ONLINE Great Friday Service (M910) | Mount Zion Church | 10 April 2020 | STAY IN HIM | John 15:5-8
These days we are encouraged to do everything at home: work from home, school at home, church at home, Sunday school at home, prayer meeting at home, even holiday also at home. We have been told that stay at home is the best and the safest option in the midst of this pandemic situation. While staying at home for a long time may bring another consequences and challenges, the Bible told us about something safer and more secure rather than only stay at home, it is about STAY IN HIM! As believers, we must obey to what our government had said, we must stay at home while in the same time we must also stay in Him, so that our spirit keeps healthy, keeps growing, and keeps fruitful.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so, you will be My disciples. John 15:5-8 NKJV
Last year we already learned about the 7 statements of Jesus in the Gospel of John, and we also learn the meaning of Jesus as the True Vine. Last year we also learned about these verses from different perspective, we emphasized more in the meaning of “abide in Him”. Just to refresh our mind, there are 3 meanings about “abide in Him.” In reference to state or condition, the word abide means to remain as one, not to become another or different. Abide in Jesus means we and Jesus remain as one, we become like Jesus. People can see Jesus in us. In reference to place, the word abide means to sojourn, tarry, not to depart. Abide in Jesus means that we must always close with Him, stay in the same place with Him. And in reference to time, the word abide means to continue to be, not to perish, to last, endure. We must learn to be faithful in His process.
Right now, we are going to learn from the same verses with different perspectives. We will put more emphasis about what we can get if we abide in Him. #stayinHim is truly the most important thing that we must do at all the time, and moreover in this challenging situation. We must bring ourselves closer with Him more and more. There are 2 things that we can get if we obey to stay in Him.
1: BEING FRUITFUL (the ability to turn out challenges into fruits)
Jesus said that He is the true vine and we are the branches. If we abide in Him, and Jesus in us, we will bear much fruit. Where does the fruit come from? We must remember that we are the branches, we are not the vine. The vine will not bring out the fruit, the privilege to have fruits belongs to the branches. But the branches will not able to support itself, that power of support and provide belongs to the vine. The soil, the water, and the sun are all the challenges that the branches will face every single time. But as long as the branches abide in the vine, all those challenges will turn out into a good fruit! The summer fruit is a good example of how the hot sun can be turned out into a delicious, sweet, and juicy fruits.
As now we are facing so many challenges around us, the only thing that will be able to turn out all challenges into fruit is to stay in Him! When the branches pluck out from the vine, it will be withered, it will be defeated by the challenges of weather and can do nothing except being thrown into the fire and burned. If we only stay at home we will not able to overcome all that challenges that keep coming, even the challenges getting bigger and harder. But when we stay in Him, when we abide in Jesus, no matter what kind of challenge may come, but we will be able to be fruitful!
Jesus is always looking for a fruit, no matter what the season is! Even not in the season for figs, Jesus was keep looking for the fruits and then He cursed it because not any fruit was found there Mrk.11:12-14. Living in the difficult season of pandemic situation like this is not an excuse for believers not to bear any fruit. Even though we live in difficult situation, as long as we stay in Him, as long as we keep connected with the true vine, we will always be able to bear fruit! The fruit of repentance Mat.3:8, the fruit of the Spirit Gal.5:22-23, and also the fruit of our personal ministry, souls that come to Jesus Rom.16:5, 1Cor.16:15. The psalmist wrote like this: “Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing, to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him Ps.92:13-15.” Jesus is looking for those who will bear fruit for the Kingdom of God Mat.21:43. As we are approaching the end of everything, let’s bring more fruits for the Kingdom of God. All difficulties that will come at these days will only means to be used as the raw material to produce more fruits for the glory of God. Let’s stay in Him, abide in Him, so all challenge in these days can be turned out into fruits.
