ABIDE IN ME!
In the first three verses three great fundamental facts are set before us:
- The Vine
- The branches
- The Vine dresser
On these three great facts rests the mighty admonition: “ Remain in Me.”
Count the number of times this word is repeated, as if to impress it indelibly upon our hearts.
In John 3: 3-5 we learn how we come to be in Him.
To remain in Jesus is to believe in Him always.
The chief business of faith is to receive from Him.
Remaining means ever receiving grace for grace, day by day, in ever greater fullness.
So, the branch remains and receives life from the Vine, and therefore, it develops and grows.
This remaining and receiving is mediated by the Word and is impossible without this divine means.
This remaining and receiving will invariably manifest itself in two ways:
- It will turn against any influence that will draw us away from Jesus, and substitute something
in place of Him and His Word.
- It will constantly respond with fruit, such as: love, gratitude, praise,etc.
The main point in this parable is the necessity of remaining in Jesus!
This has been repeated from the beginning of the chapter.
Just what remaining in Jesus means is now fully explained.
Jesus says in verse 9: “ Just as the Father did love me, I, too, did love you. Remain in my love.”
Jesus explains that to remain in Him means that we remain in His love. He and His love
are one and the same.
- One cannot enter the kingdom without birth from above as Jesus stated in John 3: 3-5.
- Once in the kingdom, one cannot bear fruit unless he remains in Christ, the Vine.
There are laws that allow no exceptions.
To expect that fruit-bearing would be possible for the one who does not remain in Christ is
even more foolish than to expect that a branch that has been severed from the vine
can bring forth grapes.
Abiding in Christ has glorious results:
- Effectual prayer ( John 15:7 )
- The bearing of much fruit ( John 15:8 )
- The fullness of joy ( John 15:11 )
So, when we abide in Christ as a branch abides in the vine, we are utterly dependent upon Him.
For He holds us up; supplies life; and reproduces His own particular kind of fruit in us.
Jesus entreats, commands, exhorts, all in one breath.
It is as though He were to say, “ Children, I am leaving you. There are many things
I desire for you.
There are many commands to utter. There are many cautions and many lessons to give.
But I am content to leave all unsaid, if only you will remember this all-inclusive bidding:
Abide in Me, remain in Me, that the union between you and Me might continue
to deepen and intensify.”
- The sun says to planet earth: abide in me.
- The vine says to the branch: abide in me.
- The air says to the lung: abide in me.
- The magnet says to the little needle: abide in me so that I may communicate my own
specific quality, and guide you on your journey.
- Abide in me the artist says to his new student.
- Abide in me the mother says to the child and I will care for you.
In all the above cases, it is always the stronger that pleads with the weaker to abide,
promising the communication of a fuller life.
Each, in measure, says, in the words of our glorious Lord: “ I am stronger, wiser, fuller,
better than you.
All is mine that it may be yours: therefore, abide in Me, and I will abide in you.”
We know that His claims are not exaggerations:
- We were dead; but behold we live!
- We spent our energies in profitless work; but now we bear fruit unto God.
- We were lonely and isolated; but now have come to the heavenly Jerusalem,
to the innumerable company of angels, to the church of the firstborn.
- Our prayers were aimless and ineffective; but now we have the petitions we desire.
- Now hope and joy fill our hearts as the juicy clusters hang full and ripe.
Prove Him for yourself.
See, if this shall also be true for you.
Give yourself entirely up to Christ.
Abide in Him.
Remain in Him.
Let thought and speech and life be bathed in the influences of His Holy Spirit.
Let the sap of His life flow where the sap of the self-life was flowing.
Then, old things will pass away and all things will become new.
So, when we talk about abiding, we are not talking about our integral oneness with Christ for life;
we are talking about our abiding union with Him for fruit-bearing and service.
So, abiding is the continuous act by which the Christian lays aside all he might draw from
his own wisdom, strength, and merit, to desire all from Christ by the inward aspiration of faith.
Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White