Summary: The Word of God teaches us that man can do nothing apart from God. As believers we are to recognize our union with Him and demonstrate our understanding of our dependence in both word and deed.
Our Dependence John 15:5
The Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” The words freedom and liberty do not mean absolute autonomy from any authority or power. In fact, our founding fathers recognized and acknowledged our dependence on God in almost every document they produced. Yet in the case of Engle v Vitale, the Supreme Court ruled the 22 word prayer, “"Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our Country" as unconstitutional, which led to the removal of all prayer in public schools.
It is sad that our nation no longer feels their dependence on God. More tragic, though, is the fact that most Christians do not believe that they are dependent upon God. We profess to know the truth of our Lord’s sovereignty, but very often we simply don’t believe it in a practical way. We really don’t believe that apart from Him we can do nothing. We consistently hear supposedly spiritual leaders touting messages of developing one’s potential and venting the motto “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe it an achieve.”
The Word of God teaches us that man can do nothing apart from God. As believers we are to recognize our union with Him and demonstrate our understanding of our dependence in both word and deed.
I. The Truth of Our Dependence
A. John 15:5 “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.”
B. While looking at the context of this passage with Christ speaking to the fact that we can bear no spiritual fruit apart from an abiding dependence on Christ the reality is that apart from Christ we can do nothing at all.
C. There is nothing that you or I can do to earn God’s favor or to merit His salvation.
1. Isaiah 64:6 “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
2. Romans 3:22b-23 “For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
3. We like to think that there is some bad in the best of us, and some good in the worst of us.
4. The real problem is in the hearts and minds of men. It is not a problem of physics but of ethics. It is easier to denature plutonium than to denounce the evil spirit of man. — Albert Einstein
5. Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?"
6. John 6:44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him…”
D. There is nothing that you or I can do in and of ourselves to overcome sin.
1. Romans 7:18-19 “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.”
2. Verse 19 expresses the reality that all of us, all the time are utterly powerlessness in ourselves against the evil of the flesh whether or not we are saved.
E. There is nothing that you and I can do to produce lasting spiritual fruit or generate works that will endure scrutiny at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
1. John 15:4-5 “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. 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.”
2. Matthew 7:18-23 “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'”