Friday, October 31, 2008

One Final Word

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go bear fruit - fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.

And that's how He wrapped it up: Love each other.

But, back up a bit and catch the few lines before that. He chose us. He loved us before we even took breath. He appointed us. Do we really understand the gravity of this? I know I do not always find myself stupefied like I should be over this. I can get caught up in how much I love Him and how great I am for all I do for Him and can forget that the only reason I love Him like I do is because He is absolutely crazy about me!

I think He also said this to empower us. We can do the opposite and find ourselves feeling unworthy of His love. He would remind all of us that we are His chosen, His appointed, His idea, His plan, His Branch.

He brings this thing all the way back to Him, just like in the beginning of the passage when He said, "I am the True Vine." He starts and ends all of this with Him.

And what is the reward of such a thing? We get what we ask! We get to enjoy the great fellowship of Christ, the reward of obedience, the joy of transformation, the splendor of knowledge, and the great wonder of seeing others come to Him!

And then He says it: Love each other.

Can you picture Him looking every one of those disciples square in the eyeball and maybe even repeating Himself. "Peter, love each other. Matthew, love each other. John, love each other."

I wonder, after all that talk about the Counselor coming, after all the talk about the fruit they would bear, what did they feel when He looked them in the eye and said, "This is my command: Love each other."?

Wrapped up in that statement is the prerequisite that if are to love each other then we must love ourselves last. We serve one another. We serve mankind.

Recently, I was listening to John Piper teach on loving God and finding all our pleasure in Him. One of the arguments against his teaching is that whole idea of denying ourselves and giving our lives to service. His rebuttal is this: Jesus does not need us to serve Him. The joy of it is that our service in the Body and to mankind does not come out of an ambition to prove our loyalty to Christ, but from deep inner relationship with Christ. Also, Christ, not needing our service, then still remains the Giver through us. Out of this fellowship with Him, He gives Himself to mankind through us over and over. And this from our Love Of One Another.

His fruit from the True Vine to the Branch.

Love each other.

Bear that fruit and we will find that all fruit will be glorious. As John Piper says, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him."

Be satisfied in Jesus and watch and see if your most glorious fruit doesn't pour forth out of abundant love.

This satisfaction in Jesus comes through abundant prayer. Our lives should be lives of prayer and intercession. We should be people marked with prayer. In order to know that what we ask will be answered, we must know the mind of Jesus. We have learned that to abide in Him, is to be in prayer with Him.

Let me finish out this study with one more quote from our dear teacher, Andrew Murray.
Beloved disciple, seek above everything to be a person of prayer. Here is the highest exercise of your privilege as a branch of the Vine, here is the full proof of your being renewed in the image of God and His Son; here is your power to show how you, like Christ, live not for yourself, but for others; here you enter heaven to receive gifts for men; here your abiding in Christ has lead to His abiding in you, to use you as the channel and instrument of His grace. The power to bear fruit for men has been crowned by power to prevail with God. Andrew Murray, The True Vine
Thank you so much for joining me in this study! I have learned and grown and been challenged in way I never have before. I pray that you too have been changed by the Word of Jesus Christ and will find that there is no better thing to be in Him that a Branch connected to the True Vine.

Blessings to you!!

Check back Monday, November 3rd to find out what's next on the docket!!

My love to you all!


1 comment:

Dana~Are We There Yet? said...

"...but I chose you..." Those four words mean so much to me.

Great study, Natalie! Can't wait to see what's up next.