- What is the analogy that Jesus used to describe our relationship with Him?
John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser”
Jesus is represented as a vine whereas The Father is the gardener and we are the branches.
In the Old Testament, God spoke of the nation of Israel as a vine and called it “the choicest or finest vine” (Isaiah 5:1-7). Isaiah 5:1 “Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill.” And verse 7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice,
The coming of Christ is the declaration of Him being the “true vine”. He is the real source of life and in Him we should trust and rely.
2. What does it mean to “remain in the vine”
– To remain in the vines means to be His follower in deed/action. This is continuously reading and studying His Word.
– To be connected to Him through the Holy Spirit
– To have constant communication and communion with Him
– To be dependent on Jesus Christ knowing that the necessities of life are provided by Him, who is the Vine, our Vine.
1. Faith and Doubt
- It’s not our faith that is important; it’s whom we put our faith in that counts.
Similarly, this is when your objective is being good but the manner of achieving it is not acceptable. Robin Hood helping the poor through stealing, Or maybe boosting someone else’s morale by putting another one down.
In this case, we may have strong faith towards someone but what is more important is whether it is right to have faith towards this someone. Is he leading us to life everlasting or our death without us realising it? We should put our faith on our one and only living God, Jesus Christ.
- We should not be swayed by the circumstances or our emotions. Our emotions can deceive us. The changing of our moods can happen everyday. But rely on the truth from the Word of God. Everything in the Bible has happened, is happening and will surely happen. We may doubt ourselves but we should never doubt God.
- John 10:27 – This demonstrates God’s love for us, the love of a Father to a Son. This also highlights our reliance to God as His children. We know Him and we are expected to be familiar to His voice, to His calling, to His purpose in our lives. Once we fully surrendered our lives to God, we are covered with His protection, with His amazing grace. The devil will be powerless and helpless as our God is greater than anyone. The Father and His Son are one, as well as their power which is greater than all.
- We are all human and it is but customary that in the midst of challenges and situations beyond our control, we will experience doubt. We may doubt our own strength, understanding and efforts or other people sorrounding us. But with faith, these doubts are not eliminated but will be superceded by our trust to a Higher Being in the name of Jesus Christ.
It is not the doubt that matters but our attitude towards it.How do we handle it? How do we raise our faith?
- We are not on our own. If we have questions boggling out mind or if our faith is being challenged by our current circumstances, we dont need to deal with these questions and face the battle alone. This in particular is the time where we need to seek guidance from someone who has more mature than us. This is the time to demonstrate that we have learned how to submit to authority.
When doing plans that require critical conditions, it is also best to seek counsel from our pastors and church leaders as they will surely help in making wise decisions. Proverbs 15:22 Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.
Why wait for our plans to fail or our confusion grows to unbelief, if we could address our concerns right there and then? We should not be ashamed if we are experiencing this. It is but normal. Everyone is being challenged, tested, or brought out of their comfort. Hence, we should not ignore these concerns but admit the we need help.
2. How are we assured
- This is through trusting the Word of God, trusting the history of our ancestors and their stories and accounts, trusting all those words of encouragement, trusting His promises on our lives, trusting the prophesies and revelations.
- The Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts will provide us guidance and wisdom. As we keep on trusting His Word and heeding the teachings of the Holy Spirit, soon the fruit of the Spirit will be manifested in our lives. As the Kingdom of God is in midst of us and inside each one of us, so is the Holy Spirit. Its works will be reflected in our attitude, speech, actions or deeds and other people will also witness how our lives are transformed through His leading.
- We are redeemed by the power of the Cross. Jesus died for us for cleansing our sins so we can live again. Romans 8:1-2 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
- With that we should realize that the power is way way beyond our own strength and power. He is a supreme being, sovereign God, Creator of Heaven and earth.
- We should learn to walk in the light– that is to follow also His righteousness and walking in this life as He teaches us His ways and showing us the way that we should go. Psalms 143:10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!
Psalms 143:8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
- When we sin, we should quickly draw ourselves to God, confess our sins and ask for forgiveness.
- Psalms 143:1-2 Hear my prayer, O LORD; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness! Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.
3. Don’t play with the devil’s toys
- Do not give an opportunity to the devil to tempt us more. We should exert efforts at our end not to go to places that will draw us near to sin. We need to always be wary and cautious of the circumstances. Be on guard.
- Evil thought is not yet a sin. It will transform into a sin if we allow it and just let it overpower us.
- We need to be vigilant and be on guard. Be observant and ready at all times. A sin might have started with a mere thought. So in the first manifestation, we should recognize it straight away and aim to overcome it. But we should not do it alone. Turning to Christ is our ultimate option, a deliberate decision that we should make. With Him, we are covered. With Him, we will be able to surpass any temptation as His strength will be our strength, and His words will be our encouragement and comfort.
- Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves”. The devil will never stop whispering lies to you and your duty is to not let him win you over. You are a new creation, a new being, a child of God.
Hebrews 2:14-15”Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery”
And then after we ask for His forgiveness, we need to continue confessing that faith. Never look back but continue in our journey with God. The Devil is the father of all lies so why should we believe Him. Seek for truth and that is Jesus Christ.
4. Our assurance is certain
- Continue to nurture our relationship with Jesus Christ. As the branches are attached to vine, we should also keep our lives attached to our Lord and Savior.
- 2 Timothy 2:11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
We have the assurance in God’s salvation, God’s protection and His faithfulness.
We have the assurance in our position in Christ. 1 John 3:1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.