I feel it’s time to turn our attention to the teachings of Jesus. Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’, John 14:6.
The Ten Commandments and the additional laws were given through Moses to the Israelites for them to understand: the character of God; how to worship; how to be set apart as a people group; and how to be in health. Yet in Jeremiah 31:33 it says, ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days’, says the Lord: ‘I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds,’ this is also referenced in Hebrews 10:16. This means that instead of external written law, He would imprint His laws into our hearts and minds. Internal laws. Guided by an inner consciousness through the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. Not by external routines and rituals.
Abide in Him
There are more commands and laws in the New Testament, 1,050, than the Old Testament, 613. How can we ever hope to observe them? By abiding in Him, ‘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,’ Jn 15:4.
ABIDE is a word used in Engligh to render about a dozen Hebrew words of which the most common are the following: חָנָה֒, to encamp; יָשַׁב, to dwell; לִין, to lodge; עָמַד, to remain; שָׁכַן, to tabernacle; διατρίβω, to spend. A word that is found with great frequency in the writings of John.
The heart of discipleship is to abide in Jesus to bear the fruit of love
Christ used the vine to show the necessity of His disciples in abiding in Him, and taught that they will bear fruit for Him only as they abide in Him (John 15). The Father is the gardener and tends the vineyard so that it might bear more fruit; Jesus the vine and us the branches. The heart of discipleship is an abiding in Jesus to bear the fruit of love.
We have to come to the absolute conclusion that we cannot ever be ‘good enough’ in our own strength. But only by our total surrender to God and our commitment to abide in Christ in our daily lives. Then He lives through us and equips us to live righteously. His grace, His unmerited favour is enough.
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” Jn 14:23
Is there therefore any greater way of growing in our intimacy with the Father than through studying the Words of Jesus? As we really take His Words to heart – we will be changed. But His Words can also polarise us. For we are apt to want to put our own slant on the Words He spoke. We can want to interpret them in the way that suits us best. But I long that each of us would take His Words and receive them as He intended. Over the next few weeks I hope to focus in on the key topics Jesus taught on in His own Words. That we be changed into His likeness and so bring His light, His life and His Kingdom here on earth. For that is what we have been created for.
Jesus said, ‘if you abide in My Word, you are My disciples indeed’, John 8:31
Henry says – The character of a true disciple of Christ is if you continue in His word, then are you His disciples indeed. When they believed on Him, as the great prophet, they gave up themselves to be His disciples. Now, at their entrance into his school, He lays down this for a settled rule, that He would own none for His disciples but those that continued in His word. [1.] It is implied that there are many who profess themselves Christ’s disciples who are not his disciples, but only in show and name. [2.] Those who seem willing to be Christ’s disciples ought to never come to Him, unless they come with a resolution by His grace to abide by Him. Those only are Christ’s who are willing to be bound to him for the term of life. [3.] Those only that continue in Christ’s Word shall be accepted as His disciples indeed, that adhere to His Word in every instance without partiality, and abide by it to the end without apostasy. It is ‘menein’—to dwell in Christ’s word, as a man does at home, which is his centre, and rest, and refuge. Our converse with the Word and conformity to it must be constant. If we continue to be disciples to the last, then, and not otherwise, we approve ourselves disciples indeed.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry commentary
Abide in Me (John 15:4) It is in Christ we have been placed. Are we truly aware Of the great significance of this placement And that we are told to stay there? It was God’s own act And by it we are to abide. “Abide in Me, and I in you” Forever we are to be by Your side. We are in God’s care So we need never strive. Abide in Me, abide in Me, For in Me you are alive. I have undertaken to take care of the outcome For you are most assuredly Mine But remember the character of the fruit Is always determined by the Vine. By the late Andrew Feakin (passed away 16th March 2019)
Prayer: Father thank You for reminding me that unless I abide in the vine, Jesus, I can bear no fruit for You. Teach me how to continually abide in You and not be distracted by the things of this world. Forgive me for seeking my own way. Teach me Your way and lead me in Your paths, In Jesus Name. AMEN