Abiding in the Vine

GOD’S FORMULA FOR SUCCESSFUL CHRISTIAN LIVING
(ABIDING IN THE VINE)
(Pastor Lee Jackson FFWC)

I) INTRODUCTION – ON THE EVE OF THE PASSOVER, JESUS CELEBRATED THE PASSOVER MEAL WITH HIS DISCIPLES. (JOHN 13:1) JOHN CHAPTER 13 – 17 GIVES US A FRONT ROW SEAT TO THIS VERY INTIMATE AND SPECIAL EVENT. IT WAS JESUS OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE HIS HEART WITH HIS DISCIPLES BEFORE GOING TO THE CROSS. IT BEGAN WITH JESUS WASHING HIS DISCIPLES FEET. IN CHAPTER 14 JESUS SAID “LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED … I GO TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU AND WHEN I COME AGAIN I WILL RECEIVE YOU ONTO MYSELF.” IN CHAPTER 15 JESUS TEACHES ABOUT THE VINE AND THE BRANCHES. I THIS CHAPTER HE GIVES US THE KEY TO BEING SUCCESSFUL AND FRUITFUL IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD. FROM THE VERY BEGINNING GOD HAS EXPECTED FRUITFULNESS FROM HIS CREATION. GOD COMMANDED ADAM & EVE TO BE FRUITFUL AND TO FILL THE EARTH. (GEN. 1:28) GOD COMMANDED NOAH AND HIS DESCENDENTS TO DO THE SAME. THIS HAS TO DO WITH FULFILLING OUR PURPOSE AND THE POTENTIAL THAT HE PUT WITHIN US, IN THE LIFE THAT HE GAVE US. THIS PRINCIPLE APPLIES TO OUR NATURAL LIFE AND TO OUR SPIRITUAL LIFE IN HIM. (TEXT: JOHN 15: 1 – 17)

II) JESUS IS THE TRUE VINE
1) THERE ARE MANY WHO DENY CHRIST AND THERE ARE MANY PRETENDERS
A) THERE IS ONLY ONE TRUE VINE WHO BECOMES OUR CONNECTION TO GOD
B) “I AM THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE NO MAN COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT BY ME.” JESUS
2) HIS FATHER IS THE GARDENER
A) GOD WAS THE GARDENER FROM THE BEGINNING
(a) IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN HE HAD PREPARED A GARDEN FOR ADAM & EVE
(b) HE EXPECTED THEM TO BE FRUITFUL EVEN AS THE TREES OF HIS GARDEN
(c) GOD STILL EXPECTS US TO BE FRUITFUL (8, 16)
(i) JESUS CURSED THE FIG TREE BECAUSE IT HAD NO FRUIT.
(ii) THE FATHER CUTS OFF EVERY BRANCH IN CHRIST THAT BEARS NO FRUIT – HE WILL SEVER HIS UNION WITH US IF WE FAIL TO BEAR FRUIT . “THE AX IS ALREADY LAID TO THE ROOT OF THE TREES, EVERY TREE THAT DOES NOT PRODUCE GOOD FRUIT WILL BE CUT DOWN AND THROWN INTO THE FIRE.” MAT 3:10
B) THE FATHER PRUNES THOSE BRANCHES THAT BEAR FRUIT
(a) THE PURPOSE OF PRUNING IS THAT WE BEAR MORE FRUIT
(b) PRUNING CUTS THE DEAD WOOD AND SPURIOUS GROWTH FROM OUR LIFE
(i) THAT WHICH IS DEAD WILL NEVER BE ALIVE AND WILL NEVER BEAR FRUIT
(ii) THE DEAD WOOD IS THAT OLD SIN NATURE; IT HAS NOT POTENTIAL FOR SPIRITUAL LIFE OR GOOD
(iii) THE SPURIOUS GROWTH IS THAT WHICH WE TRY TO DO FOR GOD THROUGH OUR OWN STRENGTH. IF IT IS NOT OF GOD IT WILL NOT LAST NOR WILL IT BEAR FRUIT.
(iv) BOTH OF THESE SAP AND DIVERT THE STRENGTH FROM OUR SPIRITUAL LIFE AND CANNOT BEAR SPIRITUAL FRUIT
3) IF WE HAVE BEEN MADE CLEAN IT IS BECAUSE OF OUR RESPONSE TO HIS WORD IF WE HAVE NOT BEEN MADE CLEAN THEN WE ARE NOT EVEN ATTACHED TO THE VINE
A) EVEN IF WE HAVE BEEN MADE CLEAN WE ALSO MUST REMAIN IN HIM (4)
B) WE CANNOT BEAR FRUIT OF OURSELVES IT IS HIS LIFE FLOWING THROUGH US (4)
C) IF WE REMAIN IN HIM WE WILL BEAR MUCH FRUIT (GOD GUARANTEES IT) (5)
III) WHAT IS THE FRUIT THAT IS BEING TALKED ABOUT HERE?
1) I USED TO THINK THAT OUR FRUIT WAS OTHERS THAT WE HAVE LED TO CHRIST
2) I NO LONGER BELIEVE THAT. OUR FRUIT PER GAL. 5 IS THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT: LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS AND SELF-CONTROL.
3) THIS FRUIT STANDS IN OPPOSITION TO THE FRUIT OF THE SINFUL NATURE, ALSO ITEMIZED IN GAL. 5: SEXUAL IMMORALITY, IMPURITY, IDOLATRY, WITCHCRAFT, HATRED, DISCORD, JEALOUSY, FITS OF RAGE, SELFISH AMBITION, DISSENTIONS, ENVY, DRUNKENNESS, ORGIES AND THE LIKE.

IV) CONCLUSION
1) THERE IS A DIRECT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT AND OUR POTENTIAL TO LEAD OTHERS TO CHRIST AND TO DISCIPLE OTHERS. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT EXHIBITED IS THAT WHICH DRAWS OTHERS TO THE CHRIST LIVING IN US. PAUL SAYS WE ARE LIVING EPISTLES KNOWN AND READ OF ALL MEN.
2) THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS THE NATURE OF CHRIST REVEALED IN US AS WE CONTINUE TO ABIDE IN HIM EVEN AS CHRIST REVEALED THE NATURE OF GOD BY ABIDING IN THE FATHER AND THE FATHER IN HIM. (JOHN 14:9 – 13)
3) IF WE REMAIN IN CHRIST AND HIS WORD REMAINS IN US WE CAN ASK WHAT WE WILL AND HE WILL GIVE IT TO US. OUR PRAYER WILL BE ANSWERED TO THE EXTENT THAT WE REMAIN IN HIM. (PS. 66:17 -20)
4) WE SHOW THAT WE ARE REMAINING IN HIM AND IN HIS LOVE BY KEEPING HIS COMMANDMENTS. THIS MAKES HIS JOY AND OUR JOY COMPLETE. (12)
5) IF WE REMAIN IN HIM AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS THEN HE WILL SHARE HIS PLANS WITH US. WE ARE NO LONGER HIS SERVANTS BUT HIS FRIENDS.

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