“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved You. Continue You in my love.” (John 15:9)
Here’s another way of saying the very same thing. True believers abide; true believers; therefore, bear fruit; true believers continue in love toward Christ. Their love doesn’t run out. They don’t turn their back on Him and walk away sometime. You say, “Well, what about the person who does that?” They never were real. Isn’t that what He’s saying? They were Judas branches. If He says abide; if He says remain; if He says bear fruit or if He says continue in My love, He’s saying the very same thing. Be real.
Verse 10: “If you keep My commandments, you shall abide in My love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” Here is another way, friends, of saying the very same thing. A true Christian abides; a true Christian bears fruit; a true Christian continues in love, and a true Christian obeys. Boy, doesn’t that sound like John? That sounds exactly like 1 John. And Christ says, “Let Me be the example in the way that I abided in the Father, in the way that I continued in His love, in the way that I obeyed His will in submission.” That’s how you ought to do it. So Jesus pleads for them to be real. He’s saying, in effect, “I don’t want any more Judases. I don’t want any more hypocrites; I don’t want any more tears. I don’t want any people who are fakes; I want people who really abide, really bear fruit, continue in My love and obey My commandments.”
These are true Christians. That’s what I want; no Judas branches. You say, “But, John, don’t you think there’s something that could be said here for Christians because we don’t always abide every moment of every day; we don’t always rest in Christ. Sometimes, we get out there on our own, don’t we, and try to do it ourselves? Here I go, Lord; watch me?” Don’t we sometimes try to bear our own fruit? Sure, we do. You know how much a branch can bear on its own? Not a lot. Nothing.
Verse 4: “Abide in me and I in you, as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself. Except a divide in the vine, you can’t either, and except you abide in Me.” You know, if you want to see how good a branch is, just cut one off from a tree and see what it’ll do. Won’t do anything; nothing at all. And you, as a Christian, there are times in your life, even though the norm of your life is to abide and myself, and there are times when we get away from abiding in Him, and I mean resting in Him and just waiting on his power, and we start cranking on our own, doing our own thing, doing our own will. If you want a synonym for abiding in Christ, just put it this way. Being obedient to His will; that’s all; continuing in His love, obeying in His will; that’s what it says. That’s the same as abiding, but there are times we don’t always continue in His love, and we tinker with the world, right?
We flirt with the things of the world. There are times when we don’t always obey. We get disobedient and self-absorbed, and we do the things that we want to do, so yes, there are times when a Christian does not abide in the full sense, but those are the exceptions, not the rules. The New Testament reminds us; look, you abide; that’s your character, so be faithful to that character. Your character is to love Him, so love Him. Your character is to obey Him, so obey Him; be what you are, right? Jesus is saying, “Be real; be real.”