Verse 1-5 – The Vine and the Branches
Jesus is the “true” vine which means that He alone is the One whom we should cling to. In John 14:6, Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”. His Father is the vinedresser. A vinedresser is “a person who prunes, trains, and cultivates vines.” All true believers will abide in the vine and bear fruit. Those who are not true believers will not bear fruit and will prove that they were not true believers because “by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matt. 7:20).
What is the tool that the Father will use to make the branch grow? It is the Word of God. The Word of God is the tool by which God will sanctify us and make us grow. The Bible says:
“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:30).
“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17).
“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2).
Do you want to be fruitful? You need to abide in the Vine, the Lord Jesus. Without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). But we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil. 4:13).
Verse 6 – The False Branches
The false branches will not abide in the Vine and they will wither and will be cast into everlasting fire in hell.
Verse 7 & 16 – Promise of Answered Prayer
If we abide in Christ and His words abide in us; we will then have the “mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16) and will ask those things which are in accordance to His will (1 John 5:14) and God will give us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4).
Verse – 8 & 16 – Fruitfulness
God is most glorified when we bear both inward fruit and outward fruit. Inward fruit is the fruits of the Spirit which is “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance” (Gal. 5:22-23). Outward fruit is seeing souls being saved. God choose us so we can be fruitful and bear fruit for His glory.
Verse – 9 to 17 – Love One Another
One fruit of abiding in the Vine, the Lord Jesus, is “love.” We are commanded to love God will all our hearts, soul and mind and our neighbor as ourselves (Matt. 22:36-40).
Verse 18 – 27 – Expect Persecution and the Promise of the Holy Spirit
When you become a Christian, persecution is inevitable. If the world hated Christ, you would need to expect to be hated as well. Christ will not leave us as orphans, but He has promised to give us His Holy Spirit – to strengthen us; comfort us; guide us; teach us; and empower us.
The Lord Is My Shepherd – Psalm 23
Read: Psalm 23 & John 10:1-30
Psalm 23 is one of the most well-known and comforting Psalms. It teaches us a lot about our Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse 1 - The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
The Bible pictures all true believers as sheep and all false believers as goats (Matt. 25:32-33). We have all sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). Like lost sheep, we have all gone astray and we need a shepherd to seek and find us. The Bible says:
“All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He spoke this parable to them, saying: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance (Luke 15:1-7).
Jesus said in John 10:11, that He is the “good shepherd.” He gave His life for the sheep. We all need a shepherd. By nature, we are prone to wander and we need a shepherd to follow. David says that “The Lord is my shepherd.” That is personal. We all can say that “The Lord is my shepherd.” He takes care of each individual sheep. He loves each one of them and cares for each one of them. That is how the Lord Jesus is to us. He loves and cares for each one of us. Each sheep is special and unique in His sight. He laid down His life for each one of His sheep.
David also says, “I shall not want” which means, “I shall not lack.” As our Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus promises to take care of each one of us. He provides for all our needs. The Bible says:
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).
“The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing” (Psalm 34:10).
Verse 2 - He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
Jesus our Good Shepherd makes us to lie down in green pastures and not the dry, brown pastures. He provides for us physically as well as spiritually. He gives us the abundant life (John 10:10). He gives us fullness of joy (John 15:11). He also leads us besides the still waters. He calms the storms in our hearts and life. He speaks peace to our hearts and tells us not to be troubled (John 14:1). He tells us over and over:
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Verse 3 - He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
He restores our soul when we are down and discouraged. He remembers us in our lowly state (Psalm 136:23). “He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness” (Psalm 107:9). He redeems our “life from destruction” (Psalm 103:4) and renews our strength “like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:5).
He also leads us in the good path, in the path of righteousness. He instructs us and teaches us in the way that we should go (Psalm 32:8) and gives us wisdom (James 1:5).
Verse 4 - Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
We have nothing to fear as long as we have our Shepherd with us. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31). As believers, we have nothing to fear, even death itself. Our hope is firm in Christ. Our future is secure. “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). Death is not the end for the believer but the beginning of an eternity with our Shepherd, the Lord Jesus.
