It is very important to have a hunger for the Lord, a hunger that is so great that it causes you to do things you normally wouldn't do.
In the beginning of my life, and my life began when I first stepped into somewhat of the knowledge of Christ, I got hit like a ton of bricks. I did a lot of things I would not have done in the past. The first thing I did was go to the Christian bookstore where I lived and bought every book on what we were studying in Sunday School at the time. The Lord really worked a miracle with me, because He put a hunger in my heart that caused me to seek out things that most Christians don't seem to really care about.
When I discovered that the New Testament was originally written in Greek and the Old Testament was originally in Hebrew, then I suddenly realized the people who translated the New Testament from Greek to English, while they knew the Greek language, they did not understand the spiritual implications of it. Consequently, no matter what Bible you use, it is not completely correct as far as the spiritual is concerned. If you don't seek it out, you won't ever know. So, one of the first things I did was buy a Hebrew and Greek concordance. Then I went to the University of South Carolina and met Rabbi Schlager. He was over the Old Testament department, one of the most educated, knowledgeable persons I have ever known. We became very good friends. I learned a lot under him. He tried his best to help me learn the Hebrew language. After he left Temple Sinai, I would go to his office and sit and talk for hours concerning the Scriptures. He was a great man!
When you get to the place where you really want to know the Lord, you will seek Him out. You will look for Him, you will hunt, you'll do things you normally wouldn't do because you want to learn and you want to know. One of the most important things that can happen is to have that deep desire to know the Lord and to walk with Him.
Now, I want to look at the very first verse in John 14. I have used this verse many times. To me, it is one of the most important verses in the Bible. If you can grab hold of this first verse and have a hunger in your heart to know the Lord and search it out, you will find that all the way through the Bible this one thing is given.
John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me.
That is the way it is written in my Bible and probably in yours also. But that is not what the Greek says. The Greek says, Let not your heart be troubled: you believe into God, believe also into Me. In other words, your believing must take you into His life. That is important! If you can grab that, and if you are very observant and do a little study in the right way, you will find that concept throughout the Bible, Old Testament and New Testament. It speaks of the same thing: your life moving into His life and His life moving into your life.
Most people in Christian churches do not believe that and do not experience it. They talk about Jesus and will even say, "I love Him, and He loves me." That's great! Even little kids sing that, "Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so." But it has to be more than the Bible telling you so. It must be something that you live, something that you experience. To experience His life is the greatest thing that can happen to you.
The majority of Christianity believes that the time will come when Jesus will return, but it is always in the future. "One day, Jesus is going to come back."
As long as you are thinking in those terms, you haven't entered into His life yet. Once you begin to experience His life and you move into Him like this verse says, Believe into God, believe also into Me, then the futurism will slip away and vanish. You won't believe that way anymore, because you are experiencing His life. There is a change that takes place. Jesus talks about that in John 3:12-13: If I have told you earthly things, and you believe not, how shall you believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. We have talked about this many times. Jesus was talking to Nicodemus and at the same time He was standing on the old terra firma talking to Nicodemus, Jesus was in heaven!
There is also a scripture in Deuteronomy 11:21 that talks about the days of heaven on earth. Do you understand what that is saying? You do not have to shoot up in the sky in order to be in heaven. Ephesians 2:6 brings out the same thing; it speaks of the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. If you are in Him, you are in heaven! But you are not in Him if you're still waiting on Him to return. He did return. He has returned many times, even in the Old Testament. You can find place after place after place where the Lord returned and came forth in the prophets and real men and women of God. He is active to those who can believe in the now! That is important.
Let not your heart be troubled, you believe into God.... Let your believing take you into Him. Let your believing take you into Christ. Now, just reading the Bible you will not understand that. There must be the wanting it enough that you get to the place to learn the Hebrew and the Greek just a little, because the men who translated it into English did not understand the spiritual concepts that were taking place. This is important.
Now, go to John 15. From John 13 to the end of the gospel, Jesus is no longer ministering to the multitudes. He is ministering to His disciples. He realizes that His time is very short. Soon He will be nailed to the cross, resurrected, and then ascend unto the Father. Jesus knew that, and He is preparing His disciples to be the Christ in the earth after He ascends. We need to understand and get that in our minds that we have a responsibility, not to just say, "I'm a Christian," but to know the Lord and experience Him to the point that you can become what He was on earth.
John 15:1 I am the true vine...
