Summary: The necessity and tools for abiding in Christ unfolded
"Abiding in Christ"
On the last evening before the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, He preached one of the most important sermons of His life. In this vital message He taught the foundational truths that would supply the disciples with what was necessary to lay the basis for their own fruitful lives plus the principles needed for establishing the future Fruit-bearing Church of Jesus Christ.
This vital information begins in John 15 verse one and continues throughout this most important chapter. Jesus begins by revealing the exalted Position in God’s future program for the disciples, and all others who become children of God. "I am the True Vine" is Jesus’ statement revealing that He now was the Source of all of God’s dealing with mankind. This is the last of the ’Seven Great I Ams’ found in the book of John.
No longer would the nation of Israel be God’s source as the "The Vine out of Egypt", but Jesus, the Son of God is now our Source for Provision: "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19); He is also our Source of Peace: "He is our Peace" (Ephesians 2:14); He is the Source of our Power: "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20). Jesus is now the vital Source of all things to the child of God.
Jesus then points out that God His Father is the "Husbandman", The Gardener, the Keeper, the Caretaker of the Vine. He will make sure the Vine is healthy, growing, and bearing fruit by His loving watch-care. God’s Pattern for Fruit-bearing is the primary subject of the next section of this brief but powerful sermon.
"Every branch in Me that bears not fruit, He takes away" this statement supplies us with the answer to those who are truly in Christ but are not obedient to Him, but instead are allowing sin to cause them to be "taken away" from the presence of God and therefore they are removed from all the blessings of God’s presence!
"But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear." (Isaiah 59:2) "If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me." (Psalm 66:18) "That he might be taken away from among you" (Referring to the man who committed fornication) (I Corinthians 5:2).
God as the Husbandman must deal with sin, the corrupting influence of the branches, and His first step is to take the one who sins away from His presence and the presence of those who are bearing fruit! There is no room for branches that are dead, lifeless, and without the power of Christ flowing through their spiritual veins, for this kind will only corrupt those that are indeed living for the Lord and are themselves bearing fruit!
However, this does not mean, as some contend, that these unfruitful branches lose their salvation. God merely puts them away, on the shelf as it were, until they get their hearts right with Him and resume bearing fruit. This is the chastening hand of the Husbandmen (Hebrews 12). His purpose is to bring them back into fellowship first, and then to the place of growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In some severe cases as the man in I Corinthians who committed fornication, it might be necessary to "deliver such and one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus Christ." (I Corinthians 5:5)
The Great Husbandman’s work continues:
"Every branch that bears fruit He purges it that it may bring forth more fruit"(v.2). Those believers who bear fruit have the Privilege of being purged, purified and cleansed in order that they might bear more fruit. The Purging Process of the Great Husbandman can be accomplished in many ways.
God may purge us by bringing into our lives tests of our faith, testing us to see if we will rely on Him and His promises to supply our needs in a time when we are not able in and of ourselves to make ends meet. His purging process might come in the way of tragic circumstances bringing us to a total reliance on Him, purging us from any strength in and of ourselves. Purging in the life of Paul brought him to realize his strength was made perfect in weakness and God’s grace was sufficient to see him through the most difficult spiritual or physical infirmities.
So, even though Paul was definitely a fruit bearing branch connected to the Vine, God the Great Husbandmen continued to purge him so that he could bear much more fruit for his Lord Jesus Christ. This is the Master’s method of making us more like Jesus His Son, conforming us into His image. (Romans 8:29)