Intimacy with God

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 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. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
John 15:1-11 (ESV)

Did you know that God desires a relationship with you? Did you know that God desires an intimate relationship with you?

Jesus the Messiah has made it possible for you and me 

  • To be forgiven our sins
  • To receive the Holy Spirit
  • To know the Lord


  • To dwell with him throughout all eternity.

His death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead has made the way for you and me -- if we will bend the knee our heart and come to him in repentance and faith.

In John 15, Jesus discusses this intimate relationship with God and the results of it. What Jesus says in Chapter 15 occurs after Jesus and his disciples have had the Passover and the Lord has instituted what we remember now as Communion, the Lord’s Supper.

In Chapter 13, he washes the disciples feet and says he will be betrayed.

In Chapter 14 he tells 

  • the disciples that he is going away
  • he comforts them
  • he teaches about the HS and promises his disciples that they will receive the HS.

Look at the last sentence in chapter 14.

Read Chapter 14, verse 31b.

The Scriptures indicate that at this point Jesus and his disciples have been in the Upper Room, and begin walking through Jerusalem over to the Mount of Olives toward Gethsemane. On the way, they would have gone through a vineyard and Jesus stops and shares with them what we have in John 15:1-8.

Why does Jesus tell them this at this time? What is he trying to communicate? He wants his disciples to gain an understanding about how the spiritual life is lived…

  • how to be in communion with him
  • how to have an intimate relationship with him
  • how the life of a disciple is supposed to be…
  • how to experience the abundant life,
  • and the fruitful results of this relationship.

Remember in John 10:10, Jesus said he came that we might have life and have it abundantly. If the truth of the matter were known, too many Christians have no idea about living the spiritual life. Too many of us are ignorant on living the abundant life. Too many of us have no idea what it means to be a disciple of His. Christianity is all conceptual - all ideas; There is no relationship with God.

In this text Jesus shares an important lesson about our relationship with him. Before he begins walking to the cross, he leaves them with the key to walking with him.

V.8 – By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

What is it that Jesus uses to make his point that night? Money? Possessions? Military might? Popularity? Legalism? Liturgy? Religion?

No, Jesus uses grapes to illustrate being fruitful and living a God-centered life. The Father has given you and me a purpose on earth, and it has everything to do with the abundant, fruitful life. It comes from intimacy with him.

Let’s examine in detail this illustration of the vineyard.

First, we see that Jesus is the Vine. (Verse1, 5).

While this ties into many O.T. scriptures referring to the people of Israel, the nation of Israel, and God’s people. But Jesus has a more divine meaning. He said:

I am he (the Messiah) – John 4

I am the bread of life – John 6

I am the light of the world – John 8

I am the Good Shepherd – John 10

I am resurrection and the life – John 11

I am the way the truth and the life – John 14

All pointing to his divinity. “Here, I am the vine; I am the true vine,” He says.

In a vineyard, the vine is the trunk of the plant that comes out the ground. Gardeners usually keep the vine at waist height – 36 to 42 inches high. The Vine ends in a huge gnarl from which the branches grow in either direction along the trellis.

Jesus says HE is the vine.  

Now what does the vine do for the branches?? The vine provides all the branch needs to survive. All sustenance. All food. All energy. All life Anything the branch needs to live and to grow in the environment in which it is placed comes from the vine.

Jesus reiterates the relationship between the vine and his followers, the branches, when he says in verse 5: For apart from me, you can do nothing.

Our spiritual life will come up with a big ZERO if we are not connected to the vine. Our ability to bear spiritual fruit will be NIL if we are not connected to the vine. It is being connected to the Vine that our close intimate relationship with God is developed. Without it, All sustenance, All food, All energy, All spiritual life will die.

Jesus is saying “I am the true vine.”

Jesus is the vine. In him is life. In him is sustenance. He is the source of all life. He is giver of life. He is the sustainer of life.

The challenge for us modern-day followers of Jesus is to learn how to live with this reality -  

  • that our strength and sustenance come from Him
  • that he is the source of everything – spiritual and physical
  • that all this depends on our intimacy with him.

Jesus says “apart from me you can do nothing.” (v.5) The image is of the branch connected to the vine. So, he says to “abide in him.” Five times Jesus says: Abide in me.

Eight times Jesus uses the word “abide.”

Abiding in him means to remain in him: to stay in fellowship with him; to keep walking with him; to remember him moment by moment.

Abiding with him means to dwell with him – constantly.  It is “practicing the presence of God” as Brother Lawrence wrote about it hundreds of years ago.

This is something we have to work at in our ever-demanding, very wordy, non-stop news, and social media culture. We have to be intentional about remaining in constant fellowship with the Lord – abiding in Him.

This is the key to our intimacy with him. This is the key to bearing inward fruit. This is the key to bearing outward fruit. Remaining connected to him!

The Most Rev'd Dr. Foley Beach
Archbishop and Primate, Anglican Church in North America

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