For those of us who follow Jesus, and want to grow in our relationship with Him, there is not much mystery involved: We abide. We stay attached to the Vine that is the Christ. For if we ever detach ourselves from God’s good soil, it is not long until we wilt, die, and dry up. We must never forget where our source of life comes from.
I Am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (Jn. 15:5, ESV)
There is so much beauty in a healthy vine—in a healthy garden. It is the secret to why Christians can thrive in any situation. Both in good times, and in bad, the follower of Jesus can rise above because of what the Holy Spirit does through the people that have been transformed by the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross.
Hard times still come, persecution may follow, but regardless of what comes our way, God is always greater. Though, sometimes, the reality of getting results is through God’s necessary pruning. Jesus makes a line in the sand, and we must choose to trust Him enough to cross it and go all in or stay all out. There is no in-between if we are to experience all God has to offer to those who love Him.
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. … If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. (Jn. 15:2, 6, ESV)
But when we stay connected to the Vine—when we remain in Him—and keep connected to His local church, we do not ever have to fear what is to come. For it is God that walks with us every step of the way.
Here are some other takeaways from John 15:
- A covenant is a two-way street. Each member of the covenant has to give something to make it work.
- Jesus always uses what is familiar to teach and identify what is more profound and lifegiving. For those in the middle eastern region where Jesus ministered, the illustration of a vineyard makes perfect sense to their situation. The soil was ideal for a vineyard to grow in.
- God is interested in all our stuff—both the big things and the small ones. He knows our needs even before we know them, and He wants us to share them with Him anyways.
- God gives us absolutes that we must follow to be in relationship with Him. He disciplines us out of love and our best good. (Job 5:17-18, Prov. 3:5-8 and 11-12)
- God prunes us for our benefit. (John 15:1-2)
- We are in this world, but we are not of it. God walks with us and has our back in spite of how the world may view us. Suffering and persecution will come for those who belong to Jesus. (Jn. 15:18-19, 2 Tim. 3:10-13)
- When there is a grand light in the world that shines from Jesus, darkness will react strongly. Darkness does not like the light.
- As members of the local church, and disciples of Jesus, we are sometimes part of the miracles that God wants to do through His Holy Spirit in us.
Now it is your turn. Write out and share some of your biggest takeaways from Pastor Mike’s sermon, along with your own study of John 15, to share with someone you know today.
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples. As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love. (Jn. 15:7-9, ESV)
Our study of the GOSPEL OF JOHN in review: