Monday, August 14, 2017



2017.08.13                                       John 15: 1-11
                               Abide in Me
Good Morning…. I am glad to be with you this morning… I have Good News for You! His name is Jesus… We are on a great adventure… We are Experiencing the Life and ministry of Jesus…
Jesus continues to Transform hearts and minds… by the Power of His Holy Spirit working in and through the Word of God… Jesus has been warning the Disciples of the very difficult hard times that are coming... Jesus is spending His last evening… With His disciples… It is a very intense time…
Jesus is speaking to the hearts of the disciples…
1 Jesus is Warning them… He has told them over and over that he is going to the cross… They will be scattered…. They will run away… Peter will even deny Him…
2 Jesus is calling them to follow His example… He is calling them to loving obedience…
3 Jesus is comforting Them… He is promising the Holy Spirit to come along side of them to help and comfort them moment by moment and day by day… He is saying… I will never leave you and I will never forsake you…    We are learning about the work and ministry of the HS in these verses….   His Word and His promises… Are used by the Holy Spirit to comfort and encourage us… No matter what happens in our lives…
Jesus and the disciples have finished their Passover meal… In the last verse of Ch 14… Jesus says…  let´s go… They are going to the Mount of Olives and the garden of Gethsemane… He continues to talk to the disciples as they go… He wants them to understand that although He is going away… The Spirit of truth… The Holy Spirit will come and dwell in them… Forever… As we pick up ch 15… Jesus calls on them to maintain their close connection to Him… He uses the very well-known symbol of the grape vine… Look with me at John Ch15…v1…
John 15: 1-11                   NKV   slt 2000
1“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 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. 9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 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.11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
1 Ich bin der wahre Weinstock, und mein Vater ist der Weingärtner. 2 Jede Rebe an mir, die keine Frucht bringt, nimmt er weg; jede aber, die Frucht bringt, reinigt er, damit sie mehr Frucht bringt. 3 Ihr seid schon rein um des Wortes willen, das ich zu euch geredet habe. 4 Bleibt in mir, und ich [bleibe] in euch! Gleichwie die Rebe nicht von sich selbst aus Frucht bringen kann, wenn sie nicht am Weinstock bleibt, so auch ihr nicht, wenn ihr nicht in mir bleibt. 5 Ich bin der Weinstock, ihr seid die Reben. Wer in mir bleibt und ich in ihm, der bringt viel Frucht; denn getrennt von mir könnt ihr nichts tun. 6 Wenn jemand nicht in mir bleibt, so wird er weggeworfen wie die Rebe und verdorrt; und solche sammelt man und wirft sie ins Feuer, und sie brennen. 7 Wenn ihr in mir bleibt und meine Worte in euch bleiben, so werdet ihr bitten, was ihr wollt, und es wird euch zuteilwerden. 8 Dadurch wird mein Vater verherrlicht, dass ihr viel Frucht bringt und meine Jünger werdet. 9 Gleichwie mich der Vater liebt, so liebe ich euch; bleibt in meiner Liebe! 10 Wenn ihr meine Gebote haltet, so bleibt ihr in meiner Liebe, gleichwie ich die Gebote meines Vaters gehalten habe und in seiner Liebe geblieben bin. 11 Dies habe ich zu euch geredet, damit meine Freude in euch bleibe und eure Freude völlig werde.
Look with me at the first 4 verses… scroll down…
 When Jesus says, "I am the true vine…. He is pointing to Himself as the Messiah…. The vine was often used to represent the Children of Israel… They failed to Love God with their whole hearts… They were often disciplined for their faithlessness… The OT represents this as being cut down and thrown into the fire… The imagery of the vineyard is often associated with failure and Judgement…
However (aber) as I said… the vine also was used to represent the Messiah Himself  Jesus says, "I am the true vine…
This is Good News from Jesus… He says… You have all failed to love and serve God from your hearts... But I will do this work in you... Last week we talked about Philippians ch1... Paul rejoiced in what The Lord was doing in the lives of the Philippian believers… It fits perfectly with the teaching in John 15… Jesus says… Abide in the vine… Abide in me… And you will produce fruit…   Look at Phil ch1 with me... v3-11…
Philippians 1: 3-11              NKJV   slt 2000
3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; 7 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. 8 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
 Look at v6… Paul rejoiced as he remembered all that the Lord was doing in their lives… He expressed great confidence in the fact that the people of God would continue to grow and mature into the very image of Jesus… In v9-11 Paul tells us what that growing into the image of Christ Jesus will look like… look at v9-11…
v9-11…
What a list… The scriptures show us exactly how this transformation will happen… Remember… This section of scripture is all 1 long evening… The last evening that Jesus has with His disciples… This very night He will be arrested and in the morning He will be crucified… list… It happens as we Abide in the Lord Jesus…
Abiding in Christ
1 The Spirit of Truth will teach us… John 14:16-18 and      2 Timothy 2: 15-17
The Holy Spirit will use the Word of God to show what is wrong in our lives… He will correct us… He will equip us for the work of the Ministry…
2 Jesus will continue the work that He has begun in us… Phil 1:3-11
3 He will produce the fruit of Righteousness in us… day by day and step by step… Phil 1: 9-11 All of these things are connected to 1 thread… We become more and more like Jesus…
4 He will prune and cleanse us as we abide in the Vine… John 15:2… Pruning and cleansing… That does not sound pleasant… It sounds painful…
Back to John 15… v1-4…
v1… Jesus is saying… "I am doing what you cannot do… and I am being what you have not been able to be… But I will send the Holy Spirit to help you…
This very night they will all fail Him… And He says…  "I've got this… Abide in me You have not been fruitful until now... But I've got you… I am the true vine
What does this mean for us…?  
