John 15:4, 5 - The Crucial and Vital Relationship With Christ.
John 15:4, 5: The Crucial and Vital Relationship With Christ.
John 15:4, 5 (ESV) 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. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches.
Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for
apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:4, 5 (MSG) "Live in me. Make your home in me just as I
do in you. In the same way that a branch can't bear grapes by
itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can't bear fruit
unless you are joined with me. 5 "I am the Vine, you are the branches.
When you're joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and
organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can't produce
ABIDE or REMAIN: The same point is made by both words: live in
intimate union with Jesus. The analogy itself tells us why. A branch
draws its vital juices from the vine to which it is united. In the
same way we draw the spiritual vitality that enables us to produce
fruit from Jesus. Thus Jesus says clearly, Apart from Me you can do
nothing. The Christian life is a supernatural life, flowing from Jesus to
us. It can be experienced only as we live in intimate fellowship
with our LORD. [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]
When I was a new Christian, my pastor encouraged me to
memorize portions of Scripture. This seemed like an impossible task. The
Bible as a whole can be intimidating, and I wasn't sure where to
start. I had been told to open to the New Testament, and I had also
been told that the Gospel of John is a good place for beginners.
In chapter 15, the last few words of one particular verse
stood out. It wasn't that they were lofty or spiritual, but they were
sur-prising. They made a claim that I needed to weigh. Speaking to his
disciples at the Last Supper, Jesus said, "Apart from me you can do
nothing." Nothing? I can do nothing without him? I didn't understand.
Millions of people on the planet were doing things every day, and yet
they had no awareness of or connection to Jesus. I needed to know why
Jesus would make a claim like that. So I chose to memorize John 15:5.
I read it every day until one day I finally got it, and I
cried deep, soul-satisfying tears. It's true: I can do nothing without
you, Jesus. Everything I have ever done before I knew you and
everything I try to do without you add up to nothing. The only things that
have meaning are done with you and in your name and for you.
I have been saved fifteen years now, and this verse is still
my favorite. I come back to it time and again to keep myself in him
and to remember that I am nothing without him.
Oline Stehr is a homemaker, a wife, and the mother of three.
[The One Year Bible Live Verse Devotional]
Jesus gave a clear picture of what our relationship to Him
ought to be like. He is the vine, the source of our life. We are the
branches, the place where fruit is produced. As we receive life from
Christ, the natural, inevitable result is that fruit is produced in our
In our zeal to produce results for our Lord, we
sometimes become so intent on fruit production that we neglect abiding in
Christ. We may feel that abiding is not as productive or that it
takes too much time away from our fruit production. Yet Jesus said
that it is not our activity that produces fruit, it is our
relationship with Him.
Jesus gave an important warning to His disciples. He
cautioned that if they ever attempted to live their Christian life apart
from an intimate relationship with Him, they would discover that they
ceased to produce any significant results. They might exert great
effort for the kingdom of God, yet when they stopped to account for
their lives, they would find only barrenness. One of the most dramatic
acts Jesus ever performed was cursing a fig tree that had failed to
produce fruit (Mk 11:14). Are you comfortable in abiding, or are you
impatient to be engaged in activity? If you will remain steadfastly in
fellowship with Jesus, a great harvest will be the natural by-product.
[Experiencing God Day by Day by Henry and Richard Blackaby]
The Presence is everything in the Christian life. Maybe that
seems like an overstatement. Surely obedience is important, along with
bearing fruit, being loving and compassionate, praying, growing in
faith, overcoming obstacles, dealing with relationship issues, and so
much more. That's why so many books are published and so many sermons
preached about these things. Christian living is a vast array of
disciplines, attitudes, and activities, and we have to know how to approach
But think about it. What happens to your attitude when you
have a palpable sense of God's Presence around you? How fruitful does
your prayer life become? How strong does your faith grow? What
obstacle seems large when you're aware that God is in the room? How hard
is it to obey when He is present to empower you? How hard do you
have to try to bear fruit if He is spilling out from within you? What
relationship issues remain unyielding when His power overwhelms? The truth is
that His Presence working within us is the key to everything, and
without Him we can do nothing.
That's why cultivating both an awareness and an ongoing
experience of His Presence is vital. When God shows up, miracles happen.
