John 15:5-8 New King James Version (NKJV) 5 “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. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
New International Version (NIV)
5 “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. 6 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. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
It seems that almost every time I read these versus, I’m really drawn to the words “remain” and “abide”. They feel as though there is much more to them than just a static posture…
Remain (verb): to continue in the same state; continue to be as specified
Synonyms: abide (to remain steadfast or faithful to); live; persevere; endure
That’s it…they’re words of action! Jesus is calling us to not only remain steadfast and faithful to Him, but to live…to persevere…to endure…by holding onto Him by faith and in trust!...and when coupled with Pastors “new lens view” of vs 8…our “clear” purpose in life…is to be disciples of Jesus…bearing much fruit…all to the glory of the Father! Wow…we have great marching orders for the day!
And then there’s those dreaded…scary words of warning: “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.”
You see, the Master Gardner is all about maintaining the health and integrity of the Vine…and just because I might choose to go my own way…and I have at times…and not stay grafted into Jesus…I’ll wither and fall away. Dead branches and prunings cannot be allowed to clutter the vineyard…His Church…either. They will attract disease and pests of all types. Therefore, they must be gathered… and burned to utter oblivion.
But then Jesus re-affirms His promise and the power He brings to the table for all… “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you”.
“By means of His teaching, of His Gospel, Jesus abides in His disciples, and by the power of that same Word they are enabled to bear fruit which is acceptable to Him. But this same relationship also teaches them to pray in the proper manner….and by this granting of prayer, flowing out of the intimate relationship between Christ and the believers, the Father is glorified. And the result is a strengthening of the bonds of love, an increase in the amount and in the quality of the good works, and a confirming of discipleship.”
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