


HOW JESUS FULFILLED THE LAW


HOW JESUS FULFILLED THE LAW  
   
 

In Hebrews 8:8-10, we find a transformation between the Old and New Covenants that forever changes the way God's people were to function. The old was an external, "taken-by-the-hand" way that relied upon the spoken word and physical signs. But under the new way, the covenant became a "written-upon-the-heart" internal leading. Jesus truly did fulfill the greatest law of all by opening the door to the internal empowerment of the Holy Spirit, and thus opened the door for man to truly love both God and His neighbor. This, He said, was the new sign that would transcend all physical ones.

In John 15:1-17, Jesus restated the Great Commandment under this new and fulfilled law when He said, "Abide in Me [Love the Lord your God]…and bear fruit [love your neighbor]." But now it worked—now we could do it! This New Great Command sets up a challenge we call the truth and the tension of the disciple. The truth? Only as we abide in the love and grace Jesus alone provides can we be saved and bear true fruit in this life. The tension following Him sets up? We are nonetheless commanded to act, and that means responsibility on our part to provide something in the relationship that completes the equation. We could say we're called upon to run a race that has already been won. When we embrace the first part and ignore the second there is no race, no challenge, and the Sons of Adam revert to their fallen state. We want to help men find that heartbeat of Jesus, get back in the race, and begin reintegrating faith into life.

Go To Top

 
     

JOHN 15: 1-8 TWO COMMANDS IN LOCKSTEP


   
 

In the first of three grouped passages in John 15 giving us instruction as to how disciples are to run, Jesus perfectly balances the commands to abide deeply in Him and bear fruit in this world. It is every believer's personal responsibility to seek to abide in Christ through daily pursuing Him in study, prayer, and small-group and corporate fellowship. But he must also learn to run by stepping out in faith, to seek out Jesus' heart for him by engaging in those good works God has already prepared for him. The truth? Apart from Jesus' abiding presence we truly can do nothing. The tension? Without stepping out in our faith to bear fruit through a conscious decision we will do nothing.

In verses 2(b), 5, and 8, we find the importance and benefits of bearing fruit. But then in verses 2(a) and 6, Jesus says that those who do not bear fruit face dire consequences. Abiding and bearing fruit exist in absolute balance and lockstep, and for the disciple divorcing the two is not an option. Jesus never mentions one without the other. They thrive and grow upon the shoulders of one another, and cannot function separately. Embracing the truth and the tension in balance is what leads to the great adventure for disciples who run.

Go To Top

 
     
  JOHN 15: 1-8 TWO COMMANDS IN LOCKSTEP

JOHN 15: 9-12: TWO COMMANDS BECOME ONE


John 15: 9-12: two commands become one  
   
 

A miraculous transformation occurs between verses 8 and 9 as Jesus says, "Abide in My love." Here the two commands—to abide in Him and to bear fruit through loving our neighbors—become one greater command. Never again in John 15 does Jesus tell us to abide and bear fruit. Now the balance becomes one seamless whole as His divine selection and empowerment by grace, along with our willingness to run into fruit-bearing with Him, makes us men He calls His "friends." This is the transformational moment, when emissaries of Christ's presence on earth are born!

Once this paradigm leap in growth takes place new creatures in Christ come to understand fully their mission in life, because the One alive in them becomes their mission. They must reach out to touch others, both with their hands and their words as He did, or perish in the attempt. As Paul describes it, "They no longer live, but Christ lives in them." To remain on the sidelines as spectators is unthinkable for friends of Jesus, as they daily run with the Good Shepherd towards the finish line. All of the discipline, all of the striving, all of the work has been for this moment. The creation of disciples like this is the goal, not conversion. Disciples are many things, but they are never bored. A man converted yet left short of this goal will eventually get bored and move on.

Go To Top

 
     

JOHN 15: 13-17: ONE COMMAND BECOMES MISSION


   
 

Jesus' final message in these verses concerns the greatest love a man can show: giving up his life for another. We cannot fully love people by merely proclaiming the truth. Jesus would always try to go to people and physically touch them as He laid down His own life, and this to set an example of combining preaching with tangible personal sacrifice. To "love" in this way is a command used no less than 5 times in these passages. In one of these instances He separates true disciples from pretenders when He says, "You are my friends if you do what I command you." To the contrary, He asks the hypocrites in Luke 6, "Why do you call Me Lord, and do not do what I say?"

Jesus ends this discourse with the litmus test of true disciples: that they should not just go through the motions, but "bear fruit that remains." What is fruit that remains if not the fulfillment of the Great Commission through the making of other disciples? Jesus never indicated that it would be acceptable to stop short of the goal of "making disciples who observed all He commanded." We need to begin to run again with Jesus' vision of the lifestyle model of John 15. Embracing both the truth and the tension is not optional for those who wish to be called "friend" by the One who gave the unwavering command to follow both His word and His example.

Go To Top

 
     
  John 15: 13-17: one command becomes mission

The Truth and the Tension Training Video

The New Commandment Training Video

Home Page | Laodicea's Forbidden Fruit | Adam's Sons In Laodicea | Men In The Back Rows | Shepherds and Sheep | Revival in America? | Fellowship of the Marketplace | Reconnections Retreats & Consults | Books | Blogs & Bio | Articles | Poems | Links | Contact   Go To Top