Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.'
Grace comes to us through a person, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is by abiding in Him that we bear much fruit. What does to abide mean?
The English dictionary defines abide as “to remain; continue; stay” and “to continue in a particular condition, attitude, relationship, etc.”
This verse in John 15 emphasises a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
To abide in Christ means to intentionally remain in an ever-growing relationship with Him that transforms our character to be more like His.
Jesus is the Vine, we (believers) are the branches. Without Christ we can do nothing, through Christ, who strengthens us, we can do everything. The verse is a rich metaphor.
Abiding in Jesus will, of course, always lead to action, but the abiding must come first.
When we abide, the Holy Spirit will fill us and prompt us to act.
Normally when we think of fruit related to the Christian character we think of the fruit of the Spirit.
‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.’ Galatians 5:22-23
Much like branches that are grafted to a vibrant vine in order to produce better grapes, we are grafted to Christ who is our life-giving vine. A branch flourishes and produces fruit when it remains connected to a healthy vine. We too will flourish and become fruitful when we remain in close relationship with Christ, our source of spiritual health and life.
We might call it the fruit of abiding in Christ through the Holy Spirit who unites us to Him.
The fruit of the Spirit that works in us is not apart from Christ rather it is bound up in Christ.
We abound in that fruit through abiding in Christ. The fruit of new life that comes about through union with Christ flows from the inside out. Growth that comes from a changed heart that is transformed by God’s Spirit. This new life takes place at Salvation and is further cultivated in our daily walk with God.
In Paul’s charge to Timothy, Paul speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost says
‘But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.’
Humility is an essential attribute in discipleship.
‘He must increase, but I must decrease.’ John 3:30
Growth is always a good thing: physically, spiritually, intellectually, and relationally.
We grow as Christians by taking in the nourishment of God’s Word, enjoying relationships with other believers (fellowship) and through our prayer life. Through this walk we can experience the joy of becoming Holy (sanctification) as our Father is Holy.
‘But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.’ 1 Peter 1:15-16
The fruit of our new life should flow organically and not artificially. There will be a natural desire to serve and reach others after salvation, even if it starts with just wanting to reach our immediate family and friends.
Salvation happens in a moment of time. It is easy to get saved you just have to put all your faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and understand that He gives to you eternal life and that you could never lose it. (The eternal security of the believer)
'And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one.'
What takes place after salvation is an inner-battle, to either wither and be spiritually fruitless or to flourish, to serve the Lord and produce much fruit!
We have to try to die to sin and live to righteousness. Put on the new man. Exhibit a changed life which flows out of being partakers of the wonderful new life found through Christ.
Abiding in Christ produces fruit of eternal value.
We want to see fruit of a changed life to grow from the inside out by the Hand of God.
A vineyard of life exploring God’s design for our spiritual development and growth in grace.
Abundant and enduring Christlike character will grow naturally by abiding in Christ, through the work of the Holy Spirit.
We are to love, to rejoice, to exercise peace wherever possible, to be patient and to be kind and forgiving. We have been released from servitude to sin and empowered to the new life.
'Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.' Galatians 5:1
We have freedom from bondage of sin through Jesus Christ our Lord. Why not then attempt to walk in the light and grow. The alternative is to go back to the world, live a miserable and almost meaningless life down here until we go home. The enemy opposes fruitfulness, he wants Christians to do nothing for God. But we can choose what we do once we are saved. Work out your own salvation the Bible says.
Our relationship with the Saviour is not merely mechanical but relational. We abide in the person of Christ, who is the Personal Christ for He lives within our hearts.
‘Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.’ John 15:8-9
We have access to the very creator of the universe through prayer. Prayer is essential.
The fruit of God’s grace, the fruit that flows from the new life in Christ is it defining you? Do others see it and give Glory to your Father in Heaven?
Is it leading or at least pointing others to Christ?
God is in the gardening business! (metaphorically speaking) If He sees something in your life that is damaging your ability to bring forth fruit He will purge it, He will saw it off like a withered branch. It could be the rock music, the old films you used to watch, maybe visits to the bar or sporting events. Friends that want to remind you of the old life. God can find a way to remove them from your life. He will weed out sin and cultivate fruit in our lives as our Father.
It can be very painful but it’s worthwhile as you see more people come to know Christ.
This is something that truly matters.
You see sin is what’s keeping you from being productive. Sin is what’s stopping you from bringing forth fruit. God might have to take hold of you and cut out some of the things that are holding you back, so that you might bare more fruit in the new season.
A good tree bringing forth good fruit.
‘The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.’ Proverbs 11:30
We must go out and reach the lost. Go out to the highways and hedges and compel them to come in. This is a commandment and yet more and more Churches are downplaying this essential work.
Some people say they first want to get right with God before they attempt this work, but the truth is you can only be right with God if you’re already doing the work.
Evangelism is an essential part of the discipleship journey.
By putting Him first, God promises us a rich and fulfilling life.
‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ Philippians 4:19
God not only wants us to have joy He wants us to have full joy.
So, to conclude, how do we abide in Christ?
Here are some practical ways we can do so
‘Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;’ Ephesians 6:18
2.)Read and meditate on God’s Word.
‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.’ Colossians 3:16
3.)Glorify God in everything you do.
‘And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men’ Colossians 3:23
4.)Participate in Church.
‘Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!’
5.)Listen to the Holy Spirit who flows through us as we remain connected to Christ and His Word.
‘Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.' 2 Corinthians 3:17
6.)Listen to Christian music that edifies.
‘Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;’ Ephesians 5:18-19
7.)Start evangelising! Even if it's just trying to reach one new person a week with the Good News of Jesus Christ. That is a start.
'And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.' Mark 16:15
Produce fruit, grow spiritually, be more usable by God…all this comes by Abiding in Christ.
All Glory to Him!
‘Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.’ Hebrews 12:1-2