Abide in My Love

October 29, 2014

In John 15, Jesus first calls the disciples to Abide in Me. The call is for us to remain dependent upon Jesus where we enjoy sweet fellowship with Him. Jesus makes it clear that no fruit will be borne if you do not Abide in Me (Remain in Me)Jesus emphasizes permanence and steadfastness in His relationship with the disciples. Then Jesus calls for His Words to abide in you. “Abide” is repeated ten times in vv. 4–10. The metaphor of the vine illustrates the point; it is only when nutrients flow freely to the branches that fruit can be borne.

Now further in John 15, Jesus calls for the disciples to Abide in My Love. Jesus desires for His relationship with His disciples to mirror that of His relationship with the Father.

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

Jesus tells the disciples that He loved them as God loved Him. God also loved Him that He gave Him to the world. Jesus is also preparing His disciples for His giving of them to the world, but I digress. I am sure that I cannot adequately define how God the Father loved the God the Son, but it is clear that God loved Him completely, thoroughly and without fail even when Jesus bore our sins as God turned His back toward the stench and ugliness of our sin. For God said in Psalm 89:33, “but I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness.” Jesus was completely obedient to the Father, even to death on the cross. Our obedience to Christ pales in comparison. Despite that, Jesus, just like the Father, will not betray His faithfulness to us. 2 Timothy 2:13 says, “if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”

Once more, Jesus calls for the disciples to Abide in My Love. How does one abide in Jesus’ love? Jesus answers that right after He commands it. Jesus says, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love”. What does that really mean? Is it possible for any of us to keep His commands completely? I am not sure, but what I am sure of is Jesus equates love to obedience and obedience to love of which He is the greatest example. He references Himself, so we the disciples and us understand that He is the standard of obedience. InterVarsity Press expresses it as “To have his words remaining in them means to share his mind and his will. They are to be caught up into his own focus on the doing of God’s will. Accordingly, they will pray for his purposes rather than for their own selfish desires. Jesus’ purposes have been to reveal God and share his life and love so people will be brought into union with him in his new community. Such will be the concerns also of the disciples who have Jesus’ words in them, and God will answer their prayers as they live according to their life in Christ and his life in them.”

The notion of abiding connotes a dwelling. Christ wants His Word to dwell in us. Early on, Jesus set the word dwelling in us as standard for those who would follow Him. He reaffirms His expectation to the disciples in this passage. “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” Jesus expects us to imitate Him. He kept the Father’s commandments and abided in HIs love. Now, Jesus says keep my commands to Abide in My Love.

Do you want Jesus to be faithful to you? We must be faithful to Him. He is calling us to obedience. He is calling for us to Abide in My Love.

Proof of being a Disciple

October 27, 2014

In life, we have to show proof of many things. When traveling abroad, you must present proof that you hail from your stated country of citizenship. As you purchase items, many times you are asked to show your I.D. to prove that you are authorized to use a debit or credit card. When babies are born, you have to present the appropriate arm band noting that the child is yours, so you can visit or take the baby home. I could go on and on about having to show proof. One shows proof as a means to evidence you are who you claim to be.

Likewise, Christ told His disciples many things related to the Proof of being a Disciple. In John 13:35, we know that Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Here in John 15, we see Jesus further defining the Proof of being a Disciple. 

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Jesus said, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” Bearing fruit is Proof of being a Disciple.  Jesus is building on other passages where evidence of a change or commitment to God through Christ is the proof of being a disciple.

Matthew 3:8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
Matthew 7:16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?
Matthew 7:20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Matthew 12:33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.
Matthew 21:43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.
Luke 3:8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.
Luke 6:44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers.
John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruitfruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
Furthermore, it is also stated in the Word
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Ephesians 5:11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
Philippians 1:22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know
Colossians 1:10 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,
Hebrews 13:15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.
James 3:17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

There is no denying that the person who claims Jesus as Lord and Savior must evidence a changed life. His/her life must be one where attributes of the Fruit of the Spirit is demonstrated. Proof of being a Disciple is evidenced by the Christ’s character in our lives. If we are not growing in our adherence to the character of Christ, we either are not truly believers, or we have not committed ourselves to the Word and to prayer. Those two are God’s means for union with man. Through the Word and prayer, the Spirit of God, if you have the Spirit of God living in you, will lead you to what God wants you to do. It is in your doing that you evidence who you are. People don’t care about what you say; they care about what you do. Bear the fruit of Christ which is your Proof of being a Disciple.

