March 19, 2017

Adult Bible Study Online

A current connection to each week's session

God’s Love Manifested
John 15:1-17

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Recently we saw a TV advertisement for, a service that gives direction for connecting to one's personal ancestry. This website makes it possible to learn of one's heritage and the nationality of one’s foreparents. One man who thought he was of German background learned that he was Scottish. So, he traded his lederhosen for kilts.[1]

Christians have another important connection to maintain. In John 15, Jesus speaks of the need for a very tight and thick connection between a vine and its branches. When the branch abides in the vine it has life and bears fruit. The vine and branches are symbols of Jesus and his believing followers.

Branches must “abide” in the vine in order to be more useful and protective to the fruit. As long as branches are connected to the vine, branches are able to bear fruit. If a branch is not connected to the vine, it has no life and will be thrown into the fire. A vine and its branches need a vital relationship, like the human body and its members, the bride and the bridegroom, and sheep with a shepherd. One important thing in our life of discipleship is “abiding in Christ” so that living fruit can be produced for God’s glory.

The vinedresser is wholly in charge of the vine and vineyard. It is up to the vinedresser to prune or not to prune. As branches, we believers can admit that often the pruning process hurts and is difficult. On the other hand, we also rejoice that we are able to produce more and better fruit so we can be helpful to others in our local community and to extended communities.

As branches bearing fruit we are not to live to please ourselves; but as followers and disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to serve others. What a continual blessing to feed and help others by our words and our works!

At times, we do not know the value of real friendship in the western countries since it is full of consumerism and capitalism. However, what a blessing that Jesus calls us in unique ways as dear friends. Friendship with Jesus is permanent; he never leaves us or forsakes us. Unlike Judas Iscariot, no true friend was disappointed with Jesus. Rather the disciples lived their lives as testimonies on the earth. When we have friendship with Jesus the Lord, we will continue to have good, blessed, and joyful friendships with our community and beyond.

  • My brothers and sisters, as branches how are you staying connected to the vine, Jesus Christ? How do you abide in Jesus so you can love and serve others in the community?
  • How will you maintain a good friendship with Jesus, by the help of the Holy Spirit?
  • How shall we pray about social issues of today in a holistic way?

—Paulus Thalathoti,

© 2017

1. AncestryDNA TV Commercial, ‘Lederhosen.’

Paulus Thalathoti is an ordained minister and the founding president of Peace Proclamation Ministries, an evangelistic and church planting ministry with those living in the interior rural areas of India. Dr. Thalathoti also serves as chairperson for Penn Bible Fellowship in Hatfield, Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Sumatha, are mission associates with Mennonite Mission Network and members of Plains Mennonite Church, Hatfield, Pennsylvania.

This article supplements Adult Bible Study, a quarterly Bible curriculum for adults. Adult Bible Study provides in-depth, challenging Bible study from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective, written by an intercultural group of pastors, teachers, professors, and leaders across Canada and the United States. Sessions include daily Bible readings, resources for additional study, and free downloadable resources.

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