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I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.  Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that 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 withers, and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.  John 15:1-8 (ESV) emphasis mine

Although there is much to talk about in this great passage, I want to focus on the phrases in bold text.  The clause(s) are conditional (in Greek and English) once the word “If” is used.  In other words, when one uses “if,” the outcome is in question.  The response will determine the outcome.

Consider the conditional promises of God throughout Scripture.  For starters, we might look at Deuteronomy 28.  And if you faithfully obey… (vs 1 = God’s promise of blessing) but if you will not obey… (vs 15 = God’s promise of lack of blessing).  This happens time and time again in God’s Word.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus uses the conditional clause in regards to those who choose to be outside God’s will.  To “abide” means remain; alongside; continue in.  Throughout history, God makes covenant with mankind and is faithful to His word.  Man makes covenant with God and retreats when troubled times arrive/persist.  Read Hosea sometime (and note the unfaithfulness of Gomer).  Of course, the Israelites continued to choose their own will/desires over that of God’s.

Now back to the words of Jesus.  The command is “bear fruit.”  The condition that leads to success is “abide in me.”  A disciple bears fruit.  In other words, not abiding means not bearing.  Not bearing means no discipleship.  I’ve found God to be faithful regardless of what I’ve done.  Again, He never breaks covenant with me/us.

So here’s the take away:  Are you bearing fruit?  Are you making disciples?  If you answer “no,” you must then ask, “Am I truly a disciple?”  “Am I remaining in God’s will?”  “Am I continuing what I started?”  It’s interesting that we convince others of who we want to be.  But only you and God know the truth.  Be a disciple.  Make a disciple.

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