460: What Does it Mean to “Abide in Christ”?
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How Can We Abide in Him… Always?
In John 15, we have the Lord’s blueprint for the “abundant life” (John 10:10) He promised each of us. And no, that life doesn’t involve expensive cars or vacation homes or buckets of cash or having Your Best Life Now! The abundant life in Him is defined by being able to bear His fruit and bearing it in ever-increasing quantities. Or, like Jesus said, “more” fruit, then “much” fruit, and finally “fruit that will remain.” Consider the following:
“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2)
“By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” (John 15:8)
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” (John 15:16)
Unless the church fully understands the importance of bearing the fruit of Christ, the Vine, this incredible teaching of Jesus will have little meaning or lasting effect on our lives. Or on the lives of those we try to influence with the Word, our spouse, our friends, our parents, children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. We must come to a clear understanding that the only purpose for the branch, the only reason you and I were created and chosen in Him (Eph. 1:4), is to bear the fruit of the vine. And the only one who benefits from the fruit we bear, is the Vinedresser, the Father. The one key to hearing “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:23), is our commitment to being nothing but branches, committed totally to bearing His fruit.
As we said last week, there is no other way.
But, How Do We Bear His Fruit?
The key to bearing His fruit is tied up in the single word, abide. Last week we defined the word abide (ménō) as to “remain, dwell, live”, but always, in John’s writings, with the idea of a relationship in view. However, in John 15, the definition of abide (ménō) expands to mean “to be and remain united with Jesus, one with Him in heart, mind, and will, and to remain steadfast, unwavering in that relationship.” That understanding of abide (ménō) puts this entire passage under a new, incredible light.
So how do we bear His fruit? Or what part do we play in this divine equation? Simple, abide. It’s hard to do in real life, but it’s simple, nonetheless.
“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.” (John 15:4)
“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.” (John 15:5)
“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.” (John 15:6)
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:7)
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.” (John 15:9)
“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” (John 15:10)
Remember, this is only the beginning. If you can capture the joy of abiding in Him as a dependent branch, a life of abundant joy (John 10:10) is right around the corner. So buckle up!