Ask Whatever You Wish, and It Will be Done for You

October 26, 2014

Ask Whatever You Wish, and It Will be Done for You is a phrase that I have heard people throw around a lot. It is always in the context of people petitioning God. Now whether the petition is plausible is another thing. In fact, it really gets at the heart of the matter. Many people believe in God. They believe that God is the one who responds to prayer, and He does in many instances. Many say God promised this, so He will do it. He will if He really promised it, and you are the object of the promise.

First, every one who calls Jehovah God is not a child a God. We all owe our being to Him, but we are not all children of God. John 1:12 says, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—” The children of God are those who give their lives in faith to Jesus Christ who in exchange provides redemption -the forgiveness of sins. Once we have been accepted by God through Christ, we have access and approval to the promises of God. 2 Corinthians 1:18-22 says, “18 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” 19 For the Son of God,Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas[a] and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” Standing firm in Christ is at the heart of God answering prayers in our lives.

That is at the heart of Ask Whatever You Wish, and It Will be Done for You. Jesus, The Lord and God Himself, says in John 15

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

While 2 Corinthians tells us the answer is Yes in Christ, we also see here the notion of conditional promises. Jesus says “if“. If makes it contingent upon a condition. In Christ, there conditional and unconditional promises. An unconditional promise is one what God provides because one is a child of God. After meeting that initial condition, there are many promises that are guaranteed. We need to look no further than 2 Corinthians listed above. He will make the believer stand firm in Christ is an unconditional promise. He put His Spirit in the hearts of believers is an unconditional promise; yet, the condition is always linked to whether we listen to Jesus when He says Abide in Me. The conditional promise is seen in verses 5-7. If your remain in me, Jesus says, then you will bear much fruit; you will Ask Whatever You Wish, and It Will be Done for You.

We get all excited thinking that God will give us whatever we ask for when we hear those lines, but we fail to understand the implied condition in that verse – If we remain in Him. Remaining in Him connotes, conveys, communicates that our hearts, minds, and will are fully submitted to God’s. When we are in that state, we will not ask for anything outside of the will of God. Our wills are in concert with God’s will. Consequently, we will not ask for anything that does not align with the will of God. It is like your parent, spouse, sibling, friend or one who has authority over you. You would never expect a positive affirming response from any of those people if you asked for something that was in direct violation of what they stood for or had conviction. Why? You know that person would say no unless they were willing to forsake their standards for you. God will not forsake His standard for anyone. In fact, He is incapable of doing so.

God will not forsake the promise of Ask Whatever You Wish, and It Will be Done for You when our hearts, mind and will are aligned to His. God will do what He said He would do if we are in fellowship with Him in spirit and in truth. When what we wants equals what He wants, we can be assured that our prayers will be answered in the affirmative. James affirms this point in chapter four where he says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive,because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

You can rest assured that God will not say yes to Ask Whatever You Wish, and It Will be Done for You if your motives are wrong. If selfish or impure, the answer will always be no. On the contrary, the answer will always be yes if your motives are pure and align with His will. The best posture to ask God for blessings is to simply ask for what you need or want with the understanding that God may or may not grant your request. If He does not, it is because the request is not best for you. After all, He is God who knows all things. We do not despite our penchant to think we do no better.

Over and Over Again

October 23, 2014

In life, there are many things that we repeat that annoy us. For example, we do not like having to repeat ourselves to another Over and Over Again. It would behoove us if that person understood, but we still do not like it. There are many more things that we repeat that are not only necessary but are enjoyable in many cases. Breathing, eating, loving, being loved, sharing, dreaming, hoping are a few of those things that we desire to do Over and Over Again.

