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Jesus the True Vine

”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. As the Father has loved me, so I have 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. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another. (John 15:1-17, NRSV)

Remain with Jesus. For in Him we will produce fruit. But even in producing fruit we will be pruned. God, as the gardener, will make sure all of the branches are fully producing, which means cutting off any dead or dying parts. But in this there us joy. Joy in the Lord by sharing His love.

You see when we abide in Jesus, even though we are pruned, His joy is with us. And abiding in Jesus gives us the best friend anyone could ask for.

So abide in Him so that your joy may be complete.

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Jesus the Way to the Father

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it. (John 14:1-14, NRSV)

In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. This is how the scholars chose to translate the word in John 14. But the word for dwelling is μένω which in other parts of the Bible is translated abide. In the Father’s house there are many places to abide, to remain, to be with Jesus and God.

That is why Jesus asked Philip, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me?” Because whoever has seen me has seen the Father, because we are one, I abide with the Father and the Father abides with me and we abide together, and we will abide with you.

So remain with, be with Jesus and know that He will always abide with you!

 

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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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