The True Vine - Part 3

August 12, 2020

 

As we continue with our current series, “The True Vine” we remain in John’s gospel and chapter 15, when following His metaphor of the Vine and branches, the Lord provides us with a threefold result of our abiding in Him.

 

In verse 7, incredibly we receive the promise of answers to prayer: -

 

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

 

In verse 10, wonderfully we receive the promise of abiding love: -

 

 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

 

And in verse 11 marvelously we receive the promise of abiding joy: -

 

These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

 

This “full joy”, is one of John’s favorite expressions which he uses four times in his gospel and twice in his epistles; and perhaps when recounting the consequences of abiding in Christ, he had in mind Psalm 16:11 which tells us that: -

 

In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

 

However, whereas on Sunday I shall mainly be speaking about the first of these, in this post I very much want to focus on abiding in the love of the Saviour.

 

Our Lord tells us that is when we keep His commands that we abide in His love. And His great commandment is this, that we should love one another as He has loved us. Abiding in the Vine expresses our relationship with the Lord, but parallel with it, is our relationship with one another, with those who are also believers in Him. And the binding element is love, and not just any love, but the love of Christ, sacrificial love, for we are to love one another just as He has loved us.

 

This attribute of love for one another is made the test of genuine Christianity in John’s epistles. In 1 John 3:15, to hate one’s brother is equated with murder, whilst in John 13:35 love for one’s brother in Christ is the badge and hallmark of the true believer.

 

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

We may say that we are followers of Jesus, but how do we show it? How will others know that we follow Him? By our love for one another. We are to love one another as Christ has loved us. A tall order indeed, but such a love will truly set us apart from the world.

 

By and large, the world thinks first and foremost about itself, but not so Christ. He thought first of the will of the Father and also of us before He thought of Himself. To do so, to put others before one’s self, is humility and loving one another in this way produces unity through humility. Isn’t that what Paul is teaching in Philippians 2: -

 

Therefore, if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfil my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond servant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

This is a wonderful portion of Scripture, a passage I love so well. It causes something to rise up within when we think of how Christ was willing to humble Himself for us and even more so when we understand that because He did, God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every other name.

 

But consider this. Paul is saying that we should have the same mind as Christ. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. He left His position of glory with God. Made Himself of no reputation. Took on the form of a bond servant and came in the likeness of man. And having done so, humbled Himself and became obedient even to the point of death at Calvary… wow. And we are to have that same mind.

 

Now we begin to understand a little better what Jesus meant when He said: -

 

If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

 

It was because Jesus humbled Himself to obedience of His Father’s command that He is now most highly exalted and likewise, the Lord now tells us truly, it is when we keep His commands that we will abide in His love, just as He abides in His Father’s love having kept the Father’s commands.

 

Now, we must love one another. Any thoughts, or barriers, or obstructions which prevent us from doing so, must be dealt with, must be brought to the obedience of Christ.

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