Jn 15:3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
The Word is a cleansing power, both the Rhema and logos. If we remain in the Word, it will prune us. Any plant is vulnerable to insects, diseases, bugs, adverse weather – frosts, scorching etc. However the Word that Jesus brings is the best antidote for all this.
It’s imperative we are cleansed from those things that separate us from Jesus and from the life of the Vine. Sin, guilt, unbelief, complaining, fear, neglecting devotional time, all disconnect us from a full & complete connection with Jesus.
4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
Where do you live? What are you ‘in’. What’s ‘in ‘ you. How amazing if when people meet us they have an unsaid thought that they feel they have been closer to Christ. If we abide in Him, then He will abide in us. It is our action first though. He does not force his dwelling in us upon us. We can be content always in Him. We never have to go somewhere to start to love life. That is our privilege always, everywhere, in Him. We must live happily, dwell, remain and ‘house’ ourselves in Christ and none other if we are to bear the fruit that lives forever. There are many causes of Christ that can be tempting for us to abide in, however, He alone is the true vine, from whom we receive the sap that produces the fruit He desires. This life flows from the Word of God and prayer. Our life can be gained from no other source than Christ, and we are connected with Him through prayer and the Word. Disconnected, the branch bears no fruit. Regardless of what gifts we operate, what callings we fulfill, what great things we do, if they are not born from Christ’s life, they will not endure for eternity.
We cannot bear fruit ‘of ourselves’. The only fruit that is real fruit and that endures is what is ‘of Christ’. That fruit cannot exist unless the branch attempting to bear fruit is firmly grafted in the vine, through prayer and the Word.
The focus of this teaching is not bearing fruit but abiding in Christ so that bearing fruit is effortless.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
The challenging part of fruitfulness is not bearing fruit, but in abiding in the vine. The vine itself doesn’t bear fruit. It supplies the life for the branches to draw on that in turn bears fruit. Abiding in Christ doesn’t happen by accident, but by choice and discipline. To abide is to remain, all day, all week, all month, all year, all our life, in Christ. This means we do not do those things that remove us from Christ, that disconnect us from the Lord. There are places where I know my phone will drop out and I get disconnected. Same in life.
The result of abiding in Christ and He in us is that we bear ‘much fruit’.
Of course we can do things without Christ, but they will not be of any eternal value or recognised by God. To succeed in the things that matter, we need to do those things that are born of abiding in Christ.
6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
This then is someone who has become a branch, grafted into Christ, but now fails to abide in Christ, through prayer, Word and fellowship. Eventually they are severed from the vine.
‘Anyone’, means that anyone can choose to abide or not to abide. Fruitfulness is not a matter of fate, fortune, or chosen-ness. It’s a matter of us simply choosing to abide in Christ. From that connection everything flows. The person who ignores this fact and engages in a lifestyle that doesn’t abide in Christ, will not bear fruit, therefore finds themselves disconnected – many times imagining this is their own choice too – because they have criticisms of the other ‘branches’ etc.
These are found on the outside of where Christ is at, His church, His people, His order.
Apart from Christ we wither – grow dry, shrivelled, small, old, decayed and lifeless, producing nothing.
These withered sticks congregate together – misery finds company.
They get thrown easily. They are easy prey for a poisonous cause.
They burn, not with heaven’s fire, but with various fires of hell – anger, bitterness, lusts & jealousies.
Burned because of their uselessness, rather than for fuel as some suggest.
Stay tuned for Part 3 next week….