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if you continue…

Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?”  Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:31-36, NRSV)

If the biggest smallest word in the English language!

“If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples.” If you continue means they were listening to and following His words. That is a question for some. But do we continue to listen and follow the words Jesus is saying to us?

They questioned even the statement of being set free, because they are descendants of Abraham, and therefore are a part of God’s chosen people, but have they forgotten this little place called Eygpt? And the years the Israelite people spent there in slavery? Never been slaves to anyone? Really?

But it isn’t about being a slave to a master who is human, could be, but more than that it is about us living a life that is freed from all worries and concerns. It is about us finding joy in the darkness because we are connected to Jesus.

It is about hearing His calling and following. It is about abiding in His word and allowing Him to abide in us.

 

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fruit

may the holy spirit be with youNow John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 3:4-10, NRSV)

As I read this after the text from John 15 from yesterday. The connection between the 2 is bearing fruit and abiding in Jesus.

But as I read this I had to stop for a moment and think, was John the first rendition of a Wookie? Wearing camel’s hair, and a leather belt. Now he was wearing the belt around his waist, and Wookies wear them as sashes… So there is a similar look I am thinking. Or maybe John just looked like a fruit!

But here is the thing. People were not afraid of what he looked like. In fact I think the author of Matthew tells us this to paint the picture for us, that John was rooted in Jesus, and because of that no one noticed how different he was. They listened to his message and came to be baptized.

Even the religious leaders were checking him out. They must had heard about the powerful preaching going on, so they came too.

So be connected to Jesus and don’t worry about what the world thinks about you.

And may the Holy Spirit be with you always!

 

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Jason Gray – More like Falling in Love

 

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abide

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just 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. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. (John 15:1-8, NRSV)

I read this passage again this year, and this time I was struck by the word abide…

“Abide in me as I abide in you.” Is how verse 4 starts. And in the Greek we have the word μενω 7 times in verses 4 – 7. (3 times in verse 4, once in 5 and 6 and 2 times in 7) It is used once in every verse. Yes you will tell me if you look at it, the word abide is in there 8 times. Yes in the English translations we have the word appears 8 times for it to make more sense. But actually this first part of verse 4 only has the word once. A better translation of “Abide in me as I abide in you.” is “Abide in me as I am in you.”

And that is the point here.

We are to abide in Jesus.

We are to stay in Jesus.

We are to trust in Jesus.

We are to depend on Jesus.

You see Jesus is telling His disciples that they are all intertwined and support each other, but they are only dependent on Him. The image of the vine is a beautiful one, and we can assume Jesus was walking with His disciples through a vineyard as He was telling them this.

You see a mature vine with branches is a wonderful living thing. The branches are all intertwined and they support each other, however the branches are not dependent on the other branches for survival, for that they need to vine. And the branches don’t decide who is not producing fruit and get cut away, or who need a snip here or there to help them produce more fruit, that is the gardener or the vine dresser.

And the thing we have to remember is even when we abide in the vine, we still get pruned. We still get cut back, because uncontrolled growth is not good and the vine dresser knows what is best for the branches.

So stay, remain, live in Christ as He is in you! And don’t worry about the other branches, just support them in their life in the vine, and rest in His grace.

 

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Abide

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abide

Abide in me as I abide in you. Just 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. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. (john 15:4-8, NRSV)

We are to live in Jesus as He lives in us!

You see the branches of the grape plant are connected to the vine. The only way they can produce fruit is to be connected to the vine. If they do not stay connected they do not get fed and they become dead and will be pruned away and thrown into the fire.

So just as the grape branch apart from the vine can do nothing, we can do nothing apart from Jesus, we must ramain in Him as He remains in us!

 

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