Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC

John 15:4-11
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 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. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Jesus is on his way to the cross and He gathers His disciples together after leaving the upper room where they took communion, and he offers a little visual illustration to teach them about the Christian life. He gently lifts a vine filled with grapes and says, “men, I am the vine and you are the branches. Abide in me and you will bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.”

It’s hard to fathom in our mind that without an intimate connection to Jesus every moment of every day we can do nothing. I mean, come on, I can do something….right? Yes, you may be successful in the world’s eyes and comfortable in your supposed success; however, apart from abiding in Christ you can do NOTHING OF ETERNAL VALUE. Nothing that matters for the glory of God happens apart from an intimate connection with Christ. So, we must abide in Him.

Abide means to remain in, to dwell in, or to rest in. Every day we must rest in His Presence, abide in His Word, and dwell in prayer. The branch draws every ounce of nutrition and vitality from the vine, so too we draw every ounce of spiritual sustenance from the Lord Jesus. As we abide in His unexplainable, extravagant love we are forgiven, healed, restored, and empowered. What results? He says our prayers are answered, we are filled with His joy, and we bear fruit. This fruit speaks of the fruit of Christian character through the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and the fruit of others coming to Christ because of our witness (Romans 1:13).

Apart from Jesus we can do nothing. Let that statement resonate in your heart and mind today. Abide in Christ. He is the vine; He is our Source of all things both necessary and desired.

Lord Jesus, you are the vine and I am a branch in you. Apart from you I can do nothing. I need You Lord. Today, I choose to rest in Your love and to find my joy in you. Amen.

Lamentations 3:22-23 – The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.