Pondering the Passages: John 15:1-8

This Week’s Passage: John 15:1-8 1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

This Week’s Memory Verse: John 15:4 “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

It is pretty obvious what the KEY WORD is in this passage. The word “remain” is mentioned 8 times in these 8 verses. Of the major translations, the NIV is the only one that uses the word “remain” The KJV, NKJV, ESV, and NAS all use the word “abide”. While I generally favor the NIV (largely because it is a solid translation and it is the one I grew up with), I really like the word “abide” in this passage. To me, it carries a depth and richness in it’s meaning that the word “remain” does not have. So that’s the word I will use as I reflect on this passage.

There are 2 things that I want to comment on in this blog: 1) the promises mentioned here for believers who “abide”, and 2) what “abiding” actually means. Lets look at the latter first.

What Does It Mean To Abide

Remain. Continue. Stay. Dwell. Live. Look up the word “abide” in a dictionary and these are some of the words that you will find. The illustration that Jesus uses about the vine is perfect to give a practical picture of what it means to abide. In order for a branch to stay healthy and to produce fruit it MUST stay connected to the vine. It MUST draw all it’s nourishment from the vine. It MUST continually look to the vine for it’s strength, for it’s vitality, for it’s life. If the branch is broken off – it stops producing fruit, it cannot receive nourishment, and it dies. Abiding in Christ means that you stay connected. It means that you look to Christ for your strength and nourishment. It means that you find in Him everything that you need in order to live. You don’t try to look other places because they will not satisfy your needs when you are in Christ and cannot satisfy the longings of your heart when you are not in Christ.

The Promises for Those Who Abide

There are three of them spelled out in these verses:

1) Verse 4: If we abide in Him, He will abide in us! – The misconception is that we have invited Jesus to come into our life. (“Just pray this prayer and invite Jesus into your life and you will be saved.”). The truth of the gospel is that He has invited us to come and experience life in Him.  He is the One who extends the invitation to us. And if we come and find our dwelling place in Him, His promise is that He will NEVER leave us or abandon us or bail on us. Perhaps you’ve heard the saying – “if you don’t feel close to God, guess who moved?” If we abide in Him, He WILL abide in us!

2) Verse 5: If we abide in Him, we will bear much fruit! – No ifs, ands, or buts – the promise is that we WILL produce fruit… and a lot of it. And it will happen naturally. It’s not something that you will have to try to make happen. I have never seen a branch on a peach tree straining for all its worth to produce peaches. As long as it is connected to the trunk of the tree in a healthy way it will produce peaches. That’s what it is there for. If it is not producing peaches then that is an indication that something is wrong. So the question I have to ask myself is this: am I producing fruit, and if not, why not? And if so do I need  a good pruning to take place in my life so that I will be even more fruitful.

3) Verse 7: If we abide in Him AND His words abide in us God WILL answer prayer! – Have you ever been in a relationship where you were so connected that you often knew what the other person was thinking and what they were going to say? That’s the kind of connection you have with Jesus when you are abiding. And that’s why God will answer when you pray – because you are thinking along the same lines as He is, you are thinking His thoughts. So when you pray, it’s as if He already had in mind what you prayed for and was just waiting for you to verbalize it. Elsewhere in Scripture this is referred to as “praying according to God’s will” (see 1 John 5:14).

Note the phrase “and His words abide in us.” This is why I’m a fan of what we are doing with these passages. As we ponder these powerful passages of Scripture and as we take the time to memorize His Word, more and more His words are abiding in us. And the promise of Jesus is that when we abide in Him and His words abide in us then He WILL answer prayer.

Now that is a promise I really like. I’m just sayin’!

Next Weeks Passage: Philippians 2:4-11
Next Weeks Memory Verse: Philippians 2:4-5

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4 thoughts on “Pondering the Passages: John 15:1-8

  1. Greg Lineberry on said:

    Thanks Shay !! Great week !!
    Ok !! All my thaughts, notes, and pondering from this week have braught me to this conclusion !!
    To ” Remain ” in Him .
    To me this is a perfect illistration of this exercise, our pondering, studying and reading of His word !! The more time we spend with Him . The more we grow in Him, the more he grows and shows himself in us !!
    God is So amazing !!! How His word his teaching and his spirit directs us in our life, when we let it.
    Before i really had the chance to dive into this last week. i had the chance to share with my sunday school class. God led me through prayer to a few passages . I was really convicted and led to talk about PEACE . Are you AT PEACE, or do you KNOW PEACE . So here are the verses .

    John 14 :15-27
    Philippians 4 :6-7
    Philippians 4 : 12-13
    and Last
    Philippians 4 : 4 ” Rejoice in the Lord ,ALWAYS !! ; I say again REJOICE ! ”

    Thank you again Shay, for providing an exercise tool , to Help grow me in HIM , and He in I .
    Love you guys !! May God Bless you Richly !!

  2. I did not “Remain” in my pondering this week. Looks like I missed a really good one. It would have been timely! Oh, well….I will press on. Excited to be starting a new passage this week. Hate I missed this weeks treasure. Perhaps on our week off I will ponder this one.

  3. Debbie Cline on said:

    So we just moved to another home and as I look at the shrubs, and azaleas that look awful, I see where they have not been attended to as they should. Limbs are spirling every which way and some azaleas are very dense, especially to have been planted 40 yrs. ago. So how do I relate that to my Christian walk? Am I allowing the Father to prune me? Yes, I do, because I abide in HIM and I know that HE abides in me. Am I under nourished? Yes, I could always be in the WORD more. Are others seeing the beauty of HIM in me…the same as they would look at a gorgeous azalea when it is in full bloom? Well, affirmations from others touch my heart, but I’m quick to tell them, it’s not I but CHRIST who lives in me. I love sharing with others of how HE has worked in my life.

    It’s so hard for me to put my thoughts on paper…that’s why I don’t journal. But Shay, thank you for continuing this on a weekly basis. I have it right here at work and when I’m not busy, I’m reading and pondering. Blessings, my friend.

  4. Pingback: Pondering the Passages: 1Thessalonians 5:16-18 « I'm Just Sayin'…

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