I. "I AM THE VINE AND YOU ARE THE BRANCHES."
A. "He that abideth in Me and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit."
1. This is exactly what the Husbandman is looking for, much fruit.
2. We see that He removes the branches that are bearing no fruit.
3. He purges the branches that are bringing forth fruit, that they may bring forth more fruit. Now He is creating a relationship whereby we may bring forth much fruit.
a. Jesus said in verse 8, that the Father is glorified when you are bringing forth much fruit.
b. In which of the categories would you say that you fit?
B. How do I bring forth much fruit?
1. By abiding in Jesus and He abiding in me.
2. What does it mean to abide in Jesus?
a. The Greek word would indicate to settle down and be at home.
b. Are you comfortable around Jesus?
c. Do you think that He is comfortable around you?
d. I make my home in Jesus. Paul said, "And when Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory. Can you say, "Christ who is my life?"
e. Paul said to the Athenian philosophers, "For in Him we live, we move, we have our being."
f. When you have that kind of a relationship with Him, your life is bringing forth much fruit.
C. Now Jesus utters that awesome truth that is so difficult for us to admit, "For without Me, you can do nothing."
1. I can do nothing of any spiritual value without Him.
2. We so often seem to be trying to prove this statement of Jesus to be wrong.
3. Why would I try to do something worthwhile without Him? So that I might glory in my flesh, and cause someone else to glory in me.
4. I think of the years that I tried to build the church of Jesus Christ, to bring men to Him.
a. I was relying on the devises and the programs of man.
b. I gave it my very best efforts.
c. I experienced disappointment and failure.
d. I then discovered that Jesus said to His disciples that He would build His church and the gates of hell could not prevail against it. I ceased trying and just began to rely on Him, and you know something, "He did it!"
5. The sooner we admit this truth, the sooner we can get on with the program of God.
6. There is a sequel to this truth, Paul expressed it in his letter to the Phillipians. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
II. THE NECESSITY OF ABIDING IN JESUS.
A. The consequences of not abiding in Him. "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. If you see a branch lying on the ground that has been broken off of the vine or tree, though it may have undeveloped fruit on it, you know that the fruit will never mature, for the branch is cut off from the vine.
2. Is it possible not to abide in Christ?
a. It is Jesus who suggests this possiblilty.
b. I do not believe that the Lord ever warns us needlessly.
c. If He suggests that such is a possiblilty, I think that it is good that we take heed.
3. When a person approaches a text to interpret it, we so often approach the scriptures with a doctrinal bias, and then the text must be interpreted according to our presuppositions. The basic rule of interpretation is that the obvious meaning is the correct meaning.
a. What Jesus is obviously warning against is not continuing to abide in Him.
b. Going back to His statement, "Apart from me you can do nothing." We can surely do nothing to save ourselves. Our salvation is totally dependent upon our relationship with Him. Abiding in Him, and He in us. You have no hope for salvation apart from Jesus Christ, and your abiding in Him.
c. The "withered" indicates death as the branch is cut off from its source of life.
d. Jesus Christ is our source of spiritual life, and cut off from Him, you are certain to wither and die.
4. Ezekiel speaks of the uselessness of the vine branch for any type of structure because of its weakness, of how much less is the value of the branch if it has been burned. The branch of a vine when burned is nothing but ash. The form often remains but it is only a hollow ash form of the branch.
5. Does the statement they are cast into the fire and they are burned, refer to eternal punishment?
a. This again would be the obvious understanding of the text.
b. Surely without Jesus or apart from Him, you have no hope of entering the kingdom of God.
III. THE BENEFITS OF ABIDING IN HIM.
A. Not to leave the subject on a negative note, Jesus now turns to the positive, and declares, "If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done unto you."
1. Here He speaks of His word abiding in us, and the effect that it will have on our prayer life.
2. The word of God brings washing to the believer. "Now you are clean through the Word that I have spoken unto you."
3. It brings strength to the believer. "I write unto you young men, because you are strong, because the Word of God abides in you."
4. It keeps us from sin. "Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against You."
5. The word of God brings faith. "Now faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God."
B. Abiding in Christ and His Word abiding is us brings us great power in prayer. "You shall ask what you will and it shall be done unto you." It is a given here that my will has been surrendered to His. "For it is He that worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."
1. True prayer begins in the heart of God, His will, His desires, His purposes. These desires He plants in my heart and they are thus presented in prayer to Him. The cycle is not complete and God is free to do those things He has been desiring to do.
2. In verse 16, Jesus said to His disciples, "You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and ordained you that you should bring forth fruit, and that your fruit might remain, that whatsoever you shall ask the Father in My name, He may do it."
a. The Word may indicate that prayer opens the door for God to do the things He is desiring to do.