Abide In Him
Read John 15:1-4 (ESV)
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”
What does it mean to abide in Christ?
“I am the bread of life” (John 6:35, 41, 48, and 51).
“I am the light of the world” (John 8:12, 9:5).
“I am the door” (John 10:7, 9).
“I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11, 14).
“I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).
“I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).
These are the first six of Jesus’ seven “I am” statements recorded in John’s gospel account. Remember that John’s primary objective in writing his Gospel was to demonstrate the deity of Christ. In Exodus 3:14, God revealed Himself to Moses by saying, “I AM WHO I AM.” When the Israelites asked who sent Moses to them, Moses was to tell them that “I AM” sent him. “I AM” is a name for God, thus Jesus was clearly identifying Himself as God when He made His “I am” statements.
In today’s passage, we read the last of the seven “I am” statements: “I am the true vine….” Picture a grape vine. It is like a small shrub that has a main trunk that branches off into “cordons” or different limbs. Leaves and grapes develop on the branches.
If you are walking in a vineyard and find a broken branch lying on the ground by itself, you won’t expect it to live very long. Any fruit or leaves that it may have had will quickly shrivel up and die. If this branch hadn’t produced leaves or fruit yet, it has no hope of producing them now because it is cut off from its source of life. In order for a grape branch to produce grapes, it has to stay connected to the vine.
Like the vine, Jesus is the source of our new life. We are completely dependent on Him to sustain our spiritual life. Apart from Him, we cannot bear spiritual fruit. If we attempt to do good works apart from Christ, in our own strength and by our own will power, all we will produce are useless, dead works. They won’t last very long. But works done in the Spirit, can have an eternal impact.
That is why Jesus commanded His disciples to “abide in me.” Live in Him, stay with Him, and He will transform our lives and produce good fruit in us. It all depends upon Him. Our job is to faithfully stay connected to Him. He will do the work in our lives to make us spiritually fruitful. So friend, abide in Him. Stay connected to the true vine and deeply rooted in Him. Abide in Him and He will abide in you.
Lord, thank You for being the True Vine that sustains my spiritual life. Thank You for the promise of Your presence in me and Your work through me. As the old hymn says, “I need thy presence every passing hour. What but thy grace can foil the tempter’s power? Who, like Thyself, my Guide and Stay can be? Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me” (Henry F. Lyte, 1847). Amen.
Reveal: Encourage a fellow believer today who is struggling with reminders of the Lord’s sustaining presence and power if only they abide with Him.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford