This was one of those profound titles that popped into my head. A real "thought provoker."
Actually, the more accurate response when you read that title was probably along the lines of some of my family members. Which, yeah, could be summed up with two small words, "uh, duh."
I think we all know that "dead trees can't bear fruit," it's a pretty simplistic sentence. But I don't think we put much thought into it after that. WE are the trees. If we're dead, we're not bearing fruit. If we're not bearing fruit, God tells us plainly of our outcome.
We're thrown into the lake of fire.
That's a pretty sobering thought. But I'm getting ahead of myself just a little. Let's start from the beginning:
John 15 is an AMAZING chapter. It's SO packed full of treasures!
It's one of my favorite chapters in the Bible.
John 15 can be divided into three main points:
1. The True Vine
2. Love and Joy Perfected
3. The Worlds Hatred
Today, we're just going to talk about the first one, "The True Vine."
I once heard it said that, "if the Lord saw fit to say the same thing twice in one chapter, then it must be something pretty important. Something that He doesn't want you to forget."
Verses four and five of John 15 say pretty much the same thing: "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing."
If we're not abiding in Christ, we won't bear fruit.
And if we're not bearing fruit, we're dead.
And folks, you can't have a dead Christian.
We're either alive, or we're not.
It then goes on to say in verse six that if we're not abiding in Him, (and bearing fruit will be the outcome of that) then we'll be cast into the lake of fire:
"If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned."
That's a scary thought.
Friends, in this life, we're going to have trials.
We'll mess up.
But if we're abiding in Christ, we'll come out of those trials victorious.
If you're in a rut, struggling with sin,
If you're constantly being corrected day in and day out for the exact same thing,
If you're having trouble getting along with others,
If you are NOT bearing fruit.
Then, friend, I'd highly recommend taking a real hard look at where you stand in your relationship with Christ.
"Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:10-11)
Because I think by now, we ALL know where those branches go that don't bear fruit.
But, we can't bear fruit unless we're part of the vine, unless we're abiding in Him.
What does abiding in Him look like?
1. Loving His Commandments (1 John 5:3)
If we're abiding in Him, we'll love His commandments. We'll love His law and take delight in it because we know it teaches us, makes us more like Him. If we're abiding in Christ we won't just LOVE His commandments, we'll FOLLOW them.
2. Loving His People (Leviticus 19:18)
If we're abiding in Him, we'll love His people. We'll love our neighbors, we'll love our siblings, we'll love our mother and our father, we'll love CHRIST. We'll abide in HIS love. (John 15:9)
3. Loving Correction (Proverbs 19:20)
If we're abiding in Him, we'll love correction. We'll love it because we know that however unpleasant it is, it's for our good. It's making us stronger. If we accept it, it will make us wise.
4. Loving His Letters (Proverbs 2:4)
The Bible is God's letters for us. If we're abiding in Him, we'll take joy in reading His letters. We'll search them like hidden treasures, we'll love them, we'll cherish them.
So, friends, let's take a good hard look at our lives. Are we dead? Or are we alive, abiding in Him?
And if it's the latter, are we loving His commandments, His people, His letters? Are we loving correction because we know it will make us wise?
If you're struggling in any of these areas, then there's no time like the present to change.
I know I can improve in many of these areas.
Let's work on them together.
How can I be praying for you this week? Please comment below, or send me a private message or email. I would love to pray for you, no matter how big or small the request.
Until next week, let's keep letting our lights shine!