Each week of the DISCIPLE series we will be asking a question and suggesting a motion.
How do we continue as a disciple?
John 15:1-17 (NIV84)
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit — fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
Some people are starters. Some people are maintainers. A well earned temperament that I won from my mother, I am unashamedly an starter. I like starting things. New things. And then I get bored and distracted quickly. Anyone want to finish this post for me?
When it come to our lives as disciples of Christ, we need to be both starters and maintainers. Starting as a disciple happens when we die to our old sin selves and become alive in Christ. It is called by different names, being saved, being born again, giving your life to Christ, etc. But what does it take for us to be successful maintainers on our discipleship journey? If you are a disciple, you have likely struggled at some point to maintain your faith. So, what does it take? Do we need to try harder? Memorize more scripture. Read our Bibles more. Volunteer more? What would be Christ’s advice to us if we asked Him?
This week’s text is Christ’s answer to His disciples as to what they need to do if they are to maintain their life as a disciple: Always Abide in Christ. Always stay connected to Christ, through a ongoing relationship with Him and through staying connected to His Words.
Discipleship is a heart issue, that works itself out in our extremities. When we abide in Christ we are prioritizing the heart issue. Think of Abiding in Christ as sitting with, talking to, reading about, and thinking about Christ. When we do these things, we are getting to the heart of the matter. Our hands and feet will always follow.