Monday, 9 June 2014

Abide in the Vine



“  I am the vine, you  are the branches: He  who  abides  in me, and I in him, the same brings  forth much fruit: for without me you  can do nothing.
 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you  shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you.
Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be my disciples “.
John 15 : 5 , 7, 8 .

Thousands of  people  become  “ born-again “, daily , world-wide.
It is the will of God  that every  living soul  would  be  born again ; not only so , but that everyone  who is born again would remain in the Faith , grow to maturity and bear fruits meet for the New Life in Jesus Christ.
When we accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour ,we become a part of the Body of Christ , we become  Christians with the innate ability to be Christ-like .
However , while some Christians remain steadfast in the Faith for decades and even for the rest of their natural lives  , some others  give  up and quit the Faith .
What makes the difference between the Faithful and the Unfaithful Christian ?
Why are there quitters and losers and Finishers and Winners in the race of the Kingdom Life?
                                         The Vine  and Fruitful Branches
        

In John 15: 1-17, Jesus likened Himself to the Vine and the Believers as the branches which bear the fruit of the vine .
 Jesus gave us an image of  branches  that would wither  and die when they become detached  from the Vine
In  this passage , the Lord Jesus emphasized  that the branches would bear fruits , as long as they remain attached to Him, the Vine . If  they , the branches were cut off  from the Vine their life-source  ,  they  would  thereafter wither , become dry  and become of no use but as twigs  fit for the fire. 
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 “.  John 15: 6.

The significance of  a branch ‘s attachment  to the shrub or tree is brought home  to me any time I trim  my flowers  beds  , hedges , shrubs  and lawn grass  at home .
Usually , I would neatly pack the trimmed  branches , grass leaves and flowers into the recycling  “Green bag” , awaiting collection by  my council’s  waste collection department.
Within a few hours  of being cut, the contents of the Green bag would start showing signs of  withering ; a marked difference from the living plants who escaped my trimming .
In 48 hours , the cut branches  and flowers would all look brownish and floppy ; death and decay would have set in upon them.
I do feel sorry to see flowers and branches which  I once cherished and cared for and which once looked so fresh and beautiful  on my lawn , ending up looking all messed up , crushed  and dead in the council green bag.
But that is life . What has  to be trimmed off and dumped , just has  be discarded as “ Trash!”

The Vine  and His branches can be likened  , also , to a river and its rivulets or tributaries.
When you dam the flow of water from the main river into its tributaries, you have cut off the Source of Refreshing  and therefore the rivulets would dry up leaving barren streaks known as “dead river beds”. 
A dried-up river ceases to bear life and is unable to give sustenance to anyone.
Such  dead river beds abound everywhere and they  have become foot paths  to  be trodden under the feet of men  and animals.

The worldly value system says: “Nothing goes for anything”, “ Nothing is free!”.
If you are a “nobody” and you bring nothing into a deal with another person , then you could  receive very little or nothing at all from that deal .
No one would , knowingly, invest in a transaction with someone who has NOTHING of equal or even greater value to offer in return,  to complete their own side of the deal.
But not so with our merciful God, who in His love and compassion  gave us His all ; generously and unconditionally, to all mankind .
"He that spared not his own son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things ?" Romans 8 :32.
In God’ s Salvation plan , God gave mankind His all , gave  His most precious  gift  which is His only Son Jesus Christ .
God’s Love and mercy  made Him reach out  to save mankind.
What was Mankind’s expected reciprocity to this Salvation deal offered by God ?
The only currency recognized by God and recognized in Heaven is the blood of Jesus Christ  which was shed  for the remission of  the sins of the world.
All that Man was and is required  to do as Man’s own response to God’s offer of eternal life is for Man  to accept God’s Salvation deal .
Acceptance means to believe God , to have FAITH in God; to have faith  in what the blood of Jesus did for the whole world. John 3 :16 – 18.
Faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ through His death and His resurrection is the only qualification which makes  any man fit  to be a partaker of God’s Salvation as expressed in His son Jesus Christ.
“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 “.John 15: 4.
The branches have nothing in themselves and they are nothing without the Vine.
 They remain robust, sturdy and full of life when they abide in the Vine because they receive tender care from the Father, the Husbandman.
Everything the branches would ever  need  for survival abounds in the sap, which is the blood , the Life Source in the Vine.
Faith in Jesus Christ connects the branches to the life-giving  sap in the Vine  .
The Life Source in the Vine is the blood of Jesus Christ  . This is the Sustaining Power which  enables the branches  to be fit  to remain living parts of the Vine.
                                       
The message here is :
1.      the born again Christian has been made righteous  and alive unto all good works by the blood of Jesus.
2.      In order to remain righteous  and  to  abound in grace which enables fruit-bearing the righteous , must abide under the cover of the blood of Jesus Christ and must  be attached  to the Vine which is the Life Source of the Christian.
Quitters are losers. They never win.
The Bible says that God does not delight in those who become born again and then they “look back”; meaning that  those  who were living the life in Christ but later detached themselves from the Vine by going  back to their previous life style of  sinful  living.