By Abiding in Christ

Stefan Nitzschke August 1, 2021 John 15:1-27
Outline

3 relationships impacted by abiding in Christ

I. Our Relationship with God (v1-11)

A. He prunes (v1-3)

John 15:2 - 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.

Hebrews 12:5-6 - My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.

B. He sustains (v4-6)

John 15:4-5 - 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. He supplies (v7-11)

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. From foe to friend (v12-15)

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

B. From folly to fruit (v16-17)

John 15:16 - 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…

“The fruit, in short, is new converts.” (Carson, PNTC, pg. 523)

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

John 15:18-20 - 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.

A. The world will hate you

Romans 1:32 - …and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

John 15:25 - But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’

B. The Spirit will help you

John 15:26-27 - 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.

pic 1 - old brass navy diver

pic 2 - mark V helmet Picture of old Brass helmet

pic 3 - new helmet Picture of New diving helmet

Pic 4 new diving suit

Let me tell you about one of the more terrifying moments of my life as a parent…

(*Indiana Beach – one twin darting off when I was reading book)

Now what had gotten into his two-year-old mind, I’m not sure

Maybe he thought “this is my opportunity! I can make a break for it while dad’s buried in his book!”

What would his quality of life look like as a two-year-old on his own?

Being a part of our family represents, by God’s grace, a stable loving home, a bed to sleep in, 3 delish meals plus the occasional snack that smiles back, and so much more!

On his own, his quality of life decreases quite drastically

Being fully aware of this, the hunt for my son was on…

We are continuing our series entitled Enjoying life in His name

Based out of our passage, we see Christ talking about…

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.

*lead into passage

*Read John 15:1-27

With our time this morning, lets look at…

3 relationships impacted by abiding in Christ

But before we talk about these relationships, let’s chat about a couple of things

First – what does it mean to “Abide?”

Do you see that word in our text anywhere?

Jesus uses some iteration of “abide” 10 times in vv4-11 alone – so this is obviously a big theme of the passage (and hence, our title)

In short, “to abide” means to make something your home (or, “abode”) – the place where you dwell

How do I know if a space has become an “abode”? (*repeat)

As you are considering that question, let’s talk about the place where you once lived…

Here are some passages that I am going to read through that describe a person outside of Christ:

Titus 3:3 - For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.

Romans 1:28-32 – And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

Romans 3:12-18 – All have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one. Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their paths, and the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.

Ephesians 2:1-3 – And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

Let me ask you, Christian brother and sister – is Jesus’ constant charge to abide in Him a blessing or a burden?

*can paint it as burden…

In order to ensure

I. Our Relationship with God v1-11

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.

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.

A fruitful 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.

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.

The passage begins with the final “I Am” statement in the Gospel of John

Jesus says of Himself, I am… what? (the true vine) and His Father is what? (vinedresser/gardener)

When you are abiding in Jesus, you are a branch attached to the vine

There are three attributes about our relationship with God that are inherent, if you are, in fact, and branch attached to the vine:

First…

A. He Prunes (vv1-3)

We see this in v2:

John 15:2 – 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.

*Rose bushes [PIC]

What does the processing of pruning typically look like?

*describe

What is one way you know you are abiding in Christ? (remember our question?)

The Vinedresser is pruning you

Hebrews 12:5-6 – …My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.

How has the Lord disciplined you lately?

(*expls – sin (gossip – caught) // folly (spending – broke))

Still want to be attached to the vine?

I hope so, because the second attribute about being attached to the vine is that…

B. He Sustains (vv 4-6)

There is a beautiful passage

John 15:4-5 – 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.

Say that last part with me: “apart from Me you can do nothing” (*repeat 2X)

Do you believe this??

Do you believe that there is absolutely no fruit of righteousness that you could possibly bear apart from communion with Christ?

It is Christ alone that sustains us

And not only does He sustain us…

C. He Supplies (vv 7-11)

He gives us everything we could need for what He has called us to

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.

Look at that first part with me: “ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you”

Now what is the catch? I asked for a Benz this morning but rolled into church in my 07 Camry without AC

Does that mean I am not “attached” enough? Do I not have enough faith?

If Christ’s Word is abiding in me (the context of that statement), what are my affections going to be oriented towards? (*explain)

Therefore, what is Christ pleased to grant me?

“Lord – I need wisdom in this difficult situation – will you guide me by your Word?”

“Lord – I need perseverance to honor you in this trial – please help me to endure!”

“Lord – I need humility as I ask this person’s forgiveness – help me to see what I have been forgiven of!”

Is Jesus pleased to grant that?

And what is the water – the lifeblood – flowing from Him to us (according to the end of that passage)?

“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”

Water goes through the vine and into the branch

Joy comes from Jesus and flows to us, as we abide in Him

is Jesus’ constant charge to abide in Him a blessing or a burden?

But as you look around, you may notice there are more branches on the vine – you are not a lonely twig!

Abiding in Christ also affects…

II. Our Relationship with Believers v12-17

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.

