Part III of my sermon on John 15:1-9
The means is abiding (vs. 4-7)
How do we bear fruit? Abide. Verses 4 and 5 provide the answer on how to live out verse 2. Jesus says, “Abide in me.” Fruit bearing only comes about by abiding in Jesus. The word abide refers to existing in a certain place. It means to remain, to dwell, to continue, to tarry, to endure.
At the end of each day we go back to our homes. It is where we abide for most of our lives. We sleep, eat, read, clean, work, play, and enjoy life there. It is the place we go back to again and again. Just as our physical bodies abide in our homes our spiritual life is meant to abide in Jesus.
The idea of us abiding in Jesus is so critical that Jesus uses the word 14 times in chapters 14 and 15.
- John 14:17. We know about God and who he is by abiding in the Holy Spirit.
- John 14:25. Jesus tells the disciples that what he has spoken to them has come from him abiding with them.
- John 15:9. Just as Jesus abides in the Father’s love we are to abide in Jesus’ love.
- John 15:10. Abiding is the prerequisite for obedience to God.
- John 15:16. Our fruit, or our good works, will only abide (remain) because Jesus has chosen for us to do them.
So the answer to the question of How do we bear fruit? is to abide in the one who will cause us to bear fruit.
How do we abide? If you are like me, the answer to this question logically raises another question. The command is to bear fruit. How do we bear fruit? Abide. So then, how do we abide?
Verse 7 gives us the answer. “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you…” His words are the way in which we abide. His words are the way in which we abide. This means that we are to be people of the Word. God has given us an infallible book that was written by holy men, inspired by the Holy Spirit. This is the sap that should go through our veins. This is the vine which sustains us.
Matthew Henry describes it well in his commentary on John 15:7.
“How our union with Christ is maintained–by the word: for it is in the word that Christ is set before us, and offered to us, Romans 10:6-8. It is in the word that we receive and embrace him; and so where the word of Christ dwells richly there Christ dwells. If the word be our constant guide and monitor, if it be in us as at home, then we abide in Christ, and he in us.”
God puts a premium importance on words and so we are to be people of this Word. This book. It was by God’s words that he spoke this universe into existence out of nothing. He spoke and light shot forth into darkness. He spoke and planets started spinning in orbit. He spoke and the sun was placed in just the right spot so that our bodies wouldn’t burn up in the summer or freeze over in the winter. He spoke and the dry land separated from the vast oceans. He spoke and plants, trees and vegetation sprouted to life., He spoke and thousands of different kinds of living creatures and birds and animals filled the earth. He spoke and Adam’s heart started beating. His lungs filled with breath.
And then we see the glorious truth of John 1:1-5.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
When you put God’s Word before your face day after day, asking for the Holy Spirit to reveal its truths to you, your mind begins to be transformed. We are called to be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2). We are called to set our minds on the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:5). As you marinate your heart and mind in the truths of God’s Word you are abiding. You are soaking yourself in truth to help you fight the battles that wait for you as you walk out the door for work or begin another day as a mother of children who think the world is about them.
Let us not come before his Word motivated by guilt or a sense of duty. Do not be discouraged about past failings of not reading the Bible. You are already clean! There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. No. Let us come before his Word so that we may dwell richly with Christ because it is there that Christ dwells.
Thomas Brooks said, “Remember, it is not hasty reading, but serious meditating upon holy and heavenly truths, that makes them prove sweet and profitable to the soul. It is not the bee’s touching of the flower that gathers honey, but her abiding for a time upon the flower that draws out the sweet.”