John 15:1-6 ESV
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.”
Fruitful and Unfruitful branches
Jesus Christ is the vine. We, who believe in him as Lord and Savior of our lives, are the branches which grow out from the vine. We receive our breath of life from the vine so that we can grow, and so that we can produce fruit (spiritual growth and produce) in keeping with repentance. But, in order to produce this spiritual fruit, we must abide in the vine, i.e. in Jesus Christ.
To abide in him means to live in him, to continue and to remain in Him, steadfast in our faith, walking according to the Spirit, living to righteousness, and walking in obedience to his commands. It means, too, that we pray without ceasing, i.e. that we are in a continual state of mind to where we talk with our Lord throughout the day, every day, and we can hear him speaking to our hearts, as well, at any time, and we listen to him speak, and we follow him in what he tells us we must do.
Jesus Christ gives us all that we need to abide in him, to remain steadfast in our faith, to combat evil, to resist Satan, to flee temptation, and to walk in holiness and godliness, in sweet fellowship with our Lord. But, it is a life of dying to sin and self, and a life of obedience, submission and living to his righteousness. It is not necessarily a sinless life, but it is a life free from the control of sin and a life committed to the Lord and to following him.
But, we are clay vessels, and we are sometimes weak, and so we need to have our faith strengthened so that we can continue to grow in Christ. And, so he prunes us, on occasion, by allowing us to go through trials and tribulations, by allowing us to be in spiritual warfare, and by permitting us to be persecuted, mistreated and rejected. For, when we go through tough times, and we turn to our Lord for help, he strengthens us in our walks of faith, and he helps us to continue to grow to maturity in Him.
But, sometimes a believer will begin well with God, and will have the life of God breathed into them, and they will abide in the vine, and will die to sin and live to righteousness, allowing God to protect them from evil. But, then something happens, and instead of guarding their lives against evil, they begin to embrace it more and more, and wrap their lives around it until their lives are engulfed with evil once again.
It is then that their spiritual lives dry up and wither and they become fruitless, because they are no longer abiding in the vine, but instead are abiding in the lusts of the flesh. And, so they must be removed from the vine, because the life of the Spirit has dried up within them and they have become hardened to the truth of the gospel, and they are actually infecting the body of Christ and are blocking the life of God from moving in their hearts. And, potentially they are also hindering other people from receiving the life of the Spirit (Rom. 11:17-24; Hebrews 3:6, 14-15; Col. 1:21-23).
John 15:7-11 ESV
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 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. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Prove to be His Disciples
What is this fruit? It is the fruit of the Spirit in our lives (Gal. 5:22-23). It is death to sin and living to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). It is walking according to the Spirit, and no longer according to the flesh, and by the Spirit putting the deeds of the flesh to death (Rom. 8:1-17). It is leaving our lives of sin behind us, putting on Christ, being renewed in our minds, and giving our lives over to Jesus Christ in full surrender to his will, no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 4:17-24).
It is also sharing the love and gospel of Jesus Christ by our lifestyles and by our words and deeds with the world around us, impacting other lives for Jesus Christ. And, it is encouraging the body of Christ to walk in faithfulness to their Lord, to walk in holiness, and to no longer walk in sin. It is encouraging those who are our fellow believers, during times of trial and tribulations and persecutions, to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty strength, and it is letting them know that we care about them, and that we value them.
When we bear (produce) much spiritual fruit, because we are abiding in Jesus Christ, and we are depending on the life of the Spirit within us to provide us with all that we need to live holy lives unto God, then we prove ourselves to be Christ’s disciples. Talk is cheap if it is not followed up with action, for action speaks louder than words. We can say we love God, but if we don’t follow Jesus in surrender to his will, then we don’t really love God.
John 15:18-25 ESV
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’
Hated Without Cause
If the world, or if the worldly church hates you, please know that they first hated Jesus. They hate us because we stand for what Jesus stands for, which is what is holy, godly, righteous, pure, honest, faithful and just. They hate us because we expose the fruitless deeds of darkness, and we confront sin in sinful humans, and we call for repentance and walks of obedience to our Lord, and because we are living lives which are separate from the world of sin, so we are an offense to those who want to continue in their sins.
If we are of the world, and we adopt the ways of the world into our lives, then the world will love us as its own. So, if we are loved by the world, or by those living worldly lives, while professing faith in Jesus, and they don’t hate us or find us an offense, then maybe it is because we are not really dead to the world. Maybe, too, it is because we are not living lives which are separate from the world and holy unto God. Maybe the world loves us because we are like the world and we are not like Jesus. If we are like Jesus, then the world should treat us like they treated him.
When we speak the truth in love, and we confront sin in sinful humans, and we share with them the truth of the gospel of our salvation, then they are definitely without excuse if they choose to continue in their sin and to ignore the warnings of what will happen to them if they pursue the lusts of their flesh rather than pursue Jesus Christ with all their hearts and minds. For, they have turned their backs on the truth and to Jesus Christ and to his messages and to his messengers. They have hardened their hearts, too, but my hope is that they will turn from their sin, turn to God, and be saved.
Only in Him
An Original Work / February 19, 2014
Based off Isaiah 30
Woe to those who look to man’s help;
Who turn away from Jesus Christ;
Forming an alliance not in step with God;
Making their own plans, and praying not.
Willing not to listen to truth,
They close their ears to what is right.
Pleasing words are all that they’ll hear;
Feel good messages that bring cheer.
Trust in your Lord; turn from your sin.
Put your faith now ONLY IN HIM.
Do not turn to idols. They’ll not satisfy.
Jesus will save you. That’s why He died.
Your Lord will be gracious to you.
He cares all about you, ‘tis true.
He forgives you all of your sin
When you give your life up to Him.
Oh, how truly gracious He’ll be
When you bow to Him on your knees;
Turning now from your sin; walking in his ways.
He’ll lead and guide you all of your days.
Now you will sing praises to Him.
He delivered you from your sin.
You’ll tell others now of His grace,
So they may see Christ face-to-face.
Saturday, July 14, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus, for Your grace!