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.

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. 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.

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.

Jesus starts off this section with a hard-hitting commandment: that we love one another

Easier said than done, right?

What if a fellow twig looks at me wrong?

What if a branch down the way is hogging all the water?

What if every time even a slight wind blows, my neighbor branch keeps wacking into me?

Jesus uses His own sacrifice as an example of how we are to go…

A. From Foe to Friend (vv 12-15)

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

Jesus was about to exemplify this in the most profound way

I’m jumping the gun on the timeline a bit here, but when His disciples, His supposed “friends,” starting feeling the heat of persecution in the Garden of Gethsemane, did they stick around?

Even when we prove to be an enemy of Christ, He is a friend to us

*Gospel (Rom 5 – enemies) + plug (be a part of the Vine)

As Christ laid down His life in order to make his enemies His friends, so we ought to lay our life down for one another

One way to see if you have made Christ your “abode” is to look at how you are treating your neighbors

In v 14, Jesus says: “you are my friends if you do what I command you” – very similar wording to what we read in v 10

Would your neighbor accuse you of following the commandments of Christ?

A group of men and women who are attached to the Vine – abiding in Christ – will easily obey His commandments and function in love towards one another

And there is a purpose for this fellowship that goes beyond reconciliation – we as a people care called to go…

B. From Folly to Fruit (vv 16-17)

Are we called to be a holy huddle? no

Once we are attached to the Vine, do we kick our feet up? no

Hide it under a bushel? NO!

Once we are reconciled to one another, Christ calls us get busy producing some fruit!

John 15:16 – 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…

Commentator D A Carson puts it quite bluntly:

“The fruit, in short, is new converts.” – Carson (PNTC, pg. 523)

Do you remember the old description of you, before you had made your abode in Christ?

What sort of stuff were you up to?

If apart from Jesus, you can do nothing, everything you did before then was utter folly

But now, Christ calls all of us, collectively, to a higher purpose

This tie-in might not be as popular…

What is another way to tell if you have made Christ your abode?

Is there fruit on your branch?

Are you sowing seeds of the gospel in the hearts of non-believers around you?

Are there clusters of grapes gathered on your branch?

Are there folks attached to you, who you are urging to “remain”?

If Jesus’ words in v 16 are cutting against you…. perhaps you are being pruned…

Perhaps He is cutting off the dead parts of your old life that cannot produce anything in order to make way for fruitful ministry

If that is the case – do not regard it lightly or faint, as the writer of Hebrews urges us

Let Him cut away, and while you are abiding in Him, get busy producing fruit that lasts!

Because abiding in Him affects how we relate to Him

Abiding in Him affects how we relate to one another

But abiding in Him also affects…

III. Our relationship with the world v18-26

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. 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.

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.

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, 27 and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

There is good news in the passage and there is bad news

The good news is, there is a pretty clear litmus test found in this passage regarding whether or not you have made Christ your abode

The bad news is, well, the litmus test itself…

John 15:18-20 – 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.

How do you know if you are abiding in Christ?

A. The World Will Hate You

Conversely, the world loves its own

I mentioned this passage towards the beginning of the message:

Romans 1:32 – and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

What’s interesting is that a dead branch knows vaguely about the Vine – it is engrained in it’s very DNA

It just hates the Vine – and all who are attached to it

John 15:25 – But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’

But this should produce empathy in our hearts

If it’s true that JESUS chose us OUT of the world and grafted us onto the Vine (and I would argue strongly that it is truth), then where would you be apart from His sovereign intervention?

Just another dead twig in the dirt – giving approval to other dead twigs for fruitless deeds deserving death…

…But who knows if that dead branch in your sphere of influence is not being summoned by the Vinedresser to go from foe to friend, from dead to dwelling, from folly to fruit?

Some “branches” will hate you for telling them about the Vine

But should this stop us from obeying the charge of Christ?

And while it is true that if you are abiding in the Vine, the world will hate you, it’s equally true that…

B. The Spirit Will Help You

John 15:26-27 – 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.

Aren’t you glad that Jesus ends such a hard passage on this note?

We have a Helper who enables us to abide and produce fruit

And being sent by the Father, He calls wayward branches to the Vine

Which brings me back to Indiana Beach…

*eventually found him ~50 yards off

In short, that little guy was “abiding” with papa for the rest of the trip…

Similarly, abide with Christ and allow the pruning of the Father to bring you closer to Him, reconcile your relationships with one another, and bear much fruit in the world

Authors

Stefan Nitzschke

Roles

Pastor of College Ministries - Faith Church

Director of Faith West Ministry Housing - Faith West

Bio

B.S. - Management Information Systems, Iowa State University
M.Div. - Faith Bible Seminary

Stefan has been serving on the pastoral team at Faith Church since 2016. He and his wife have a passion for discipleship and evangelism. They are the blessed parents of four carefree boys and one sweet girl. Stefan is certified as a biblical counselor through the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) and is a board member of Faith’s Community Development Corporation.