“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither you unless you abide in Me. ” – John 15:4 (NASB)
Communion with Christ is a cure for every ill. In our passage today, Jesus encourages us to live within Him. Living near to Jesus, we are covered with the wings of God, and underneath us are His everlasting arms. It is of secondary importance whether we’re famous and prosperous, or live humble lives in comparative poverty. So we’re focusing on the first three words Christ commanded his disciples here, “Abide in Me.’ The word “abide” means to remain or stick around. By “remaining” we confirm that salvation for us is an accomplished act. The evidence of salvation is our continuation in service to our Lord Jesus according to His teaching. An abiding believer is the only genuine believer. Abiding and believing actually address the same blessing of salvation. Let’s not allow anything to keep us from that blessed communion that is the unique relationship of our life hidden in Christ. Let’s always seek to retain His company, for only in His presence will we find either comfort or safety. Jesus is not for us a friend who calls us now and again, but one with whom we are in constant touch.
Drawn in part with revision from C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings, (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1896).
“…so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;…” – Colossians 1:10 (NASB)
In the letters written by the Apostle Paul, he often uses long compound sentences. Verses 9 through 12 is one sentence so continuing from yesterday’s consideration of verse 9 we now find the aim of Paul’s petition in his daily prayers. His prayer request was practical: in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord. A genuine knowledge of Christ reveals itself in transformed character, in Christlikeness. In Ephesians, Philippians, and both letters to the Thessalonians this exhortation is used. We are called to live our lives and walk in a manner worthy of God, of his calling us, and of other believers. How we live each day, what we think, say and do is observed by others and it reflects our dedication and conviction of God. Christ Jesus has saved us and called us to be a testimony to His Word. If we are walking worthy of the Lord, the promise is that we will please the Lord in all respects. We will bear fruit in all our good efforts at the work He gives us; our knowledge of God will be increasing daily which also pleases the Lord.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.” – John 15:1
It is Thursday evening. Jesus and His closest disciples are in an upstairs room. Jesus is sharing His last Passover meal with them. They will be His Apostles and Jesus is also transforming the meal and establishing Holy Communion. These words are part of the Last Supper teaching. Jesus, knowing that very night He would be betrayed by one of them, arrested, tried and sentenced to death. His long hours of suffering would soon begin. Before 6 p.m. Friday He would be dead. Over and over Jesus was telling them that He and the Father are joined in one purpose. Jesus is the true vine from which all others are born into and serve the Kingdom of God. Jesus is about to pay the ultimate price to preserve the fruit forever. Judas, the betrayer has left their company. The other disciples will see Judas once more and then never again. The promises we have are woven throughout this chapter. Promises of abiding, sustaining, pruning, and bearing much fruit. Promises of direct access to God to ask for whatever we need in the name of Jesus. And the promise that we will all be filled with Christ’s joy.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
It is common that these verses are misread and mistaught on a pretty regular basis. The error comes in the word ‘fruit’ which is read as ‘fruits.’ These nine qualities of character are a bundled package. Together they are the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit in the life of an obedient follower of Jesus. As listed there, this fruit is the evident mark one may expect from a life in which the Spirit of God is living and reigning and Jesus is Lord. Jesus also implied that one’s character of life can be determined. In Matthew 7, the test for false prophets is, among other things, the kind of life they live. Consequently, even though Jesus did prohibit disapproving criticism of others by his followers (Matthew 7:1), He encouraged fruit inspection. The secret to exhibiting spiritual fruit in abundance is described in John 12:24. Using as an illustration a grain of wheat sown in the ground, Jesus encourages death to self and to the desires of the old nature and resurrection to the new life of “much fruit.” Our promise is this fruit produced in our lives if we live according to the Spirit of God.