Small Group Bible Study

No Greater Love
 - Week 
6

Painful, but Worth It

John 15:1-3, 26-27
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Pruning is painful. And while pain is perhaps the most obvious thing we experience when we are in a season of pruning, the less obvious and more hopeful realities are that pruning is not punishment, but is about preparation for increased production.

Let's read together.

Read

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 Every branch in me that does not produce fruit he removes, and he prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.

26 “When the Counselor comes, the one I will send to you from the Father —the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 You also will testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.

Some key statements and questions put forward that are important for us to talk about…

Examine

"Every branch in me that does not produce fruit he removes..."

  • "The harder the pruning, the greater the fragrance and beauty which will later be released." D.A. Carson
  • Why does this idea seem counterintuitive to human nature?
  • Why does the idea of removing something to improve something go against culture?

"...he prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit."

  • Why do you think the text includes the word "every" when it comes to pruning?
  • Are there some branches you wish he'd skip over? What might those be?
  • Why do you think God thoroughly prunes his branches?

“You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you."

  • God pronounces us clean in the context of his intent to prune.
  • Have you believed that pruning is punishment?
  • What might it mean for you to see pruning as a loving action instead?

Apply

"Is this branch strong enough to bear the load of "much fruit"? Is there room for more?” God strengthens us when he cuts deep into things that are dying within us. Do you see where there may be room for "more" or even "much" fruit in your life? Share a branch he may be currently pruning to accomplish just that.

“There is no way forward without pruning.” You can not yield fruit in all season. Why is it important that we submit to the pruning process for our spiritual growth?

"Are you speaking more about what you have seen, heard or experienced?" We are pruned so that we can bear witness about hardship being purposeful. Do you speak out often about how God is cutting things back in your life? Do you complain or rejoice?

Act

Be pruned. Ask God to help you receive pruning as an act of love.

Abide in Christ. Commit to staying connected and pick one spiritual practice you will lean into.

Bear witness. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the strength to worship him in truth and deed when you discuss and are experiencing pruning.

Amen.