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R.E.M.A.I.N. in Christ 

Recently I was trimming some bushes out the front of our house. We have some rain lately and a few warm days in between so things were starting to grow and shoot. As I was trimming the longer branches I let the cuttings drop down on to the path. Before I got a chance to throw them throw them in the bin, my phone rang and I got talking. The cuttings got left on the path. A few days later I noticed them and went to put them in the bin. As you can imagine they were not full of life any more, they were dead looking compared to those still on the tree. I found it interesting and it got me thinking about vines and branches.

Online I found in Hampton Court near London, there is a grapevine a glasshouse. It is about 1,000 years old and has one root which is at least two feet thick. Some of the branches are 200 feet or 60 metres long. Because of skillful cutting and pruning, the vine produces several tons of grapes each year. Even though some of the smaller branches are 200 feet from the main stem, they bear much fruit because they are joined to the vine and allow the life of the vine to flow through them.

As you can see on the screen, the title of my message today is “R.E.M.A.I.N. in Christ”. I have been thinking a lot lately how it is important for us to remain firmly connected to Christ. It is vital for us to walk closely with the Lord. In John 15:1-5 Jesus likens this connection to being like vines and branches. It stresses the importance a close connection. It says…

Bible Reading

John 15:1-5

“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit, so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

Message Points

This passage has lots of good stuff I could speak about today. It talks about God being the gardener who trims us and prunes us. Jesus talks about us being pruned and pruified by His message. It talkes about producing much fruit. But the part I want to focus on today is the words of Jesus, "Remain in Me and I will remind in you".

Remaining in Christ is vital to producing much fruit. Jesus tells us this in the text. Today I want to share six keys using the letters of remain to help us.

R- Rest in the finished work of Christ

John 19:28-30 - Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Jesus paid the price for our sin on the cross. He died to take our punishment. Just before He died He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). The work of salvation is done. We don’t have to strive or strain any more. We just have to trust Jesus as our Lord and our Saviour.

Romans 10:9-10 says, “If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Rest in His work, realise you are saved and held in His hands. Romans 8:38-39 tells us that nothing can separate us from Him. So, Rest!

To remain in Christ rest in what He has purchased for you.

E – Endurance is vital

Hebrews 12:1-2 - Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The Apostle Paul told us in Hebrews 12:1-2 to run the race set before us with endurance. The race set before us is the things that God wants us to do in this life. We need to stay in our lane and focus on our race and work.

Anyone who has ever run a race knows running with endurance means to pace ourselves. We need to pace ourselves in our service of God too. We can’t run off like a bull at a gate as we will burn out, we have to pace ourselves and do what we can do. We do our part, God does His. Think marathon not sprint!

Matthew 11:28-30 reminds us to take on Christ’s yoke and work with Him. We partner and get involved with Him in what He is already doing. We partner, but He always takes the heavy end of the work.

To remain in Christ, we need to run with endurance. None of us are helpful if we burn ourselves out. We become like a marathon runner who goes out too quickly and ends up sitting on the edge of the road.

Endurance is vital to remain in Christ.

M – Maintain a close walk with the Lord

John 15:4 - Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
In John 15 Jesus stresses the importance of being connected to Him. Our connection to Him is where we get our spiritual life.

Anyone who has ever trimmed trees would have noticed that if the trimmed parts are left in the sun, they quickly wither and die. While the branches still connected, thrive. They can still produce flowers or fruit. They can still do the things they were created to do. We are like those branches, if we stay connected we can produce the things we were created to produce.

As Christians we know that we keep connected through prayer, worship, serving, Bible reading and church fellowship. Connection via these things are keys to remaining Christ. They keep us strong and our connection strong.

A – Aim to be a vehicle of blessing

2 Corinthians 9:8-11 - And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: "They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever." 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

God wants to use us to bless others. In 2 Corinthians 9:8-11 Paul talks about God blessing us, so we can bless others. It talks about God providing enough for us and leftovers to pass on to others.

As Christians we need to see ourselves as vehicles of blessings. We need to think of ways to bless, support, uphold and encourage others. Allow God to move through you each day. Serving God keeps daily keeps us in Christ.

A friend of mine had a goal to do one thing a day for others. She was intentional in her efforts. It might be a nice phone call, a card, helping with gardening, delivering a food parcel. Her goal was to do 7 things in 7 days each week. Before long, her lifestyle changed to one of blessing. She became a vehicle of blessings. And as the passage says she always had enough for herself.

To remain in Christ, be a vehicle of blessing.

I – Imagine eternity with Christ

John 14:2-3 - My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Jesus said He is preparing a place for us in eternity. He also said He is coming back for us one day. A great truth of the Bible is we will spend way more time in eternity than we will in this life. It makes sense to think about our eternal home. The Bible says we are citizens of heaven.

In Philippians 3:20-21 it says, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. And Colossians 3:1-2 says that we should set our hearts of minds on things above.

Focusing on our eternal home helps and inspires us to walk closely with Christ and Remain in Him.

N – Never allow yourself to be overcome by the world

John 16:33 - I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Jesus told us in John 16:33 that in this life we will have many trials and sorrows. Unfortunately, this is part of living in a fallen world that is marred by sin. Jesus also said in John 16:33 to not lose heart, because He has overcome the world.

Jesus the author and perfecter of our life and faith, has overcome this world. We are on His team and He is for us. A key to remaining in Christ is to not let the world overcome us.
Galatians 6:9 reminds us to “not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Stand firm. Stand strong. Focus on Christ. Keep serving and remain in Him. 

Closing

Today we have looked at a great passage from John 15. It likens our relationship with Jesus and being like vines and branches. Jesus told us that to produce much fruit we ween to be connected to the Vine.

We saw six keys using the letters of remain.

1. Rest in the finished work of Christ
2. Endurance in vital
3. Maintain a close walk with the Lord
4. Aim to be a vehicle of blessing
5. Imagine eternity with Christ
6. Never allow yourself to be overcome by the world

Amen

By Dave Quinn
Founder of PASSIONAustralia.org

 

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