John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
I have often wondered how serious we take this statement. The expression without me ye can do nothing indicates complete dependence. Do we see ourselves as absolutely dependent upon our beloved Savior? Do we see HIM as our source of life and blessing? One of the main themes I am seeking to develop in my new Developing Disciples series is taken from Psalm 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
In this text the believer is portrayed as a tree planted by the rivers of water. This is a tree planted with a purpose and it is a tree planted by rivers of water. Not simply a river, for this tree has access to rivers. These trees will have God’s provision made available to them. This provision will enable them to be fruitful and to glorify God. This is the purpose for being planted by the rivers of life. The prophet Isaiah speaks to us further about planted trees.
Isaiah 60:20-21 20 Your sun will never set or your moon go down. I, the LORD, will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will come to an end. 21 Your people will live right and always own the land; they are the trees I planted to bring praise to me.
One of the stated purposes for the planted trees is to bring praise unto our God. The faithful provision of the LORD will be the everlasting light necessary to sustain them in difficult times. The necessary light to follow the path of God through the stormy weather of life upon this earth is promised. The days of sorrow will end and times of refreshing from the presence of the LORD shall be found. These are the trees that God has planted and they shall make offerings of praise to HIM. But we must not move too swiftly past the seasons of divers temptations.
Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
The trees of righteousness that shall live upon the provisions of God shall enter into days of sorrow. This too is their provision for it will provide grace necessary for life and ministry. These planted trees will receive beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for heaviness. The rivers will flow through and bring healing to the ashes of the smoldering life, for the mourning from the wilderness wanderings, and for the heaviness of the soul. The river of grace will bring beauty to a life that has walked through a fiery storm. The river of the Spirit shall flow into the soul of the mourner. Jesus said, blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted. The river of communion will bring the fading ember back to life for Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He is the resurrection power. The garment of praise shall keep the tree planted by the rivers of water to bring forth fruit. We must abide in HIM if we are to bring forth fruit.
Too many people do not want the cross and seek to flee the fiery trial. They do not want to fully embrace the grace that is being made available to them. They seek to run from the storm instead of being a tree planted and drawing upon the resources of the rivers. They are content to tie fruit on to their arms and then busy themselves telling others how this fruit was born. Or, why their manufactured fruits taste so much better than other fruit. “Beware of trying to be Christians without living daily upon Christ.” (Charles Haddon Spurgeon)
Philippians 1:11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
How do we glorify God in the bearing of fruit? What are the fruits of righteousness? How do we abide in HIM?
John 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
If we are to glorify God, we must bear this fruit. How do we bear fruit? John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
If we are to bear fruit, we must abide in Christ. For without Christ, we can do nothing. If a person does not abide in Christ, they cannot bear fruit. They can tie the fruit or glue the fruit or tape the fruit onto their lives, but to bear the fruit of the Spirit by being planted in Christ, we must abide in HIM. To abide in Him is to think upon him, to think upon his word, to trust and to rest in his promises. To abide with Christ is to live with Christ continually. We are to make our home with Christ. If we abide in Christ, we will bring forth fruit. If we bring forth fruit, we will glorify God. If we glorify God, we have accomplished his will for our lives.
But exactly how do I abide in Christ? Again, let us not give opinion but rather let the word of Christ dwell in us richly. John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
If we love Christ, we will obey him.
If we obey him, we will abide in him.
If we abide in him, we will bring forth fruit.
If we bring forth fruit, we will glorify him.
If we glorify him, we will be accomplishing his will for our lives and we will enjoy him. And we will have the opportunity to enjoy what is most enjoyable with unbounded energy and passion forever. Is there a word of God that HE is seeking to develop in your life? Is there a truth that HE is calling to you for your surrender? Let loose and abide in the grace and allow the Spirit to flow through your soul as rivers of life.
Do others need what you have? Do you have the very life of Christ flowing through your soul making a difference in your life and in the life of others still outside of the covenant of grace?
There is a great text in scripture that gives the purpose of the tree of life in the future state. We share that same purpose for our present state.
Revelation 22:1-2 1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.