Abide In Jesus

May 3, 2015   John 15:1-8    Abide in Jesus 

    

    How are you doing today?   Are you alive in the vine?       Are we growing and are we excited about Jesus and our walk with Jesus?    We walk by faith today.   Satan and the world will attack your faith and it is a minute by minute battle but a battle that you must win.   God told Cain in Genesis that sin crouched at his door but that he had to master it.    God tells him it desires to have you.   Sin desires to have you.   That is interesting isn’t it?   We have life in Jesus and sin stalks us but as we abide in Jesus we walk in victory.  We can choose love, hope and joy in Jesus.   We can choose victory and peace.  

    This is the 7th and the last of the I AM’s that are recorded in John.   Jesus said I am the true vine.   As branches we have the privilege of abiding in Jesus.   It is a real privilege to abide in Him.   He is the way, the truth and the life and he is the one who sets us free from sin and from this world’s system

.   As branches we have the responsibility to abide.  .  One pastor writes are you withering or are you fruitful?   Jesus is commanding his disciples to remain in Him and therefore they are fruitful.    God commands us to stay in him.  Jesus tells us abide in me.   His desire is that we abide in Him and stay in him.   Without him we can do nothing.     What the world needs now are fruitful and abiding Christians.        

         In Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Minor Prophets God likened Israel to a vineyard or a vine.  The vine had become a symbol for Israel.   Jesus said that He was the true vine.  He was genuine and not a copy or a fake.  Many times when God illustrated Israel by the vine He was showing that they were not true but in this passage Jesus said he was the true vine.    Isaiah’s picture of the vineyard was that Israel was the vine that had run wild.   God’s people had run wild.   Jeremiah said that the nation had turned into a degenerate and wild vine and God pruned them and punished them for that.   They were killed and some were exiled.     Jesus said that he was the true vine. 

      So think about the withering and destruction that comes from being separated from the branch.  How quickly leaves wither in the warm summer when the plant or tree is separated from the roots.     If we are separate from the vine we are dying and withering.    Our Lord in all of His tenderness and Love and in his desire to encourage His disciples gives words of warning to those who are not in Him.  The words are grave, solemn and tragic about the person’s life apart from Christ.   Jesus could not speak about the much fruit that is gained in him and the blessings and joy that is experienced by close fellowship with him without contrasting the awfulness of separation from Him, the barrenness of such separation and the withering and destruction from such barrenness.  Separation is withering.  Jesus said the pruned branches are gathered and are burned not for any purpose just burned.   Cut a beautiful flower and lay it on the blacktop in the scorching heat of July and it withers.  In no time its beauty and glory fades.  Separate from the branch we wither.  Separate from the vine there is no fruit.  Withering means destruction.  That is true of a person, a community and a church and a nation. It happened to Israel.   The Father prunes us.  He prunes the branches that do not bear fruit so they can be more fruitful.   He prunes our life from sin and draws us to himself.  

    We can ask ourselves what is the fruit that Jesus is thinking about here.   That is a good question and I suppose different people have different ideas.   What kind of fruit is God looking for in your life?    Are there different kinds of fruit for different Christians?    The case can certainly be made that we have different spiritual gifts.  We are all responsible for using our spiritual gift. 

   Another way to consider this is the fruit of the Spirit which is listed in Galatians 5:22 & 23.   The fruit if the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.   Those that walk in the Holy Spirit experience and show forth love, joy, peace, and etc.   God is love and God has peace, faith, and joy so as we walk in him we have those characteristics.   We experience love, joy and peace.    He is looking for the life of Jesus to be expressed through you and me— his character, his works, his will being done, lives being impacted by his love flowing through us. 

   In verse 16 Jesus told his disciples that the fruit will remain or the fruit will last.   So I think that fruit is when lives are impacted by us.    Some of the fruit are the results of answered prayer.  I believe the foundation of that fruit is prayer and indeed Jesus talks about prayer in this passage.   I think that fruit is as we witness and pray for others and as we pray for the lost.   Do you believe that God can do great things through you?   God wants to use your life.   God wants to use you to change someone’s life.   The reality is we impact others every day.   For the saint who walks with God he or she impacts the world.   For the guy sitting in the basement doing dope and whatever by himself he is also impacting the atmosphere in the world.   God blesses our prayers.     Jesus is into much fruit.   Jesus said the Father receives much glory when we are fruitful.   Jesus church is to prevail against the gates of hell and it is to spread so that the Father gets the glory.  Not the pastor but the Heavenly Father.   I am sure that there is no lack of desire on God’s part for us to be fruitful.  Christians and Jesus true church is to abound in much fruit and to grow.  

