We have a nice apple tree in our front yard, and I just love apple crisp during the cold months. But, if you want nice apples, you have to do some work.
When my wife and I moved to our present home we were thrilled that we had an apple tree, but what it produced were tons of small “crabapples.” We were told that at one time the tree had produced larger apples, and a friendly expert told us that as soon as the apples started to grow, to remove many of them and what remained would be larger apples.
The other day I was doing my apple thinning, but even after using my six-foot ladder I could not reach the high branches.
I had a great idea.
It seemed to me that there were a number of really small apples with weak stems, barely attached to the branches, that would easily fall off if I reached up and gave the high branches a good shake.
That’s when God spoke to me about John 15:1-11. We are the branches, producing fruit, and He is the vine. In these eleven verses Jesus gives us a clear mandate – we must abide.
4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. (John 15:4 NASV)
The word used here for “abide” is the Greek word “meno” which means “to stay in a given place, state, relation or expectancy; abide, continually dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand” (Strongs).
Nine times in eleven verses we are told to abide – not hang around and look the part, but be the part. This repetition clearly underlines the importance of this.
There is a dark wind beginning to blow across our land and the church is being “all shook up”. Sometimes there are those who look like all the other branches with apples in the tree, but because of lack of abiding in the Vine, when the wind blows they will fall away.
When harvest time comes, I want to be the one who abides and bears fruit, not the one who hangs around the church until the dark wind blows him away.
I want to end with a quote from Matthew Henry who says it well:
“Christ …bears the tree, diffuses the sap to it, and is all in all to its flourishing and fruitfulness; and in Christ are all supports and supplies.”