The Biblical Focus of a Disciple Part 4: This concept throughout the New Testament
This concept throughout the New Testament
The relationship between abiding in Christ and spiritual fruit is not limited to John 15. Matthew 22:37-38 says, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Christ emphasized that every command in the law hung upon the greatest commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul, and mind…” In I John, John makes the connection between the command to love God, and the command to love our fellow man. He made it clear that no man can say that he loves God if he hates his brother. The corollary to these verses is that no man can love his brother if he does not love God. You see the ability to love your brother naturally flows out of a love for God and is intimately connected to it. Ephesians 5:18 says that we are to, “Be filled with the Spirit…” The result of being filled with the Spirit is found in the next several verses. Galatians 5:16 says that we are to “Walk in the Spirit…” A few verses later in the chapter, Paul records the fruit of spirit-filled living. In Ephesians 3:16-19 Paul prayed that: they the church of Ephesus would, “be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith; that they would be rooted and grounded in love, they would grow in the depth of their knowledge of the love of Christ, that they would be filled with all the fullness of God.” Notice how Paul’s prayer parallels John’s description of abiding in Christ in John 15. When Paul prayed that these saints would be “filled with all the fullness of God,” he was praying that as they abide in Christ, and that God would produce the spiritual fruit of Christ-like character in their lives. Colossians 1:9-10 is very similar to Ephesians 3. Paul prayed that they: “might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness.” Once again, by thinking through Paul’s prayer, we can see the relationship between abiding and fruitfulness. Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.” Like Ephesians 5, this aspect of abiding in Christ produces a list of spiritual fruit actions and character qualities. I John 1:3-4 gives us the purpose of the book of I John. It says, “that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” John wrote the book of I John so believers would know how to have an abiding relationship with God. He wrote it so they would know what hinders this abiding fellowship with God. He wrote it so they would recognize the evidences or fruit of that abiding relationship. The New Testament is packed full of examples. Those who walk in fellowship with God will be bearers of much spiritual fruit. This walking with God is called: abiding in Christ; walking in the Spirit; being filled with the Spirit; having fellowship with the Father and His Son; knowing the true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hath sent; walking in the light as He is in the light; letting the word of Christ dwell in you richly; being filled with the knowledge of His will; being strengthened by His Sprit in the inner man; loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and being filled with all the fullness of God. Are you walking in this available relationship today? Is this the focus of your Christian experience?