EP42 John 15:2

As a general rule I refuse to shy away from controversial topics, or to shine a light on teachings held by the modern Christian church that I can’t find a basis for in scripture. I pray and let the Holy Spirit guide me and that’s how I come from one podcast subject to the next. There are some things though that are hard for me to accept. I come across scriptures that challenge what I’ve known and learned growing up. I’m certainly willing to change what I believe if I find truth, but I certainly don’t want to take scriptures that I find challenging myself and teach about them. However, I learned a long time ago that when something gets up in my face pressing its chest against mine that if I don’t take it seriously then things go from bad to worse.
I was in the seventh grade hanging out by my locker before class and this little twig of a fella with a reputation for having a bad attitude and causing trouble (you know the type) butted his chest against mine and stood there staring up in my face just begging for a fight. No reason or provocation, this is just what this kid did. I really had no intention in fighting him, I was a coward back then and I’m still a coward now. I don’t remember what I said, but I pushed him back and blew off his challenge. I made things worse. He immediately responded by running at me, head on, at full speed. I may be a coward, but this certainly wasn’t my first rodeo. I stepped to the left, grabbed him by the shoulder, and used his own momentum to continue him along his course tripping him over my right foot and directly into the closest wall. He jumped up off the ground full of anger and took a swing making contact with the right side of my face. My mouth bleeding I stood there staring at him, puffed up my chest, took one step closer to him, and stared into his eyes. Meanwhile inside I’m freaking out that he’s going to hit me again, but I refused to allow my face or body language to betray me. He backed down and I never had another problem with him or anyone else at school for the next few years.
I feel like John 15:2 is all up in my face like that little guy was from seventh grade, and I have to take it seriously. This scripture can be broken down into three parts; Number one, “The Father Takes Away,” number two, “The Father Purges,” and finally, “For The Father’s Glory.” In that first part of the verse Jesus says, “Every branch in Me that doesn’t produce fruit (The Father) removes.” Last week we talked about Jesus statement from John 15:5, just a few verses after this, “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in Him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me.” This is what challenges me about this part of this verse, there are those who have come to Christ and think they have salvation, but they don’t.
There are scriptures like Matthew 3:10, “The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” In context this is John The Baptist urging folks at the river to repent and be water baptized. But, Jesus uses the same language talking to a group of people who have already repented and have been travelling with Him for quite a while. That’s when Matthew 7 verse 19 comes to mind. “Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So you’ll recognize them by their fruit.” It sounds like Jesus is talking about the unrepentant there, but if you continue He says, “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, and do miracles in your name?” Them I will announce to them, “I never knew you. Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!””
Turn over to Revelations 21, and read verses 1 through 4. We’re at the beginning of eternity here in this passage, all the old things have passed away and everything is new, starting in verse 5 it says, “Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give to the thirsty from the spring of the water of life. The one who conquers will inherit these things, and I will be his God, and he will be my son. But the cowards, faithless, detestable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars – their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.””
This is the “that day” Jesus was talking about in Matthew 7. The act of salvation is confessing with your mouth and believing in your heart, we’ve talked about this before. However, there are those that have confessed with their mouth, but don’t actually believe in their hearts. These people are going to church, calling themselves Christians, even serving as Pastors and leaders in the church. We know they are because Jesus said they would say they had prophesied in His name, cast out demons in His name, and even did miracles in His name. Remember Jesus said that the ones that remain in him and him in them would produce much fruit and the ones that didn’t would be removed and cast into the fire. This is very telling thing that prophesying, casting out demons, and even doing miracles don’t qualify as baring fruit.
The fruit you’re looking for are found in Galatians 5:22,23, Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Paul the Apostle focused mainly on the fruit of Love in his writings, listen to what he has to say about it in 1 Corinthians 13, “If I speak human or angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give away all my possessions, and if I give over my body as a martyr, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” Every one of those fruits from Galatians 5 has just as much importance as Paul places on love here. If you don’t see love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control coming out of you as a Christian then it’s time for you to take a good long look into your heart and decide whether or not you ever actually believed the confession that came out of your mouth.
Do you believe it? Is it true for you in your heart? The things that you’re saying? The life that you’re living? Or are you just going through the motions?
We’re out of time for this week, but we’ll pick this back up next week and hopefully we’ll finish out this verse.
Until next time…
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