Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #306 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading John 15 today and our focus is on How to Abide In Jesus. What Does it Mean to remain In Jesus? We are a daily 10ish minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Ceara, Brazil, Nairobi, Kenya, Harare, Zimbabwe, Assam, India, More Og Romsdal, Norway, North Holland, Netherlands, Vienna, Austria, parts unknown Finland and South Africa, Salinas, California, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Fresno, California, Tri Cities, Tennessee, and Louisville, Kentucky. Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Nothing is a very, very strong word, and when somebody who doesn’t exaggerate and always tells the truth uses the word “nothing,” it should cause us to sit up and take notice, and we have just such a situation in today’s passage. In John 15:5, Jesus says, “The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.” What a contrast – remaining in Jesus will cause us to be fruitful, not remaining in Jesus will cause us to be able to do absolutely nothing. Whenever we get to a critically important passage like this, I like to break down the key words, and look them up in the original language. In this verse, and in pretty much all of the beginning of John 15, the key word is the verb that the CSB translates as “remain” and other translations go with “abide.” The Greek word is “μένω ménō” and it is a very, very basic and normal word – not religious word at all. It can, and usually is, translated as “stay.” Here are a few examples:
56 And Mary stayed with her about three months; then she returned to her home. Luke 1:56 Mary meno/stayed/abided/remained with her cousin Elizabeth for thee months.
Matthew 10:11, when Jesus sent His disciples out, He said this to them, “11 When you enter any town or village, find out who is worthy, and stay there until you leave.” Same verb – translated as stay. We can also see that verb used in a more spiritual sense:
Matthew 26:38, “38 He said to them, “I am deeply grieved to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with me.” Jesus is asking His disciples to remain/stay with Him and pray. So the word meno/abide/remain in the Greek functions almost exactly like our simple verb “stay,” and in this passage, Jesus is going to tell us again just how important it is for us to STAY/REMAIN/ABIDE in Him. How important is it? Well – again, if we don’t stay with Jesus…then we bear no fruit. As we keep reading in John 15, we see Jesus get more and more serious about staying in Him, “If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” What in the world does that mean – it sounds incredibly ominous – if we don’t stay in Jesus, then we are in great danger? Why? And Jesus has already given us the answer to that in John 8:31, “31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. 32 You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” the word that is translated “continue” in the CSB is the same word for remain/abide/stay, and here Jesus tells us that the way to know if we are really Christians – really saved – really followers of Jesus, is if we STAY in His Word. As we talked about a few days ago when we read through John 8, a Christian is defined as basically somebody who REMAINS/STAYS in the Word of Jesus and continues following Him and His Word. Modern churches often focus on making a decision to follow Christ, but I find that Jesus focused much more on abiding/staying/remaining/continuing in Him, and this is a strong continuation of that emphasis.
So – how do we stay in Jesus? How do we abide? Here is pastor John Piper with some practical counsel:
Keep yourself attached, closely attached, to the vine. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (v. 5). Everything that you try to do will come to nothing unless you do it through a conscious, abiding dependence on the enablement of Christ… Make it your aim for the rest of your life to discover in ever deeper experience what it means to abide in Christ. It is the secret of all fruitfulness.
There are several pointers in the text that help us discover what this means in practice. One is in verse 7: “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will and it shall be done for you.” Abiding in Christ involves letting his words abide in us. Notice how these two things come together: the word abiding in you and effectual prayer. Here is the first and decisive line of battle in your ministry. You must, you must resist everything that would pull you away from rigorous study of God’s Word and daily hours of prayerful meditation to let that Word sink in and abide. The inwardly abiding word is a truth of Scripture believed, cherished, and rolled back and forth in the imagination until its implications spill over into daily life as love and joy and peace and righteousness. The Word will not abide within us if we are in a hurry. We pastors deceive ourselves when we are so busy doing good things that we snatch a text and a prayer on the run and think that we will be mighty men of God and bear spiritual fruit. ….Holy, powerful, life-changing spiritual men of God are not made on the run… But Christ has appointed you to go and bear fruit. So resist those expectations with boldness.
John Piper, Sermons from John Piper (1980–1989) (Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God, 2007).
And also some words from Spurgeon:
[Jesus says here ]“Do not merely find a temporary shelter in me, as a ship runs into harbour in stormy weather, and then comes out again when the gale is over; but cast anchor in me, as the vessel does when it reaches its desired haven. … ‘Abide in me.’ ”As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me.You must bear fruit, or else be cast away; but you cannot bear any fruit except by real union and constant communion with Jesus Christ your Lord.
“I am the vine, you are the branches: he that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing. “Not merely will you do very little, but you can do nothing at all if you are severed from Christ. You are absolutely and entirely dependent upon Christ both for your life and for your fruit-bearing.
Source: C. H. Spurgeon, “The Last Words of Christ on the Cross,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 45 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1899), 504.
Bible Memory passage for the month of November: John 14:6 “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
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