Likewise, Jesus shared with us many things that we must do Over and Over Again that are for our good and lead to our enjoyment. In John 15, Jesus tells us Abide in Me. In that spirit, I am here telling you again to what Jesus said in regards to abiding in Him. As I read this morning in preparation to write, I saw the necessity to focus on abiding in Christ Over and Over Again.

In verse 5, Jesus said “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” We must abide or remain in Christ Over and Over Again. By doing so, we remain in fellowship with God almighty through the Spirit He gives us to dwell in us. We remain at peace. We realize our purpose. We handle challenge and controversy well. We imitate the character of Christ when we do so. We bear fruit. Apart from Christ, we can do nothing. We cannot realize God’s peace and purpose for our lives. We cannot experience the abundant life that Christ came to give us. We cannot experience forgiveness of our sins if we never abide in Him. We will approach doing something of good eternal reward without abiding or remaining in Him.

Acts 17:28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being. We don’t live, move or have our being without abiding in Christ; therefore, we must abide in Christ Over and Over Again. To abide in Christ is to surrender our wills unto His. We follow Him rather than our own selfish and sinful inclinations. Of abiding in Christ, Matthew Henry wrote “It is necessary to our doing any good. It is not only a means of cultivating ad increasing what good there is already in us, but it is the root and spring of all good: “Without me you can do nothing: not only no great thing, heal the sick, or raise the dead, but nothing.’ Note, We have as necessary and constant a dependence upon the grace of the Mediator for all the actions of the spiritual and divine life as we have upon the providence of the Creator for all the actions of the natural life; for, as to both, it is in the divine power that we live, move, and have our being. Abstracted from the merit of Christ, we can do nothing towards our justification; and from the Spirit of Christ nothing towards our sanctification. Without Christ we can do nothing aright, nothing that will be fruit pleasing to God or profitable to ourselves2 Co. 3:5. We depend upon Christ, not only as the vine upon the wall, for support; but, as the branch on the root, for sap.”

Join me in my pursuit of abiding in Christ Over and Over Again. Be blessed today as do so.

Are You Clean?

October 21, 2014

There are times in our lives when being clean is appropriate, but there are also times when being dirty is desired. As a freshman football player in college, I certainly did not want to be clean after the game. It was a clear sign that I did not get in the game, and if I did, I did not do much since defensive players are supposed to make tackles. One of my most favorite memories was playing in the Atlanta recreation league city championship in Cheney Stadium. It had rained all day. It was a mud bowl. Mud and clumps of grass and who knows what else regularly entered our face masks. After the game, I was covered in mud. There was nothing like that good ole Georgia red clay. My uniform, my socks, my shoes and my underwear were saturated in Georgia red clay. My mom washed my socks and underwear, but the stains never came out.

While I kept those under wear as a badge of honor for years, most of us desire to be clean in our daily lives. There is soap and water for us and washing machines for our clothes, but what about our hearts and souls? That begs me to ask Are You Clean? We like to think that we are good people with good hearts, but the Word of God dismisses that notion. In Romans 3, listen to Paul quote the Psalms.

10 As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11     there is no one who understands;
    there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
    they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
    not even one.”

In addition, Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?“It is clear from the Word that we are not good nor do we have a good heart. The Word says that God is good not us.

Since we are not clean,how does one become clean? The Word has an answer for that too – the Word. The Word makes us clean. John 1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” That is a direct reference to Jesus Christ. Fast forward to John 15. There, Jesus answers the question of Are You Clean as well as how does one become clean. Let’s read what Jesus said in John 15.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also 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.

Jesus said the word He spoke to the disciples made them clean. For us, we need to understand that Jesus meant more than hearing a mere spoken word even from Him. He referred to the words about who He was and what He offered. He meant that since the disciples had placed their faith in Him that they were cleaned by their faith in Christ. Similarly, Paul says, “13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10.

