Abide in me – John 15:5

VERSE – John 15:5 – “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

CONTEXT: 15 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

BEGIN

Greetings dearly beloved in the most blessed name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, it is very humbling for anyone to be sharing God’s word. For God’s word is alive, and powerful, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. One cannot formally share God’s word without confessing and getting right with God prior.

INTRODUCTION:

John 15:5 is a very familiar verse and is probably so commonly shared that it may have lost its impact. Today I want to share with you once again this popular John 15:5 because it’s a classic. It’s an age old classic that has withstood time and it’s still being preached and exhorted for good measure!

I grew up in the YF during my teen years and John 15:5 was our favorite verse, which has a song that is literally word for word too.

Jesus starts the passage by clearly defining the roles for us namely:

  1. Father – Husbandman Jn 15:1
  2. Jesus – The True vine Jn 15:1 – Not just any vines which can be grafted, but the true vine, original, unique and not replicable.
  3. Disciples – The branches

There are at least 3 items we can draw from John 15 passage, at least 3 A’s I’d like to share with you.

These 3 items are

  1. Access,
  2. Attitude
  3. Ambition

Access to Christ, Attitude Towards Christ and our Ambition for Christ.

ACCESS TO CHRIST – PRAYER

All of us have access to Christ, and we are reminded by Jesus in Jn 15:5 you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit. Personally I’m a visual person, as in I will frequently create a visual image to better appreciate a point, or paraphrase to something that I can relate, to understand and savor the points.

We need to come to Christ every day, especially in prayer. Some will ask why especially prayer and not biblical reading? Not everybody have access to the bible, but everybody have access to God through prayer.  Pray without ceasing, it can even be continuous bouts of short prayer but this is important. When we pray, we will reflect, meditate, and God will speak to us as he brings us into remembrance of through his words, sermons and even hymns that we have come across, sometimes and more often than not, something which we do not even recall. Thus it is extremely important in what we put in our minds: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

ACCESS TO CHRIST – READING

This leads us to the next point in our access to Christ – daily access to Jesus through his word: the bible. We live in very hectic time, very tiring time, where everything appears to be demanding our attention. Our time is split among Work, Study, Church, Fellowship, Ministries, Classes, Social, Whatsapp, News, Meetings etc  and the list goes on and on. Unless we explicitly set aside time, we will never find time.

We need to find time to rest, to spend time with God and his word through our quiet time, through the reading of his word be it via visual or audio. Personally, I spend more time hearing the Bible, than reading. Reason being I spend much time alone commuting and walking. These are time I listen to the bible, listen to sermons and hymns.

It reminds me of the hymn “TAKE TIME TO BE HOLY”.

DELIGHT IN CHRIST: V3 “CLEANSED THROUGH THE WORD”

In V3 – Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

God speaks to us every day, and it is through his word. The more we alienate ourselves or distant ourselves from his word, he deprive the communication. This is made worse when we have not been exposing ourselves to his word in the past.

We are going through battle field every day, and nobody comes out clean from a battle field. We need daily cleansing, not just showers for Physical Cleanliness, but Spiritual Cleansing. Two Chapters from John 15 which is John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

Every soldier looks forward to the time where we can take a shower and changed into a new set of uniform. It feels good, it energizes us, it enables us to perform even better. It is maintenance time when we spend time being cleanse by God’s word; it is like an engine oil change, allowing us to continue going miles after miles after maintenance. If we do not get cleansed by the word, we will start to break down spiritually, we start to get tired, and disappointments start to sets in.

Or worse – we start to become indifference, the feeling of spiritually dead and we start to wonder if we are even saved in the first place. Salvation is not based on our feelings, but based on God’s promises recorded in his word. If we have been neglecting the bible, it’s time to pick up once again not just on Sunday but daily and as oft as possible.

