John 15 [Clear Word]
31A. A DIVINE/HUMAN PARTNERSHIP
1 On the way to the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus saw in the moonlight a vine with a dead branch. He pointed to it and said, "I'm like a grapevine planted in my Father's vineyard, and He's the gardener. 2 You are the branches. If there is a branch on the vine that does not bear fruit, He will cut it off; those branches that do bear fruit He will keep trimming so they can bear more fruit. 3 Your characters have been shaped already because I shared the word of God with you and you accepted it as such. 4 Stay with me and I'll stay with you. Just as branches can't bear fruit on their own unless they're attached to the vine, neither can you bear heavenly fruit unless you're attached to me. 5 I am the true vine and you are my branches. If you remain in me and I remain in you, you will bear much fruit. Without me, you can't do a thing. 6 If you detach yourself from me, your spirituality will shrivel up and die, just as a branch will shrivel up when it's cut off from the vine. Together with the other dead branches, it will be put on the brush pile and burned. 7 If you remain committed to me and my words become a part of you, then you can ask the Father to give you what you need to produce fruit and He'll give it to you. 8 That's how the Father will be vindicated before the universe, by the fruit you produce. This is what it means to be my disciple. 9 In the same way the Father loves me, so I love you. You need to demonstrate that kind of love to others. 10 If you do what I ask in the same spirit that I have done what my Father asked of me, you'll never become detached from me. 11 I'm telling you these things so you can have as much joy obeying the Father as I have had. Then you'll know what genuine happiness is all about. 12 The only thing I'm asking is that you love one another the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater way to show love for a friend than to give your life for him. 14 You say that you're my friends. You need to demonstrate that friendship by doing what I ask you to do. 15 I have never treated you like servants and I never will. Servants aren't told everything their masters are planning to do. But you're my friends. Ever since I've known you, I've told you everything my Father has told me to tell you. 16 You didn't choose to be my friends, but I have been your Friend even before you knew who I was. I called you and asked you to go out and gather much fruit, the kind of fruit that will remain loyal to me. Whatever you ask the Father to give you to help carry out His mission, He'll give it to you. 17 You can see why I keep telling you to love each other. 18 If the people of this world hate you for what you're doing, just remember that they hated me before they hated you. 19 If you had the same spirit as the world has, people would love you. But because I'm asking you to be different from the world, the world will hate you. 20 Remember the things I've told you. Servants are not treated better than their masters, and since I have been mistreated, you can't expect to be treated any differently. But some have been glad to hear what I had to say, and some will be glad to hear what you have to say. 21 Those who mistreat you won't do it so much because of you, but because of me. And the reason they'll do it is because they don't know the Father, even though they think they do. 22 If I had not come and pointed out their sins, they would feel comfortable with me, but now they feel guilty because they can't disguise their sins anymore. 23 And their hatred for me extends to the Father also. 24 If I had not done anything differently from what their religious leaders do, they would continue pretending to love God. But now they have seen what I have done and still they hate me and my Father. 25 This fulfills what is written in Scripture which says: 'They will hate me without a cause.' 26 After I send the Holy Spirit from the Father, He will tell the truth about God, and He will testify about me to the whole world. 27 And you will be my witnesses because you have seen me and been with me from the beginning of my ministry."