Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lesson 54: Abiding in Christ

Brief 4-to-5 Minute Teaching Lesson

Why? and What is the Purpose? in My Life SERIES

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Lesson 54 of the Discipleship Making process.

As the Last Supper began to draw to a close Jesus commanded His disciples to believe Him when He said, “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me” (John 14:10-11). For the disciples this was a profound statement.

Before we get into the lesson let’s reflect on some other Scriptures:
Hebrews 6:18, Deuteronomy 32:4, John 14:6-10, John 17:17, 1 John 5:6, John 8:15-16, John 12:47-50, Matthew 4:47

Read: John 15:1-11

As the disciples leave the site of the Last Supper with Jesus, He expands on the idea of oneness with God. Only this time He speaks of the disciple’s oneness with Him. He begins the conversation by declaring, “I am the true vine.” Through the analogy of a grapevine Jesus connects this oneness with Himself to the disciples being able to bear fruit. Take this time now to reflect on the following questions:
  1. Since Jesus calls Himself the “true vine”, is there an untrue vine? Yes. (Ezekiel 17:1-10).
  2. What fruit is Jesus talking about? The fruit of the Spirit as enumerated in Galatians 5:22-23.
  3. What is the purpose of our bearing fruit? It glorifies God and blesses others.
  4. What does God do when we don’t bear fruit? Lifts us up (John 15:2). The goodness of God leads a man to repentance (Romans 2:4).
  5. How are we able to bear fruit? By being in Christ (John 15:4). Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17).
  6. How can we bear more fruit? God prunes us (John 15:2). Through discipline (Hebrews 12:5-6) Loss of focus produces leaves not fruit.
  7. What is the purpose of pruning a grape vine and how is it done? It will produce better quality grapes. Grapes only grow on one year old vines and only the uppermost spurs are left.
  8. How do we bear much fruit? (John 15:5) By recognizing that we can do nothing apart from the Lord therefore we remain in constant fellowship with Him.
  9. How do we know that we are abiding in Christ? We continue to partake of the bread and wine. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him” (John 6:53–56). According to Jesus: 1) A believer abides (dwells) in Jesus when he eats Jesus’ flesh and 2) Jesus abides (dwells) in a believer when the believer drinks Jesus’ blood.
  10. What happens if we don’t remain in fellowship with Christ? (John 15:6) We wither and dry up. Then we are gathered up and cast into the fire to be burned.
  11. What happens if we forsake the bread and wine? We in effect are saying we have no fellowship with Christ and are not obeying what He commanded us to do.
Continuing the lesson, Jesus remarks that if His disciples remain in Him and His words remain in them then they can ask whatever they wish and it would be done for them. At that point the disciples were probably thinking … which words? Jesus was quick to reply! He issued them another commandment and then told them how to keep it. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments you will abide in my love. This was the same way that the Father had treated Him.

The point of the lesson is that since we have been born again by the Spirit of God and God dwells in us then our words and actions should line up with the Word of God.

With that, allow me to leave you with these questions to consider, along with a little homework assignment until my next posting:
  1. Since Jesus is the Word of God how important are His instructions to us?
  2. Are Christians not having their prayers answered because they are not obeying what Jesus told them to do?
  3. What does the following verse mean to you?
    By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. (1 John 2:3-6)
And the homework assignment:

Read the songs of two different vineyards. Isaiah 5:1-7, 27:2-6

Until next time . . . Godspeed!

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