What Vine are you Abiding In? (Part 3)

What Vine Are You Abiding In?(Part 3) – Why does Christ tell us these things?

If you haven’t had a chance to read Parts 1 and 2 about John 15, please take time and review them and ask yourself this tough question: What vine am I abiding in? Find Part 1 here. And we need to examine our own hearts and our own faith by asking the tough question: What fruit am I bearing? Find Part 2 here.

Let’s dive back into John 15 and look into the next part…

Why does Christ tell us that he is the true vine? Why does he stop with the disciples late on the night he will be arrested to teach the disciples proper gardening techniques? Is it so that they can start working in their lives and to start bearing fruit? Is it so that we will know how to produce noticeable fruit in our lives? No. Absolutely not. We are not able to bear fruit on our own; it is not up to us! God produces the fruit and he only produces it when we abide in Christ. Our job is to abide and he will  bear the fruit in our life. The amazing thing about fruit is that you’ll always know where it comes from. An apple tree will not bear oranges, so if it is, it isn’t an apple tree. So where are we abiding? Are we abiding in Christ? Or are we abiding in our attempts to bear fruit? Are we abiding in something other than Christ and thus we have to Velcro fake fruit to us to keep up appearances?

Here are three reasons why Christ teaches about the fruit that comes from abiding:

1. First, look at v 8:

“…by this my Father is Glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”

We will be seen as Christ’s disciples by our fruit. Our fruitfulness glorifies God. It is about God! Our fruit in the form of good works, love, joy, peace, patience, and and the like are to glorify God – to the glory of God alone. It’s His fruit after all. We prove to be his disciples meaning that it is evident that we are not of this world, but that we are members of the family of God…it is a family resemblance to the ultimate fruit bearer.

2. Christ’s second reason…verse 11:

John 15:11

11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Christ wants us joyful. When we abide in him, we will have true joy. In fact, we will have his joy in us. The verse states specifically, “than my joy may be in you.” This carries the meaning of Christ’s joy abiding in us. This is a big deal. Think about who we are talking about:

Jesus Christ – through Him and for Him the universe was made.
Jesus Christ – the one who defeated death and is savior of all who believe.
Jesus Christ – the infinite, eternal, and holy Son of God
Jesus Christ – the one who holds the stars in place and holds molecules together with the word of his power

What do you think his joy is like? Is that something that you desire? Do you want to have the all powerful, infinite, and holy Son of God’s joy in you? I do! So, just abide in Christ and God will produce this supernatural fruit of joy in us. He is telling us how.

3. Ok, now for the third reason…verse 12:

John 15:10&12

“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my father’s commandments and abide in his love…this is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

I used these verses earlier and remember what I said…you don’t keep his commandments in order to abide, but because you are abiding you end up keeping his commandments. Because you are abiding you end up loving one another as he loved you. Again, don’t miss this bombshell. If we abide, we will love one another as CHRIST LOVED US! This is huge!

Think again about Christ’s love:

Jesus Christ – through Him and for Him the universe was made.
Jesus Christ – the one who defeated death and is savior of all who believe.
Jesus Christ – the infinite, eternal, and holy Son of God
Jesus Christ – the one who holds the stars in place and holds molecules together with the word of his power

Do you want the love he has for us in you ? Yes! Christ loved us by coming down from heaven and loving us before we even knew he existed or knew that we needed him. He humbled himself by becoming nothing in the likeness of man. By leaving His glory in heaven and by dying on the cross in our place as the ultimate sacrifice.

Do you want to love like that? I do! If so, abide in Christ and God will bear this fruit of supernatural love through you.

We see why he told us to abide, but how do we do it?

The Practical Side – How Do We Abide?

Who do you spend the most of your time with? Do you love that person? Can remember being a little child when something scary happens and you run to your dad and jump in his lap and he makes you feel safe. Can any of you remember what this feels like?

That is what abiding looks like.

If you love Christ you will stay near to him. You spend time with those whom you love. You abide by loving Christ and staying with him. Abiding is the act of resting in Christ. You can’t rest in him if you don’t trust him to provide and keep you safe first. You can’t trust him until you know who he is and where his heart is. You can’t know who he is without spending time with him. This is vital to life as a believer.

To know him, you develop a life of reading your Bible everyday and put the words inside you. You can’t abide if you don’t spend time getting to know him. You develop a life of continuous prayer. You can’t abide if you don’t spend time getting to know him.

Once you know him and trust in him, you will have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…God will bear fruit through you in spite of you.

Conclusion

Finally, in closing, let’s look at a bunch of verses to pull it all together:

1 John 2:24-25

“Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us —eternal life.”

Eternal life. Abide in the vine and let the gospel abide in you.

Matthew 13:3-8

“And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

The first two soils (people) here reject Christ outright. However, the third is our branch that is cut off and thrown into the fire. This seed grows, which is parallel to abiding in Christ, but this seed never really has a full connection and is choked out by other things as a vine that does not bear fruit. However, the fourth seed grows and bears much fruit.

Non-Abiding Branches – Don’t get comfortable and don’t get a false confidence – Be sure. Look at this Psalm from Asaph:

Psalm 50:22-23

“Mark this, then, you who forget God, lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver! The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!”

Those who forget God are not abiding. Those who offer the fruit of thanksgiving are and see the salvation of God! Don’t forget God in the little things.

More non-abiding branches from Psalm 28 – these Psalms are God speaking to us through his prophets and drawing a line in the sand. In this case we read a passionate Psalm from David:

Psalm 28:5

“Because they do not regard the works of the Lord or the work of his hands, he will tear them down and build them up no more.”

Do you hear the similarity to Jesus telling us that those who are not bearing fruit will be cut off the vine and burned? Here, the message is the same, he will tear them down and build them up no more…they will not be attached to the vine.

Non-abiding branches and the abiding branches from the Psalms is a constant theme as we from each of these passages. This is David again:

Psalm 27:4-5

“4 One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. 5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.”

One last uplifting Psalm:

Psalm 33:20-22

“Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you!”

Now that is abiding in Christ.

As everyday goes by, you will be challenged more than ever in your life. You will experience things that test your faith and pull you in directions that you didn’t expect. Don’t let this world derail your faith. Abide in the true vine. Keep looking and praying for areas for God to prune in your life. Hold fast to your faith and be at peace in all things in Christ. Don’t try to put on fruit superficially – no fruit suits – but abide in the vine and everyone around you will see the fruit develop in huge clusters. This will glorify God, you will have His joy in you, and His love will be in you. Amen. Let it be so, oh Lord, let it be so!

3 thoughts on “What Vine are you Abiding In? (Part 3)

  1. This is a MOST excellent piece! I agree with Pilgrim – Old Testament Scriptures are oft neglected yet most beneficial in helping best comprehend the wisdom of God. They tell all about the Lord Jesus!

  2. Pilgrim & Manfred, thanks for the encouraging words. The OT is about Jesus, of course! So there is a wealth of truth to mine. Praise God!

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