Monday, August 24, 2015

Abiding In The Vine

Setting"   Still in upper room - last words to disciples.   John 14:31 - enroute to Gethsemene?

John 15:1 (7th. "I Am") I Am the TRUE Vine.
Grapevine = symbol of national Israel as God's fruit bearer.  (there was a solid gold vine @ the temple entrance - symbolic of Israel itself)

So..... Old Testament prophets to the people:  Isa. 5:1-7  Jer. 2:21
           Jesus to the leaders of the day - Matt. 21:22-43
Often what was said by the prophets, was repeated by Jesus to the Jewish leaders

In light of that, John 15:1 - "I am the TRUE vine"  with John 15:5 - ....."you are the branches...."

FOCUS = 1)  fruit-bearing
                  2) abiding (old English) - settled down, at home, remain, content, indwell - as the branch to the trunk
                  3)  pruning - ie:  cutting back to increase production

John 15:1-17
Simple lesson/truths from this passage:

#1.  WE ARE TO BEAR FRUIT  (as Israel, so us)  We're to be productive - individually and corporately.
Fruit = character? (fruit of the Spirit)  works? (fruit of good works, character)  converts?  - there is room for all these at the church.

Fruit = the outward manifestation of the inner nature.  John 15:8 - fruit bearing - glorifies God, identifies the Christian.  A Christian that doesn't bear fruit is not living up to what he is called to be.  God's character, nature, etc. should be manifest in us.  He is proclaimed when we bear much fruit.

In order to bear fruit -----
#2.  WE MUST ABIDE IN HIM (continue, remain) = MUTUAL INDWELLING
This suggests SUBJECTIVE side of the Christian life - the RELATIONSHIP
Relationships are both objective and subjective - examples:  marriage, friendship, pregnancy
Objective - with Christ - you are either IN Christ or your are out.
Subjective = relationship with Christ
So, traditional spiritual disciplines (not talking about Bible study per se)  = quiet time, Bible Reading, Prayer, Meditation, Praise and Worship.
You won't bear fruit if won't abide!!!

In order to bear fruit -
The text addresses - DIVINE PRUNING - John 15:2
Example:  Luke 22:31 - Sifting permitted!!! a)  to What end?   b)  Peter's part? - recognize the sifting, accept it, and employ it!!
Scripture suggests:  SELF-PRUNING - Heb. 12:1 - throw off everything that hinders.

#1.  John 15:5 - without this you can do nothing!! (ie:  of eternal/Kingdom consequence) - Yet, John 14:12
We're supposed to DO something!

#2.  John 15:11 - Jesus shared this that your JOY may be full.  (regardless of your situation, or circumstances) - Phil. 4:11-13

So:  A)  Get in   
       B)  Abide in  
      C)  Bear with (pruning) 
      D)  Bear fruit!!

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