It is Friday, May 3, 2019.  Jesus continues His Farewell Discourse (John 14-17) with the final "I AM" statement found in the Gospel of John; I AM the True Vine.  Jesus is speaking to the eleven remaining Apostles here, but these words hold true to followers of Jesus throughout the centuries, even until today. So, what does it mean to "abide in Christ"?  Chris Adomanis  

The following guide is a resource for you to use in your personal time of solitude with the Lord as well as when you connect with the Community that you facilitate.  It can also be used for times with family or friends around the table.

CONNECT

CATCH-UP- What was your high and low from last week/yesterday?
_ Do you have people in your life that you love the way Jesus asks you to love?  How often do you interact with these people to foster the relationship? What kind of fruit comes from time spent with one another?
_ What is one way the Lord is impacting the life of someone you are walking with (to help grow in or discover Jesus)?

SING + PRAY- Take some time for song (guitar, hymn, acapella or read a Psalm) and extended prayer as an individual/community.  A simple path of prayer is to pray through one of the Psalms as a group or use the acronym ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication).
_ Take some time to thank and praise God for who He is, to pray for those you are walking with, for the needs you/group are facing, and for the Spirit to highlight truth as you read.


DISCOVER
(IN LARGE GROUP)

+ WHAT is this passage saying and what is a key truth or thought that I/we learn? (Use the questions interspersed through the passage to help make additional observations to clarify the main point)

[ John 15.1-17 ]
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.2 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.3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.4 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.5 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.6 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.

_ What did Jesus mean by calling Himself “the TRUE vine”?  See Jeremiah 2, culminating in verse 21; and Hosea 10:1-2.  What does that mean about His Father being the vinedresser?  About His followers being the branches?
_ It certainly appears that bearing much fruit is REALLY important. What is “fruit”?  How do we “bear much of it”?  Come back to this question after contemplating question 6 below!!!
_ Does verse 6 teach that a Christian can “lose” their salvation if they are not bearing enough fruit?  Why or why not?  Hint: read John 6:35-40 and 1 John 2:19

7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.10 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.11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
_ Do verses 7 and 16 teach that God will give a Christian anything they want if they are really abiding in Christ?  Why or why not?  What does it mean to abide in Christ?  What are the outcomes of Christians abiding in Christ?
_ How can we practically love one another as Jesus loved us?  Who is the "one another" to which Jesus refers?
_ How do you feel about the fact that Jesus "chose" and "appointed" you to bear fruit?Hint; you should be relieved!!!Read Philippians 1:6

PROCESS (IN BREAKOUTS OF 2-3’S, GUYS/GIRLS)

+ HOW is the Lord calling me to action/obedience? Is there sin to confess, a next step to take, how has it gone since last time
A Branch WILL receive sustenance from the Vine.  Our only job is to keep out impediments that could possibly gunk up the flow of  the Vine's life giving nutrients.  How do we do this?  Follow this simple plan:
1)  Confess and repent from known sin 
2)  Spend time in prayer and in the reading of the Word
3)  Act upon commands you receive in step 2 above
4)  Repeat steps 1-3 daily!!! 


+ WHO am I walking with and praying for to discover Jesus, what is my next step?
(e.g., Build trust by spending time with them, set-up an intentional time to share your story, begin a discovery study on the teachings of Jesus with them)