JOHN 15 Remain In Me Sermon INTRO:
We might be used by God to produce fruit we will never see. Takes time to take a fruit tree from a sapling to a mature, fruit producing tree. Down South, a young man, walking along a dirt path, comes upon an old man bowed to the ground planting pecan trees in a field. He stops and asks the old man, “Why would you plant pecan trees? They’ll take so many years to mature that you’ll never enjoy the pecans.” The old man responds, “I plant these trees because all my life I’ve eaten pecans from trees I did not plant.”
Oftentimes our lives will be the same. We might be used by God to produce fruit that we will never see. And all of our lives, we’ve eaten of the fruit of Christ-like conduct in people who we never shared the gospel with. Even the Apostle Paul was writing his letters to churches like the church at Rome, to people who had been Christians for longer than he. But the important thing is that we bear fruit, and oftentimes everything in our lives will be orchestrated for that very purpose.
Think of John’s Gospel not so much as a book but as a destination. John is a tour guide of the Alps of the gospel. He says to us, his readers, “You’ve got to see Jesus for yourself. There’s so much more to Jesus, and what he’s done for you, than you can possibly imagine or even hope.”
John 15 (NLT) 15 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.
 No branch can grow grapes without staying connected to Christ — If you expect to be a strong Christian without a daily prayer habit, you can forget it! If we expect to be strong Christian without allowing the gardener to cut, chop, tear down and plant new seeds in our souls, we are deceiving ourselves!! Yesterday’s revelation from God won’t cut it for today. The Word you received from the Lord last Sunday won’t sustain you for the situation you’re going to face after church at the commissary, the BX, the post office, or at home, or at school or work tomorrow. You need fresh manna, fresh bread from heaven to be constantly flowing down to you. What did Jesus tell Satan in the wilderness? In Luke 4 and John 4, Jesus replied to Satan that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God! Jesus said we are sustained by the Word of God that proceeds, that is present, that is constant.
So how do we continue to being productive for Christ? We simply have to ask the Lord!
2 May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (2 Pe 1:2). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
So if we want to keep being productive for Christ, we can pray for grace to do so. And how do we do this? Through the Word. This is how the disciples found out they were already pruned and purified…
John 15:3-4 (NLT) 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
Each spring vinedressers cut back each vine to its root stock to enhance its fruitfulness. But branches that don’t bear fruit are “cut off” at the trunk and completely discarded because they are worthless and often infect the rest of the plant. People who won’t bear fruit for God or who try to block the efforts of God’s followers will be cut off from his life-giving power. But the more we allow the gardener to pull the weeds from our souls, then the fruit can get the proper sunlight and water and grow. We are pruned by our exposure to the gospel.
You are pruned by exposure to the Gospel – If you are a believer, there is a level of cleaning and pruning that already took place to condition your heart to receive Christ. Christ speaks in John 16 of the Holy Spirit going out to the entire world to challenge the entire world about who he is. But reading the Gospel, hearing the testimonies of others, and seeing God’s power in your life, it’s all a part of the pruning.
There is no such thing as a branch doing its own thing. We have to rely on the Vine and the gardener for everything.
John 15:5-6 (NLT) 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.
As Jesus had a living dependence on the Father, so believers in Jesus need to have a living dependence on him. So the only natural thing for a branch to do is stay connected, huh?
Barton, B. B. (1993). John (p. 309). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House.
APPLICATION: How To Apply/Equipping
Producing grapes should be natural to a grape branch
Each branch that continues to remain in the Vine will continually produce fruit. This “fruit” could be new converts (15:5), or “the fruit of the Spirit” (see Galatians 5:22), or both. Jesus’ emphasis here was not to dwell on our glaring inadequacies, and sins, but to remind us of the incomparable adequacy that comes from our relationship with him.
The essential idea of fruit is that it is the silent, natural, restful produce of our inner life.
Wow, a plant doesn’t think about producing fruit at all, does it? It just does what it does, right? If we remain connected to Christ, having a Christ-centered life will be natural, just like growing is natural for a plant. Jesus then gives us some incentive for prayer in the next passage!!
John 15:7-8 (NLT) 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
The point is that remaining in Christ, and being his disciple ought to show for something.
Christ’s Presence in us shows the world what God is up to
What am I saying? I’m saying that our relationship with our Lord will not and cannot go unnoticed. Can people really see that we’re different? Can people tell that we follow Jesus? When we produce MUCH fruit, it brings GREAT glory to the Father.
Praying the Word of God is a great way to begin looking more like Jesus. One great way we can remain in Christ through praying his Words, the Scriptures, back into our own hearts:
Philippians 1:11 (NLT)11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ*—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.
Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Php 1:11)
So in conclusion, Christ said remain in me, or ABIDE IN ME.
Abiding in Christ means:
• believing that he is God’s Son (1 John 4:15)
• receiving him as Savior and Lord (John 1:12)
• doing what God says (1 John 3:24)