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Abide in the Vine
John 15:1-10

Jesus stated that He is the True Vine, the one through whom all life flows. “I am the true vine” is the seventh and last of Jesus’ “I am” statements in John’s Gospel. This “I am” statement gives us more insight into who Jesus is and how He saves us. He identified His Father as the “husbandman” (verse 1, KJV). “Husbandman” means gardener; the One who owns and cultivates the vineyard. Vineyards were a common sight in Israel and important to the nation’s economy. However, the Father prunes the branches so they will bear more fruit (verse 2).

“Jesus’ relationship with His Father models the abiding relationship we are to have with Him. Abiding in Christ is absolutely essential for those who minister to others. Staying connected with Jesus keeps us receptive to His heart and will for our ministry. Jesus even said if we do not abide in Him, our ministry will not produce fruit. Therefore, of itself, a branch is weak and useless. It is good for either bearing or burning, but not for building (Ezek. 15). The branch cannot produce its own life; it must draw that life from the vine. It is our relationship with Christ through the Spirit that makes possible the bearing of the fruit. The sooner we as believers discover that we are but branches, the better we will relate to the Lord, for we will know our own weakness and confess our need for His strength.

What does it mean to “abide”? It means to keep in fellowship with Christ so that His life can work in and through us to produce fruit. This certainly involves the Word of God and the confession of sin so that nothing hinders our relationship with Him (John 15:3). It also involves obeying Him because we love Him (John 15:9-10). How can we tell when we are “abiding in Christ”? Is there a special feeling? No, but there are special evidences that appear, and they are unmistakably clear. For one thing, when you are abiding in Christ you produce fruit (John 15:2). Also, you experience the Father’s pruning so you will bear more fruit. The believer who is abiding in Christ has his prayers answered (John 15:7), and experiences a deepening love for Christ and for other believers (John 15:9, 12-13). He also experiences joy (John 15:11).

This abiding relationship is natural to the branch and the vine, but it must be cultivated in the Christian life; it is not automatic. Abiding in Christ demands worship, meditation on God’s Word, prayer, sacrifice, and service-but what a joyful experience it is! Once you have begun to cultivate this deeper communion with Christ, you have no desire to return to the shallow life of the careless Christian.

Bearing fruit (verse 8) is one result of abiding in Christ. The constant experience of Jesus’ love is another result (verse 9). Both the mind of Christ and the love of Christ flow through the Vine. We cultivate God’s Word, which leads to doing His will, and we know His love flows in and through and around us (verse10).

We must remember branches do not eat the fruit, others do. We are not producing fruit to please ourselves, but to serve others. We as believers should be the kind of people who “feed” others by our words and by our works - “The lips of the righteous feed many” (Prov. 20:21).

Several different kinds of Spiritual fruit are named in the Bible. We bear fruit when we win others to Christ (Romans 1:13), and as we grow in holiness and obedience, we are bearing fruit (Romans 6:22). Paul considered Christian giving to be fruit from a dedicated lifestyle (Romans 15:28). The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) is the kind of Christian character that glorifies God and makes Christ real to others. Even our good works, our service, grow out of our abiding life (Colossians 1:10).

A true branch connected with the vine, will always bear fruit- not every branch bears a bumper crop, just as not every field has a bumper harvest (Matthews 13: 8, 23), but there is always fruit where there is life. If there is no fruit, the branch is worthless and it is cast away and burned.

When you abide in Christ, you move in His provision and at His command; your life will then produce fruit that brings glory to the Father. Therefore, as branches in the vine, we have the privilege of abiding and the responsibility of bearing fruit. We abide in Christ’s love by keeping His commandments, which includes loving others. We can do nothing without Him, but as we abide in Him we will bear much fruit. Fruit-bearing for Christ involves many things. However, among those things is reaching others with the gospel so they can become branches on the Vine. Consider the people you interact with regularly and think of ways you can bear witness of Christ to them.

Submitted by:
District Missionary Magdalene Gaskins
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Abundant Life Missions
P.O. Box 43878
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"Yes, God will give you much so that you can give away much, and when we take your gifts to those who need 
them they will break out into thanksgiving and praise God for your help."
2 Corinthians 9:11 (New Living Testament)
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