Characteristics of a follower of Christ
Text: John 15: 1-8
Text verse: John 15: 1
In this passage, two types of disciples are implied. On the one hand, you can be a disciple through association. Characteristics of such a disciple are:
You don’t really belong (vs. 2)
Being able to say that I belong to a church does not necessarily make me a disciple. But you can’t be a disciple if you are not part of the church. Here Jesus compares it to a shoot that is not attached to a vine. Such a shoot dries up quickly and is thrown away. In the same way, we must be part of Christ and his church.
You do not bear fruit
In this regard, Judas is a good example. He had no loyalty as a disciple. The result was that ...
• He did not accept Jesus’ kingship.
• He sought his own advantage in everything.
His time, money and relationships are determined by the benefit it holds for himself.
In comparison to the disciple through association is the disciple who fully belongs.
The characteristics of such a disciple are:
He is humble
Here the metaphor used is important to understand. The vine is the most important part of the vineyard. It provides all the necessary food to the shoots so that they can grow and bear fruit.
Jesus was all we cannot be. We are totally dependent on the salvation we have through Him and therefore the fruit must also be this humility. We cannot become part of this glorious vine ourselves; it is by grace along. Therefore, the true disciple is humble. He knows that Jesus did everything for Him on the cross.
He knows that it is necessary to be pruned
A disciple is pruned. Hebrews also makes it clear that if the Father does not discipline us, then it shows that He does not love us (Heb. 12:7). Being pruned certainly involves a lot of pain, but it is essential. It is necessary because the Father helps us to bear even more fruit. Jesus’ death and resurrection are proof of this. His death was necessary. He suffered on our behalf so that we may be part of His glory and goodness. We are in Him. Safe!
He is obedient to God
Jesus makes this generous promise in verse 7. He says that the disciple only needs to ask what he wants … and he will receive it.
However, it is also a promise with a limitation. Just before the promise, it says that you must abide in Jesus. Furthermore, verse 8 also states that a disciple bears much fruit and thus glorifies the Father.
This limitation therefore indicates that the disciple trusts that God’s will is best for his life and therefore he seeks and asks for God’s will and glory.
A disciple trusts the Father. He knows that the Father’s will and honour are paramount. His greatest need is to glorify God.
Jesus is every disciple’s motivation to glorify God. We do not need the honour ourselves, because we understand what Jesus has done for us. We deserve rejection and humiliation, but God loves us so much that He humbled and rejected Jesus in our place so that we could be His children. That is why all the glory goes to God.