John 15 Abiding in Christ May 2007am
Christ continued to talk to His remaining disciples. Suddenly, He commanded, "Come, now; let us leave" (John 14:31).
>>>>>>>walked through the dark city streets toward the Garden of Gethsemane, where Christ received the bitter Judas kiss……. Somewhere on the way to that kiss Christ spoke the words recorded in John 15.
We Must Remain in Christ
The word remain, which is repeated eight times in this passage, denotes a key concept.
The Greek writers used the word meno meaning, "to stay, stand fast, abide, to stay at home, stay where one is, not stray, to remain as one was, to remain as before" The word translated "abide" is one of the apostle John's favorite words. He uses it 34 times in the Gospel, and 19 times in his epistles. In the New Testament meno means "to sojourn, to tarry, to dwell at ones' own house, to tarry as a guest, to lodge, to maintain unbroken fellowship with one, to be constantly present to help one, to put forth constant influence upon one" (Wuest).
He further reinforces his teaching through an analogy from the world of agiticulture: I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener.
Grapevines were a common sight around Jerusalem.
· The coins of the Maccabees bore the engraved in vine.
· The temple gates were adorned with carved vines and grape clusters.
· Vineyards covered many hillsides outside the city
Some scholars suggest that Christ was passing through one of the vineyards when he made these remarks……Imagine him holding up a thick vine heavy with the weight of ripening grapes as he declared, "I am the true vine."
The Old Testament, compares Israel to a vine.
Hosea 10:1 says, Israel is an empty vine,
Jeremiah 2:21 says, "I planted you as a choice vine, from the purest stock" (NRSV).
Now Christ claims that he is Israel's authentic Vine and they must remain in him.
What does it mean to remain in the True Vine?
The equation is this: A branch is to the vine as a believer is to Christ.
To remain in Christ means joining him in a living, continuous, growing way.
· It means refusing to allow sin to hinder our relationship with him.
· It means acknowledging our utter dependence on Him for, "Apart from me," he says, "you can do nothing" (John 15:5 NIV).
We Need to Produce Fruit
We were born for a purpose and that purpose is to bear fruit for Christ.
Our lives will be productive only if we are true branches rather than false ones.
· False branches are the disappointing ones that fail to produce fruit.
· Christ says He cuts off every branch that bears no fruit: (John 15:6).
Christ warned about the danger of barren branches.
· Fruitless branches are no good. They are dead wood, good only for the fire.
This sobering warning alerts us about the dangers of shallow, counterfeit Christianity.
Not all who attend Christian churches or mouth words are genuine.
What sort of fruit do we exhibit?
If you looked up the word fruit in a concordance, you would find that the Bible uses it to refer to productive, godly character traits.
For example, Isaiah 5:7 says God is looking for the fruit of justice and righteousness.
Galatians 5:22-23 talks about the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
This is the fruit Christ expects to be hanging from the branches of each of our lives.
**It demonstrates that Christ is the source of life in us.
Have you ever spotted a bowl of delicious looking fruit on the other side of a room, and your mouth salivates in anticipation of the first bite of a succulent pear or peach? Then you make your way across the room toward the bowl only to find disappointment. A closer examination reveals that the enticing object is nothing more than a plastic imitation.
No matter how attractive imitated fruit may look from a distance, it cannot compare with the real thing. It will never feed you.
We produce true fruit only as we depend upon Him, for Christ says, (John 15:4).
If patience is missing, or joy is incomplete, or self-control is absent, or some other fruit of the Spirit is lacking, we can acquire it only by remaining close to Christ.
We will find it only in His strength. There are no other options, no substitutes, no shortcuts to bearing fruit.
We are either growing in Christ or we are dead wood.
My father—pruning fruit trees----at first---doesn’t make sense….more fruitful…fuller
That is precisely what God does in us. He watches over us and, as He sees the need, determines to do some pruning.
Pruning can be painful.
When we are pruned of health, or job, or some valued possessions, or worldly security, there is almost always discomfort involved.
We do well to remember that God's pruning knife is always in safe hands.
It is in hands that are always loving, wise, and good.
Fruit bearing also leads to effective prayers: John 15:7
What an encouraging promise to motivate us to prayer!
There is nothing more vital to your Christian life than prayer.
There are a lot of faulty misconceptions about prayer===
|Some people think prayer is a magic wand. We kind of wave it at something -- it’s a superstitious approach -- and you get what you want. God is kind of like a genie that you rub the vase and God comes out and you pray the request -- "My wish is your command!" |
Some people think prayer is a first aide kit. For them, prayer is an act of desperation. Sign for fire extinguisher: "Use only in emergency."
|Like the deacon who came to his pastor one day. The pastor said, "I guess all we can do is pray," and the deacon said, "Has it come to that?"|
Does it mean that all prayers find answers? No, it does not.
Note the qualifications in the text. We must maintain an unbroken connection with Christ.
The psalmist reminds us, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me" (Psalm 66:18 KJV).