    Jesus wants to produce precious eternal fruit in you and I and that can only happen as we stay in the vine.   Some may ask how do we stay in the vine?   To stay in the vine we must pray and stay in the word of God.   The word of God cleanses us, guides us, keeps us from sin, it lifts us up and encourages us.   The word of God feeds us.  The word of God blesses us and strengthens us.  We must stay hooked and connected to Jesus and that also means we submit our life to Him and trust Him.  We trust him for much fruit.   We believe that he can use our life to change others and create much fruit.    The Christians that abide in Jesus produce much fruit.   I do believe that there are seasons of rest.  The trees rest in the winter in these parts.  In Psalm 1 the tree produces fruit in its season.    If we stay in the Jesus the vine God will use our life to produce much fruit.   As we abide in Him the Holy Spirit will direct us on what he wants us to do.   We will produce.  

   It is a privilege to abide in Jesus.   It is a high honor to minister in Jesus name.   We serve the King of Kings folks.   We serve a great God who loves us.   We serve a great God who loves people and we are so blessed when we serve him.   We are blessed when are fruitful.  We receive joy and blessing when we serve.  We are blessed when we share God’s word to the children to the youth and to others.   We are blessed to share with those who do not know Jesus.   It is a high calling.  Many are willing to die for their country and many consider that a good calling.   It is a great and high calling to serve Jesus.    It is the highest calling a person can give him or herself to.  

    Why do we not see more fruit?    I suppose there are ,many reasons for that but one thing I need to mention today is that many people do not want to pay the price.   For those that go into the enemy camp and pull people out from the power of Satan there is a price to pay and many people do not want to pay it.  For that want to share the word of God there is a price to pay.  Satan will bring up silly things to get people from serving. 

    Those that want to make their life count will have to set their face like a flint.   They say I will serve, I will give my money, and I will give my life.   They do not side tracked with petty stuff.  They keep their eyes on the goal.  They have a sense of what God Wants them to do and how they can serve.  Where is your life going?   Do you want your life to count?   Our life only really counts as we abide in Jesus.   That makes a difference in our family and in the world. 

    What is the result if you decide not to serve?    I think there are things that happen that God does not want to happen.   God hates all sin.  Sometimes evil comes our way and we protect our self by praying.   One day I was driving to work and a big truck with large rolls of tubing was in front of me and those rolls which were higher than my car started falling off the truck.   I watched as they rolled right toward me. I was driving at least 70 miles an hour and I carefully judged how to drive.  I was on the Evert Turn pike and I pulled to the left of the road as I slowed down.   Every roll missed me.   I told Sally about it when I got to work and she ask me what time that happened which was a few minutes to 7 AM.   She said that was the exact time she prayed for me.   She prayed That God would put me in a bubble and protect me.  She did not know what was going on but she was attuned to God.   What if she was not praying for me?   Who knows what would have happened if I hit that at 70 MPH.  If God prompts you to pray for someone it is important that you pray.  God always knows what the need is and when we walk with God we are in the right spot at the right time to do the right thing and the right results are manifested. 

        Certainly a person can be very busy but not fruitful.  A person can work a lot but not be spiritually fruitful.  A Christian can look like they are very fruitful by doing the things that are acceptable in Christian circles by attending church, and doing things within the church but may not be abiding in the vine.   I would believe that fruit does not last.   Some Christians go to church for years and years and years and the message has never pierced their lives and changed them.  Some never step out in faith and they do not grow and they are baby Christains.    Some churches do not point people to the Jesus the vine.   Some churches may look fruitful for a number of reasons but are not fruitful.     

    Jesus makes an interesting comment here also.   Jesus said without me you can do nothing.   That is pretty interesting.   What if I told you that without me you could do nothing?   What if you had a friend who said to you without me you can do nothing?   You would say something like you are crazy.  I have lived my whole life without you.  What do you mean I can’t do anything without you?  It is interesting that his disciples did not debate that with Jesus.  There is no indication that they thought Jesus was crazy.   They did not say you make no sense and walk off.  Jesus was either totally insane or he is God and brothers and sisters we know Jesus is God.  It is one thing to talk it but it is another to walk it and Jesus walked what he said.  Do you believe that without him you can do nothing?    Sometimes we think we can add something don’t we.   If I just do this or that then this or that will happen.   I guess in a sense we can sin without him.   We cannot produce spiritual fruit without Jesus.   The reality is that without Jesus there would be no life since he created us.  

   Jesus told his disciples that they were clean through the word that He spoke to them.  Jesus tells them to abide in Him and he tells them that if they remain in him whatever they ask in prayer will be granted to them.  The bible does not talk about God saying no to prayer does it?   The Bible does talk about hindrances to prayer though.  I am going to start a series on prayer and I am really excited about it.  If we remain in Jesus ask what we wish and it will be given to us.   That is a neat and powerful verse that is meant for those that abide in Him.