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Abide in Christ

Tags: jesus vine fruit
John 14:27-31 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away, and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.
“Come now; let us leave.

The Hebrew word for peace, Shalom, means more than tranquility or safety. It points to all the good God pours on His people – health, contentment, security, friendship with people and with God. Jesus was giving them a blessing and comfort.

The disciples would not have trouble-free lives after the Holy Spirit indwelt them. The full weight of the world system that opposes God’s rule would try to destroy the infant church. Jesus gave a command that they and we are to obey. “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

The gift of peace Jesus gives through the Holy Spirit is not a matter of pretending trouble doesn’t exist. Jesus’ peace is like an oxygen mask that supplies us with His own atmosphere in the midst of poisonous pollution. He is able to give us His peace no matter what we are going through.

Behind this world system is the “prince of this world.” Or Satan. He’s powerful, but no match for Christ. And Jesus has promised us the resources to stand against him. At the cross Jesus broke the power of Satan over God’s people forever.

John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.

The last of Jesus’ seven great “I am” statements opens this chapter. Jesus uses the picture of the vine to impress upon His disciples His identity as well as help them understand what it means to be united in Him.

The disciples would have understood the symbolism of the fruitful vine. From Israel’s earliest days, Scripture used this as a picture of God’s people and His tender care for them. Psalm 80 describes how God delivered His people from Egypt and lavished His love on them: “You transplanted a vine from Egypt…You cleared the ground for it and it took root and filled the land.”

The prophet Isaiah also spoke of God as a gardener who “planted the choicest vines.” And “the vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the nation of Israel, and the people of Judah are the vines He delighted in.”

The vine became the symbol of spiritual Israel. When the Maccabees heroically freed Israel from Greek rule in the second century B.C. they minted coins engraved with a picture of a vine. Later, Herod’s temple was famous for the great golden vine on its door.

Sometimes the picture of a vine pointed to Israel’s failure. They were supposed to be God’s representatives on earth and failed. God accused His beloved vine, “I had planted you like a choice vine…How then did you turn against me in to a corrupt, wild vine?”

God expects much fruit from all who are united in His Son.

What does it mean to live a fruitful life? A life that matters?

You know, the world encourages you to chart your own course, to make a name for yourself, to accumulate enough money to live comfortably and, possibly to provide for others.
The life of following Jesus, however, follows a course that is different than the world’s. and it is one that bears abundant and eternal fruit. It’s to bring people to Christ for one thing. And, to have the fruits of the spirit. We can always ask our selves if we are more patient than we were, more kind, more peaceful, more loving, more self-controlled, more gentle, more joyful, more faithful, more good!

In His last hours with the disciples, Jesus knew how fearful and vulnerable they would be after he left them. In this Upper Room Discourse (which is covered from John chapter 13 to chapter 17) Jesus had already told them He would die. That He would be betrayed (by Judas) and denied (by Peter) and He would prepare a place for them in His eternal Kingdom. But until then, they should not let their hearts be troubled, the Holy Spirit would soon enter them, giving them a constant presence and power to live faithfully for Him.

Filled with the Holy Spirit, followers of Jesus “remain” in Jesus- like a branch to a vine – in faith. Through our loving obedience we are empowered to “bear fruit” as we show the world the love and truth of God, Love others, make disciples and withstand the persecution of the unbelieving world.

As the true vine, Jesus fulfilled what Israel failed to do. In His perfectly righteous human life, the Lord represented the new humanity that delights to do God’s will. For this reason, the New Testament calls Jesus the last Adam. The first Adam’s failure brought catastrophe to all humanity, but all who are joined to Jesus share his life-giving victory.

Jesus’ relationship with His people is like the relationship of the root and stem of a vine to its branches. All who receive Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are “baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body.” This means the Holy Spirit joins each believer forever to Christ, the true vine.

John 15:2-6 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

The true vine produces good fruit. Dead branches harm the fruitfulness of the good branches, so for the sake of the vine, the gardener cuts off the fruitless branches.

It’s thought that the branches He cuts off which aren’t baring fruit are counterfeit Christens. Interested listeners who only have an external association with Jesus.

The fruitful branches are also pruned. The branch can’t produce more, bigger, better fruit, unless it’s pruned. God, our gardener, sovereignly places His people in situations that will lead to the most fruitfulness. He cleanses us of wrong emotions, thoughts, careless words and fruitless deeds of our fallen nature. These obstruct the created within by the Holy Spirit.

God’s pruning may be painful, but afterwards it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace in each “pruned” Christian.

Where Jesus said they were already clean because of the word He spoke to them…when the disciples believed in Christ’s words, God saw them as “clean” or “washed’ because of Jesus’ coming work on the cross.

Every true believer. Every true follower of Jesus, bears fruit. Even the thief on the cross who was saved at the last minute did. In his few remaining hours of life, he rebuked unbelief and gave public witness to Jesus.

And to remain in Jesus is to lean on Him, listen to Him, follow Him, depend on Him and live by His words.

Little eternal fruit is a warning. At the very least, it indicates a person is neglecting priceless opportunities to grow in grace and bring God glory.

The only life capable of producing spiritual life is the life of Christ. On their own, the disciples could not influence others for Christ, nor can we. To try by self-effort to fulfill God’s high standards and witness to unbelievers is a hopeless burden and impossible task. Jesus gave this secret to His disciples to deliver them from this futility. When you choose to remain in Christ, you will find you produce, spontaneously and often unconsciously the fruit of Christlike character and influence. It means to live by faith. We don’t do anything by ourselves.

John 15:7-11 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
Jesus gave some characteristics that belong to fruit-bearing branches. These characteristics are conditional on communion with Jesus: prayer, glorifying God, being assured of God’s love, obedience and joy.

First, prayer. Believers have the privilege and responsibility to ask God in prayer for our specific needs. When we remain in Christ and His words remain in us, His thoughts and words begin to fill our subconscious thoughts and deepest emotions. So, we will be asking in God’s will.

Glorifying God. Jesus glorified God with His human life. Nothing satisfies God and causes others to praise Him as much as when we bear fruit, becoming increasingly like His Son.

Assured of God’s love. When we come to faith, we are taken into God’s family. And we are loved by God just as He loves His Son. We are loved because of our faith, not our works.

Obedience. God’s Word teaches us His will and strengthens us to do it. If we don’t read His Word daily, we will find it hard to know and obey Him. We reveal our faith through our obedience.

Joy. Jesus was sometimes called the “Man of Sorrows”. Yet He possessed a greater joy than any person has ever experienced. Part of His joy was His love relationship with His Father. This was what enabled Him to fulfill His life work. And He promises to share that joy with all believers.

A good question to ask ourselves is, “Do our friends and family see our joy because of our relationship with Christ and God?”


This post first appeared on What I Learned Teaching Sunday School, please read the originial post: here

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