John 15:16-24: Bear ‘fruit’ via agape love for one another

“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another.” (John 15:16–17 NASB; cf. Luke 12:51-53; 1 Cor. 1:10-13, 11:17-19, 12:24-26; Jude 1:17-21)

This phrase, “whatever you ask of the Father in My name … that you love one another” is a very important phrase to consider. We’ve encountered Yeshua’s phrase “whatever you ask” a couple times before in the Farewell Discourse (Jn. 14:13–14; 15:7) and we will once again before it’s complete (Jn. 16:23).

This points back to the parable of the vine and branches from the beginning of John 15. You know you have healthy vines and they are growing well, and the fruit is good when the members of the congregation chose to esteem each other higher than themselves. 

Sometimes you don’t know if you really esteem someone higher than yourself until you are put to the test. We are commanded to do this, though. It’s not optional but the good new is that it can get easier to highly esteem others as we practice it. We have the Helper to help us because we really need His help to love this way. This is hard and God knows that. 

One way that people can see that God is at work in our assembly is when they can see all of us speaking to each other and about each other in higher esteem than we speak of ourselves. 

One of the greatest “works,” “fruits” or “signs” of the origin of the trust and hope the followers of Yeshua the Mashiakh held would be their and our agapao love ― the choice to consider someone important ― for each other.

True followers agapao each other because they agapao Yeshua and Yeshua them. This is the heart of Yeshua’s command, “… love one another, even as I have loved you…” (John. 13:34; 15:12, 17; 1 John. 2:7; 3:11, 23; 2 John. 5).

We’ll see Yeshua take this command to a deeper level in John 17:

“Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.” (John. 17:11 NASB)

Not only are believers to esteem each other as important the way Yeshua did them ― selflessly ― believers were to do so the way the Father does the Son.

So, believers must be able to work out disagreements in ways that build up the assembly, rather than create divisions.

Yeshua’s rules for conflict resolution in Matthew 18:

  1. Try to settle the matter privately.
  2. Bring a trustworthy and mature witness, and try to settle it privately.
  3. Take it to the assembly, presumably where the leaders will guide the resolution. (Acts 15)

Apostle Paul advises us to never take our matter into the public eye or secular court.

Why? Because we nullify God’s testimony when we fail to get along, when we prefer to take our disagreements to a secular court rather than to each other. We don’t want the hard hammer of the law in our assembly. 

After all, didn’t Yeshua promise that He would bring division? People seem to think that offending people on purpose is to be expected when we follow Yeshua’s command but that is not necessarily the case. 

“Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:51–53 NASB)

The word division in this passage is translated from διαμερισμός diamerismos (G1267), which means disunion or dissension.

Other uses of division in the NT are the Greek word σχίσμα schisma (G4978). This the source of our word schism. It literally means a cleft, rip;  metaphorically, a division, dissension (John 7:43; 9:16; 10:19; 1Cor. 1:10; 11:18; 12:25). Heresy creates schisma

There are several texts where the Greek word schisma shows up, many of them are in Paul’s letter of 1Corinthians. There were several sources of schisma in the community. 

“Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, ‘I am of Paul,’ and ‘I of Apollos,’ and ‘I of Cephas,’ and ‘I of Christ.’ Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1Cor. 1:10–13)

We still have this type of schism in the Messianic community today. Everyone listens to a different teacher on the Internet and they argue with each other over which teacher is more educated and superior to the other and whose system for determining or counting this or that is more original to the text. The idea that you can’t be under the same roof with someone who prefers one teacher over another is not in Scripture. That is not  agape love, esteeming others higher than ourselves. 

“But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse. For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.” (1Cor. 11:17–19)

Bringing disparate factions together is part of God’s work.

“But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.” (1Cor. 12:24–26)

This goes back to one of the key points of this letter to the Corinthians. They were going out of their way to accept a member who was indulging in a very wicked relationship but they were arguing with each other which teacher was the better teacher. 

“But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, ‘In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.’ These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.” (Jude 1:17–21)

Those who cause divisions are “worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.” When you assume that you are smarter, more holy than others in the community, you are separating yourself from that community. 

Rather, Spirit-minded believers are to be אחד ekhad — one — with each other and with God. We’ll see that in Yeshua’s prayer in John 17.

Speaker: Jeff. Summary: Jeff and Tammy.


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