The Benefits of Abiding

John 15

Jesus finished bearing His soul to His disciples in the upper room and walked down Mt. Zion through the Valley of Jesophat, across the brook Kedron to the Garden of Gethsemane.  The walk would have carried them through freshly pruned vineyards.  Doubtless smoldering embers remained from fires in which the pruned limbs were burned.  A Passover full-moon beams down on them as He teaches. In the rarified supernatural air of this divine high ground, the Lord reveals some basics for His followers of all ages.

Chapter 14 spoke of faith – “Believe in Me.”

Chapter 15 speaks of fellowship – “Abide in Me.”

The subject is not salvation, but service.  The pruning He speaks of does not allude to the loss of salvation, but to the loss of fellowship resulting from a lack of productivity. Christ speaks of productivity, that is,”fruitfulness,” which consequents from “abiding.”  The Greek word for “abide” (Vs. 4) is “meno,”  It is translated by eight different English words in the New Testament: abide, be present, continue, dwell, endure, remain, stand, tarry. We abide in Him when: 

(a) He abides in us and (b) His Word abides in us.

Productivity is not a result of human achievement, but of abiding in Christ.  As a branch gets its life, strength, and fruit from the vine, so the yielded believer gets the same from Christ. 

In love the Lord prunes in order to increase productivity. He does it to individuals and churches. When He prunes, there is not a thing cutaway; but it would have been a loss to keep and is gain to lose. We need to pray as Amy Carmichael: “Rid me Lord of every diverting thing.”

Jesus analytically spoke of those burning branches noted as being near the Kedron,  “If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.” (John 15: 6)

The primary ministry of the Holy Spirit is to bear witness of Jesus (Vs. 26). It is the major ministry of every believer to do the same (Vs. 27). 

The devil can’t keep you from being converted, but he will do all he can to get you diverted.  Don’t let him do it!

To “abide” means to obey, that is, to follow the instructions.  Joy results when instructions are followed.

“The essential thing in heaven and earth is… that there should be long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and always has resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.”  Fredrich Nietzsche

“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15: 11) You want joy? First, get His word first in your mind so you know it. Then make it your resolve to let your lifestyle be in compliance with it. Jesus spoke of the benefits of abiding as containing among them joy. He was open about the joy of abiding in Him and candidly the cost. The benefits far exceed the cost. Your choices have consequences. Joy awaits. Commit to a lifestyle of abiding and enjoy the lifelong consequence.