Summary: We live in an age when most are not receptive to the Gospel. Many believers lack confidence in their ability to share their faith. How do we gain confidence to be an effective disciple and witness? The answer is in Christ alone.
The Confidence in Discipleship
If you have been with us for the past few weeks considering discipleship, you have realized following the Lord is not for the faint of heart or uncommitted. The Lord has spoken about denying ourselves, bearing our cross, and following Him. He spoke of the degree of love we must have for Him, love that exceeds all others and all other pursuits in life. We were reminded that these are not mere suggestions for our consideration, but genuine expectations for everyone who will follow Christ. I think you will agree that being a disciple of Christ is a serious endeavor.
As we have considered previous passages, some may have felt a bit overwhelmed and unprepared. You may have questioned how any of this is possible. All that we have discussed up to this point go against human nature and the desires of the flesh. I hope you realize that you will never be successful following the Lord in your own ability. While the flesh resists the leading of the Spirit in following Christ, there is hope. Our Lord knew this would be difficult. In fact He knew it would be impossible apart from Him. John 15:5 – I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. Here Jesus reveals the certainty of being fruitful in Him, but He also reveals the requirement: abiding in Him. Apart from Christ we can do nothing, but through Him we can bear much fruit.
If you have struggled with the previous studies, I hope today’s passage will provide the encouragement you need to completely follow Christ. While it is impossible within our own abilities, we can be fruitful through Christ. You can enjoy great confidence serving the Lord. Let’s examine the assurances of Christ as we consider: The Confidence in Discipleship.
I. Confidence in our Position (7-8) – While serving the Lord will have its share of difficulties, we can enjoy great confidence through our position in Christ. If God be for us, who can be against us! Consider:
A. The Conditions (7) – If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. While great confidence serving the Lord is available, He reveals some conditions regarding our service and success as disciples. The first seems rather obvious, but it is vital to our confidence and success. We must abide in Christ and allow His words to abide in us. This involves our daily communion with Him through prayer, Bible study, and meditation. We cannot expect to be victorious in our walk with the Lord if we aren’t spending quality time with Him! 1 John 2:27 – But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
Jesus speaks of abiding, and He also speaks of abundance. Those who abide in Him and in His Word, enjoy the abundance of Christ. We are guaranteed an audience with Him for our needs and intercessions. Ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. That offers great confidence while serving the Lord. He is ready and willing to supply whatever we need as we strive to serve Him. Now, don’t misunderstand the text. We must keep it in context. He is dealing with those who are abiding in Him and the Word. He doesn’t promise we will immediately have every request answered. This is not a support text for a prosperity gospel. If we are abiding in Christ, our desires will be consistent with His will, and we are promised His help and guidance.
B. The Consequence (8) – Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. This statement is directly tied to the previous one. If we are abiding in Christ, and enjoying His abundance, this is the consequence of such behavior. First of all the Father is glorified. He is pleased with the life a disciples leads. Such surrender and obedience always brings glory and honor to the Father. He is exalted through our lives as we make Him the priority and point others to Him. Should that not be every believers desire, to glorify God?
Jesus reveals such abiding results in the producing of much fruit. This brings glory to the Father and confidence to the believer. Those who are seeing fruit produced find great encouragement while serving the Lord. If we will draw nigh to Christ, committed to abiding in Him, we will be fruitful. As fruit is being produced, there will be a hunger for more, bringing great confidence and satisfaction in our Christian walk.