Here’s another well rehearsed verse:
I’m sure if you’ve spent any time around Christians, you’ve heard this verse. And it’s a red letter verse, which means something that Jesus said.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.(Joh 15:5)
But there is a little “if” at the beginning of the next verse, let’s take a look at it.
If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.(Joh 15:6)
This is an ‘if’ that tells us what happens if we don’t do what verse 5 says. So IF we do not abide in Him. Abide? What does that mean? It means to remain in, stay with, continue in. He has referred to himself as the vine, and us as the branches. So it means to stay connected to the vine. Branches go and do what the vine wants them to. They don’t go off on their own. So if we don’t go and do what He has told us to, if we don’t keep His commandments, then we are no longer abiding in Him.
And if we do not abide in Him, what? We, the branches, will be thrown away and wither. Picked up and thrown into the fire and burned. OUCH!! Again, I can see why we like the first verse and try to ignore the second.
This ‘if’ goes along with other ‘if”s found in John.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”(Joh 13:34-35)
ALL people will know that we are abiding in Christ IF we have love for one another. Do you have love for others? Does it show? Don’t try to fake it because Christ knows your heart and even if you fool those around you, you won’t fool Him. So take a moment and be honest with yourself. Do you have love for others?
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.(Joh 14:15)
Jesus answered 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.(Joh 14:23)
Jesus gives several commandments but probably the most well known are to love God and love people as yourself. Are you loving God? Are you loving people? Do you love yourself? If you are keeping these and the other commandments Jesus gave, then you are abiding in Christ.
Verse 6 is followed by another IF statement. We’ve all heard the last part of this verse, “Ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” BUT there is an IF attached to that statement. The ‘if’ means that you can’t just ask for whatever you want and you will get it. The whole verse reads:
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
So again, you only get what you ask for IF you are abiding in Him. AND IF His words abide in you. That second part doesn’t mean if you recite the red letter Bible verses. It means that you live out the words of Jesus. You keep His commandments. You know His doctrines. You walk the walk He walked. And the reason that whatever you wish will be done is because when He is abiding in you, your thoughts and ideas and words will be His. Interesting enough, when you look through the Bible at the things that Jesus asked for, none of them were for selfish gain, and none of them were for worldly gain. So what is it that you are asking for? If it comes from a selfish motive, it probably isn’t coming from Jesus. If it is for worldly gain, then it probably isn’t coming from Jesus. This doesn’t mean we can’t ask for healing and provision, it just means that it would be something that we NEED not something that we WANT. There is a big difference. Check yourself, and be sure you are abiding in Him.
This is followed by more ‘if”s about abiding:
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my 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.(Joh 15:9-10)
Just in case we didn’t get it the other times, John through the Spirit is making sure that we get what abiding means. It means keeping the commandments given by Jesus.
Have you ever sang that song “I am a friend of God’s?” Well, did you know there was an ‘if’ for that one too. You aren’t just automatically a friend of Jesus’. What? Yep, read it right here:
You are my friends if you do what I command you. (Joh 15:14)
Amazing the difference such a little word like ‘if’ can make. And there’s those commands again. Seems like a good idea to find out what Jesus commands doesn’t it? That will be left for another time. The only question left? Is Jesus abiding in you?
Now those were some big IFs.