1. A Life With Jesus - John 15:1 | 04/16/23
1. Read John 15:1-17. Now read John 13:33-36. How does our interpretation of the verses in John 15 change when we understand their context: that they're just a small part of a long conversation Jesus was having with His disciples, as they walked from the Upper Room to the Garden of Gethsemane, about how to follow Jesus after He'd returned to Heaven?
2. The word translated 'abiding' or 'remaining' in John 15, is translated 'staying' or 'spent that day with' in John 1:38-39. How can we 'abide' with or 'spend time with' Jesus when He is not physically with us?
a) What insight does John 15:1 give us into how we can do this?
3. Throughout history Israel had been described as 'the vine of God': read Genesis 49:22, Psalm 80:8, Isaiah 5:1-7. Now read John 14:6, and John 15:1. What is Jesus’ point in using the imagery of being connected to 'the true vine'?
4. Think about all the verses in the Bible that reference us being “in Christ” (e.g. Romans 3:23, 1 John 5:11-12, Philippians 4:6-7, 2 Timothy 1:9, 1 John 1:7-9). What do we gain from being connected to 'the true vine'?
5. Consider how a gardener cares for their vine. What does this image of God teach us about the Father’s: a) attention, b) intention, and c) patience, as He relates to us?
6. Read Philippians 1:6. What does this especially give you confidence about?
3. A Life Already Ready - John 15:3 | 04/30/23
1. Read John 15:1-3. Verse 2 talks about the gardener lifting up and then cutting back the branches, in order to clean them up so they will ultimately produce fruit. How is pruning synonymous with “cleaning up”?
2. In verse 3, Jesus said the disciples were already clean because of the Word Jesus had spoken to them. Compare this with John 13:8-10. What is Jesus referring to here in verse 3 of chapter 15?
3. Read 1 John 1:8-9. The word “purify” is the same word as “pruning”. How are confession and pruning related?
a) What things do we do that hinder God’s efforts as the gardener as He tries to produce fruit in us?
b) How can we partner with God in this process instead?
4. Read 2 Timothy 3:15-16, and Hebrews 4:12. How does God use His word to prune away false beliefs?
a) What does 2 Timothy tell us His purpose is when we are convicted by what we read in the Bible?
5. Think of a time where God has used His word to prune you. How was it for your spiritual growth?
6. What 'word from God' do you know God is speaking to you, but struggle to believe?
a) How might Satan be using this to try to stop you from thriving in your relationship with God, and producing the fruit you were designed for?
4. A Life of Faith - John 15:4 | 05/07/23
1. Read John 14 verses 6-10 and 16-26. How do these passages connect to John 15:4?
2. Explain how the trinity is at work in us as believers.
3. Fruitfulness is connected to abiding or “knowing” God intimately. Read John 16:13-15. What does this passage tell us the purpose of the Spirit is, as He works in us?
a) How does this relate to the “fruit” in John 15:4?
4. Describe what it means to “remain” in Christ?
a) Does this mean you can lose your faith (why/why not)?
b) How is “remaining” different than “trying to be a good Christian” or “doing good things”?
5. Verse 4 can be translated “remain in me the way I remain in you”. We remain in who Jesus really is. How does living in a posture of fully trusting the truth and believing Jesus is who He says He is, transform us? Give practical examples from your experience.
6. What is the difference between trying to bear fruit ourselves, and relying on the Spirit?
7. Read John 20:30-31. How might your life change if you didn’t feel you needed to impress God or win His approval, you just believed 100% in Jesus and trusted fully in His love and saving work done for you?
5. A Life of Fruitfulness - John 15:5 | 05/14/23
1. Read John 14:16-20, 25-26. What was Jesus’ purpose in sending the Holy Spirit?
2. Now read John 15:4-5. Why is the Holy Spirit essential if we are to bear fruit?
a) What does it look like for us to rely on the Holy Spirit?
3. What was the difference between the Pharisees and the disciples’ in terms of the basis of their relationship with God?
a) How does that relate to verse 5 which says “we can do nothing” apart from Him?
b) How can we tell if we are actually being productive/fruitful by God’s definition?
4. Read verses 9-13,17. What is the initial 'fruit' Jesus is saying we will produce if we live with Him?
a) How is this different from spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12) or the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-24)?
5. Verse 5 promises that when we abide in Christ, we WILL bear fruit. Reflect on what that means and how it applies to you personally.
6. Often we are not fruitful because there are things in our lives that inhibit the intimacy with Jesus that naturally produces the fruit. What can you personally do in order to move towards greater fruitfulness?
6. A Life of Authenticity - John 15:6 | 05/21/23
1. Read John 13:21-30, Matthew 7:21-23, and John 15:6. People who aren’t connected to Christ can appear to be Christians. What is Jesus' point in saying Christians can be LIKE them?
2. Compare and contrast John 15:2 and 15:6. How would you use these to answer the question: Can I lose my salvation?
3. Using the picture of the vine, describe the connection between relationship and good works.
a) What might be the problem if someone claims to be in Christ, but their life doesn’t change?
4. What is the observable, tangible difference in your life because Jesus is in your life?
5. Understanding that our connection with Jesus is essential if we want to bear fruit, how should we approach ministry to reach and heal brokenness in people’s lives?
7. A Life of Glory - John 15:7-8 | 05/28/23
1. Read John 15:7-8. What it means to be in alignment, or in sync, with God?
2. How is the “rhema”/specific words of God remaining in us related to our ability to live with Jesus?
3. How does the way God answers our prayers show us His heart and change our desires?
a) Give examples of how this has happened in your life.
4. When Jesus said, “This is to my Father’s glory” in verse 7, it shows us why He is invested in answering our prayers. Now read Philippians 2:13, and 1 John 5:14. How does this affect your confidence to ask, and to obey Him?
5. Dave said, “We cannot add to God’s glory, but we can give Him glory.” But we can only give glory to God if we listen to the Coach He has given us - His Spirit speaking to us, guiding us, rebuking us to keep us in alignment with God’s will. How does this affect how seriously you take responding to the Spirit?
8. A Life of Love - John 15:9-13 | 06/04/23
1. Read John 15:9-13. What does it means to 'remain/abide' in Jesus' love (v9)?
a) Read verse 10. How can we ensure we 'remain' in Jesus' love?
b) Verses 9-10 sound like God's love is conditional. What was Jesus actually meaning when He said this?
c) Why is our obedience important?
2. Read verse 11. What is Jesus' joy, and how can it be in us?
3. Read verses 12-13. Was Jesus' commanding us to just love other Christians ("one's friends")? Why/why not?
a) What does it mean "to lay down one’s life for one’s friends"?
4. Read Romans 5:5. What is the role of the Holy Spirit in our ability to love others?
a) Kim shared how our perception of the presence of Jesus changes our obedience/confidence. What difference would it make if you knew Jesus was constantly present with you by His Spirit?
b) How does abiding/remaining (living with Jesus) make a difference to our awareness of His presence with us?