Life comes out of death, beauty comes out of ashes, dancing takes the
place of mourning, futility gives way to fruitfulness, confusion is
replaced by order, and obstacles bow to His will. Even the hard side of
His Presence - the convicting and correcting truth we don't want to
hear - eventually gives life. When God is at work in and around us,
Zealously, relentlessly, passionately pursue God's Presence.
Every endeavor in the Christian life is futile without that. But with
it, everything is possible.
Jesus, I need You - Your Spirit, Your life - in me and around
me. I'm not content just to know about You or to believe the right
things. I want to experience Your Presence. I know You want that too.
Please, Lord, let me sense You always. [The One Year Experiencing
Gods Presence Devotional by Chris Tiegreen]
I am the vine; you are one of the branches. Whoever lives in
Me and I in him bears abundant fruit. Apart from Me - cut off from
vital union with Me - you can do nothing.
Ponder this glorious truth: I am alive within you! Just as
sap flows from a vine through its branches, so My Life flows through
you. I am infinite and perfect, yet I choose to live inside you. This
intimacy you have with Me is wondrously rich. I read your every thought.
I'm aware of all your feelings. I know how weak you are, and I stand
ready to infuse you with My strength.
When you cooperate with My indwelling Presence, asking Me to
be in control, you can produce abundant fruit. If you try to do
things in your own strength, ignoring your vital union with Me, you're
likely to fall flat on your face. Anything you do produce apart from Me
will have no value in My kingdom. So nourish well your intimacy with
Me, beloved. Delight in My Life-giving Presence! (John 15:5; Col.
1:27; 2Co. 12:9; Deu. 33:12) [Jesus Always by Sarah Young]
Apart from Me you can do nothing. On days when the tasks
before you seem overwhelming, remember this: I am with you, ready to
help. Take a moment to rest in My loving Presence. Whisper: "Surely
the LORD is in this place." Relax, knowing that you're not meant to
be self-sufficient. I designed you to need Me and depend on Me. So
come to Me just as you are - without shame or pretense. Talk with Me
about the challenges you face and the inadequacy you feel. Entreat Me
to show you the way forward. Instead of rushing ahead, take small
steps of trust, staying in communication with Me.
I am the Vine; you are one of My branches. As you stay
connected to Me, My Life flows through you, enabling you to bear much
fruit. Don't worry about being successful in the eyes of the world.
Bearing fruit in My kingdom means doing the good things planned for you
long ago. So live close to Me - ready to do My will - and I will open
up the way before you. (John 15:5; Gen. 28:16; Mat. 11:28, 29; Eph.
2:10) [Jesus Always by Sarah Young]
A few years ago I took a portion of my small backyard and
planted pumpkins. The kids helped me place the seeds, and they were
excited as we watched them grow and grow and grow. What I hadn't
realized is that pumpkins grow on vines, and vines spread. Pretty soon
our whole backyard was covered in pumpkin vines.
I worked hard to keep the vines under control by pruning
them. I was amazed to see how fast the vines shriveled up and died
once I had separated them from their source. Without water and
nutrients, they had no life force. The vines died, and any pumpkins
attached to them stopped growing.
The same thing happens to us when we are separated from our
life force - Jesus. Without him, our spiritual life, our recovery,
will shrivel up and die. We must stay connected to him if we are to
see victory and freedom from our hurts, hang-ups, and habits. So how
do we stay connected? We do that by spending time in fellowship
with God, reading and meditating on his Word, the Bible, and by
allowing him to use us to bless others.
Father, your Word says that you are the vine. Help me to stay
connected to you, for I know that is the only way that I can grow strong.
In Jesus' name, Amen. [Celebrate Recovery Daily Devotional by John
& Johnny Baker]
Have you ever sunk your teeth into a golden, sun-ripened
peach just plucked from the tree? Once you do, it will make
supermarket peaches taste like Styrofoam. A juicy, freshly harvested peach
tastes the way a peach is supposed to taste, with no loss of essential
Galatians 5 tells us that God's Spirit living within us will
produce beautiful, flavorful fruit - far, far better than even the
sweetest California or Georgia peach. This life-transforming fruit is
genuine love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness. If you try to fake it
and project these things on your own - faux love and plastic peace -
it ends up tasting like Styrofoam, and the Spirit of Jesus will
have nothing to do with it. Today's Scripture reminds us, "No branch
can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine." Son-ripened
fruit is by far the best!
