Summary: Sermon on John 15 part 6
ABIDING IN THE VINE I
Series on John 15 pt. 6
That hymn we just sang “Abide in Me” has a story behind it. It was written by a pastor by the name of Henry Francis Lyte. Orphaned at age nine, Henry was of ill health for most of his life. He was told by his doctor that he should go to a warmer climate and rest if he was to live. He did recoup his health somewhat and married at age 25. Marrying the daughter of a minister. He himself entered the ministry. His last parish was Brixham, on the south coast of England, where he was a minister for twenty three years. He was greatly loved by his parishioners, mostly poor fishermen and their families. He took a great interest in their welfare and they looked forward to his many visits to their boats when they returned to harbor. He wrote a book of hymns and prayers for the sailors to use at sea, as well as the sea shanties that sailors love. However because of his frail health he made many trips abroad to avoid the cold damp English winters. During his last serious illness he wrote the manuscript of his last hymn, "Abide With Me." He sent the finished manuscript to his wife, as he knew that it was very unlikely that he would ever return home to see her. Henry died on Nov. 20th 1847 at the age of 54. It was at his memorial service in Brixham that "Abide With Me" was sung for the first time.
Listen again to the first verse; “Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide. When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, O abide with me.”
That is a powerful prayer. As Christians that should be the desire of each one us, for the Lord to abide in us. When all seems to be falling apart around us, whether it be poor health, financial struggles, relationships, what have you, our prayer should be just that, Lord abide in me, for He indeed is the help of the helpless.
But just as we desire for Christ to abide in us, we must have a desire to abide in Him. That I believe is a mark of a true believer, a true branch of the true vine, that you desire to abide in Christ, and have Christ abide in you.
This bring us to our passage this morning which is John 15:4. That is page 935 in your pew Bibles. It is there we see the call for us to abide in Christ, and Christ will abide in us. Keep in mind that this is the central teaching of the passage, of John 15, that is we must abide in Christ.
John 15:4 “"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.”
What is interesting is that within the Scripture there are about 10 places that speak of abiding in Christ. (They may be more depending on if you include phrases such as abide in His love, or abide in His word), but out of those 10 places 7 of them are reciprocal. That is to say they have language very similar to vs. 4. “Abide in Me, and I in you.” I do not believe you can separate them. Those who abide in Christ, Christ will abide in you. In fact that is why we do abide in Christ because He does in fact abide us.
But abiding in Christ cannot be separated from Christ abiding in us. If you are not abiding in Christ, it is because Christ does not abide in you, and if Christ does not abide in you, then you in fact cannot abide in Christ. But what does it really mean to abide in Christ?
Before we look exegetically at this passage I believe it is important for us to define just what abide or abiding means.
The Greek word here in verse 4 for abide is “MENO”. It means to “to remain” or “dwell”, to stay in a certain place.
It is at times used literally in Scripture as in Matt. 10:11 where we read, “"Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out.”
That phrase “stay there” is the Greek work MENO.
That is what we are to do in relationship with Christ. We are to stay there, stay in Christ, dwell with Christ, dwell in Christ. Remain in Christ, live in Christ, abide in Christ.
Now that is all well and good. I can say you are to dwell in Christ, remain in Him, stay in Him. But again, what does that really mean? How do we apply that in our lives? Christians are at times great at throwing out phrases like that, but short on application. That is what we need to know. How do I abide in Christ? Give me something I can put into practice.