By Abiding in Christ

Dustin Folden July 25, 2021 John 15:1-27
Outline

3 relationships impacted by abiding in Christ

I. Our Relationship with God (v1-11)

A. A saving relationship

John 15:3 - You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

John 15:6 - If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.

B. A dependent relationship

John 15:4 - Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

C. A fruitful relationship

John 15:1-2 - I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.

John 15:7-11 - If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

II. Our Relationship with Believers (v12-17)

A. Is governed by obedience to the Lord’s command

John 15:12 - This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.

John 15:14 - You are My friends if you do what I command you.

John 15:17 - This I command you, that you love one another.

B. Is to be marked by sacrificial Love

John 15:13 - Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

C. Is to have a Christ-centered purpose

John 15:15 - No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

John 15:7 - If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

III. Our Relationship with the World (v18-26)

A. Will be similar to the world’s response to Christ

John 15:18 - If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, “A slave is not greater than his master.” If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

B. Should focus us to have compassion for the lost

John 15:21 - But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.

C. Requires dependence on the Holy Spirit

John 15:26 - When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

Does anyone like to snorkel…..any scuba divers here this morning?

I have this great love and fear of being underwater….I love being able to see what is under the surface, and breath while I do it…I have done a lot of snorkeling…but I have not gotten into scuba diving…there is a very real fear of going really deep, getting stuck in a cave and running out of air.

You see when you are underwater…air is kind of important…especially if you want to go really deep and stay under for a long time…they actually have something called surface supplied diving that navy divers and other deep sea divers use to go deep and be able to stay down a longer time to repair things, as well as come up from depth safely….The air supply is on the surface and you have a line supplying you with air.

This is a picture of an old deep sea diving suit….

pic 1 - old brass navy diver

The helmet was usually brass…but it was very strong and very heavy…

pic 2 - mark V helmet Picture of old Brass helmet

They also have new surface supplied rigs….

pic 3 - new helmet Picture of New diving helmet

Pic 4 new diving suit

Notice, how the equipment has gotten better…lighter…they have better gear, they have the best tools, the warmest wetsuit, they probably have goggles that you don’t need to spit in….and they probably have better gas mixtures…but the key principle is you still have a line of air… and if that line get crimped/cut…you are in for a really bad day….if you do not have air….you are…well dead in the water.

You must stay connected…or in biblical terminology, you must abide…

The word Abide means to remain, to stay connected to….You see the Lord is our air…our oxygen, our source of life….

In the book of John, that truth has been stated in many different ways so that people can wrestle with believing and putting their trust in Christ, but Jesus is going to say it again, to his disciples with important imagery that is going to help them not just at that moment, but in the future….

When you think of where we are in the book of John….Jesus is coming to the end of his time on earth...the cross is drawing near…His hour has come…and he wants to prepare his disciples so that when they face persecution and trials, they stay connected to Christ…continue to trust him and obey Him and focus on the mission he has entrusted to them.

And even though there are going to be trials an persecution, this whole process is to be characterized by joy ….as we consider our annual theme of Enjoying life in His name…We will see in our text that this close, intimate personal relationship where we abide in Christ is to be one characterized by joy.

To have that joy, we must focus on staying connected… we are not deep sea diver…we are also not apostles about to face persecution right after Christ D/B/R…however, if you are a follower of Christ…well abiding in Christ is critical for each of us as we consider honoring the Lord in all our relationships.

This morning we will continue our series in John…

Enjoying life in His name by Abiding in Christ

Please turn in your bibles to John chapter 15:1-27..that is on page 85 in the bible under the seat in front of you.

With our time this morning, lets look at…

3 relationships impacted by abiding in Christ

First and foremost, abiding in Christ defines

Our relationship with God v1-11

Although the word abide, means to remain…well to remain, you must first be attached. The whole book of John is about believing, and the importance of genuine belief…and the bottom line, is Christ is the promised Messiah, and for people to have a reconciled relationship with God, they must abide in Christ…they must attach themselves to him through faith…and trust and be nourished by What He says…

So our relationship with God based on Christ is first….

A saving relationship

Jesus said…

John 15:3 “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

John 15:6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.

  1. The people are at a cross roads...they must decide if they are going to abide in Christ…they are going to have to decide if they believe who He is…and ultimately if he rose from the dead and paid for their sin through his death…
  2. Anyone who does not abide in Christ in this way, will be cast into the eternal fire of Hell…because there is no other way to be saved but through Christ.

the text also reveals that our relationship with God is…

A dependent relationship

John 15:4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

  1. The idea is that a branch that is on the ground, can not bear fruit…it is not connected to the life giving substance of the vine.
  2. Someone who thinks they can do things on their own without God…those who believe they are good enough to get to heaven on their own…they can do nothing…it is only be recognizing our ongoing need for Christ, do we view God accurately.

Not only is our rel. with God dependent…but it is to be fruitful….the Christian life is not a spa day where we simply receive pampering…it is more like a fully functioning vineyard where we by the grace of God and the nutrients he provides, we produce something that brings our God glory.