Holy Spirit, produce the sweet, genuine fruit of Jesus in me.
Don't let me get away with phony peace, shallow love, and a thin
veneer of kindness. I want people to taste the real thing in my life -
a fresh tang that can never be mistaken for my poor efforts. And I
want Jesus to receive the glory, not me - which I know is what You
want too. [A Spectacle of Glory by Joni Eareckson Tada and Larry
Libby re John 15:4]
The art of growing wildly productive tomato plants requires
attentive daily care. Once the main branches are healthy and producing
fruit, the wise gardener will pinch off any of the sucker shoots
growing up from the bottom of the plant. Left alone, these shoots will
grow tall and spindly, with plenty of leaves but no blossoms or fruit
to show for it. These suckers will siphon off the life-giving sap
on its way from the vine to the branches. The result? Fewer and
smaller tomatoes. In today's Scripture, Jesus speaks of His Father as
the vinedresser who prunes His vines so they will produce even more
fruit. But we can participate by pruning ourselves! Ask the Holy Spirit
to show you what needs to be pared back in your life - the
activities, habits, or preoccupations that are draining away your energies
from the Lord's good plan for your life. Pinch them off!
Holy Spirit, search my heart and life today. Show me where I
am distracted from Your desire for me. Reveal to me what needs to
be pruned. I don't want to miss Your best! I will prune my life as
best as I know how, but I need Your insight and wisdom. [A Spectacle
of Glory by Joni Eareckson Tada and Larry Libby re John 15:1-5]
In our woods and along our street mulberry season lasts for
many weeks in late spring and early summer. Whenever I think of "much
fruit," mulberries come to mind. It is easy to see when the mulberries
are ripening because their berries fall off easily, making a black
mess and dark stains on the sidewalks, cars, and streets. Birds and
other animals love to eat the fruit, and their droppings add to the
stains. During my morning walks I often pause under a thickly fruited
branch to pick a handful of berries because they are so sweet and
flavorful. Just one handful of the luscious berries will darken my hands
and mouth, too. But because the pigments are water-soluble
anthocyanins, the color will wash away quickly.
Though botanical names in the Bible vary, it does mention
mulberry trees, and we know that they flourished throughout Palestine
then as they still do today. The trees grow rapidly at first, then
slow to a crawl, which is why you rarely see a tall mulberry tree.
Besides the black ones, there are also red and white varieties of
mulberry. The white mulberry was grown as food for silkworm moths, because
their leaves are the only food that silkworm larvae will eat.
One time we spread a big plastic sheet under a mulberry tree
and shook the branches vigorously. The rain of ripe fruit was
impressive. Then, to safely reach and shake even higher branches, I used the
hook on my telescoping fiberglass pole tree trimmer/pruner. That tool
worked so well that I accidentally pruned one of the high branches, and
it fell onto our plastic sheet. After picking the cut branch clean,
I tossed it off into the weeds. When I passed by a few days later,
I noticed that the leaves on the accidentally severed branch were
dry and brown. Immediately I thought of today's text. And I thought
how quickly I lose spiritual life when I disconnect myself from the
source of life. This passage in John speaks of remaining connected,
implying that I am the one with the choice of whether or not it will
Lord, I choose to remain joined to You today so that my
spiritual life won't wither and die. I want to be a fruitful branch. [God
of Wonders by David Steen]
The tomato plants in my garden are robust and healthy now.
Finally, this year, I purchased a 100-foot roll of steel-welded wire mesh
and made five-foot-tall tomato cages. Since I placed a cage over
each young seedling, the plants are thanking me now by growing well
over my head. With regular training, the vines ended up mostly inside
the cages and have adequate support. I am looking forward to a good
crop of tomatoes. That will be the bonus.
Just working with tomatoes is a pleasant experience for me,
because I love the fragrant musky aroma that surrounds me after lightly
brushing past a single vine or leaf. A microscopic look explains the
characteristic smell. The surface is extremely hairy. And at the microscopic
scale, many of the hairs have the appearance of big round water towers
that you see in many towns across America - you know, the kind that
look like a golf ball on a tee. The swollen, fluid-filled heads of
these glandular trichomes (as they are called) break easily from the
lightest touch, releasing the sticky, pungent fluid. Some people don't
like the smell at all and think it stinks. That is the reason for the
fluid - to help deter insects from eating the leaves.