2: BEING JOYFUL (the ability to have a delightful communication with God)
The second thing that we can get by staying in Him that we will have a powerful prayer! What is a powerful prayer? A prayer that will be heard by God, and not only being heard but also God will do it for us. How wonderful is that! Jesus said: “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” Jesus was talking about the secret of powerful prayer which is the important thing to have in the end times! There are 3 big problems for a believer to have a good prayer life.
Problem number 1: “I don’t know how to pray.” Prayer is about an intimate relationship. Jesus said: “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place Mat.6:6.” Prayer is something that private and personal. Without a good relationship with Jesus, it is impossible to start even a short prayer. To be able to pray we must know who Jesus is, why I need Jesus, what Jesus had done for me. Then, Holy Spirit will teach us to pray more, specially in a difficult situation, Holy Spirit will make intercession for us Rm.8:26.
Problem number 2: “I feel so boring and sleepy.” Prayer is not only one-way communication. We will get very bored whenever we are alone. But prayer is not something like that. Sitting in the front of computer doing our job may make us bored and tired, but when we have internet connection and we can make a good communication with others, it will be totally different! Even Peter, John, and James were very sleepy when Jesus invited them to join the night rally prayer in Gethsemane because they experienced lack of communication with Father God Mat.26:43. But Jesus showed how He always have a good communication with Father God and Father God also replied to His prayer Jn.12:28.
Problem number 3: “I don’t think that God hear my prayer.” God indeed always hear everything. Isaiah wrote: “Your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” Sins will make prayer become dull, uninteresting, boring, because that person never get anything from his prayer. Another answer for this problem is because people may pray wrong. James wrote: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures Jam.4:3.” Our prayer must inline with God’s heart so that we can get it from God. And Jesus said: “Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full Jn.16:24.” We will not find any grocery stuff from the hardware shop and vice versa.
When we stay in Him, when we abide in Jesus, we will learn deeper about what we can ask from God so that we know what to ask and then we will get it from God. How wonderful is that. It will definitely make our prayer life become so appealing, so pleasant, and it will absolutely make us enjoy our prayer time. We may ask what we desire, and it shall be done for us. Our desire will inline with God’s heart because we stay in Him. Our desire will depend on what we see, what we hear, what we read, and from anything that we let go into our life. When we abide in Him, we will let Jesus dominate our heart and our mind so that our desire will be aligned with His desire.
It is very important to have a joyful prayer life in this end times as God is looking for those who want to pray faithfully. Jesus said: “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man Luk.21:36.” How people can pray always if he could not enjoy it! The day of the second coming of Jesus will not come unexpectedly for those who have a joyful prayer life. Jesus said that having a good prayer life is a way to be counted worthy to join in the rapture, to escape from all disaster that will happen in the day of antichrist.
In the book of Revelation, John saw a vision like this.
Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.” Revelation 11:1-2 NKJV
Those who are OUTSIDE of the temple will not be measured and will be left behind! They will be trampled by antichrist and his followers for 42 months (3,5 years).
But those who are INSIDE the temple of God, those who love to worship, those who love to pray will be measured, will be counted worthy, and will be taken up with Jesus in the rapture. How wonderful is that! The rapture is real, and it will come to pass. Let’s be prepared for that wonderful day when we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with those, who dead in Christ and will rise first, in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air 1Thes.4:16-17.
CONCLUSION & CHALLENGE
Today we celebrate the greatest love that this world ever received, the love of God that gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life Jn.3:16. Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners 1Tim.1:15, Jesus had come that we may have life, and that we may have it more abundantly Jn.10:10. Jesus gave His life upon the cross so that we can live in His freedom, we can abide in Him, and we can experience His love more.
Do not let all the challenges in this difficult time defeated us. Instead, let’s stay in Him so that we will be able to turn out all those challenges into fruits for the glory of the Kingdom of God.
Let’s have a joyful prayer life. If we can’t enjoy our prayer time, specially our personal prayer time, let’s ask Jesus to help us fix it so that we can enjoy it. Let’s be watchful and pray always so that we will be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.