When I had finally come full circle to the harvest at the vineyard, my waking thought became a word from the Lord: Abide in My love.
I visualized the Lord on His way to Gethsemane with his disciples. He had just showed His love for them by washing their feet at supper and sharing His last loving instructions and encouragements before He went to the Cross.
Then Jesus and His beloved followers walked together through a vineyard:
I am the vine...you are the branches....whoever abides in me and I in him, bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing...Just as the Father has loved me, so have I loved you, abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. John 15:5, 9-10
I couldn't get away from it...abide in My love! Then I realized,
it's all about love. It always is!
Deep in every human heart is the desire to love and be loved. And it is also deep in the heart of God....because GOD IS LOVE!
So a harvest of fruitfulness is all about abiding in HIS LOVE!
The Father's love for the Son.
As the Father has loved me... John 15:9a
For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. John 5:20a
The Son's love for the Father.
I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. John 14:31
I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. John 15:10
The Son's love for us.
...so have I loved you. Abide in my love. John 15:9b
...when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. John 13:1
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
WHAT KIND OF LOVE?
The kind of love Jesus is talking about is agape...God's love, unconditional and sacrificial. It's the kind that esteems another more highly than himself. It's a love that can express a oneness of will and purpose, because it's not primarily "touchy-feely" but rather a choice of the will. And it's hard to find on this earth.
It's the love that moved the Father to send the Son to the Cross on our behalf. It's the love that motivated Jesus to always do as His Father commanded. It's the love that moved the heart of the Son to sacrifice Himself for us.
And it's this very love in which we are to abide!
HOW DO WE ABIDE IN HIS LOVE?
Jesus gives us the answer:
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. John 15:10
So Jesus calls us to the same obedient life He lived...not by trying hard to live it, but by living with His obedient life. Let me explain...
Because of the abiding life union of branch in the Vine, the obedient life of the Son of God courses through our spiritual veins. Will we live from that from that Obedient Life? That's always the question, isn't it?
WHAT ARE HIS COMMANDS?
They are also the little Holy Spirit nudges that tell us to say a kind word or refrain from saying an unkind word....to pick up the phone and check on a friend...to stop and help someone in need instead of going our merry way. Because in the context of John 13-17, the new command of the Lord is to love one another as He has loved us.
Or it may mean to stay away from a certain relationship or terminate one because it is ungodly and destructive.
His word may also come saying, "Put aside your own agenda and spend some time with Me, feeding on my Word and abiding in My love."
WHAT ARE THE RESULTS?
- I can experience friendship with God. Jesus said that He has called us friends. But friendships can't be just one-sided. That's true in human relationships, and it's true in friendship with the Lord. Jesus tells us that when we obey Him, we are His friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. John 15:14
- I can use His name with confidence in prayer to the Father. I can be a "name dropper" in the throne room of heaven :) If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you....whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. John 15:7,16
- I can be in on family secrets. This is the same perkthe Son has in relationship with the Father! No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15
- I can bear fruit that remains. What I do and who I am can have eternal results because of my life union with Christ, abiding in His love. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples...I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide... John 15:8,16
- I can experience exuberant joy :) These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:11
Abide in His love, O beloved branch!
Because it's all about love...it always is!
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 1John 5:3
We love because He first loved us! 1John 4:19
Here is a moving presentation of the Gospel of John. About 8:50 minutes into this segment, you will see John 15. Rest, enjoy, and abide in His love.
A project for Bible students: Go through the epistle of 1 John and notice how the Elder Apostle John, years after writing his gospel, uses the same words and concepts...but with more depth. Look for love, abide, keep His commandments...any others?