When Jesus stated that the words He spoke to them made them clean, He was conveying that the Word is God’s cleansing agent in our lives. It is Jesus who cleanses us from our sins. It was through His blood that we can be redeemed, but it is his Word that condemns those who do not believe in the Word. Jesus. John 3:18 says, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”The word not only cleanses, it encourages adherence to the Word resulting in growth and victory over sin.

Matthew Henry wrote “The word of Christ is a distinguishing word, and separates between the precious and the vile; it will purify the church of the first-born in the great dividing day. They were each of them clean, that is, sanctified, by the truth of Christ (John 17:17); that faith by which they received the word of Christ purified their hearts, Acts 15:9…The word of Christ is spoken to them; there is a cleansing virtue in that word, as it works grace, and works out corruption. It cleanses as fire cleanses the gold from its dross, and as physic cleanses the body from its disease. We then evidence that we are cleansed by the word when we bring forth fruit unto holiness. Perhaps here is an allusion to the law concerning vineyards in Canaan; the fruit of them was as unclean, and uncircumcised, the first three years after it was planted, and the fourth year it was to be holiness of praise unto the Lord; and then it was clean, Lev. 19:23, 24. The disciples had now been three years under Christ’s instruction; and now you are clean.”

Are You Clean? Consider Psalm 119:11 which says I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. The psalmist knew that it was the Word that made him clean. If you attempt to define your cleanliness without Christ, you are deceived. If you want to be clean, trust in and follow the Word of Christ. 

Are You Cut Off or Pruned

October 20, 2014

Within the first five verses of John 15, Jesus has either directly stated or indirectly referred to Himself as the vine. Therein lies the answer to Are You Cut Off or Pruned.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

As we see in verse five, Jesus reiterates the fact that “I am the vine, you are the branches…” It is evident that Jesus wanted the disciples to have a clear picture of the order of things or the nature of the relationship. Now that He has restated the order of things, Jesus wanted the disciples to be sure that they were aware of the conditions necessary to bear fruit. It is an expectation that men and women bear fruit. Verse two says, “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” Essentially, Jesus tells them that you are going to be cut. It is just a matter of how you will be cut, so I ask Are You Cut Off or Pruned?

To answer that question out of truth and not emotion or feeling, one must use Jesus’ criteria for determining that answer. Jesus said that if one bore fruit that person would be pruned, but if he did not bear fruit, that person would be cut off. Cause and effect is an effective tool to use in conveying concepts to people. Jesus adds to that relational order by connecting a causal condition on the relationship. “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” In the post Abide in Me, we saw that the metaphor of the vine illustrates the point; it is only when nutrients flow freely to the branches that fruit can be borne. Simply, are we following Jesus as evidenced by greater obedience to His Word and Will?

Are You Cut Off or Pruned is answered by our obedience. If we are following after Jesus, we will be pruned for greater fruitfulness. If we are not following Jesus, we will be cut off and thrown into the fire. We are useless to the work and kingdom of God if we are not bearing fruit. God wants our character to be conformed to the likeness of Christ. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” The Reformation Bible states “The Christian’s mind-set is to be determined and reshaped by knowledge of the gospel, by the power of the Spirit, and by the concerns of the age to come (8:5–913:11–14), rather than by the passing fashion of this age (2 Cor. 4:181 John 2:17). Only by such sanctifying renewal is the Christian made sufficiently sensitive to “discern” the behavior that is God’s will in each situation.” In other words, obedience leads to greater obedience.