We need to be cleansed daily. We need to be sanctified daily. It is through these daily cleaning through God’s word that we can find “Joy in the Lord”, that we can find “Delight in the Lord”.  It is through God’s word that we can “Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Neh 8:10

DEPENDENT ON CHRIST: V4

“the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine”. Jesus emphasizes the need to be dependent on him.

How do we depend on Jesus? Most people cannot answer this question. To make it simpler, “How do we NOT depend on Jesus”

Some example would be:

  1. When we trust men more than Christ
  2. When we fear men more than Christ
  • When we trust our logic more than Christ

So when we start exhibiting these behaviors and thoughts, we know that we are not being dependent on Jesus.

As we grow to lean on Jesus and trust him, our dependent on him will grow and this is a good thing. As we start to depend on Jesus more, we will taste more of his goodness. It becomes a sweeter as the days go by, while visually it may not be so, but spiritually and our state of attitude expresses the sweetness.

“sweeter as the days go by” is also a Hymn – google for it. The words are very meaningful and encouraging.

http://www.namethathymn.com/hymn-lyrics-detective-forum/index.php?a=vtopic&t=1020

 

 

 

ATTITUDE FOR CHRIST – “APART FROM ME” –

“The branches that abide in the true Vine represent those who are truly saved. The others are not properly connected to the Vine. You have seen shrubs that have weeds growing in them. The weeds are intertwined with the branches of the shrubs and appear to be part of the same plant, but in reality they are attached to a different root. They are like people who have only a superficial relation to Christ.

Tragically, some people pretend to be Christians but have no real connection to Christ. They might regularly go to church or be involved in a Bible study. They might even talk about having a relationship with Jesus. But they aren’t genuine branches in the Vine.“ – GTY – http://www.gty.org/resources/positions/P18/abiding-in-christ

With all the promises and God news for “abiding in Christ” here comes the crunch. What if we do not abide in Jesus? Remember the warning earlier about being possibly spiritually dead? Paul in 2 Cor 13:5 reminds us to “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you”. Remember faith without works is dead. Coming to church every Sunday to worship and Saturday for fellowship does not indicate we are saved, but at least these are also some signs that we are Spiritually alive as we desire to Worship, to listen to God’s word, and worship.

The litmus test is… how about Monday to Friday! Do we desire God? Do we hunger for his word? Do we talk to Christ? We all know dead people don’t talk – punt intended.

Decoupled

V6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned

V6 presents a very grim warning – and it’s a downward spiral.

It is also a very visual description from Jesus to severely warn us what happen when we do not abide in him.

First it is Decoupled – cast away

Then it is Drained – Withered

Finally it is Destroyed – Burnt.

Back sliding and Apostasy does not happen overnight, just as a leaf or branch does not become sick overnight. There are indicators; there are visual indicators to warn us. We can either take corrective actions immediately, or at least ASAP otherwise it will be downward spiral.

But wait a minute.. are you preaching we will lose our salvation?

NO! However in the sense one we may not even be saved in the 1st place. One is living like a Christian because of what it offers but the heart was never renewed…. Ye Must be Born again. Remember what Jesus commented to the crowd, “Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.” – John 6:26

The big question then is: are we likened to the crowd who came to consume or to contribute in labor? “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.”

I’ve heard from 2 YFers quoting 2 Cor 12:15 recently on being spent for Christ, “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.”.

This is the punchline as we love our fellow brethren more each day “the less I be loved”.

This is the challenge in the ministry, this is the risk and quite possibly a reality that as we love others more each day, we end up getting less loved, often times being taken for granted.

  • Will this hinder you from service?
  • Will this hinder you from ministering?
  • Will this hinder you from laboring for Christ?
  • Will this hinder you stop in the ministry?
  • Will this cause you to be upset?
  • Will this cause you to start murmuring?

THEREFORE we need to Abide in Christ. Despite of our busyness, we need to draw close to God.

