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Active Stillness

• Jeremy Jernigan

Guest speaker Jeremy Jernigan takes us through the text in John 15 and describes what it means to remain in the vine and experience the vibrant life that Jesus desires us to have. The more we remain in the vine, the more closely we get to Jesus, and the more vibrantly we’ll experience life.

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Jesus uses the image of a vine and branches in John 15 to describe the relationship we are to have with God the father, the gardener, and Jesus, the vine. This imagery was a common one in the Old Testament that referred to the people of Israel, however it was generally a negative image of a disobedient people. So when Jesus begins to use this imagery, but places himself as the vine, it was a way of reversing the people’s usual paradigm.

It is important for us as disciples to understand that pruning is a normal part of life. Jesus tells us that every branch will get pruned. It is the healthy branches that are pruned. These seasons of pruning will likely be difficult or challenging, but they shouldn’t be considered as negative. God prunes us so that we can hold more life. It should be far more concerning if we never experience pruning, because this indicates to us that we are not remaining in the vine of Jesus.

Too often we believe that if we could just get to a place of being ‘good enough’ Jesus wouldn’t have to prune us. Jesus tells us in this passage that we are already clean. As disciples, we live in a state of forgiveness and this is how the Father sees us. It is a lie to believe that God is disappointed in us, and it is this kind of thinking can hinder the process of growth in our lives. It is also important to remember that when a branch is cut off of the vine, it is God–and not us–that does the cutting. There is not one instance in the New Testament in which we find a follower of Christ determining the eternal destiny of another person. It is important to recognize that it is when we are pruned we are able to live more abundantly the life Jesus desires us to live. The more closely we remain in Jesus, the more vibrantly we can experience life.

Jesus goes on to tell us that those who remain in him will produce fruit. He tells us that apart from him we can do nothing. Jesus is our source of life and he is a requirement for us to produce any good thing. The word Jesus uses to describe how we produce fruit is one that indicates ‘to carry.’ We are not called to go out from the vine and make our own fruit. We are called to remain in the vine and be a branch that carries the fruit God grows for us. Fruit is not something we wake up one morning with the mindset that today we will create fruit in our lives. We do not produce fruit in one simple act, but rather God cultivates the spiritual fruit in our lives through the process of transformation. Jesus-looking people are those carrying the fruit God grows on the tree. Jesus tells us to abide in the vine. We are to remain actively still in the vine and just be present to what God is already doing in our lives.

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Topics: Discipleship, Identity in Christ, Transformation


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Focus Scripture:

  • John 15:1-4

    1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3 You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me."

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3 thoughts on “Active Stillness

    Peter says: Saturday October 18, 2014 at 5:05 am

    Jeremy’s message covered a lot of territory, however, there are some thoughts that crossed my mind.

    While one of the main focusses was the believer in Christ (as a branch) as noted from John 15:1-2,

    “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

    These passages also have an element of fatherhood/sonship that indicates a reward in verse 8,

    “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

    As God the Father is not a father as one among many but is the Father from who all fatherhood is derived just as Jesus is not a son but the Son that shows true sonship, so when Jesus says He is ‘the true vine’, He is differentiating Himself from the visible (created) vine but points to it as a similitude or likeness to His situation (and, of course, covers Jeremy’s Old Testament observations). This vine and branch relationship between Christ and the believer(s) is a mystery and is echoed by Paul in Col 1:27,

    “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

    In this verse ‘the hope of glory’ through Christ in us, ties back to verse 8 above ‘This is to my Father’s glory’…our ultimate glorification through Christ in us, reflects the Father’s glory, and is also reflective of His Fatherhood through many sons.

    While John 15:1 indicates the Father to be the gardener or vinedresser, when we look for examples in the Bible, perhaps we see Judas (who, presumably, was not ‘made clean’ and had departed in John chapter 13) and Peter being ‘pruned’ through several rebukes from Jesus and became fruitful, however, we find in Revelation, Jesus walking among the lampstands in Rev 1:12-13,

    “Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest.”

    And later in verse 20,

    “As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”

    As Christ observes the churches, we then have the letters to the seven churches pointing out their strengths and weaknesses and rewards and punishments (namely a ‘pruning’ regime?). However, this is done at the hand of Christ and not the Father. The presumption here may be that John 15 is applicable prior to the Cross whereas after Christ’s victory through the Cross we have in Matthew 28:18,

    “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

    Reply
    Stephen says: Saturday October 25, 2014 at 10:58 am

    At the 30:40 mark, it literally made my mouth drop open.

    This is the first time I have ever heard aloud such a message.

    Thank you!!!

    Reply
    Ruth says: Sunday October 26, 2014 at 3:13 am

    Message good until he said if you can’t sacrifice money you don’t care about God. Tell that to ppl on the poverty line who can only pay rent and food. Not cool. Let him give all his rent money, get evicted and become homeless, then come talk to me

    Reply

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