Summary: Using the Acrostic - A B I D E to share practically what it means to Abide in Christ.
Scripture: John 15:1-8 (NKJV)
John 15:1-8New King James Version (NKJV)
15 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away;[a] and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will[b] ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
Good morning and what a blessing to be with all of you.
How many this morning have ever read a Dr. Seuss book? Green eggs and ham? One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish? Hop on Pop? Oh See Can You Say? The Cat in the Hat?
No doubt many of you have either read one of those books or had one of them read to you. Dr. Seuss was an absolute genius in both writing and illustrating high quality Children's books. Dr. Seuss had this amazing way with words and images that simply have captured generations of both children and adults. They are timeless and no doubt will continue to be enjoyed by future generations of both children and adults.
One of his most enduring creations was the "CAT" in the Cat and the Hat stories. There is something about the personality and adventures of that cat and the way Dr. Seuss portrays him that is captivating. He is more than just an illustration. His image speaks volumes. Whenever you see his image, your mind goes into over drive. It's one of those images that get stuck in your mind.
Jesus does the same in the allegory that we find in John 15:1-8. In a matter of a few words Jesus takes this simple image of a vine growing and uses it to teach us first about His relationship with His Heavenly Father and with us, as His disciples. He then takes that little metaphor and further shares with us how to experience a life salvation and sanctification.
Jesus' image of the Vinedresser, the Vine and the Branches are relatively simple images to visualize and understand. And yet, the more time you meditate on Jesus' world you quickly discover that Jesus has given us a wealth of material to absorb and contemplate.
There is more here in this little metaphor than could possibly be shared in a single sermon or even in a brief series of sermons. Rev. Andrew Murray (9 May 1828 – 18 January 1917) dedicated an entire book on this passage. Dr. James Rosscup did the same in writing his book, Abiding In Christ. Each author spent over 190 pages doing the best to dig out all the little gems that they could find in this passage.
With that in mind let's limit our approach this morning by looking at just one concept. Let's limit our time to looking at the concept of MENO that we find John using 40 times in His Gospel.1 Meno is the word that is usually translated as ABIDE.
So, let's look at the concept of Abide. In particular what does it mean to abide in Christ?
To help us even further let's take that word ABIDE and create an acrostic that I believe can serve as a way to get a practical handle on this concept. And a handle on how we can allow this word/concept to assist us in living out a Life in Christ.
A - Abiding in Christ involves both an ACKNOWLEDGEMENT and an ALIGNMENT
+To abide in Christ means first of all that we acknowledge who Jesus is in our world and in our lives.
Jesus shares with us in verse one that He is the True Vine. In pointing out this fact, Jesus attests that there does exists other vines (other ways to live) in our world that we can use in our attempt to discover personal fulfillment and everlasting life. However, Jesus is just as quick to point out that all other adventures will ultimately prove fruitless. Jesus does not deny other vines, he simply and emphatically states that He is the only true way to life in God. He simply states that He is the True Vine. He is the only way to an abundant life. He is the only way to Everlasting Life. To abide in Christ, therefore means that we acknowledge the truth of John 14:6