Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part IV: Presentation Of The Messenger Of Salvation
D. Christ's Credentials Revealed In His Preparations For The Cross
3. Christ's Credibility Seen In Encouraging His Disciples In VIEW Of His Coming Cross
e. Christ's Directive For Ministry Productivity Because Of The Cross
(John 15:1-17)
  1. Introduction
    1. Though every believer wishes he could achieve much for Christ, sometimes he may not witness it in life.
    2. Well, opposite Peter's claim to follow Jesus unto death, Jesus predicted he would deny Christ by daybreak (Jn. 13:37-38), something that would have discouraged anyone seeking to succeed for God.
    3. However, Jesus offered news of His disciples' long-term ministry achievement in John 15:1-17. We examine that passage with appropriate application for today's believer as follows:
  2. Christ's Directive For Ministry Productivity Because Of The Cross, John 15:1-17.
    1. Jesus said He was the true vine contrasted with Israel, the false vine that yielded sin in Is. 5:1-7 (Jn. 15:1a).
    2. He also said the disciples were the branches connected to that Vine so they were conduits of the nutrients supplied by Christ to them so that they in turn would be producing the fruit of Christ, Jn. 15:5a.
    3. Now, to motivate, direct and encourage His disciples to bear spiritual produce to God's glory, Jesus gave an extended description of how His disciples could effectively minister as follows (John 15:1b-17::):
      1. Jesus noted the Father, the Keeper of the vine intended to produce a yield through the disciples, 15:1b.
      2. Typical of the husbandmen in Christ's day, the Father did two things to make the disciples productive:
        1. If the branch was not bearing fruit because the believer was weak, the Father would lift it up to more exposure to the sun, making it easier for him to bear fruit (John 15:2a where "t ake away" is properly better rendered "took up", Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, ftn. to John 15:2).
        2. Those believers who bore fruit the Father would prune so they could be more productive, Jn. 15:2b. That pruning comes through their exposure to God's Word, John 15:3, the word for "clean" (KJV) in verse 3 being the same root word as i s "prune" in verse 2, Ibid.
      3. Jesus then described in detail the practical dynamics of the believer's ministry production, 15:4-14:
        1. To be spiritually productive to God's glory, a believer needs to remain in Christ, John 15:4.
        2. Remaining in Christ leads to a believer's producing much spiritual fruit, John 15:5.
        3. If one does not remain in Christ as a believer, he becomes unfruitful and can be disciplined unto the point of physical death, John 15:6 with 1 John 5:16.
        4. If one remains in Christ, he will achieve much through answered prayer, John 15:7.
        5. It is the Husbandman, God the Father's will that the believer produce much righteousness, Jn. 15:8.
        6. Then, to describe just what is meant by the believer's remaining in Christ, Jesus hints that it occurs as a believer adheres to and obeys Christ's word in his life, John 15:9-10. Thus, heeding and applying God's Word produces much productivity, making the believer joyful, John 15:11.
        7. Then, the most important command Jesus had for His disciples to heed to be productive was that they love one another (15:12) with a self-sacrificing love for the welfare of God's flock, Jn. 15:13-14.
      4. Having laid out this plan for their productivity, Jesus summarized it in a way to motivate His disciples to heed Him about having a self-sacrificing love for one another, John 15:14-17.
Lesson: To meet the DESIRE we believers have to be PRODUCTIVE in ministry, God wants us to "abide in Christ" by heeding and applying Christ's Word especially regarding a self-sacrificing love for other believers. In producing this love, God will accept our prayers made in reference to meeting the needs of others in a self-sacrificing way to make our works ABUNDANT and LASTING!

Application: To be productive, the believer must adjust his view of ministry away from being self-gratifying to being fulfilling for OTHER believers around him in accord with Scripture. The more he seeks to meet the needs of OTHER believers even a t the cost of his own interests, the more prayers God answers and the more lasting and abundantly productive is his life to God's glory.