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