November 22, 2022
Abiding is not a list of to-do items; it's a state of being. I am a branch attached to the vine. A branch doesn't do anything to bear fruit except to be attached to the vine. As I'm attached to Jesus, I can fully believe, completely depend, and joyfully obey!
"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."
1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 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. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 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. 5 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. 6 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. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 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. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
12 This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, 1 15:15 Or bondservants, or slaves (for the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface); likewise for servant later in this verse and in verse 20 for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
18 If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 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. 20 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. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, 2 15:22 Greek they would not have sin; also verse 24 but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 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. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’
26 But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.
Sitting in church last fall, we were asked to spend a minute in prayer before taking communion to clear our hearts and our minds. If I'm being honest, my heart and my mind were filled with anxiety about all . . . the . . . things. As I began to pray through my anxieties, the word abide came to mind. I immediately asked the Lord, "But, how do I abide?" As a self-labeled to-do list expert, I needed a few boxes to check. Do I read my Bible more? Pray more? Serve more? Sin less? At that moment, the worship team began to sing this chorus:
"I'm the branch and You are the vine; Draw me close and teach me to abide."
I was so comforted in that moment that God heard my questions, and He answered me with His words, "I am the vine; you are the branches." (John 15:5a) To learn how to abide, all I had to do is to ask Him to teach me to abide! In John 15, Jesus' words teach us how to abide: believing, depending, and obeying.
Fully believing. In John 15:1, Jesus says, "I am the true vine." The first step to abiding is believing that He is our vine. He is our source for everything (Colossians 1:16-17).
Completely depending. Jesus tells us in John 15:4 that to bear fruit, we have to abide in the vine. The branch is completely dependent on the vine, and we are to be completely dependent on Him so that we can bear fruit (John 15:5) and show ourselves to the world that we are His disciples (John 15:8).
Joyfully obeying. Jesus' life was marked by full obedience and submission to the Father, and He tells us in John 15:10 that to abide in His love, we must keep His commandments. And, when we obey, we find complete joy (John 15:11).
1. What does abiding in Christ look like in your life? Do you struggle with fully believing, completely depending, or joyfully obeying? If so, spend time asking God to teach you how to abide in Jesus.
2. Jesus tells us in John15:8 that it is to the Father's glory that we bear much fruit and show ourselves to be His disciples. But then John 15:19 tells us that the world will hate Jesus' disciples. How have you experienced persecution because you are His disciple, and how do you continue to abide even when persecuted?
3. In John15:16 Jesus says that He chose us and appointed us to go and bear fruit. What specific fruit has abiding in Jesus produced in your life lately?
4. Text a friend or family member today to share the fruit in his or her life you've seen recently, and encourage them to continue to abide in Jesus through believing, depending, and obeying!