So our relationship is to be ….

A fruitful relationship

  1. Bearing fruit in the Christian life is not optional…it is a mark of a genuine relationship.

John 15:1–2 — 1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.

  1. The reality in the book of John that we have addressed numerous times in this sermon series is that many are believing, but it is not clear if the people have genuine saving faith…or if they are just believing in Jesus that he is going to accomplish the goals of the people.
    1. Really it will be more clear after his death, burial and resurrection, if people will remain committed to Christ, and bear fruit based on what He did on the cross, rather than how they wanted to be delivered militarily and politicly.
  2. So if someone is “in Jesus”: in a sense…in other words they associate themselves with Jesus in some way, but they are really not abiding in Him, they will not bear fruit and over time that will be clear in their lack of fruit, and it will be revealed that the reality is they never knew God, they never had a saving faith, they believed in vain…and they are as the text says taken away…those who do not abide in Christ…Do not genuinely seek salvation in Christ alone will be separated from God for all eternity in hell.
    1. One of the evidences if people really believe if there is fruit in their life...their life is producing something that is not about them, but it is about the Lord being glorified.
    2. The reality is there needs to be some kind of fruit in your life to indicate that you are a genuine follower of Christ…that you truly do Abide in Christ.
  3. We have a confessional faith, where we profess what we believe and that is the basis of our salvation…but we also know that Faith without works is dead…and people can say they have faith…people in the book of John say they believe…but the fruit of their life indicates what they truly believe in their heart.
    1. This passage can be difficult, but it is good for everyone to ask themselves…Is there any fruit in your life that would indicate you are a Christian…
    2. It has been said before…If you were on trial for being a Christian…would there be enough evidence to convict you.
  4. Now, for those who do genuinely trust Him, do genuinely abide in Him….the Lord seeks that relationship to bear more and more fruit over the course of the believers life….and so part of a fruitful relationship with the Lord requires refining, or pruning…
    1. The imagery is that Christ is the vine and the Father is the vinedresser, and where Christ supplies the nutrients, there is also a sovereign plan to have those nutrients directed with purpose…
    2. So if you think about how plants work…the nutrients can either go to flowers, or to grapes….and so by pruning, and focusing…you have a greater yield…
  5. So the Lord sovereignly is working to refine us and prune things in our life that do not help us bring him glory.
    1. What does that look like….well if it is connected to Christ, it will look like Christ…it will be marked by a compassion for people, a humility no matter the circumstances, a trust in the Fathers plan, and a desire to serve people so the name of the Lord will be glorified.
    2. It will be marked by obedience to the Father, because we love and trust Him.
    3. Have you ever failed spectacularly in front of people…and you then think what does the Lord want right now from my reaction to bring Him glory….all your energy and thoughts now have to be redirected to being humble, and thankful for how God is working, what He wants, and you then focus on obedience and being willing to learn and grow.
      1. That is Christlike fruit.
        1. Good fruit is delicious and a joy to take part in…
      2. And this process is not to be done begrudgingly….
  6. We also must understand that part of this fruit is also a life marked by love and joy

John 15:7–11 — 7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. 9 “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

  1. If our relationship with God is based on His love and His joy, then that is to be produced in our lives as well.
  2. Our relationship with God, because we abide in Christ is to be a loving & joyful relationship.
  3. That does not mean there are no trials, so sorrow, no lament, but it means your desires are primarily to glorify the one you are abiding in…and that relationship keeps taking you back to the Lords love for Christ and the Lord’s love for you.
  4. Christ’s life was a life if suffering…yet He had perfect joy based on His relationship with the Father.
  5. Abiding in Christ keeps taking you back to the Joy of Christ that you can have constant access to as you think about what He did for you on the cross.

All of this is to overflow in our lives…to produce fruit in our lives…and so a big part of Abiding in Christ is also is to impact…

Our relationship with believers v12-17

If we are full of joy in Christ….that is to overflow into our relationships….but to relate to others properly, we must obey the Lord in how he commands us to relate to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Our relationship with believers…

Is governed by obedience to the Lord’s command

John 15:12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.

John 15:14 “You are My friends if you do what I command you.

John 15:17 “This I command you, that you love one another.

In others words, we are not to relate to people, based on if they do what we want, what we like…we are to relate to them based on our obedience to God’s command to love them…period…esp. if they do not deserve it…because God’s love was directed to us when we did not deserve it.

Abiding in Christ, means I trust Christ, I believe He is who he says He is...He is the Messiah, my Lord, the one that I need and can’t live without….the way I show that trust, is I obey what he says, even when I don’t feel like it.

Abiding in Christ and Obeying Christ go hand in hand….that is how I show my genuine trust in the Lord, and that is how I bear fruit for His glory.

Because It is easy to love someone if they do everything you want…but our love for one another must be governed by something greater than getting what we want…it must be governed by what God supplies…namely Who Christ is, and what He did for us to provide us with eternal life….He is the bread from heaven, the fountain of living water…the True vine…the one who gave His life…so you and I can have life…

That is why our relationships with believers ….

