A few weeks ago a storm blew in and snapped off the two main branches of one of my tomato plants. It was in the daytime and I watched as 20 mph gusts just whipped my plant. After the storm, I went out and the two branches weren’t salvageable. I was mad because they had lots of flowers that would have soon turn into tomatoes. I had to throw them in the trash.
Yesterday, when I went out to water the plant, I noticed other, smaller branches were growing strong and blooming! Even though the two strongest branches were gone, the others were taking advantage that they could get more water and nourishment from the soil, and began to grow strong themselves.
In this next chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus explains how God is the Great Gardener, and how He is the vine and we are the branches. As long as we stay attached to Him, we’re in good shape. This chapter continues with these teachings of Jesus which hold a lot of spiritual nourishment. Let’s dig in…..
“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. 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.
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. 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.
“Abide” is one of those churchy words. It simply means to stay connected. Here it’s translated as “remain in me”. We can’t go wrong when we literally stick with Jesus! I’ll let Levi Lusko explain “Heavenly Horticulture”…
Whether your thumb is green or not, when it comes to the Christian life, God wants you to grow. But what does it look like to be a flourishing plant in God’s garden? Plants need four things to live—dirt, air, light, and water—and there are correlations in each of those to our walk with the Lord.
Dirt: Genesis says that God created man out of the dust of the earth. We must remember that we are nothing but dust—humble jars of clay.
Air: Every breath we are given comes from the Lord.
Light: Jesus calls himself the “light of the world.” God has embedded in our souls a process similar to photosynthesis; we must be in contact with the light constantly, not sporadically.
Water: Jesus once famously asked, “Is anyone thirsty?” and then promised that if anyone thirsted, they could come to him to be satisfied. The Scriptures often equate water to the Spirit, the Word of God, and worship. These are the means by which we remain spiritually hydrated.
When these elements come together we will “bear much fruit.” If God is a gardener, and if we are all branches on His vine, then when we bear fruit we are playing a part in His end game. The beauty is that others are blessed by this process; those attached to the vine, and those not. In a vine, not every grape has the same purpose—whether raisins, wine, jelly, or juice. Likewise, we all have different gifts that lead us to being used uniquely, helping the whole vine to grow. On top of that, our fruit attracts unbelievers to the vine, thus grafting them into the vine as well.
Remember: God wants you to grow.Levi Lusko in 21 Days in the Gospel of John Bible Study in the Free YouVersion Bible app.
9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
Verse 13 may sound familiar as it’s quoted a lot around Memorial Day. “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” That’s what Jesus did for us! He died so we could live eternally in Heaven with Him!
Jesus goes on to say that we are His friends if we do what He commands. Are you a friend of God? Check out the video at the bottom. We go on….
The World’s Hatred
18 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. 19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. 20 Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. 21 They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me. 22 They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Anyone who hates me also hates my Father. 24 If I hadn’t done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty. But as it is, they have seen everything I did, yet they still hate me and my Father. 25 This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures: ‘They hated me without cause.’
Christian persecution is still going on and getting worse. It will get worse before Jesus comes back for us in the Rapture and much worse during the Great Tribulation (Hence, you do not want to be left behind!). However, like He said before, “I will not leave you as orphans.” ….
26 “But I will send you the Advocate (Comforter, or Encourager, or Counselor)—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me. 27 And you must also testify about me because you have been with me from the beginning of my ministry.”John 15 NLT
How to Be a Strong Christian
If you want to be a strong Christian, you need to be attached to Jesus, who is our life-source. Without Him, we’ll be snapped off like a branch in the storms of life. When you become a born-again Christian, you become grafted into His vine. If you’re not growing in your Christian walk, you may not be grafted in completely to the vine. You’re lacking true spiritual nourishment found only in God’s Word. (Bible Studies)
It’s the difference between having a “juice drink” and freshly, squeezed orange juice. The first is watered down and filled with added sugar or corn syrup which is bad for you. Just like sugar-coated, preaching. Hearing, reading and studying the true Word of God, the Gospel Truth, is like getting the fresh-squeezed juice. It tastes naturally sweet and it has all the vitamins — nourishment — that your body needs.
Do You Want Jesus’ Life-Source in You?
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…