Summary: What does it mean to abide in Christ?
I Am the True Vine; John 15:1-8
In the book of Exodus 3 when God called Moses to go into Egypt and lead the children of Israel out of the land, Moses said, “Who am I that I should go?” Moses knew that he could not do this in his own strength, ability, wisdom… But God said, “I will be with you.”
Moses in turn asked, “When I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said tell them that, “I AM hath sent me unto you.”
In Matthew 16:13b-16 Jesus asked… It’s interesting that the religious leaders didn’t know because Jesus had told them who He is in John 8:58 He said, “Before Abraham was, I am.” When He spoke those words He shocked His hearers because He was not only saying that He is the eternal God, He was also saying that He was the One that spoke to Moses through the burning bush.
But many still ask today, “Who is Jesus?” Some say He was a great teacher, others say He was a great prophet, and others say He was just a man that did great things. But Jesus said, “I AM: the Bread of Life, the Light of the world, the Door of the sheep, the Good Shepherd, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” And in this passage Jesus said, “I am the True Vine… Abide in Me.”
What does it mean to abide in Christ? (radio)… The relationship between the branch and the vine is one of dependence. The branch relies on the vine; the believer continually must rely on Christ. The believer must abide in Christ, but Why???
I. That We May Bear Fruit – Vs. 2b-5
What is fruit or what are fruits that a Christian can bear: The New Testament gives several answers to the question.
A. Developing Christian character is fruit. Paul describes the fruit of the Spirit in nine terms in Galatians 5:22-23, and Peter urges the development of seven accompaniments to faith in order that we might be fruitful (2 Peter 1:5-8). To show these character traits is to bear fruit.
B. Right character will result in right conduct, and as we live a life of good works we produce fruit. When Paul expressed how torn he was between the two possibilities of either dying and being with Christ or living on in this life, he said that living on would mean fruitful labor.
C. Those who come to Christ through our witness are fruit. (Romans 1:13), Paul longed to go to Rome to have some fruit from his ministry there. (1 Corinthians 16:15), He characterized the conversion of the household of Stephanas as the first fruits of Achaia.
D. (Hebrews 13:15)… We may also bear fruit with our lips by giving praise to God and thankfully confessing His name. In other words, our lips bear fruit when we give thanks and praise to the name of God. And this is something we should do continually.
E. We bear fruit when we give money. (Romans 15:28)… Paul designated the collection of money for the poorer saints in Jerusalem as fruit. And, when he thanked the Philippians for their financial support of his ministry, he said that their act of giving brought fruit to their account.
To sum up, fruit includes: (1) a Christ like character, (2) a life characterized by good works, (3) a faithful witness, (4) lips that give thanks & praise to God, and (5) a joyful giving of one’s money.
Now we can do these things apart from Christ but they will not be fruitful. You can change your character, but that won’t change your destiny. You can change your conduct, but that won’t bring conversion. You can witness, but apart from Christ you cannot win souls. You can praise God with your lips, but not with your life. You can give generously, but you can’t buy your way to Heaven.
All these things are already done in Christ; therefore we must abide in Him. We must also abide in His word and allow His word to prune our lives – Vs.2b. Allow His word to cut away the things that don’t need to be in our lives, that we may bear more fruit.
II. That Our Prayers may be Answered – Vs. 7
I know you are probably saying, “I’ve asked many things in prayer and never received an answer.” The same is true for me too. I have prayed many times for things to happen that never happened:
I have prayed for people to get well and they didn’t, marriages to be saved and they weren’t, for success of church programs but they failed, for people to live and they died, for a lot of things over the years that never happened. Yet, I believe with all my heart that God answers prayers. I have learned from the scriptures that there are conditions for answered prayer.