Of course, if Jesus is the true vine, that means there is a false vine. You cannot have a true without there also being a false. As we read on, we'll find out what the vine means, particularly the true vine.
John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
The husbandman takes care of the vine.
John 15:2 Every branch in Me that bears not fruit...
If the Lord is the true vine, we are to become the branches of that vine. The way you become a branch in the true vine is by being a true believer. You believe into Him. When your life begins coming forth in Him, now remember, it's not a skinny-minute thing where suddenly you are thinking, "I'm just like He is!" No, it takes time. It takes believing. It takes hunger and it takes work to become what you are supposed to be. It is step by step as we proceed.
John 15:2 Every branch in Me that bears not fruit he takes away: and every branch that bears fruit, he purges (prunes) it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
As we go over these verses, you will begin to see that the fruit of the true vine is Christ's virtues, His virtues coming forth in us. There are a lot of good things about Christ. His life is innumerable with all the things that are within Him. You may have a little bit of Christ in you, but you do not have the fullness yet.
John 15:3 Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Grab hold of that living Word and begin feasting on it, digest it, take it within you, not just concepts that you know with your mind, but it actually comes forth within you. You are clean through the word. That living Word doesn't just sound good, it has a cleansing effect upon you.
John 15:4 Abide in Me, and I in you.
Is that not what the first verse of John 14 says? Believe into God, believe also into Me. Then it says, Abide in Me, and I in you. You find that concept throughout the Bible many times. It is not just enough to go to church on Sunday. It's not just enough to have a Sunday School class and talk about Jesus. There must be the time when our hunger after Him is enough that we start living in Him.
You cannot live in Christ when you are down here, and He is up there somewhere. The heavens above us are man's heavens. The astronauts have gone to the moon, and they didn't see any angels or God. What is going on? Most Christians think that's where God is, up in the sky. No, that is man's heavens. But there is also God's heaven, and God's heaven is the realm of Spirit. The realm of Spirit is also here. Deuteronomy talks about the days of heaven on earth. What are the days of "heaven on earth"? When Jesus was here. You can experience heaven without going anywhere, but to do that you must move into Christ's life so that you begin to experience Him because He is heaven. Paul talks about it in Ephesians 2:6.
Abide in Me, and I in you. That is more than what most Christians experience, because most of them will say, "I've got Jesus in my heart. By faith, He is there." But yet, they are waiting on Him to come back. It doesn't make sense!
John 15:4 Abide in Me, and I in you. ...It's a two-fold action. Abide in the Lord. Then what happens? He starts abiding in you.
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself... The virtues and the different aspects of Christ's nature and His life cannot come forth in you if you are not abiding in Him. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself... We are the branches ...except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in Me.
That's just about as plain and simple as you can make it! Why don't we understand that?
John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abides in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without Me you can do nothing.
Jesus is talking to His disciples, and again saying, "Abide in Me." All the virtues of Christ will begin to come forth in you if you are abiding in Him and He is abiding in you. For without Me you can do nothing.
John 15:6-8 If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be My disciples.
So shall you be My disciples. So shall you become My branches. It's not just all of a sudden you are there. You don't be My disciple, you become those disciples. There is a growing that takes place, a process that takes place. We have been in that process for a long time. What we want to be sure of and careful about is that we don't stop the process. I have been in this ministry for fifty years, and I've noticed how people will go so far and then stop. Most people will learn a little bit and then take that little bit to be all they need and not go any further. They will pull away, back away, whatever, but there must be the living - if you abide in Me or live in Me, and My words abide or live in you.
Herein is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit. Bearing much fruit means that Christ's nature is coming forth in you, that you are becoming as He is. That glorifies the Father because that is what makes you a son. When we become sons, then the Father will be glorified.
John 15:9 As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you: continue in My love.
I have a circle around the word "continue" because that is important, and I want it to stand out to me. This is not something that just happens, and you are okay. There is a continuing that must take place. You keep on and you keep on. We must get to the place where we realize that the little we have is not enough and we continue and keep on.
John 15:10-12 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.
11 These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
12 This is My commandment, That you love one another, as I have loved you.
What joy does the Lord want you to have? His joy! How much did He love you? He loved you enough to go to the cross, to be spit on and made fun of, stuck with a javelin and die on that cross so that we might have the ability to become as He is. That is how much He loves you.
Copyright @ 2011 by Henry DuBose