When we remain in Christ, we are more apt to ask for those things that are in line with God's will, rather than self-centered requests.
fruit bearing is that it will serve as a verification of discipleship.
He also taught in Matthew 7, "By their fruit you will know (recognize) them."
Ultimately God alone judges the genuineness of each person's faith.
[J. Vernon McGee “Judge not, but we are to be fruit inspectors.”]
a complete absence of fruit in a life should call into question whether a person is truly connected to the True Vine.
Prayer is an act of communication
Communication with your wife/husband/your business.
Most of your problems in life come from poor communication.
You can’t understand a person in marriage unless you communicate with them.
And you can’t understand God, God’s will for your life, unless you communicate with Him.
It’s vital in the Christian life. Prayer is an act of dedication and it’s an act of communication.
He says the reason you can ask anything in prayer is because we’re friends.
Isn’t that amazing?
God says, "I don’t treat you like servants, like slaves. I treat you as friends."
We seldom pray -- we have a hard time praying -- because we fail to recognize what a privilege it is to talk to God.
If I told you that tomorrow I’d arranged for you a twenty minute personal interview with the President of the United States, and you were to get up at 7:45 and you would have twenty minutes to talk to him about anything of your heart’s desire, what would you do? One, you’d probably not go to bed tonight you’d be so nervous. You’d probably go out and buy a whole new wardrobe, maybe get a hairdo, haircut. You’d probably write out some questions you’d want to ask so you didn’t waste the time. You’d get prepared because you were going to get to talk personally with the President of the United States.
****We have a greater invitation than that.
In this very passage you are invited to converse with the creator. That’s going to the top!
You don’t have to know the key men if you know the man who holds the keys.
God says, "I am the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, and you are My friend and I want to talk to you!"
v The creator of the universe is interested in car payments and house payments and buying new clothes for the kids for school and the guy at work who irritates you and the fact that you have back problems and everything else.
When you fully discover how much God really loves you, prayer will no longer be a problem for you.
|In Philippians 4:6, it says, "Don’t worry about anything but in everything, with your prayers and your supplications, make your requests known to God and the peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."|
The fact of the matter is prayer is God’s chosen method of meeting your needs.
v The Bible teaches that there are some things that God has promised to do only if we pray.
Some people think, "God knows what I need so I don’t need to ask. He’ll just give it when I need it." That’s not true.
…..God has set it up in His plan that there are some things He will only do if you ask, if you pray.
>>>>When we read the New Testament and read about the New Testament Christians, they were unbelievable.
They were happy, joyful, contagious, enthusiastic about life. They had power in their lives. They saw miracles happening on a regular basis. You ask a typical New Testament Christian, "How’s it going?" and he’d said, "Business as usual. One miracle after another!"
We say, "How come I don’t have that kind of power? Why don’t we have that same kind of power they had in the New Testament?"
We don’t ask.
James says, "You have not because you ask not."
Over twenty times in the New Testament the Bible says "Ask". Ask, seek, knock, keep on asking.
Story of a guy who died and went to heaven. All over heaven were these warehouses. Inside there were these tremendous gifts, fantastic things, spiritual situations, homes, jobs, happy families, all kinds of neat gifts. The guy said, "Lord, what are all these gifts?" Jesus said, "There is a tag on every one of these gifts. And the tag says the same thing." So he goes over to look and reads, "Never asked for."
C.H. Spurgeon, a great pastor in London, England, once said this, "God never shuts His storehouses until you shut your mouth." You have to ask. Prayer is an act of supplication.
@@What are you lacking right now in your life simply because you’ve never asked God for it?
|Psalm 145:15 "He will fulfill the desires of those who reverence Him."|
Not just the needs -- the desires. Why? Because if you’re reverencing God, your desires are going to be right.
|Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself also in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."|
Desires. If you’re delighting yourself in God, you’re trying the best as you know how to let God’s Spirit live in your life, your desires aren’t going to be wrong.
Psalm 84:11 "No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly."
I’m trying to tell you that God is intensely interested in every factor of your life.
He says, "You are My friends. I’m interested!"
· Where is the difference that Christ is making in your life?
· A verbal profession of belief in Christ rings a rather hollow tone when there is no difference between the person making it and the average Joe or Jane Pagan.
· A genuine profession, on the other hand, declares that Christ makes a positive difference.
Þ Judas had abruptly disappeared, intent on carrying out his final act of betrayal.
Þ Peter would deny Christ in a matter of hours.
Þ The other disciples would desert him.
No wonder these John 15 words weighed heavily on Christ's heart!
Do you know someone who once professed to follow Christ yet today is far from him?
It can happen to any of us.
How can we be certain that we will still be living in a close relationship with Christ a year from now? Five years from now? On our last day?
The key word is remain-abide. That is. be constant: be consistent.
Þ Remain constant in prayer.
Þ Remain consistent in feeding on the words of Scripture.
Are we ever tempted to betray Him like Judas?
To disown Him like Peter?
To run away like the others?