Are You Cut Off or Pruned ? Which is it for you? Evaluate your obedience to the Word of God and the Spirit of God. If we are honest with ourselves, God will reveal where we are out of compliance with His Word and His Will. If you abide in Him, you will bear fruit. Remember, without Him, you cannot demonstrate the character of Christ. Without the vine, the branches cannot bear fruit. The branches simply shrivel up and die eventually being cut off and discarded. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

Abide in Me

October 18, 2014

In the post Abide in His Word, Jesus, in John 8, called for An Invitation for Discipleship. We have an invitation to be a learner, a pupil and a follower of Jesus. Now in John 15, after serving as disciples for three years, Jesus is calling for the disciples to continue following Him. This call was for when He left. Remember, Jesus had told them that He was going to the Father. It would be their task, as is all believers in Christ, to continue on in Him until we meet Him or until His return. As He prepared them for His departure, Jesus gave them the most important directive – Abide in Me

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also 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. (NIV)

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. (NKJV)

I have read that Fruit bearing is impossible without abiding; but it is inevitable with abiding. The quality and quantity of the fruit may differ, but the fruit will be inevitable. The purpose of the branch is to bear fruit. People don’t raise grape vines to look at the pretty leaves. They take the trouble to cultivate, plant, water and tend the vines so that fruit can be enjoyed. In this sense, we can say that fruit represents Christian character as outlined in the passage on the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5. Are you bearing the fruit of Christ’s character in your life? Jesus says yes if you Abide in Me.

Fruit also implies inherent reproduction. Virtually every piece of fruit has seeds within it, seeds that are meant to reproduce more fruit. Jesus intends on His disciples to reproduce. “18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 Are you making disciples? Jesus says yes if you Abide in Me. 

Jesus makes it clear that no fruit will be borne if you do not Abide in Me. Jesus emphasizes permanence and steadfastness in His relationship with the disciples. “Abide” is repeated ten times in vv. 4–10. The metaphor of the vine illustrates the point; it is only when nutrients flow freely to the branches that fruit can be borne.

Our Lord is calling Abide in Me. It is up to us to choose appropriately. I know it is hard, but I want to remind you that “were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh… So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.” Galatians 5.  Jesus says, “Abide in Me”, and you will bear fruit. What will you do?

I Am The True Vine

October 16, 2014

Today’s passage marks the last of Jesus’ “I Am” As a reminder, Jesus made the 7 “I AM” statements.

Jesus’ 7 I AM

I AM the True Vine (John 15:1-17)

I AM the Way, Truth and Life (John 14:1-7)

I AM the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:1-44)

I AM the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-18)

I AM the Door (John 10:1-9)

I AM the Light of the World (John 8:12-18; 25-30)

I AM the Bread of Life (John 6:25-35; 48-59)

In John 15, Jesus is continuing to speak to the disciples about His departure and His expectation for them after He leaves to return to the Father.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also 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 dare not delve too far into the text beyond verse one. First, Jesus says that He is the true vine, so apparently, there is an untrue or false vine. Theologians have submitted that in this text as well as other scriptures, “true” means “genuine.” Jesus is the final, real “vine,” as compared to Israel. Jesus was laying the groundwork or foreshadowing of the true Israel outlined in Romans 9. Israel is called God’s “vine” or “vineyard” in the Old Testament (Ps. 80:8–16; Jer. 2:21). Israel is judged for not bearing fruit, while Jesus is and does what the type signified. What fruit is Jesus talking about? Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Jesus also shows the order of the relationship He was obedient to on His quest to provide redemption for man. Jesus, in role not in essence, shows that the Father has first priority in the Godhead. Jesus is the vine, but the Father is the gardner. He used a natural relationship that was common to them all. For sure all had seen a vine growing. They were aware that vines need pruning in order to maintain proper yield and proper fruit.

Jesus is the source of any one (branch) connected with God. Without Christ, no one can produce the fruit i.e. character of Christ or godliness that God requires. When that condition is not met, God cuts off or prunes every branch that bears no fruit. No branch, person, belongs to Christ’s can be completely fruitless. One may bear fruit at a lower rate than others, but true believers in Christ will bear fruit, and according to Jesus will experience pruning from God necessary to increase their fruitfulness. The lack of fruit described in Ps. 80, Is. 5:1, and Jer. 2:21 is one’s failure to obey God. The Reformation Study Bible comments state that these Old Testament discussions of the vine and its fruit, combined with Christ’s command to love in this chapter, indicate that “fruit” refers to a Christ-like life produced by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23), rather than to the number of people converted under a believer’s ministry.

