There are three relationships Jesus speaks of in John 15. We abide in Him as the True Vine, we rest not in artificial things. We are His friends and we love with His love. But we are hated by this world for we are not of its spirit. (John 15:1-15)
Speaker(s): Thomas Schaller
7:00 PM on 8/25/2021
P. Schaller –
Praise the Lord! Praise God! Praise the Lord! We are worshiping the Lord tonight with a lot of
thanksgiving in what the Lord has done through the, actually the years and how faithful he is to
us. His great grace towards us. I want you to look at one verse here, Mark 9. Do you remember
the story when there was the dumb and deaf man? The man with the dumb spirit? And Jesus’
disciples could not cast the spirit out of the man. That’s Mark 9. How many of you remember
that story? And Jesus, Mark 9:17-18. Can disciples do everything? Here’s an example. They
could not. They could not. How about you in your life? Is there anything that you have fallen
short in that you couldn’t do about it? I couldn’t, – there was somebody sick and I prayed for
them and they were not healed. I could not do it.
Someone asked me a question on radio. I could not answer. Someone had a need. I could not do it. Somebody had a demon spirit. I could not cast the spirit out. Is there anything in your life that you could not do that maybe you would
expect yourself to do, but you couldn’t do it. You came to church tonight to hear about what a
failure you are! How bad it is. How bad it is. Do you want to turn to your neighbor and say, I can
identify with what the pastor said. How about you? You hypocrite you! How about you? Is there
anything you could not do? What? How about you guys over here? P. Love said he couldn’t
clean the car. He couldn’t do the laundry. Okay. Let’s go on in the text. vs. 19. Who is he talking
to? I think not only the disciples but the whole generation of the Pharisees and scribes. Israel.
The faithless generation. They could not do this. It sounds like Jesus is – is he angry? Yeah, in
a way. Come on! Come on! What’s happening. So we know that. We’ve read it and understand
that, but that’s not my point. We’ll get there in a minute. vs. 20-22.
Do you think any of that is happening today? Do you think any children are being tormented? Do you think some child is cast into the fire, maybe literally or figuratively, that is suffering? Does Jesus care about
children. Does God want us to be here in the world. By the way, at the end, the rap, P. Scibelli
will be in classroom #2 and talk about how to help – it will be like a think tank, fellowship, rap
session about helping Afghan Christians. Our heart goes out to our brothers and sisters in
Afghanistan and we care. I heard today that the Afghan immigrants coming to America, many
of them are coming here to Baltimore. Yeah! Huh? Come on! Afghan immigrants coming to
Baltimore. Sounds good, doesn’t it. We cannot do it. That we understand but read the rest of it.
vs.23-25. They even thought he was dead. The boy was motionless lying there, and they
thought he was dead. vs. 27-28. This is part I want you to see, and it has to do with you and me.
When Jesus came into the house, his disciples asked him privately, why couldn’t we cast him
out? What I saw in that verse today touched my heart because I felt like this.
Like you are out in public and when you come into the house privately with Jesus, you can ask him. Why couldn’t I
do it? Why couldn’t I answer the question, cast out the demon, say the prayer? Why couldn’t? It
didn’t work, Lord. You see when you know the Lord and the Lord of love and the Spirit of God is
in you, then you are able to talk openly with Jesus and say why couldn’t I do it? Why couldn’t I
love my wife and forgive her? Why couldn’t I say a prayer or move a mountain? Why couldn’t I
be humble and broken? Why couldn’t this have happened? And when you talk to Jesus in the
house privately, to me it’s at the very core of our relationship with God. You can be very honest
with God. Nothing is hidden. And when you ask him, he has an answer. He rebuked the
generation in public, but in private he told them this kind comes out only by prayer and fasting. It
was a good answer obviously, but it wasn’t an answer to condemn them. It’s to say there is a lot
more to life than what you think. You cannot get it all done on your own. You’re going to fail, but
come to me and I will talk to you because I am on your side.
