This week we are going to focus on one of biggest game-changers in the Christian life. It certainly ranks as one of the most important lessons I (Vivian) learned as a new believer. I did not grow up in a Christian home. I began a relationship with Jesus without help of knowing practical how-tos of walking with God. I tried to do all the Christian activities but found my conduct in some ways getting worse after having my eyes opened to right and wrong. Before knowing Christ, I could simply lower my standards and still feel okay about myself.
The objective this week is to help a new believer understand who the Holy Spirit is, why He came, and how one can be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Turn to John 15:18 and read.
Draw a vine, the branches, and fruit.
Who is the Vine? (Jesus)
Who are the branches? (We are)
What do you suppose fruit is? (Anything God produces in us and through us; fruit of character, fruit of the Spirit. Read Galatians 5:22–23; fruit of influencing others.)
What is the condition for bearing fruit? (Abiding, remaining)
Ask: What do you think it means to abide or remain?
Let the learner answer, and share your thoughts as well.
Abiding or remaining is to live in close, intimate contact.
The vine is the source of nutrients and life. Life is not found in being productive, finding purpose, or acquiring material goods, education, positions of leadership, a house full of family, or a meaningful career. Ministry, being a Christian, living Christian morals, or working for the kingdom is not life. Jesus is life. In fact, knowing Him is eternal life (John 17:3). We often look at the blessing. Fruit is simply the natural byproduct of abiding in the Vine. Fruit is part of the blessing, but more importantly, Jesus is the blessing. When we have Him, we have everything. The fruit-bearing seasons come and go and are not the litmus test of a blessed life.
The fruit cannot produce on its own apart from the vine. And the fruit doesn’t squeeze itself out of the branch. The key for the production of fruit is connection to the vine. The greater our connection to the Vine, the greater the volume of fruit. Our “yes” to God opens untold possibilities; our surrendered lives are safe in His powerful and loving hands.
Nutrients cannot reach the branches if any blockage exists between the vine and the branch. This blockage is like sin in our lives. Our sin keeps the Holy Spirit from filling and empowering us. So keep short accounts with God, and be quick to address sin when the Spirit convicts. Remember, we cannot produce fruit in our own power.