"Should a sheep fear when the shepherd is with it? What cause has it to fear if that Shepherd is omniscient, omnipotent, and full of tenderness? Thy rule and thy correction: thy rod, with which I sometimes am made to smart; thy staff, with which I am supported. These are my comforts; why should I fear? Are you drinking in all this precious truth, dear friends? Are you feeling it in your soul’s deepest experience? This Psalm is very good to read, but it is far better to write out from your own experience. Make it a song of your own; not merely a song in the Book, but a song for yourselves." ~ Charles H. Spurgeon
Verse 5 - You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
There is a fight going on, and there are enemies all around. You do not generally have tables set in the hour of battle; but God keeps his people so calm amid the bewildering cry, so confident of victory, that even in the presence of their enemies a table is spread with all the state of a royal banquet. “Thou preparest a table.” There is a doth on the table, there are the ornaments on it, and there are all the accompaniments of a feast: “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.” They may look on if they like; they may grin, they may wish they could devour, but they cannot sit down at the table, and they cannot prevent me from sitting down at it. Let them blow their trumpets, let them fire their guns: “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.” It is the very acme of security and repose that is here described. I know of no expression, not even that of lying down in green pastures, that is more full of restfulness than this: “Thou preparest table before me in the presence of mine enemies.” ~ Charles H. Spurgeon
At some feasts, they poured perfumed unguents on the heads of the guests, so God will leave out nothing that is for the joy and comfort of his people. “Thou anointest my head with oil.” You shall have delicacies as well as necessaries; you shall have joy as well as safety; you shall be prepared for service as well as preserved from destruction. ~ Charles H. Spurgeon
I have not only what I wish, but I have more; not only all I can hold, but something to spare: “My cup runneth over.” If this is the case with your cup, dear friend, let it run over in thankful joy, and if you have more of this world’s substance than you need, ask the poor and needy to come and catch that which flows over. ~ Charles H. Spurgeon
Verse 6 - Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Jesus, our Good Shepherd will surround us with His goodness and mercy all the days of our life and He will give us eternal life (John 10:28) and no one is able to snatch us from His Father’s hand (John 10:29). We will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. The Bible says:
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).
We are all one in Christ no matter what color or race we are. We are to forgive each other and love one another. We are never to think that we are better than others. Never take revenge on others. Never have bitterness or resentment. Treat everyone with utmost respect.
"For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him" (Rom. 10:12).
"Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you" (Eph. 4:31-32).
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28).
"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Matt. 5:44-48).
"Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Rom. 12:17-21).
Christ has a people from every race, color, and nation:
And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation."You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth" (Rev. 5:9-10).
Christ shows no favoritism. Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved:
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for "Whoever WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED" (Rom. 10:12-13).
We all came from Adam. All the races developed from Noah's children. Let us love one another:
"Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers?" (Mal. 2:10).
"And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation" (Acts 17:26).
"These are the families of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, by their nations; and out of these the nations were separated on the earth after the flood" (Gen. 10:32).
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35).
If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen (1 John 4:20).
We are all one in Christ:
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28).
The biggest problem is not dying from a virus; but dying without the Lord Jesus Christ! Even, if you don't die from the coronavirus, you are going to die anyway. The Bible says that we all have an appointment that we must keep and that appointment is death. The Bible says:
"And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment" (Heb. 9:27).
If you die outside of Christ, you will experience the worst death of all being cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death.
"But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Rev. 21:8).
The Bible says that we are all sinners. We are all infected with the worse virus of all - which is "sin." That sin virus is infinitely worse than the Covid-19 and there is nothing you can do about it. Your good works; your baptism; your first communion; your church membership; and even your blue gloves, masks, hand sanitizer and face shield will not prevent you from escaping the second death. The only way to be healed from this virus called "sin" is through Jesus Christ, who is the great Physician. Jesus says:
"Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance" (Mark 2:17).
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23).
Go to Christ today. Put your faith in Him. You have no guarantee that you will be alive tomorrow. Now is the day of salvation! According to statistics, 150,000 people die every day around the world, and that is without the Covid-19! Are you ready to meet your maker? If you die tonight, are you sure you are going to heaven? Why would God let you in His Holy Heaven? You need a mediator. You need Christ! Christ is the only way to the Father. The Bible says:
"For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5).
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).
"Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
"For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Rom. 10:12-13).
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Eph. 2:8-9).
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (John 3:14-19).
“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:18).
"How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him" (Heb. 2:3).
"...Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2).
Charles Spurgeon faced the cholera pandemic in his lifetime but see how bold he is compared with Christians of today facing the coronavirus pandemic. Let us learn from Spurgeon not to fear.
"He who fears God has nothing else to fear." - C.H. Spurgeon
A Virus Infinitely Worse than the Covid-19
There is a deadly virus in every one of us that is infinitely more worse than the Covid-19. This virus is called sin. The Bible says that we are all sinners and if we are outside of Christ, we will spend an eternity in hell, which is the second death. There is no way you can escape this second death except by putting your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. The Bible says that we are all going to die one day. We are all appointed to die and than face the Judgment. There is no way to escape this - even with your masks and blue gloves and good works, you won't be able to escape the terrors of hell. The only way of escape is through Jesus Christ.
Overcoming Fear & Anxiety from Covid-19
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea” (Psalm 46:1-2).
Since the Covid-19 broke out a few months ago, many have been overcome with fear, anxiety, depression and despair. Dr. Mike deBoisblanc, the head of trauma at John Muir Medical Center, told local station ABC 7. “I mean, we’ve seen a year’s worth of suicide attempts in the last four weeks” in California. We as believers need not despair. Our hope and anchor is in Christ. Here are a few ways we can overcome our fears and anxiety during these unprecedented times.
1. God is sovereign (Isaiah 45:5-7; Isaiah 46:9-10).
God is sovereign and has absolute control over everything. God is in control and nothing happens by accident or chance. This Covid-19 did not catch God by surprise. God knows the end from the beginning. We can rest comfortably in the hands of our sovereign God, knowing that God will work out everything for our good (Rom. 8:28).