I am your Savior. I’m the one that counsels you. I’m the one that will help you. I’m the one that gives to you. I’m the one that cares for you. Isn’t that good. Okay. Two portions. Job 11. Turn there with me. That’s beautiful to have
a church that prayers. Wow! In your life, you must discover prayer in life. You must discover
that. Find it. Know it. Learn it. It’s powerful. Prayer is amazing. Prayer will get you through trials.
Prayer will help you in your meditation, in your study. Bible college starts in ten days. Let’s see,
a week from Monday. And we are so thankful. I think we have 28 international students coming
from Turkey, Finland, France, Krygystan, Peru. So we love the foreign students and also the
Americans that come from Baltimore and others. We have two brothers visiting from
Tennessee, right? You want to raise your hand? Where are they? There they are, the two guys,
Chad and Allen, no Caleb. Caleb and Allen.
Okay. Job 11:7 What is the meaning of that? Can you by searching find out God? Let’s think of searching? Can you search scientifically and find out God? Can you search with Google Maps and find out God? Can you in your psychology, in your heart, deep inside, way in your heart, can you find out God? And the answer is no you
can’t. When we look at life, does life explain itself? That’s a good statement? Does life explain
what is going on here? Does life explain itself? No, it doesn’t. There’s two mysteries there. Who
is God? How can I find him? And then, what is life? Why am I here? What’s going on? How do
things work? Can you find it out? vs. 7-8. Can you find it? You can’t. Wow. vs. 9. I love this. You
know why I love this? Because it leaves me in a big problem. It leaves me in great need. I need
God, right? How can I find him? How does it work? How do I get the answer? How do I know?
You see I’m lost. Now turn to John 15. We have three relationships in this teaching in the Last
Supper. Jesus taught at the Last Supper this parable which we shared at lunch rap and is still
kind of resonating in my heart.
I want to kind of go through it with you. I think you will be blessed by it. John. 15:1, are there other vines? False vines? Are there other ideas? Vines a metaphor for the reality, the real plant that produces fruit is Christ. Other plants are like the plastic, artificial plants that you buy at Walmart. I had a dream to have a garden so I went to Walmart, bought
the flowers, stuck them in and you know. There you go. I’ve got an artificial garden, artificial life.
Promise but no reality. Ideas but they don’t work. Words but they fall to the ground. A god but he
is nothing. He is nothing but ashes. Jesus said – like I’m saying this. Read my lips. I am the true
vine. Lord, do you know that we need the true vine. Oh, you need the true vine. There’s so
much garbage in the earth. There is so much religion, false christs, false prophets, false
teachings. There’s so much stuff happening in the world. I am the true vine. I am. That’s what he
said. Prove me God says. Come on prove me. Test me. Test me by your tithes and offerings in
Malachi 3. Come on. Prove, test me. How have I wearied you, Micah 6:3. I am God. I am God.
This is why, you know, us believers when we talk about the Christian life and it’s not working. It’s
not happening. I have an issue with that.
That cannot happen. That cannot happen. It has to be the true vine. It has to work. It has to be reality. It has to have an effect. It has to affect my life. It has to be enjoyable. I have to have some pleasure in it. I has to work. It has to – woe, hey, hey! God! God. That’s the problem. You don’t have God. You search and you cannot find it. You
have God. But do we? Look at vs. 1. That is a great thing that he is taking care of the vineyard.
He’s got those clippers. He’s got the shovels, the water, the ground. My Father’s got the ground.
It’s got the vineyard, and he’s in charge. My Father is doing it. My Father is taking care of the
vineyard and I am the vine and my Father is taking care of the vineyard. Isn’t that good? vs. 2.
Clips it. I used to live in Hungary. It’s a vineyard country. They have a lot of grapes. They clip. In
our garden at the house we rented the gardener would come in with little shears and knew
exactly where. I asked him one day. We talked a little bit how – they trim the vines. A little dead
branch takes the energy, the life out of the vine but you clip it off, trim it, make it clean. Make the
The branch is clean and it bears fruit. I saw a little apricot tree in Hungary about this
tall, about this wide and it was packed with apricots. I said to the guy that owned it, look at it.
