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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 15 - Verse 16

Verse 16. Ye have not chosen me. The word here translated chosen is that from which is derived the word elect, and means the same thing. It is frequently thus translated, Mr 13:20; Mt 24:22,24,31; Col 3:12. It refers here, doubtless, to his choosing or electing them to be apostles. He says that it was not because they had chosen him to be their teacher and guide, but because he had designated them to be his apostles. See Barnes "Joh 6:70"; See Barnes "Mt 4:18, also Mt 4:19-22. He thus shows them that his love for them was pure and disinterested; that it commenced when they had no affection for him; that it was not a matter of obligation on his part, and that therefore it placed them under more tender and sacred obligations to be entirely devoted to his service. The same may be said of all who are endowed with talents of any kind, or raised to any office in the church or the state. It is not that they have originated these talents, or laid God under obligation. What they have they owe to his sovereign goodness, and they are bound to devote all to his service. Equally true is this of all Christians. It was not that by nature they were more inclined than others to seek God, or that they had any native goodness to recommend them to him, but it was because he graciously inclined them by his Holy Spirit to seek him; because, in the language of-the Episcopal and Methodist articles of religion, "The grace of Christ PREVENTED them;" that is, went before them, commenced the work of their personal salvation, and thus God in sovereign mercy chose them as his own. Whatever Christians, then, possess, they owe to God, and by the most tender and sacred ties they are bound to be his followers.

I have chosen you. To be apostles. Yet all whom he now addressed were true disciples. Judas had left them; and when Jesus says he had chosen them to bear fruit, it may mean, also, that he had "chosen them to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth," 2 Th 2:13.

Ordained you. Literally, I have placed you, appointed you, set you apart. It does not mean that he had done this by any formal public act of the imposition of hands, as we now use the word, but that he had designated or appointed them to this work, Lu 6:13-16; Mt 10:2-5.

Bring forth fruit. That you should be rich in good works; faithful and successful in spreading my gospel. This was the great business to which they were set apart, and this they faithfully accomplished. It may be added that this is the great end for which Christians are chosen. It is not to be idle, or useless, or simply to seek enjoyment. It is to do good, and to spread as far as possible the rich temporal and spiritual blessings which the gospel is fitted to confer on mankind.

Your fruit should remain This probably means,

1st. That the effect of their labours would be permanent on mankind. Their efforts were not to be like those of false teachers, the result of whose labours soon vanish away (Ac 5:38,39), but their gospel was to spread—was to take a deep and permanent hold on men, and was ultimately to fill the world, Mt 16:18. The Saviour knew this, and never was a prediction more cheering for man or more certain in its fulfillment.

2nd. There is included, also, in this declaration the idea that their labours were to be unremitted. They were sent forth to be diligent in their work, and untiring in their efforts to spread the gospel, until the day of their death. Thus their fruit, the continued product or growth of religion in their souls, was to remain, or to be continually produced, until God should call them from their work. The Christian, and especially the Christian minister, is devoted to the Saviour for life. He is to toil without intermission, and without being weary of his work, till God shall call him home. The Saviour never called a disciple to serve him merely for a part of his life, nor to feel himself at liberty to relax his endeavours, nor to suppose himself to be a Christian when his religion produced no fruit. He that enlists under the banners of the Son of God does it for life. He that expects or desires to grow weary and cease to serve him, has never yet put on the Christian armour, or known anything of the grace of God. See Lu 9:62.

That whosoever, &c. See Joh 15:7.

{q} "Ye have not chosen me" 1 Jo 4:10,19 {r} "ordained you" Eph 2:10 {s} "whatsoever you shall ask" Joh 15:7; 14:13

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