Jesus is the true vine. We can not be considered a child of God through any other means which Jesus outlined in the beginning of this book (John 1:12). Jesus is consistent in that message. We can only know God through Him. His “I AM” statements confirm His stance on this matter. Where are you? Are you trying to produce fruit by your own means? Are you trying to connect with God through some other source than Christ? Jesus says that you will be cut off and discarded if you are. Repent (turn from) of those ways and turn to Him.

Come now; let us leave.

October 14, 2014

There comes a point in all of our lives when we should stop talking and act. In today’s post, we see Jesus demonstrate that point. After He had washed their feet and shared with the disciples that He was soon to leave them to return to the Father’s house but only after atoning for man’s sin, Jesus tells His disciples “Come now; let us leave.”

Let’s hear the Word of the Lord.

John 14

28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me. Come now; let us leave.”

Jesus models obedience to us. He told the disciples what was going to happen before it did, so that they would believe. He shared with them that the devil did not influence or make Him give His life, but He laid it down on His own out of obedience to God. When Jesus says “Come now; let us leave“, He is no longer talking but taking action.
There has been something that God has been telling you about. Today, He is saying “Come now; let us leave” in efforts to get you moving toward doing that which He has been talking to you about. I don’t have to know what it is. You know, and God knows. Will you demonstrate obedience like Christ? Will you take action now that the Almighty God has shown you what you need to do? Let Jesus’ Word continue to speak to you – Come now; let us leave.

The prince of this world is coming

October 13, 2014

According to literary-devices.com, the literary device foreshadowing refers to the use of indicative word or phrases and hints that set the stage for a story to unfold and give the reader a hint of something that is going to happen without revealing the story or spoiling the suspense. Foreshadowing is used to suggest an upcoming outcome to the story. As we near the crescendo of Christ’s atonement for sin, Christ calls us back to the foreshadowing of this moment back in Luke 4:1-13. This is the passage where the Spirit of God leads Jesus to the desert to fast 40 days and where He was tempted by the devil. After the last temptation that Jesus refuted, Luke wrote “13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.” From that statement, Jesus foreshadows that The prince of this world is coming.

That was a great example of foreshadowing. This is the more opportune time the writer of Luke 4 referenced. The devil tried to get Jesus then, now in John 14, we see Jesus extend satan’s effort and the foreshadowing of the efforts to rid the world of Jesus by satan. He provides greater detail as to what is about to happen, but Jesus wants His disciples to be absolutely lucid about the events that are about to unfold.

John 14

30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me. “Come now; let us leave.

The betrayal of Judas (John 13:10-11) marks the beginning of satan’s entry onto the scene as Christ prepares to atone for man’s sin. Jesus told them that the prince of this world, satan, “has no hold over me” which means that the devil is not leading, directing, or influencing Christ in any fashion to the cross. Remember, Jesus had told the disciples “I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” in John 10. Now, Jesus tells the disciples that The prince of this world is coming, but His actions leading to the cross has nothing to do with the devil. They have everything to do with the world learning that He loves the Father and does exactly what the Father commanded Him to do. This was about Jesus’ Love and Obedience to the Father. Jesus went to the cross out of loving obedience to God, The Father, not out of any trickery or influence of satan. Jesus surrenders Himself to the consequences of our sin out of love for the Father. Again, it is God’s love that brings about our atonement. We are told that in John 3:16, but we see love in action here as it is proclaimed by the one who suffers on our behalf.  While Jesus said “The prince of this world is coming“, He also said and demonstrated that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is here and will remain here through the Advocate, the Spirit of truth. Jesus heralds the advent of the Spirit of truth along with the lying spirit – the devil. Jesus told the disciples this so they would know and believe when it happened. Likewise, Jesus documented it through His Word, so that we too would  know and believe. Romans 10:14 tells us “14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Now that you are hearing the good news of Jesus Christ, are you ready to believe?


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