Text: John 15:1-8
Jesus, the night before He was crucified emphatically told His disciples that if they abide in him he would abide in them. He further explained that abiding in him would result in them producing much fruit. Being apart from him meant that they would be like a branch that is severed from the vine. Such a person would be fruitless; would soon wither and die. Jesus told his disciples that they needed him in order to function like his disciples.
But how do Christians abide in Jesus?
We abide in Jesus by remaining in His love. The love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts and we are commanded to love each other as Christ loves us (John15:12). Love is the biggest theme in the New Testament scriptures. Love fulfills the law(Rom.13:10). One cannot love God without first loving one’s brother (1John 4:20). Love supersedes all the other gifts that a Christian could have and where there is no love, having the other gifts is useless (1Cor.13:1-3). The act of loving the brothers is evidence that the Holy Spirit lives in us and that He is producing fruit in us.
We abide in Jesus by being obedient to Him. Anyone claiming to abide in Jesus must follow his example (1John 2:6 ). We are called upon to walk in the light as Christ is in the light. This gives us fellowship with Christ and with the Father. Hearing the words of Jesus and putting them into practice will serve to keep the relationship between us and Jesus strong.
The new Christians in the Acts of the Apostles embraced and practiced the essential disciplines of adherence to the teachings of the apostles, fellowship, the Eucharist, and prayer. One cannot abide in Jesus unless one stays in His teachings. Straying from the message of the gospel, reverting to the law and other beggarly elements of this world is to cut oneself off from Christ (Gal.5:3; Gal.4:9-10). That is the very reason why Jude impresses on Christians to contend earnestly for the faith that was once delivered to the saints (Jude 3).
The Bible makes it clear that believers should engage in regular assemblies for the purposes of hearing the teaching of Jesus Christ, encouraging each other, praying with and for each other, giving thanks to God, and much more. (Hebrews 10:24-25; Col.3:16; Eph.5:19-20). Fellowshipping with each other would include the time when we meet for social activities like sports and picnics. There are times when we show hospitality by inviting poor brothers and sisters to have a meal with our family. In this way, we get acquainted with each other as we grow to love and appreciate other members of the body of Christ. Doing acts of kindness for one another, wanting to be among people of like faith to worship God and encourage our brothers, are all testimony to the fact that we have chosen to abide in Jesus.
The Lord’s supper has been given to help the church keep its focus on Christ. Whenever we participate in the table of the Lord we show his death until he comes (1Cor. 11:26). Sharing in the bread and the wine indicates that we all share in all that Jesus has provided for us by way of his sacrifice on the cross; that we have one Saviour and Lord Christ Jesus and that we are children and heirs according to the promises of God. Sharing in the Eucharist says that we are abiding in Christ and he in us. By eating and drinking the emblems of his body and blood, we symbolically show that we are willing to let him be the source of life for us.
Prayer is vital to the individual believer as well as the church collectively. Prayer brings us to the throne of God where we thank him, confess our sins, bring our petitions on behalf of others and ourselves, show our longing for his kingdom to come and asking God to open doors for the gospel to reach the unreached. Constantly seeking God’s grace and help proves that we depend on him and that we can do nothing without him. Acknowledging that Jesus is the source of all we need for right living and for doing his work here on earth, compels us to stay close to him in prayer. He is our life and so we hold on to him tenaciously.
Christians know that the devil is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1Pet.5:8). This being the case, we stay in Jesus; not just close to him but we in him and he in us. In this way we will not be devoured. Therefore, let us heed the words of Jesus, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you…”John 15:4