John 15:1-11 — The need to abide

Yesterday I talked about the Father’s work in our lives.  That our righteousness, our fruit, does not come from our own efforts but through his work in us.  He cleans us through his Word (verse 3), he lifts us up out of our sin and failures, and he prunes us so that we can bear fruit.

If bearing fruit does not come from our own efforts then, does that mean we don’t need to do anything?

Not at all.  There’s one thing that’s utterly essential for us to do.  We need to abide (the NIV says “remain”) in him.

What does that mean?  It means to walk in close relationship with him.  To keep him at the center of your life.  To spend time with him.  To listen to him.  And then to do what he says.

Jesus said,

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.  Now remain in my love.  If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  (9-10)

We said in an earlier blog that more than merely saying, “Do what I say!” Jesus is saying, “Trust me.  I love you.  I want what’s best for you.”

It’s hard to have a relationship with someone that you won’t trust.  And when we say to God, “I can’t trust you,” it puts a distance between us and God.  But as we trust him, and obey him, it becomes a cycle that draws us ever closer to him.  We trust him, so we do what he says.  We see the blessing that comes from obedience and we see that he really wants what’s best for us.  This causes us to love and trust him more, and so we obey more, we get blessed more, and we end up loving and trusting him even more.

And it’s that kind of relationship with God that leads to fruitfulness in our lives.  But what happens if we live in continual distrust of God?  Then we will never bear fruit for God.

Jesus said this,

Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.  (John 15:4-6)

How about you?  Are you walking in a relationship with God where you love and trust him completely?  Only by doing so can you bear fruit.  Apart from that kind of relationship, we can do nothing that will please God.  And if you walk in continual distrust of God, you will end up like Judas, withered, thrown into the fire and burned.

But if you walk in relationship with God, you will bear fruit, and you will find joy.  As Jesus said,

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  (11)

A relationship with God starts by trusting Jesus in the most important thing of all.  Your salvation.  John tells us in one of his letters,

And this is [God’s] command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ… (I John 3:23)

If you haven’t already, won’t you make that decision today?

Lord Jesus, while I’ve known you, I haven’t fully trusted you, and because of that I’ve been living my own way.  Forgive me.  I believe that you died on the cross for my sins and rose again.  Now be my Lord and Savior.  Help me everyday to trust you, obey you, and draw ever nearer to you.  I want to bear fruit for you.  In Jesus name, amen.

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About bkshiroma

I'm from Hawaii, but have been in Japan as a missionary/English teacher since 1995. I'm currently going to a church called Crossroad Nishinomiya, an international church in Nishinomiya, a city right between Kobe and Osaka. Check out their website: crossroad-web.com 私がハワイから来ましたけど1995年に宣教師と英会話の教師として日本に引っ越しました。 今西宮にあるクロスロード西宮という国際の教会に行っています。どうぞ、そのホムページを見てください: crossroad-web.com
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