"ABIDING IN HIM"
I. THE WHOLE IDEA IS THAT OF BEING FRUITFUL. The primary desire of my life is to bear good fruit for my Lord. No other accomplishments that I may achieve are as important as this. One day when I stand before Him to give an account of my life, this is all that will really matter. What kind of fruit can I offer to Him? Things that we learn from this passage:
A. If the branch does not bear fruit it is taken away.
1. There is nothing more worthless than a branch that does not bear fruit.
2. Jesus spoke of the tree that did not bear fruit that the husbandman ordered it to be cut down.
3. Jesus cursed the barren fig tree that it died.
4. God spoke of all that He did for His vineyard that he might enjoy the fruit, and all it brought forth was wild grapes. God spoke of His judgment that would come upon that vineyard.
B. Those branches that bear fruit are purged that they may bring forth more fruit.
1. So often you hear this translated pruned.
2. When you go into the Eschol valley in Israel where Joshua and Caleb got the large bunch of grapes, you will see today the grape vines lying on the ground. They will be propped up with a rock, but they are lying next to the ground. When the grapes begin to get ripe, the vinedresser will pick up the large bunches and wash the dirt off of them so that the grapes that are lying on the ground will not rot.
3. That the word means washed or cleansed is obvious by the next verse, "Now you are clean through the word that I have spoken unto you."
C. It is the Father's good will that you bring forth much fruit, so the next step in the process is abiding in Christ, and the result is that you will bring forth much fruit.
1. Herein is the Father glorified as your life bears much fruit.
2. Where would you place yourself today?
a. No fruit
c. More fruit
d. Much fruit
D. The fruit that the Father desires is that which develops naturally as the result of relationship.
1. It is not something that is forced.
2. You do not have to struggle to produce it.
3. As you abide in Christ it just develops naturally.
II. THE IMPORTANCE OF ABIDING IN CHRIST.
A. The branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine.
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.
1. You are the branch, in and of yourself you cannot bring forth fruit. God is not interested in the works of our flesh, which we are so often seeking to offer Him. He desires the fruit of the Spirit.
2. Jesus said, "Apart from Me, you can do nothing."
a. That is nothing of true value in the eyes of the Father.
b. All of our righteous works are as filthy rags in His sight.
3. We must realize that it is the life of Christ flowing through us that produces the kind of fruit the Father desires.
B. If you do not abide in Christ, you are cast forth as a branch and become withered.
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast [them] into the fire, and they are burned.
1. The branch has no life within itself.
2. It draws it's life from the vine.
3. Even so we draw our life from Christ and are nothing and have nothing in and of ourselves.
4. The apple tree at the summer camp.
C. We have power in prayer.
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
1. How our prayer life is enhanced and enriched when we abide in Christ.
2. This is a glorious promise, "You shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you."
a. This promise is not to just anyone.
b. So many just take this promise and run with it.
c. Let's see, I want a new Mercedes, a 5 carat diamond ring, a house on the bay front, a yacht moored at my private pier.
d. The promise is to those who are abiding in Christ.
3. If you abide in Christ, you will not be asking for things that are not according to His will.
4. James said that you ask and receive not because you are asking amiss that you might consume it on your own lusts.
III. OUR DESIRE IS THAT OUR LIVES PRODUCE LASTING FRUIT.
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain:
A. Jesus declares that the purpose of choosing us is not that we just bring forth fruit. But that the fruit might remain. That is lasting fruit.
1. As teachers of the word, you need to see yourself as constantly sowing seed in the fertile hearts of the children.
2. The seed is the word of God, planting God's word in their hearts.
3. God said that His word will not return unto Him void, but will accomplish the purposes for which it was sent forth.
B. It is the word of God that will bring lasting fruit. I pray that your life might bear fruit for our Lord. I pray that as you begin to bear fruit, you will bring forth more fruit. I pray that you might bring forth much fruit to the glory of God. I pray that the fruit might remain. The key is abiding in Him and in His word.