‘Two Conditions for Answered Prayer’
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2 Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3 Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you.
4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.
6 If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If ye abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples.” (John 15:1-8)
In sharing thoughts on the deeper life, deeper prayer life, I have to share from Jesus’ lips as written in the Holy Word found tucked in John 15. To begin, I want to point out a movement of deeper results Jesus expects from His disciples. Notice Jesus moves His expectations deeper through this short discourse as He refers to our fruit. He begins with ‘fruit’, quickly speaks of pruning to affect ‘more fruit’, and concludes His drawing deeper with ‘much fruit.’ Jesus makes it plain that this going deeper in Him is what glorifies the Father, and defines the true disciple.
I, too, need to point out that John 15:7 may well be one of the most misunderstood verses among modern western Christians. Consequently, the sub-title of part two:
‘Two Conditions for Answered Prayer’
Jesus uses a common image in the midst of the people of the culture to which He immediately spoke, most today might understand easily as well, the image of the vine, and its purposed fruit.
Let us identify the principals of His illustration:
First, not simply the ‘vine’, but Jesus refers to Himself as the ‘True Vine’. We know that the vine is the main, life-giving, body of the plant. This is easy enough to picture, but He steps it up by stating firmly, “I Am the True Vine.” This is a clear reference to Himself as being “The Life!” Jesus is the Vine!
Secondly, the image He projects is that of the ‘branch’. The branch rightly joined to the vine produces its intended purpose. Further, the branch must be in a legitimate connection to the vine, which receives life and passes on life. The Disciple of Christ is the branch!
Lastly, the image Jesus foresees, as desired result, is the ‘fruit.’ Here, fruit might be an image of good results or works coming from the life of a true believer, benefiting others and the Kingdom of God. Further, doing good, helping others, with one singular motive . . . to please and glorify God. Any other motive is illegitimate and rotten fruit!
On the deeper level, the ‘fruit’ has to be the continual expression of the Fruit of the Spirit in and through the life of the believer.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
I personally do not believe it accidental that the list begins with, Love, Joy, and Peace. These three set the stage for the whole. The Fruit of the Spirit is God’s character and nature, by the Holy Spirit, emitting from the true believer’s life, all of them, all of the time.
Note: Some believe the fruit mentioned in John 15 to be souls won to the Kingdom. While I agree that souls won will be a result from bearing much fruit, I see the fruit mentioned as who the true disciple becomes by receiving life from the vine and giving it out to the world around him or her.
Those are the ‘key’ players in this picture Jesus presents, but there is a required action given that must be present for the proper outcome Jesus requests.
Jesus expresses that action as “Abide.”
Some thoughts on the word, “Abide”; first, “to live in”, second, “to draw from”.
The implication is that the branch is not just near to the vine, or somewhat knowledgeable of the vine, or casually acquainted with the vine. The branch is deeply rooted in the vine!
First, the implication from the word, abide, is that there is a continuous state of being firmly, purposefully, and deeply connected. We discover one definition of the Greek word for Abide relates to the Hebrew word for ‘know’, Yada. You can see this thought shown in Genesis 4:1, where it says, “. . . Adam knew Eve his wife and she conceived.” Later we see it again in Daniel 11:32, “. . . the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” Then I share an example from the New Testament from the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:10, “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection . . .”
What I want to press into your understanding is that what Jesus wants from the believer, so much so that He uses the word abide to describe, is a deep, intimate, personal relationship, which births spiritual fruit, Kingdom fruit! From this intimacy with Jesus, the disciple will grow deeper in love, joy, peace, obedience, and prayer.
Let’s look again at John 15:7, the verse often misunderstood.
“If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
Beloved, what does the abiding branch ask of the vine? The branch, which is abiding, only asks of the vine to provide what the branch needs to bear much fruit.
Two Conditions for Answered Prayer: —Abiding in a deep, intimate, personal relationship with Jesus, and His Words abiding/living in and through the disciple. That disciple will desire what Jesus desires and pray according to His Word—that will please Him and He will answer those prayers! Beloved, be an abiding branch –Be a disciple! Pray On!