Since Jesus is the VineJesus is what we cannot be... We need to hang on to Jesus… He is our righteousness… We started to talk about this already…
I tried to be a good boy… I have been trying to be a good boy for decades… many decades… I have failed… I cannot do it… I fail the Lord every day… No matter how hard we try…. No matter how hard we work at this Christian life… We fail to be good people… We fall short of God´s perfection over and over again… That is the story of my life… It is all of our life stories… Jesus is comforting the disciples on the eve of their worst failure…  Jesus is saying… Just abide in Me… I will finish the miracle that I have begun in you… So we say Awesome… We can celebrate God´s goodness to us!  And yes we can and should… It is truly all grace 
What's next then?  What happens as we abide in Him…. It is it all glory… Not exactly… look at the second part of v1…
v1b… My Father is the vinedresser… We continue to see the perfect unity in the Trinity… The Father is active in the process at every step… What does the vineyard keeper do?
Since Jesus is the true vine… since Jesus is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves… We can expect this pruning… look at v2…
v2… He will care for…  And prune the vines… The same Greek Word used here for prune is also often translated as cleanse… We get pruned…. Cleansed…. Pruning and cleansing can be painful and difficult… At least temporarily…
Look at v2: "Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit."  
To be a Christian is to bear fruit... If there is no fruit… there is no genuine saving faith being demonstrated in your life…
Jesus is not talking about external outward obedience to the law and rules… He is not talking about being a super Christian…. He is not looking for better Pharisees…. Not at all… That is just hypocrisy to be outwardly religious and outwardly righteous… That's not how Jesus defines fruit… We just read about the Fruit of the Spirit in Phil ch 1… That is what Jesus means by fruit… In this text Jesus is saying… If you don't bear any fruit at all… If there is no growing in grace… Then you are not a genuine believer… You do not belong to the vine… You are not in Christ and you get cut off… On the other hand… Genuine believers get pruned… Cleansed for our Gown good and so that we will produce fruit…   
The Lord prunes us… So that we would bear more fruit… Paul gives us another list in his letter to the Galatians… Look with me at Gal 5: 22,23…
Galatians 5: 22,23                     NKJV slt 2000
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Notice in this text that's not the fruits of the Spirit… It is fruit… it's singular… These things are all connected to each other… They all come from the Work of the Holy Spirit in us… The fruit of the Spirit is the Righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ…. It is being produced in us by the Holy Spirit…. Day by day…
Jesus says because he is what we could not be… he is pruning us so we can become more like Him… He will produce the same qualities that HE IS… In us… We all need to grow in these areas... Therefore, the Lord in his kindness prunes us… And it hurts… so that we can grow in these areas…
Now somehow along the way...  We begin to believe that to follow the Lord Jesus is just one great day followed by another awesome day… This idea of a perfect life in Christ on earth is not true… It's nowhere in the Bible… Sadly, Our wrong theology leaves us  no room for difficulties… No suffering… No pain and No doubts...  Not my experience… I have experienced all of them… How about you?.. No… The Christian life is not always easy…
The Lord Jesus prunes us… and we grow in love and understanding…The Lord cleanses us and we grow in grace… We also tend to think in terms of our salvation and Sanctification as a single moment in time…
It is in fact a lifelong journey of transformation into the image of Jesus… Day by day…  We wrestle with doubt and fear… We cry out to the Lord and cling to the cross…  
We are slowly being transformed into the image of Jesus… The Lord prunes us…  And slowly we grow in grace and in the knowledge of Him…   Jesus says, "I am what you could not be… but I am going to transform you in who I am…   I am perfect love… I am perfect joy... I am perfect peace... I am perfect kindness... I am perfect goodness... I am perfect faithfulness… And I have perfect self-control… I'm going to grow you in these areas… How? I'm going to prune you so you can produce  more of me in your lives…
Although no one volunteers to be pruned and cleansed… It is actually encouraging to know that the Lord is working in us… It means that He is continuing the process of our transformation into His image… He is doing exactly what He promised… look at the last part of v 23…
 v23… Against such things there is no law… The fruit of the Holy Spirit… Which is the perfect reflection of the Character of Jesus… Transcends all of the law because it fulfills the law from the heart perfectly… As Jesus continues to do this work in us… We discover the joyful ability to obey Him from the heart… It is not a matter of you must obey… We begin to want to obey and He makes us able to do it… He is doing it through us…   
Here is question for you…  Are you in a season of life now where you feel this pruning… Are you wrestling with doubt or struggling with conflicts at work… or in your marriage… Are you going through  a lot of fear and anxiety?.. Hard times right now?..