Preparing sermons/activities/planning/etc are good ministries, it help us to KNOW GOD but it does NOT draw us close to God. It is the intimate relationship with Jesus through constant prayer, reading his word, worship and fellowship that will draw us closer to Jesus each day. One can be so busy without knowing that we are drifting away and it becomes a job instead of a ministry. It becomes a delivery instead of a ministry.

Drawing close to God requires daily constantly being in contact with him…

  • through prayer
  • through meditating on his word

It’s a grim warning from God about not abiding in him…

  • First it is Decoupled – cast away
  • Then it is Drained – Withered
  • Finally it is destroyed – Burnt.

 

Ambition for Christ – “Bear much fruit” v8 – Transformation

So we have considered:

  • Abiding in Christ – our Access to Christ – Remaining in Jesus – Daily Coming to Christ to gather sustenance, nutrients, life through prayer and Reading….
  • Attitude for Christ – how we should not be apart from Jesus lest we be Decoupled, leading to Death and Destruction

How then should be live for Christ? AMBITION!

What is your ambition for Christ?!

We have just completed the Combined Youth Camp – and the topic of Lordship of Christ is extremely important in our daily Christian Life.

Either Christ is the LORD of all else Christ is not the LORD at all.

When we ambition to submit to Jesus, acknowledge the LORDSHIP of Christ in every aspect of our life – it is to the Glory of God. Phil 2:11 “And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

What is the Chief End of Men? What is the Chief Ambition of Men?

Man’s chief end is to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31), and to enjoy him for ever (Ps. 73:25-26).

Man’s chief AMBITION is to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31), and to enjoy him for ever (Ps. 73:25-26).

How do we glorify God in our Ambition?

7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

  1. Abide in Jesus
  2. Jesus Word’s abide in Us
  3. Ask – Pray
  4. Thus Father Glorified WHEN
    1. We bear much fruit
    2. Be his Disciples

We must ambition to be the servant of Christ where we

  • Surrenders in Worship (WORSHIP)
  • Evangelizes the lost (EVANGELISM)
  • Relies on Prayer (PRAYER)
  • Values the Word (WORD)
  • Active in Service (SERVICE)
  • Nurtured in Community (COMMUNITY)
  • Transformed in Character (CHARACTER)

What are the various ways we can have ambition for Christ in Ministry?

Games are good, it promotes fellowship. But beside games, how about activities that accomplish more than 1 objective concurrently? It is the projects with the team members that promotes interaction, fellowship and yet concurrently accomplishes the great commission of evangelism and other aspects of Christian ministries. Remember how Pastor Isaac emphasized on ministries that minister to others, and also ministries that is to oneself.

  • Youth Fellowship
    1. Committees such as
      1. EXCO
      2. CGs
  • Events
  1. Are we Consumer or Contributor?
  • Weekly Church Service
    1. Parking Support –
      1. Also for FEK such as anniversaries and events.
      2. Relief of our senior folks – many hands make light work.
    2. Clearing the Pews
    3. Cleaning Communion Cups
    4. Lunch Catering
  • VBS
    1. Leaderships in HOD
    2. Logistics – A CG Handle an aspect of VBS such as games, food, people mgmt
    3. Teaching
    4. Story Telling
    5. Canvassing
  • Missions Trips
    1. March 19-23 in Medan
    2. Confirm attendance by Jan 17.
  • FEK
    1. Games Day
    2. Concerts
    3. Graduation
  • Church Camp
    1. Volunteer for helps
    2. Chairing
    3. Musician
    4. Bus Captains
    5. Service in Church Committee.
  • Youth Gospel Rally –
    1. Canvassing
  • Door to Door
    1. Yishun
  • ERBL
    1. Minister to oneself
    2. Improve oneself (To know Christ and to Make Him Known)
  • Life Children Club
    1. Teaching
    2. Singspiration
    3. Befrienders on Sunday
    4. Invite to LTF

CLOSING

God had been gracious to us in 2014, create memories for 2015. Create memories for self, create memories for others. Ministries to self, minister to others. So that we can testify of God’s mercies, goodness, and grace, all to God’s glory.

