At the very moment that you received Jesus as your Savior and Lord, you stepped across a threshold to begin an exciting adventure. You took the first step in fulfilling the purpose for which you were created — to glorify God by loving Him, doing His will, and enjoying Him forever.
God’s goal is to transform us into the likeness of Jesus so our character reflects the fruit of His Spirit — “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” (Galatians 5:22, NLT). God is glorified as our lives bear this spiritual fruit. The apostle Paul explained, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10, NLT) As our character takes on the likeness of Christ, we become capable, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to accomplish all God has planned for us.
Shortly before Jesus was to be crucified, He explained to His disciples how they could live victorious fruitful lives after His ascension into Heaven. Jesus used the Parable of the Vine to illustrate the importance of continuing to “abide in Christ.” The word “abide” means “to remain” or “to stay.” Jesus explained, “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. … Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:1,4,5, NLT)
It is only by abiding in Christ that we are able to fulfill God’s purpose for our life. The Parable of the Vine reveals how we, as believers, are to remain in Jesus, vitally connected to Him, in order to accomplish all God intends for us. The branches can only produce fruit as long as they are connected to the vine and receiving nourishment. They live in complete dependence upon the resources the vine provides. It is the same for followers of Christ. The fruitfulness God expects cannot be produced through our striving and self-effort. God does not want our focus to be doing good things for Him but rather to focus on our connection to Jesus. This will result in our becoming the people He wants us to be and in us doing the things He has designed for us.
Abiding in Christ involves allowing the Bible to transform our thinking so we see life from God’s point of view. Jesus promised, “But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!” (John 15:7, NLT) Once our thinking conforms to God’s point of view, we will desire what He desires. And as a result, He will grant our requests.
Abiding in Christ also involves a continual awareness of Christ’s enormous love for us. Jesus told His disciples, “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.” (John 15:9, NLT) He went on to explain, “When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.” (John 15:10, NLT) Jesus reveals the result of abiding in Him: “When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father…. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” (John 15:8,11, NLT)
In essence, the Parable of the Vine stresses the importance of living in union with Christ with a total dependence upon Him. That is the only path to the fruitful, fulfilling life for which you were created. Are you abiding in Christ? This Sunday at South Side we will explore this passage further as we finish our sermon series “I am Jesus.” Worship begins at 10:45 and we would love to have you and your family come worship with us!
South Side Church of Christ