The sermon at my church on Sunday covered John 15:1-11. I won’t quote the entire passage for you, but will instead pull out one verse that encapsulates the message. John 15:5, “I [Jesus] am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” This is the necklace I was wearing Sunday morning:
When I saw it at Charming Charlie’s (or as my friend’s daughter calls it – the color store) several months ago, I knew I had to have it because it reminded me of this bible passage. It is a tangible token that prompts me daily to choose what type of branch I want to be. Do I want to be the kind of branch that can do nothing? The next verse, 6, even says the worthless branch dries up and is thrown away! I don’t want that to be my legacy. The other kind of branch, one who abides in Christ, bears much fruit. Galatians 5:22 tells us that fruit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”. That sounds more like what I want to be about. So according to John 15, if I want my life to exhibit these characteristics, I need to know what it means to abide. Dictionary.com defines it as “to remain; continue; stay…dwell; reside”.
So what does it mean in 2016 to remain or abide in Jesus? Our pastor mentioned that the word abide was used 118 times in the New Testament alone. So I decided to look at a few of the instances for more context.
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I don’t think by any means that these 3 bullet points (as every good sermon has) are the only ways we can “abide” in the vine (Jesus). Prayer, praise, ministry, anything done to the glory of God can pull us in closer as we dwell with Him. My three passages are just the ones I found in my study today. Obeying, loving and studying God’s Word seem like good places to start. If you want to learn more, do your own scripture study of the word abide. Look up the word in a concordance (try biblehub.com if you don’t have access to one) or the back of your bible. Just don’t forget, that the choice is yours every single day. Abide in Him and bear fruit or spend no time about His business and be dried up and useless. Only He can make a healthy branch from our futility.