I find that I have to work very gently with tomato vines,
because it is so easy to accidentally break off a fresh young growing
tip or branch when trying to insert it back inside the cage. Once
separated from the vine, the branch withers within a minute or two. The
shape and structure of all soft herbaceous plants such as tomatoes
depends entirely on pressurized water cells within. Like air-filled
bounce houses, castles, moonwalks, jumpers, dry slides, and other
inflatable play structures, plants rely totally on inner pressures to
maintain their form. Breaking the connection to the vine is like turning
off the blowers in the play structures. They quickly crumple or
wither into an unrecognizable heap.
Inside every plant is a wonderfully complex and delicate
system of pipes and conduits that conduct water, dissolved minerals,
photosynthetic products, and plant growth regulators to all parts of the plant
in a carefully regulated manner. Jesus could not have been more
descriptive in calling us branches connected to Him, the vine. Without the
connection, we are toast.
Lord, sometimes I wonder why my spiritual life has wilted so
badly and isn't producing any fruit. Please forgive me for the many
tunes that I pull away from You and try to go it alone. [God of
Wonders by David Steen]
In 1956 a man by the name of J. T. Haley donated 6.3 acres of
his land on Whispering Pines Road in the northwest corner of Albany,
Georgia, to a newly established Sherwood Baptist Church. With about 300
members meeting each Sunday in an Army Reserve building, the company of
believers needed a permanent home. The church has grown steadily through
the years, and today the Sherwood Baptist Church is a small
megachurch of a couple thousand members, with numerous buildings and scores
of outreach ministries. Perhaps their best-known ministries outside
of Georgia are the film productions written, acted, produced, and
marketed largely by church members. With one camera and a budget of
$20,000, the church released its first film, Flywheel, on April 9, 2003.
Their second film, the 2006 Facing the Giants, had a budget of
$100,000 and has grossed more than $10 million to date. Fireproof came
out two years later. It had a million dollar budget and supporting
cast of 1,200 volunteers from Sherwood Baptist Church. Fireproof
grossed more than $33 million in the United States alone. As of this
writing, Courageous, their fourth film, was a cooperative effort of
Sherwood and Mount Zion Baptist churches. The production budget for
Courageous was in excess of $1 million. All of these Christian movies teach
solid lessons about God and His grace, portraying people learning
important spiritual lessons as they confront real issues of life. The
creators of the films want God to get all the glory. To make sure that
happens, they spend much time in prayer, pleading for divine guidance.
I enjoy staying after everybody else walks out to watch the
credits roll. Credits always start with names written big so you can
read them: lead actors, producers, directors, etc. Then the font size
gets smaller and packed closer and closer together until barely
legible: those who did makeup, arranged flowers, painted sets, served
food, drove vans, baked cookies, managed child care, and did a
thousand other tasks. All are listed, and most are members of Sherwood
Baptist Church wanting to give glory to God. And He should get all the
credit. He is the one who provided all the resources, all the
inspiration, all the talent - everything. Without Him, nothing.
Lord, forgive us when we try to grab credit for ourselves.
Without You, we can do nothing. [God of Wonders by David Steen re John
The secret of true obedience is the clear and close personal
relationship to God. All our attempts to full obedience will be failures
until we get access to his abiding fellowship. It is God's holy
presence consciously abiding with us that keeps us from disobeying Him. I
must consciously include the Lord in every thought, activity, and
conversation until the habit is established. Andrew Murray
My dearest child, It breaks my heart to see the way you struggle
and struggle in your own strength. So often you feel depleted. You
push and fret and end up feeling burned out and alone. There is no
need for you to go on like this. I long to give you inner strength.
Draw on my resources and live as you were designed to live"as a
branch attached to the vine of my eternal love. All that you require
will flow from my abundance to your need. And when my life has filled
your emptiness to overflowing, it will branch out into the lives of
those around you. I am the vine; you are the branch. Come to me and
live. Abundantly yours, God [Postcards from Heaven by Claire
LINK FOR FURTHER STUDY
LINKS WORTH CHECKING OUT
Most Important Decision in Life:
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Prayer Made Real: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tc8VdMV26VE
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Restoring The Power by John Bradshaw:
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