7 September 2010 (Shleshi/Bikkurim)|
Day #175, 5934 AM
Teshuvah #30 Fruits III
Abiding is the Secret of the Abundant Life
Continued from Part 2
As talmidim or disciples of the Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Lord Jesus Christ) we are to Him as branches to the vine. The sap that flows through the vine - His life - also passes into us, the branches. If we are not connected to Him in the right way (through making teshuvah (repenting), trusting in Him and obeying the Torah), we have no eternal life in us and must whither away and die spiritually. Bearing fruit is our primary responsibility as these branches. The process of bearing this fruit results in the "abundant life" Yah'shua promised His followers - benefits for us - consisting of joy (as we win souls for Him), happiness (as we share our material goods and wealth with the poor), assurance (as we develop Christ-like qualities and graces) and peace (as we express gratitude in our lives to Him and to others).
If we are not producing these fruits, then we, as branches, are cut off from the Vine: "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away" (John 15:2, NKJV). In other words, Yahweh, our Heavenly Father, will lopp us off so that we are no longer connected to His Son! "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser" (John 15:1, NKJV). Yahweh will not have His Son parsitised by those who produce nothing good. Since none of us who have been saved want this (and so lose our salvation), what is the secret of bearing fruit and the abundant life? The answer is ABIDING! So important is this "abiding" that in one discourse Yah'shua used it ten times:
The concept of "abiding" is stressed and repeated so many times by Yah'shua because the secret of bearing fruit is ABIDING.
"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, 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, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My talmidim (disciples). As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My ahavah (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" (John 15:4-10, NKJV).
This, then, is the secret of bearing fruit: abiding in Messiah Yah'shua, and He in us. Through this communion and fellowship, we gain the strength of Messiah to enable us to bear fruit and so experience the "abundant life". So the question we must ask ourselves as we make teshuvah this season is this: are we abiding in Messiah and He in us? We do not need to speculate or wonder for there are several things that will be clearly manifested in our lives when we are. These we shall examine tomorrow in the next part of this series on bearing fruit. Selah!
- 1. Many believers have this erroneous idea that you bear fruit by struggling. Wrong! You do not bear fruit by struggling. You only struggle to overcome sin. When you walk through an orchard or a vineyard, do you detect tension and struggle among the branches as they bear fruit? Is there a race on? No! There is, rather, calm and confident resting - an abiding - as branches quietly draw their life from the vine in order to bear fruit. The same secret of "abiding" also applies to marriage for as the husband "abides" in Yah'shua, so the wife "abides" in her husband by submitting in the same way as believers are to submit to Christ (Col.3:18). She does not need to struggle, just to connect (on a human level) on the same terms as we connect to Christ and receive his life into her own - by surrendering in all things.
- 2. A 'Life in Christ' for a believer, and a life in her husband for a wife, begins with union and is followed by communion. But first comes union which is symbolised by complete immersion in water (baptism): "For as many of you as were baptized into Messiah (Christ) have put on Messiah (Christ)" (Gal.3:27, NKJV). "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Messiah Yah'shua (Christ Jesus) were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Messiah (Christ) was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection" (Rom.6:3-5, NKJV). Having metaphorically "put on Messiah" (being totally immersed in him as a wife immerses in her husband) and as a result being "united together" with Him, we can then say that our union with His is like that of a Branch being grafted into a Vine Tree: "I am the vine, you are the branches" (John 15:5a, NKJV). Only as we "abide" (submit, remain, continue, live) in this "union" do we get "communion" which is symbolised by the taking of the Lord's Supper (also called "Communion"). This is what is meant by fellowship with Christ in a very close and personal way: "Abide in Me" (John 15:4, NKJV).
- 3. Communion involves more than the union of one believer with Messiah Yah'shua but all true believers. Though it has a One-to-one aspect, in it's maturity or fullness is is One-to-all. There are many branches grafted into Yah'shua, not just you or me. By individually and collectively abiding with the Vine (Yah'shua) we are enabled to bear fruit because bearing fruit requires constancy. For that beautiful thing called a flower to develop, followed by a fruit, there must be a continuous flow of the sap from the vine into each branch. The branch receives the necessary strength from the Vine to bear fruit. As sons and daughters of Elohim (God) we receive strength to do what we cannot possibly do on our own: "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, 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, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:4-5, NKJV). Paul has much to say about this strength or power that is available to those in Messiah Yah'shua: "I can do all things through Messiah (Christ) who strengthens me...And my Elohim (God) shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Messiah Yah'shua (Christ Jesus)" (Phil.4:13,19, NKJV). He wanted others to know of this power too: "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the set-apart ones (saints), and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Messiah (Christ) when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places" (Eph 1:18-20, NKJV). "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us" (Eph.3:20, NKJV). And he gave examples of how this power could transform people: "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of Elohim (God)? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of Elohim (God). And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Lord Jesus) and by the Ruach Elohim (Spirit of our God)" (1 Cor.6:9-11, NKJV). He even included himself: "And I thank Messiah Yah'shua (Christ Jesus) our Master (Lord) who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Master (Lord) was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Messiah Yah'shua (Christ Jesus). This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Messiah Yah'shua (Christ Jesus) came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life" (1 Tim.1:12-16, NKJV). "For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Assembly of Elohim (church of God). But by the grace of Elohim (God) I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of Elohim (God) which was with me" (1 Cor.15:9-10, NKJV).
Continued in Part 4