How does it bear so much? He said there is a lot of calcium in the ground. That’s why it does.
And I keep it clean. It bears a lot of fruit. I got these little shears that clip, clip, clip. Your life and
my life the Father deals with the extra stuff that is not needed that will drain the plant. That’s the
extra stuff that you play with. You fool around with, that you think is important. Jesus is saying,
you don’t need that. I’ll clip it off. You don’t – hey, you don’t need that relationship. You don’t
need that lie. You don’t need that false idea. You don’t need that pride. I’m going to clip it. I want
to deal with you. This is what is good about it. vs. 2-3. Here’s the branch. I’m a branch right now.
This little shoot wasn’t doing too good because of a cicada. A cicada killed it! And the Lord is
saying I’m taking that off.
There I am. I lost but the plant gained. I lost but I gained. I lost but I
gained. You know the principle. Your private life, your prayer life. You’re listening to God. Let
him clean you. His simple instruction, his gentle touch is to care for you that you would bear
more fruit. He wants you to have more joy, more faith, more confidence. He wants to love you in
the kingdom. He wants you to have wisdom. He wants you to love your Bible. He wants the
plant to be healthy and he does it. So here is the relationship, the first relationship, and there is
three of them. The first relationship is your relationship with God. Learn to come to God with an
open heart. Learn to be very open to his scissors or his shears. vs. 4. Abide has the idea of
permanently staying, staying attached. Don’t be attached and detached and then try to be
attached or you know. That picture is okay but the best thing is to abide. Just stay there. Abide
in him. Having that attitude of trust because this is how you get to know God by a long period of
time by simple trust cause faith pleases God.
Without faith it is impossible to please him, but those that come to him believe he is, he is there. How can I find him? I can’t find him, but he is there and by faith I believe he is and he is a rewarder, a rewarder of those that diligently seek
him or abide in him. Where did that fruit come from? It came from him. Where did that peace
come from? It came from him. I remember Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War stories. There
were people that told stories and he came from the war department, a slaughter at Antietam,
Maryland. Just a slaughter for 27,000 men. I’m not sure. Horrible. He goes in to his room and
lays on the sofa and is just exhausted and so discouraged and so depressed because of the
war. And so broken as a man. You know, like, those little stories are like reality, and yet a
believer must learn to abide cause if I abide in my trials, if I abide in my pain, if I abide in my
difficulty, my heavenly Father will see that fruit comes. Fruit comes. There is another story when
the Gettysburg – when he got the word that Lee was going up into Pennsylvania, he’s in the
He goes into the Lincoln room. He goes into the bedroom and he gets on his
knees and starts praying and starts feeling this is it. We will beat them. He started thinking like
this. He had some faith. You see, if you abide in the vine no matter what you go through, Jesus
said, what kind of fruit? Maybe it’s faith. Now I believe. Maybe it’s just a peace. Maybe it’s joy.
Maybe it’s a long period of time but it’s a relationship with God. Wow! vs. 4-5. You can’t do this
without me. Oh, yeah, they run companies, they run governments, they run armies, they run the
economy, they run hospitals. Of course man does all that. But is it fruitful before God or is it the
flesh? Is it money driven? Is it pride driven? Is it ego driven? Is it confusion driven? What can
they do? They can do all kinds of things, run a civilization, but they cannot bear fruit to our
Heavenly Father, for without Jesus Christ it is not there. There is a relationship with myself, but
not with God. But this is about God. Go to verse 6. How much that can happen. This isn’t going
to hell. This is about men gathering withered branches.