As Charles Spurgeon put it:
“There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God’s sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that Sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them.” ~ Charles H. Spurgeon
“When you go through a trial, the sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which you lay your head.” ~ Charles H. Spurgeon
2. God is merciful (Psalm 103:8-14; 1 Cor. 10:13).
God is merciful and will not give us more than we can bear or handle. God is there to comfort us and strengthen us through our trials and afflictions.
3. Do not be anxious (1 Peter 5:7; Phil. 4:6-7; Matt. 6:25-36).
Do not be anxious about anything. Cast all your cares upon Him for He does indeed care for you (1 Peter 5:7). Do not worry about tomorrow. Do not worry about what you will eat or what you will drink or what you will wear. Remember to seek first the kingdom of God and He will add all these things to you (Matt. 6:36).
4. Christ’s peace will sustain you (Isaiah 26:3; John 14:27; John 16:33; Phil. 4:7).
Christ’s peace will sustain you. Keep your mind on Christ. Set your mind on things above and not on the things on the earth. He will give you that peace that surpasses all human understanding (Phil. 4:7).
5. Pray! (Matt. 6:7-8; Mark 11:24; 1 Tim. 2:1; 1 John 5:14; 2 Chron. 7:13-14).
Do not be anxious but pray. Our prayers avail much (James 5:16). Nothing is too hard for God (Jer. 32:17; 32:27). Pray for God to bring healing to our nation and the world from this pandemic. Pray for our president and governors and for those who are in authority for wisdom and direction. Pray for God to bring about a revival in our nation and turn people’s heart unto Him.
Charles Spurgeon said:
"The same God that ordains to give a certain blessing has also ordained that we shall pray for it. We do not expect to change the will of God, but we believe our prayer to be a part of his will." ~ Charles H. Spurgeon
“Prayer is an essential part of the providence of God, so essential, that you will always find that when God delivers His people, His people have been praying for that deliverance. They tell us that prayer does not affect the Most High, and cannot alter His purposes. We never thought it did; but prayer is a part of the purpose and plan, and a most effective wheel in the machinery of providence.” ~ Charles H. Spurgeon
6. God will never leave you nor forsake you (Psalm 9:10; Heb. 13:5).
God will never leave you nor forsake you. He is there with you during this difficult time. Look to Him. Take refuge in Him.
7. Our suffering is only temporary (2 Cor. 4:16-18; Rom. 8:18; 31-39).
All our sufferings in this present life is only temporary. God has a glorious future awaiting His children. A place where there will be no more tears, suffering, death (Rev. 21:4). God has a new heaven and a new earth awaiting us (2 Peter 3:13).
8. Take courage (Psalm 27:14; 31:24; Psalm 42:11).
Therefore, take courage, O Christian! Do not fear! God is there for you. He is our refuge and strength and a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).
9. We have nothing to fear (John 14:1; 2 Tim. 1:7; Rom 8:15; Isaiah 35:4; 41:10; 41:13).
As believers in Christ, we have nothing to fear. Our future is secure; our hope is sure and our faith is anchored on Christ, the solid rock. “If God is for us, who can be against us? (Rom. 8:31). Nothing shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:35-39). We have nothing to fear – even death itself! To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8). “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).
10. The Importance of the Word of God and Prayer (Psalm 1:1-3; Psalm 119:114; 165; John 15:7; Eph. 6:18).
During this time of anxiety and uncertainty, it is of utmost importance that we constantly meditate on the Word of God and “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). This is the only way that we can renew our hope and nothing in the world will shake our confidence in God and in His promises.
1. How have you grown in your walk with God during this pandemic? Have you learned to lean upon Him more?
2. Are you anxious and fearful about tomorrow or are you fully trusting in our sovereign, loving God?
We always ought to pray according to the will of God. We can tell God our heart's desires but at the end pray, "Not my will but thine be done" (Luke 22:42). God gave us many promises in the Bible. God is sovereign but He does work through the prayers of His people.
It seems the whole world is panicking over the coronavirus. The whole world is overreacting and living in fear! Let us be different from the world and refuse to live in panic and fear. But let us turn our eyes upward to God. He is our refuge and strength and a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). Here is a good quote below that is relevant to us today by Dr. Martyn Lloyd- Jones.
1. We need to be faithful as “stewards” of God. We need to be faithful of how we use our time and live each day for the glory of God.
“Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2).
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).
2. We need to be faithful with our spiritual gifts and talents to use them for the glory of God; the edification of the saints; and in reaching the lost.
His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ (Matt. 25:21).
“He who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness” (Rom. 12:8).
Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men” (Eph. 4:8).
3. We need to be faithful with our money to use it for the advancement of the Kingdom of God.
“Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” (Luke 16:11).
“On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come” (1 Cor. 16:2).
“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Cor. 9:6-8).
4. We need to be faithful in church attendance; prayer meetings; Lord’s supper; and fellowship.
“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42).
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:25).
5. We need to be faithful in our love to one another.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).