Summary: This is a short study on John 15:4-8 that I used for a Wednesday night devotion. Prayer is the main theme.
We Are to Abide in Christ
4 dAbide 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 efruit; for without Me you can do fnothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, ghe is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
In order to help us understand this illustration I would like to take a look at a faulty illustration so that we can see the contrast. Where this says that we are the branches of a vine let us look at the bullet in a gun. For the bullet to hit its mark Bro. Bob most first load it so that it will be in position to be used. Then Bro. Bob most aim the gun at the target and pull the trigger. After this the bullet must avoid outside influences such as, wind, obstacles, and the moving of the target so that it will hit the spot at which it was aimed and therefore accomplish its task. We sometimes mistakenly see ourselves as the bullet. We understand that Christ is the one in control. He must first put us in a position, (the chamber of the gun), so that we will be ready to be used. Then He must point us in the right direction, (take aim.) Then in He must send us out, (pull the trigger.) Here is where we run into the problem with this analogy. What if we do not hit are target? It is not our fault that the wind through us off is it? We cannot help that the target jumped out of the way when he heard the bang can we? If Jesus had truly been the one doing the aiming would He have missed? No. Here is where we so often make a mistake. We are to abide in Christ. There is never a time for a believer to set out on his own to accomplish God’s will. If we abide in Him He will be the source of all of our fruit. If we remove ourselves from the vine then we will never produce fruit again.
The idea of a withered branch causes some to think that you can lose your salvation but we must study all the text in order to determine its meaning. Jesus makes to clear statements in verse 5b and in verse 6a. First “…without Me you can do nothing.” He is clearly speaking to those who do “have” Him. Second “If anyone does not abide with Me...” He is talking about someone who does not abide with Him at all. The idea running through this text is that all who abide with Him will bear fruit. Just as we know that Christ would not miss His target if He fired a shot we must agree that if He is the vine all of His branches will bare fruit.
. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words habide in you, iyou 2will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you
Here is one of the most beautiful passages of the Bible. Ask what you desire and it shall be done for you. Now there are a couple of extremes to which we could go with this verse if we are not careful. The first is the most obvious and that is to think that as Christians we can ask for anything that we want and we will get it. The second is for Christians to think that we will not get whatever we ask . I know that this may sound a little confusing but so is the idea that God put this verse in the Bible but He really does not want us to believe what it says. Therein lies the problem, what does it say? Well let’s address the first issue first. There are those out there who say that people do not have what they ask for because they are lacking the faith to receive the things that God wants them to have. One major problem with this teaching stems from the fact that God Himself is the one who gives us a “measure of faith”. (Rom 12:3) So to teach that lack of faith is responsible for unanswered prayers is to teach that God as not measured out the right amount of faith to some. Another reason that some say people prayers are not answered is that they are not praying the right words. Romans 8:26 would beg to differ. Even when we do not know what to say the Holy Spirit is there to help us out. There are more unbiblical reasons that people claim cause God not to answer prayers but we do not have time to discuss them all right now. Suffice it to say when you hear people telling others why their prayers are not heard take the time to check out their reasons in the Bible.