Men gathering Christians that are not abiding. Men gathering like dead branches that are throne into the fire and are worthless and they are cast into the fire and they are burned. A Christian who is burned and is ashamed. A
Christian who is hiding. A Christian who doesn’t bear fruit. A Christian that believes in Jesus, he
believes in Jesus but is not abiding in Jesus. He cannot go through the trial. He is ashamed. He
is ridiculed. He is put down. This is what the idea is. vs. 7. That’s powerful prayer. vs. 8-9. This
is relationship #2. It is us loving each other. vs. 10-11. I feel that joy. I think you do. We have the
joy. It’s our strength. It’s kind of a mindset. It’s kind of like we’re free. We’re not afraid. We’re not
burdened. There may be covid, but we have joy. There may be persecuted Christians in
Afghanistan, but we pray for them to abide in the vine and bear fruit and have joy in life. This is
a great need I think, and we are loving our sisters and brothers this way. vs. 12. Relationship
#2. Relationship #1 God and Relationship #2 one another, loving one another.
How could we be in this room with love in our hearts for one another when we may be so different from each other
or offend each other or say something not exactly right. How can you love me, a pastor who is
speaking a lot and come on. I’m going to make some mistake or a tone of voice or I’m going to
have an attitude or something and you’re still going to love me? You’re still going to love me
anyway? You’re going to pray for me and love me? And how about each other sitting in the
chairs here? Are we going to still when I don’t get a birthday card or you don’t greet me or
something goes upside down or side ways? We’re going to love each other? Jesus said it. Love
one another. This is big. Relationship #2 in this parable is the love we have. Family. The family
we have. The spirit. Bring to your mind somebody on the other side of the world maybe and
caring about them and loving them. Thinking about somebody you haven’t seen for a long time
and pray for them. Maybe you’ll never see them again, but you love them.
Why? Cause you’re abiding in the vine, and God is love. God goes so far to love us. He is so kind and so gracious
and patient and merciful, and so are we with each other. We are not selective with our
friendships. Everybody in front of us we are friends. God has called us friends. We are not
selective. If you are a friend of God, I am a friend of yours and you are a friend of mine. We are
friends. Isn’t that amazing? How much trouble can this friendship endure? It can suffer a lot. It
says it suffers long. It endures all things. Hopes all things. Believes all things. It’s love. When I
come up short – you know, we can’t cast a demon out of this guy, this child and Jesus comes
into the house privately and we come up short. We’re talking to Jesus and we’re saying Jesus,
why couldn’t we do it? Why couldn’t we do it? I love that question. Why couldn’t we do it? And
this is relationship. No secrets here. Why couldn’t we do it. You can talk to me Jesus because I
am abiding in you, and you are abiding in me. We are loving each other.
Go to the next verse please. vs. 13. I thought the greatest love was to lay down your life for your enemy? But did you read that? Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends. That’s
in the Body. We are friends. Friends of God. Friends of each other. Why is this the greater love?
Because it’s a circle. It goes out and it comes back. It goes out and comes back. When you love
your enemy, it may just go out and never come back. It just goes out. Which is the greater love?
The husband and wife is love and comes back, love and comes back. Loving an enemy is love
goes out and it might stay there. They don’t like it. They don’t want you. That’s not the greatest
love. The greatest love is the Trinity. The Father loves the Son. The Son loves the Father. The
great love on the earth is the church. The church members love each other, and they love each
other. That’s God in the midst of people. That’s love received.
That’s abiding in the vine. That’s bearing fruit. That’s how you grow and develop as a Christian by being loved and loving. Remember Jesus said about a work. He said I work while there is day. Night comes when no
man can work. That word “work” is a big part of life. There’s two things about life. One is love
and the other is work. Work is a big part of life. Love and work. How do you see it in the church?
The church is a place of love, but it’s also a place of activity, of service, of washing feet, of
sending emails, of sharing tracts, of going to Namibia or taking to someone I don’t know or
caring or feeding the shut-in people. Third relationship here. I think I will cut this shorter. vs. 18.
This is the third relationship, the world. Jesus said the world. That word is in the gospel of John
so prominently and in his epistles and it represents something more than just the planet Earth.