It doesn't mean you've done anything wrong… And it doesn't mean you're being punished… It does not mean that you are an inadequate disciple… Failing to have the perfect Christian life…  We have to get rid of this notion… It's absurd... God in His grace and unfailing love is disciplining us… He is pruning and cleansing us… It is not proof that we have failed the Lord… He has promised to finish the work that he has begun in us… he will not fail to complete the work that He has begun in us… Even if it seems that our pruning is killing us…  We will not die… But we will be transformed into His image… Take comfort…. Count it all joy…James 1: 2-8…
It is good news… We need not worry… We need only to abide in Him… That is the safest place to be.. Back to John 15...
Let´s look then at our position is in his presence... This is an outrageous text... Look at verse 3...  
v3… you are Already clean because of the word that I have spoken to you." This is great truth… You are already clean… He says to his disciples…   you are clean… and you're clean because you've believed my word… I have spoken to you, and you believed…   "I am the Messiah… I'm the only one who can save you from your sins… and they have believed...
Notice only it is because they believed… not because they did anything... Remember… These disciples are just hours away from betraying and denying Christ outright… Here is a lesson for all of us… We need to learn to be more gracious to ourselves… They are all going to run away from Him… Peter is going to say… "I do not know this man…. Leave me alone…  I don't even know him…  Yet knowing all of this Jesus says… You're clean because you believed in my word… This is what Jesus told Peter in John ch 13… Remember… It was on this same night that Jesus said… He said I must wash your feet… Or you have no part in me… John 13:8… We come  again to the text in Phil ch1…. I have started the work in you…. I will complete it… Phil 1: 3-11…
If we have not failed Jesus yet today… We can be thankful… But the day is not over and we may still fail him today… But listen… If we do fail Him…. He is not surprised… He has started the work in us and He will complete it in us…. No matter how much pain and pruning we need… It is for our good and His Glory…. He will finish the Work of transforming us into His Glorious image…
Look with me at v4… 
"v4… 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.
Abide in Me… I will do the transformation… Now scroll down for v5… look at the second part of the verse…
v5b… apart from me you can do nothing…. That is the end me thinking that I have anything to do with what happens in ministry…. Everything that happens that is good and eternal…. Is only because we are abiding in Him…  One of the great Theological teachings of what it means to be a Christian…  Is pictured in this idea of union with Christ… That we are in Him and he is in us… That works in mainly   in how God sees us… As genuine believers… When God sees us… He does not see our failures… He sees the perfect obedience of Christ…  
v7… If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you."
Does this mean that if I Abide in Christ… I now have the power to ask for anything? No… That is what many teach…. But that is not true… We do not have A heavenly Visa card… We cannot speak to our wallets… We are not promised perfect health…  Or  wealth… Jesus says seek me… But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness… Matt 6:33…
Jesus is saying… Abide in me… Keep your close connection to me… I will give you my righteousness… I will transform you into my image…. Then you will want what I want… You will be in perfect harmony with the Plan of the Father… v8…
v8… By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
This is great… We abide in Christ… We are transformed… We take on the righteousness of Christ… Our Character becomes more like Jesus… Our wants and desires become Christ like… And The Father is Glorified in our Transformation… Let´s look at the last few verses for today… John 15… v9-11…
John 15: 9-11                   NKV   slt 2000
9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 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.11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
v9… Abide in my love…
Jesus says, "If you abide in my love, then you'll obey my commandments…. Because He will continue the work that He has begun in us…. He will complete it… He will not fail to transform us into His image…
What we are called to…  Is to grow in our love for Jesus… That in turn will affect our obedience…
For Christians this means that we want to fill our lives with things that point us to Jesus… We abide in Christ...
We Study the Word of God… We hide it our hearts…. WE serve… We seek good edifying fellowship… We commit ourselves to the Word of God and prayer…  
Look at verse 11...  These things I have spoken to you...". "...that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."  This is why Jesus is teaching this…
The Lord is serious about our joy… Not surface happiness because everything is going well today… Rather our deeply rooted  confidence In Him… Remember this… No matter what Happens…. Jesus has your back… He is for us…. He will make a way for us through whatever disaster strikes… He will finish the work in us… Christ has done for us what we could never do for ourselves…  
Let's pray.