Is to be marked by sacrificial Love

John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

  1. This is how we know what love is…it is not simply enjoying each others company, being comfortable with each other, or having warm fuzzy feelings…there is a emotional component for sure, but first and foremost love is giving up your life for someone else…giving up what you want to put others above yourself.
    1. Christ did that. He showed us what God’s love is by laying down his life, so that we can have life…and enjoy life in His name.
    2. So if we abide in His love, and we obey Him….our lives are to be marked by giving up what we want for others in love.

That is why our relationship with one another…

Is to have a Christ centered purpose

The Lord has given us an amazing purpose…as friends…

  1. John 15:15 “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

The Lord has made know to us, what He wants us to do. He has not just given us a task, he has invited us into what He is doing, and made us a part of it….we are the branches…he has chosen to produce fruit for His glory through us….We get to be a part of what he is doing.

There is a big difference in asking a friend to come and help you build a deck, and paying someone to do it (besides the cost)…when you sit on that deck together drinking sweet tea and eating burgers…it is not just the joy of the food and drink you are enjoying…but the accomplishment of doing something together as friends that produces something incredibly enjoyable.

God invites us into something a billion times greater and more wonderful than that.

And that is to change how we view everything…God, ourselves, other people…so much so it changes what we desires, what we want, what we enjoy….what we ask for….

  1. John 15:7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

Notice that we can ask whatever we want…but it must be connected to His name…which is more than just saying the name of Jesus at the end of a selfish prayer…it is about abiding in Him…trusting and obeying Him, and letting His word govern our desires and what we ask…so that we are really asking God to fulfill His desires through us….rather than our own desires separate from His.

This has a huge impact how we view those who do not know Christ yet….Abiding in Christ impacts

Our relationship with the world v18-26

Jesus wants to prepare the disciples for what life is going to be like when he has resurrected…He does not want them to stumble as chapter 16 states…Yet he wants them to bear fruit even amid opposition…and so he prepares them to relate to those who do not abide in Christ by connecting them again to Himself…

He tells them that the world’s response to followers of Christ ….

Will be similar to the world’s response to Christ

  1. John 15:18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

Just as we are to abide in Christ love…particularly the Love the Father has for the son, and the love the Son has for us…well, the world does not love the son, and so we are also going to be connected to Him in that way.

The world does not love Christ, because He reveals that men love the darkness, and men trust themselves in self-righteousness, and people, naturally do not want the cross…do not want to admit they need the cross…and they are offended by a messiah that says he must die for their sins…

The idea here is that some persecuted Christ and some will persecute you…also…some believed Christ and some will believe you as well…so do not lose hope….and know that God is in the process of rescuing people, and some will respond and believe…

And some will not…and so we must not stumble and be surprised if we seek to share the message of Christ with the world, and it is not always well received as it is an affront against the sinfulness of mankind.

That should lead us not to fight fire with fire, not to fight pride with pride, but instead it ….

Should focus us to have compassion for the Lost

John 15:21 “But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. 22 “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.

They do not know the one who sent Jesus...they do not know God….if you and I know God’s love for us…know God’s ways are better than our ways…know the depth of our rebellion and His amazing Grace…if Joy and love from God permeate our life….we must have a genuine concern for those who do not have that love and joy of the Lord permeating their life…because they do not know God…and we do…

So we must not take offense when we are treated in a way that is unloving, because people do not know the Love of the Father through abiding in Christ.

This is not easy, to love your enemies, to return good for evil….and so we cannot do it on our own….it

Requires dependence on the Holy Spirit

Over and over our union with Christ is in view…our abiding in Christ…our close dependent relationship with the Lord is highlighted…

Jesus again reassures the disciples, that the Holy Spirit is going to be with them, even though Jesus will leave the earth…and so they will not be alone…They are to abide in Christ, even when He is gone…they do that by obeying his commandment to love one another, but also by responding to the Holy Spirit who will continue to testify about the son through them.

John 15:26 “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, 27 and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

This whole passage affirms over and over that not only can we know God, but we can have a relationship with God,

One that is life giving, intimate, sustaining, that impacts everything about our lives…

  • where we bear fruit for His glory in all our relationships…
  • particularly with how we love each other…
  • and how we reach out to a lost world with the Love of Christ…as well as the Joy of Christ...all for the Glory of God.

Authors

Dustin Folden

Roles

Pastor of Discipleship & Extension Ministries - Faith Church

Bio

B.S - Electrical Engineering, Purdue University
M.Div. - Faith Bible Seminary

Pastor Dustin Folden and his wife Trisha joined the Pastoral Staff in 2010. They have two children, Mackenna & Sawyer. They enjoy playing board games, cooking together and going on hiking adventures. Pastor Folden shepherds the 9:30 worship service, oversees the Adult Bible Fellowship ministry, the Wednesday evening Faith Community Institute as well as serves in Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries.

Read Dustin Folden's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Folden to Faith Church.