Keep Abiding & Carry On

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David spoke from John 15, which is part of what is known as Jesus’ farewell discourse (John 14-17).

Jesus isn’t going to be around much longer so, in preparing his disciples for his departure, he asks them to do something that would help them with their everyday spiritual wellbeing. This resonates with something that we hear continuously in our current climate. As Jesus prepares for his ultimate social distancing he wants his disciples to ‘stay connected.’

In 15:1 we have the final ‘I Am’ statement in John’s gospel, “I am the true vine” followed by what his disciples are, “You are the branches” (v.5). This highlights the intimate connection between Jesus and those who follow him.

True Christians have been grafted into Christ. This is not through anything we have done. It’s all about what God has done for us. It’s total and amazing grace.

We are already clean (v.3) because of what Christ has done. It was completely his initiative to choose us and our union with Christ is from a place of grace.

"You did not choose me, but I chose you"

John 15:16

The core of Christ’s teaching in this passage is centred around the word ’abide’, which focusses on our daily choice as his followers who want to have real communion, friendship and affinity with him.

Keep abiding and carry on

"apart from me you can do nothing"

John 15:5b

We will be severely restricted in our discipleship if we don’t choose to abide in Jesus. We’ll miss out on what really counts at a deeply spiritual level and we will not be fruitful

"This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."

John 15:8

Our end to life is to glorify God and according to Jesus that means bearing much fruit in our lives. The existence of fruit proves we have been grafted to Christ.

The Bible teaches the types of spiritual fruit that Christians should be striving for in their daily lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.

In other parts of scripture we can also see what this fruit looks like:

"so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God"

Colossians. 1:10

"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name."

Hebrews 13:15

Why do we need to abide in Jesus?

Without him we can do nothing. If we don’t abide in Jesus, there will be no fruit

"No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine"

John 15:4a

How do you keep abiding and carry on?

By letting his words abide in you (v.7)

You can do this by engaging with the words of Jesus and allowing them to fill your heads and minds each day.

The question is, am I abiding in the words of Jesus?

JC Ryle, an Anglican Bishop in the 19 C. said, “To abide in Christ means to keep up a habit of constant close communion with Him–to be always leaning on Him, resting on Him, pouring out our hearts to Him, and using Him as our Fountain of life and strength, as our chief Companion and best Friend. To have His words abiding in us, is to keep His sayings and precepts continually before our memories and minds, and to make them the guide of our actions and the rule of our daily conduct and behavior.” 

By abiding in his love (v.9)

The love of Jesus for us is a reflection of the love that the Father has for him. Abiding in Jesus love in these unsettling days means knowing the sheer scale, scope and expanse of Jesus’ love for you, which is exactly like the Father’s love for him.

Do you know the extent of Jesus’s love for you?

If so abide and remain right there and you will continually abide in Jesus

How do you know you are abiding in Christ’s love?

There is nothing mystical about this, it’s very practical

"If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love."

John 15:10

Obedience to Jesus is a critical and necessary part of keeping his commands: to disobey is the opposite. In V.12 Jesus makes clear what it means to obey his commandments, which many people are tangibly and sacrificially doing at this time.

"My command is this: love each other as I have loved you"

John 15:12

As followers of Jesus today let’s remember his familiar words in John 15

Keep abiding and carry on

Thank God for our union with Christ. He chose us and has cleaned us up, so embrace the opportunity to develop your relationship with him and produce fruit that will last.

Here are some questions to discuss this week:

  • What one question do I have about this morning’s Bible text/teach?

  • What might I do differently this week to abide in Christ?

  • How could I demonstrate sacrificial love to another person this week?

  • Write a prayer thanking Jesus that He abides in you, and reflect on what that means to you at this time.

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