As Jesus is the cornerstone upon which the Church is built, so are his teachings the unifying cornerstone of Christian doctrine.

John 15:16 Fruit that will Last

Jesus chose his disciples and appointed them to go and bear fruit — fruit that would last. Their task was to bear fruit, but not in their own strength. They were to remain in the vine which would provide for the fruit. They did not first choose him, he chose them to become his friends. He died for them and us while we were still sinners.

So Jesus has told his disciples to abide in him, let his words abide in them, abide in his love and all this so that his joy may remain in them and that they may produce fruit that abides. Jesus did not specify what he meant by everlasting fruit, but talked about love, which Paul later included at the top of his list of fruit. Christ left his disciples and so us with a concluding command in the next verse, love each other. That's what Jesus said.

John 15:15 Real Friendship Part 3

In John 15:15 Jesus called the disciples his friends, because everything that he learned from his Father he had made known to them. Friends communicate openly and frankly with each other, not to criticize or condemn, but to inform and help each other.

Abraham and Moses were the friends of God. He confided his plans to them. Some people call themselves our friends so they can lead us astray, or get something from us. True friends will put their lives on the line for us.

Transparency and openness suffer in a harsh, judgmental, legalistic church environment. True friendship can only exist under grace. Only then can we open up and share our lives.

Would you say that we are group of true friends, because we can openly communicate our deepest feelings, and that everything that we have learned from our heavenly Father we can make known to each other? That's what Jesus said.

John 15:14 Real Friendship Part 2

How do we prove that we really are Jesus' friends? The answer is simple, we obey him. We are not his friends if we just study what he said but if we do what he said.

What kind of friend says, "You're my friend if you do what I say?" In a friendship between equals that would not work, but in a friendship with God, there is nothing relevant besides what he commands. Many people imagine they are obeying Christ if they follow the rules of men. We prove our friendship with Jesus by doing whatever he commanded.

We often hear that we are called to be in a relationship with God. Those words are not in the Bible. But, friendship is a relationship, and we are called to be friends for eternity. We are called to be a community of friends, friends of Christ. In John 15:14 that's what Jesus said.

John 15:13 Real Friendship Part 1

Aristotle and Plato wrote about there being no greater love than to lay down our lives for our friends. What is different about Christ is that when died for us, we were not yet his friends, but his enemies. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. We became his friends after he had already died for us. Jesus did not die for his friends, but for his enemies, whom he wanted to make his friends.

What kind of friends do we have? Do they only love us because we are willing to follow them into bad behavior or so they can get something from us? Would our friends be willing to die for us? What kind of friends are we? Do we entice others to do bad things? Do we just use our friends for selfish reasons? Are we willing to die for our friends? That's what Jesus did.

Abiding and Complete Joy

In John 15:11 Jesus spoke about full and permanent joy. What advantage is there in Christ? Humans cause so much misery and grief. Only Christ makes our joy abiding and absolute. The joy of this world is temporary and only partial. The joy of Christ remains and is complete.

Jesus said, I have told you this so that my joy may be in you, meaning a joy that abides or remains. So what Jesus actually told his disciples was to remain in him, that his words should remain in them, and that they should remain in his love. Why? So that his joy would remain in them.

What is this utmost joy? It helped Jesus go through the most horrible experience of the cross, so it must be wonderful. As we obey Christ and love each other, we too can experience this kind of full and abiding joy. That's what Jesus said.

As the Father has Loved

In John 15:9 Jesus said that as the Father has loved me, so he loved his disciples. He then told them to remain in his love. Christ was born a human. Was his love merely human? We see that his love for us was the same as the Father's love. It is a higher, divine love. That is the love that we are to remain in. Remain means to abide, sojourn, not to depart. It also means to wait.

What about waiting shows love? Does a person who waits until marriage for sex show love to a future spouse? Does a person who waits for God to promote them rather than play dirty politics show love? Remaining is a key lesson of the parable of the true vine. We are to remain in Jesus, let his words remain in us, and therefore remain in his divine love. That's what Jesus said.

Remaining in Him

Why did Jesus say in John 15:7 to his disciples, if they remain in him and his words remain in them, they may ask for anything they want, and it will be granted?

First, this passage addresses those in Christ. If you are not yet in Christ, then the first step is to be in him. If we are already in him, then let us choose to remain in him and let his words remain in us. How can his words remain in us if we do not hear or read his words? How can we have Jesus without the doctrines that Jesus taught? How can we separate the Word from his word?

Do Christ's words remain in us or are we bored with him? If so, how can we expect to ask for anything in prayer? Let's remain in him and his words in us. That's what Jesus said.

House Churches Unlimited

According to Barna research the number of Christians leaving traditional churches and attending house churches is exploding and will probably only increase over the next decades. This book is free to view online. It addresses the dangers and delights of the house church format. It covers support and accountability, advantages and disadvantages, leadership and mentoring issues, worship and sacramental needs, conflict resolution and preaching, starting and multiplying house churches.

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