God's Sword of Truth - The Word
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman." John 15:1.
To abide means to continue in a permanent state.
We find the key to the whole question of fruit bearing in John, Chapter 15 and also in the beginning of other Chapters which has two words: "I AM", meaning; HE (Jesus Christ). It is not what YOU are, but what HE is and these are the the all-important words........" I AM".
What is the key of the 23rd Psalm? Again, the first two words: "The Lord". It is about the Lord, not about YOU; it is about HIM. As to what we are and why we are as changeable as the winds and the clouds; but He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever." Hebrews 13:8.
The question of fruit bearing depends not upon WHAT we are or WHERE we are. Our surroundings are not in material things, but are what God has arranged for us. God puts every man and woman, surrendered to Him, in the very best place for himself or herself at the time. Many people say, "Well, you know, I am surrounded by very unfavorable circumstances, such as worldly people in the work place"; others will complain of their school companions; yet others will say "I have bad influences at home, everyone is against me"; and there are those who will tell you that "if I could only move on to a new job; live in a different place or change the atmosphere at home and the people I live with, I could shine for Jesus."
Did you know, a candle that doesn't shine in one room is very unlikely to shine in another? If you don't shine at home - if your husband/wife, your father/mother, sister/brother, if the very cat/dog in the house are not the better and happier for your being a Christian, then you are not the right kind of Christian. It isn't our surroundings and circumstances that are all-important, but how far we are linked, and how close is the union between our souls and the Lord Jesus Christ. What do we know about Him? What is He to us? This is the all-important question.
This beautiful Chapter of John (we are all longing to be fruit bearers, you know) brings the whole question before us in the first words of the first verse: "I AM". It is here and all through the Bible as to what He is, and what He is going to do.
So, in reading the 15th Chapter of John, we have to lose sight of what we are and fix our attention upon the true vine, our Savior, and upon His Father, Who says"I am the true vine and my Father is the husbandman" - vs.1.
Compare in Jewish History, the 15th Chapter of Ezekiel and New Testament, 15th Chapter of John, that both are about a vine. The Chapter of Ezekiel being about a vine brought out of Egypt, and the other, 15th Chapter of John, about the true vine (Christ). Israel proved to be a false vine,as it bore fruit of itself, and not for God. Christ is the true vine.
The Lord Jesus says; "I am the true vine" which is the root, the stems, the trunk, the vine, the branches, the leaves, the flowers and the fruit. It is all one vine, and there is nothing outside of it. There is no fruit bearing outside of the living Christ. You can do nothing of yourself and cannot bear fruit of yourself and if you attempt to sever yourself from the vine and think you will strike out a root for yourself, you will be disappointed because young vines don't bear fruit and the object isn't to fill the vineyard with new roots, as we are not intended for growth and development separate from Jesus Christ, but as members of the true vine, to enjoy our all in Him.
Now suppose you were to take a piece of cord and tie it around your finger, and say, "Whatever becomes of the rest of my blood, I am going to secure a finger full for this finger." Do you think the finger would thrive? No! It would turn black and would swell and ache until you would be glad to get the cord off again. If you kept it on too long it would spoil the finger forever. God doesn't give a little share of life to us. It requires all the blood, to the whole body, to keep this one finger. The heart is pumping blood into it and the veins are bringing it out, and all the life in our body is at the disposal of that finger to keep it in healthy condition. And the finger is expected to cooperate with the rest of the body toward the building up of the entire frame.
So there is the whole Christ-life in the believer. We don't come to Him and ask Him to give us life for what we already have, for if we are not in Christ, we have no life at all and if we are in Him, He is our life. "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory" Col. 3:4. We shall be manifested with Him, "In glory". "I am the vine" - the whole vine.
"Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you" John 15:2,3.
Perhaps some of us have been afraid to submit ourselves to the Lord lest His discipline should be sharper and harder than we are able to bear. He knows what we are able to bear better than we do, and He has a good deal more love toward us than we have toward ourselves. It is safe to trust Him unreservedly. We are cleansed through His Word so that we may bring forth more fruit.
Let us go to the Word to feed ourselves and then we will understand how to feed other people so much the better.
Now, it is by this word that the disciples, to whom Christ spoke, were clean. "Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you". John 15:3,4. What a privilege to be allowed to abide in Him! And what a blessed thing it is to be commanded to abide in Him! May we all obey! Read and believe on the Word of God - so that we may rest upon every word that God speaks through His Word.
Read John 6:52-65. "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you". If we feed upon Christ, we are abiding in Him; and we are to continue to feed in order that we may grow. "He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him". The Lord does say that he who does feed and drink his blood is abiding in Him and He in us.
Abiding in Christ is keeping in the consciousness of our union with the Lord Jesus Christ - going forth never thinking of what we are in ourselves, but realizing what Christ is in us, and expecting to find Divine resources to operate wherever the Divine Spirit leads us. When this is realized, it takes away all anxiety; it takes away all carefulness, with no fear of failure. The Lord our God is a mighty One. It is so blessed to have this union in Christ.
Abide in Christ and you WILL bear fruit.
You can't bear fruit if you are not abiding in Christ. Don't imagine that abiding in Christ is a question of a little more or a little less of being a little more perfect or a little less perfect. For Jesus said: "He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing". John 15:5. You can do any amount of work, but you cannot bear fruit. Fruit bearing is the result of abiding in Christ. Christ is forever faithful...may we abide in Him evermore!
1. Abide is applied to::
2. The sphere of, abiding in the Christian's life: BELIEVERS WORKS- "If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward". I Cor. 3:14 THREE GRACES - "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity". I Cor. 13:13 GOD'S FAITHFULNESS - "If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself". II Tim. 2:13 CHRIST'S PRIESTHOOD- "Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually". Hebrews 7:3 GOD'S WORDS-"Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever". I Peter 1:23 BELIEVER'S ETERNITY - "And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever". I John 2:17 3. The believer's abiding in Christ: THE SPHERE OF CHRIST - "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the wine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me". John 15:4-6 THE SPHERE OF CHRIST'S WORDS - "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you". John 15:7 THE SPHERE OF CHRIST'S LOVE - "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love". John 15:10 THE SPHERE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE CHRISTIAN'S LIFE - "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever".John 14:16. THE SPHERE OF GOD'S WORD IN THE CHRISTIAN'S LIFE - "I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one". I John 2:14. "Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father". I John 2:24. THE TRUTH - "For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever". II John 2. ASSURANCE - "And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming". I John 2:28.
All scripture based on the King James Authorized Version or 1611 Bible, New Testament only, otherwise known as THE WORD. All Old Testament scriptural references used in this article is Jewish History, not canonical, and is used as additional references.