When you think of the world you think of the Earth but this is not that. This is the diabolocus.
Chafer writes about the diabolical cosmos, the system that is diabolical, that is against God. It’s
written in John 1.
Light came into the world but the world received it not. The world received it not. You see it on the three crosses. When Jesus died in the middle there were two thieves and they both were cursing him but one changed. The other one didn’t. This is the world. The world and the Christian. The Christian changed. He got saved. The world does not get saved. The world curses him and does not understand him, does not know him. The world hated me, it will
hate you. This is spiritual. We have a spirit that is not of the world. We have the Holy Spirit and
the world knows that. They can see it. They can discern it. They can recognize it. That we don’t
belong. We are different. We don’t build our house. Listen. It says in the Scripture that Abraham
looked for a city that had foundations. And where is the city in the Bible that has foundations but
in Revelations 21 and 22. Those foundational stones are given the colors. The colors are there written.
Amethyst and all of these, topaz and the jasper stone. This city has foundations. All other cities
do not have foundations. They have concrete and pilings but those are not foundations.
They will be burned up and blown away into the wind. But this God, the God that made the heavens
and the earth has a city, and it has foundations, and you and I are part of that city. We are in the
world and strangely hated by it. vs. 18. He’s getting them ready for the big game coming up.
When they leave the room and when Pentecost comes fifty days later and when the world will
not receive them and will hate them. He’s getting them ready. He’s telling them at the Last
Supper that the world hated me and it will hate you. This is relationship #3. vs. 19. Remember
that. The world loves it’s own. Maybe you see it in the world system, how much they love their
own, how much they may love an evil man, how much they may look the other way at a
violation, how much they might just embrace the spirit of the man but they might denounce his
activity but they are actually friends. The world loves it’s own. Herod and Pilate, they became
friends after Pilate sent Jesus to Herod, and Herod appreciated it.
He felt he honored him. Pilate honored me. He sent him to me, and they became friends from that day forward. But they were two evil men and they were friends. How about you and I? No, we don’t fit in. We don’t fit in and
I like it that we don’t. I like it. I’m not trying to be belligerent but it is this way. Cause if your
relationship #1 is with the true vine, then that contradicts all the artificial, plastic flowers. That
contradicts all the weeds and the lies and the trees that do not bear fruit. I am the true vine. I am
the answer. I am the Christ. Then #2, love one another. Love each other fervently, and know
each other in God. Then relationship #3. You are in the world and have an outreach in the
world. Communicate in the world. Do not be shy. Do not back off. You are a sheep in the midst
of wolves, but don’t stop being sheep. You are wise as serpents and harmless as doves. I think
the serpent like this he goes on the ground like this moving back and forth, and then he feels a
vibration on the ground and he stops. He puts his tongue out a few times and he’s there. And he
knows his food, his dinner is near by. And he’s just waiting.
He knows what he is doing. How about a Christian? We have skills. We have spiritual skills that we can live in the world. We have skills. We have patience. We have answered prayers. We are part of revival. We have a message. We are wise as serpents and harmless people. We’re not threatening. We’re not
violent. We’re smart. We’re wise. We know how to do things. And we do them quietly. Just kind
of quietly behind and the devil looks over one day and says where did that come from? Where
did that come from? That came from God, devil. That came from God, and that’s the thing that
God did because of abiding in the vine. Three relationships. We could speak a lot about it. The
way of life is from above to escape from hell below. You cannot find God by searching him out.
You must come to him by faith. As you walk with him, you will know him. When you know him,
you will know his peace and his love and his fruit.
We also recognize you’ll see something that
you go wow! You know, this world is actually an evil world. It doesn’t want Jesus Christ. What
did Jesus do? He just healed the sick, fed the hungry. He raised the dead. He cast out demons.
Why would you kill him? It’s his spirit, his message cause he’s from God, and the world is not
from God. Barabbas! Barabbas! Give us Barabbas! If it happened to him like that, could that
happen to us? Okay.
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.