What is our YF Motto? – To know Christ and to make him Known.

2014 had been extremely memorable for me as many 1st time experience I’ve learnt in the ministry. I used to be extremely quiet; I would rather being alone, come and go quietly and am happy with my time in worship and with God. I had past differences before, and we all have differences in opinions when we serve. However, as we grow in Christ, we look beyond the differences and come together with a common objective – to Glorify God.

We cast shadows where ever we go, and we should cast the shadow of a disciple in Jesus.

Are we leading by example and displaying positive behaviors by words, thoughts and actions even in our dressing? Even our passing remarks of resignation and murmurings can have impact to others. Take it to the Lord in Prayer. Are we spreading positive vibes to others? Drawing others to be dependent on Christ… into the Lordship of Christ?

So I implore all of us, to understand the impact that our behaviors have on those around us and to always do our best to cast a positive shadow.

Let us all be the outward looking Church, through Christ we will bear much fruits.

John 15:5 – “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

APPENDIX:

Clear Roles Defined

  1. Father – Husbandman
  2. Jesus – The vine
  3. Disciples – The branches

Three A’s –

  1. Access to Christ – “Remain in me”
    1. Daily approaching Christ: to gather sustenance, nutrients, life
      1. Prayer
      2. Reading
    2. Delight in Christ: v3 “clean through the word”
      1. Example of Baby shower
    3. Dependent on Christ: v4
  1. Attitude for Christ – “apart from me” –
    1. Decoupled – “cast forth as a branch” v6
    2. Death – Spiritually Dead – v6
    3. Destruction – v6
  1. Ambition for Christ – “Bear much fruit” v8 – Transformation
    1. Lordship of Christ – Col 1:18
    2. Send me – Isa 6:8
    3. Servant
      1. Surrenders in Worship (WORSHIP)
      2. Evangelizes the lost (EVANGELISM)
  • Relies on Prayer (PRAYER)
  1. Values the Word (WORD)
  2. Active in Service (SERVICE)
  3. Nurtured in Community (COMMUNITY)
  • Transformed in Character (CHARACTER)

Consideration:

Games are good, it promotes fellowship. How about activities that accomplish more than 1 objective concurrently? It is the projects with the team members that promotes interaction, fellowship and concurrently accomplishes the great commission of evangelism and other aspects of Christian ministries.

  • Youth Fellowship
    1. Committees such as
      1. EXCO
      2. CGs
  • Events
  1. Are we Consumer or Contributor?
  • Weekly Church Service
    1. Parking Support –
      1. Also for FEK such as anniversaries and events.
      2. Relief of our senior folks – many hands make light work.
    2. Clearing the Pews
    3. Cleaning Communion Cups
    4. Lunch Catering
  • VBS
    1. Leaderships in HOD
    2. Logistics – A CG Handle an aspect of VBS such as games, food, people mgmt
    3. Teaching
    4. Story Telling
    5. Canvassing
  • Missions Trips
    1. March 19-23 in Medan
    2. Confirm attendance by Jan 17.
  • FEK
    1. Games Day
    2. Concerts
    3. Graduation
  • Church Camp
    1. Volunteer for helps
    2. Chairing
    3. Musician
    4. Bus Captains
    5. Service in Church Committee.
  • Youth Gospel Rally –
    1. Canvassing
  • Door to Door
    1. Yishun
  • ERBL
    1. Minister to oneself
    2. Improve oneself (To know Christ and to Make Him Known)
  • Life Children Club
    1. Teaching
    2. Singspiration
    3. Befrienders on Sunday
    4. Invite to LTF

Summary of the Three A’s

  1. Access to Christ
  2. Attitude towards Christ
  3. Ambition for Christ
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~ by ymsim on 2015/01/05.

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