Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate.  Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach.  For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.

 
 
 

Going to Jesus

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Thought for the Evening
2-07

Pruned Or Cut Off, Part One

Jesus said that his Father took good care of him. These are the words he spoke to his disciples the night before he died: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the Keeper of the vineyard." And then he described his Father's method of caring for the vineyard: "He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, He prunes every fruit-bearing branch so that it will bear more fruit (Jn 15:2). Then, the Lord continued his parable with these sobering words: "Just as the branch is unable of itself to bear fruit unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you, the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, the same shall bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing. Unless a man abides in me, he is thrown away like a branch, and it withers, and men gather them and throw them into a fire, and they are burned" (Jn. 15:4-6).

It is crucial that we pay attention to the fact that Jesus is speaking only of branches that are "in him". He is not speaking of people outside the faith of Christ. This is shown again at the conclusion of his parable in John 15:9-10: "I have loved you the same way my Father loved me; abide in my love. You shall abide in my love if you keep my commandments, just as I myself have kept my Father's commandments and am abiding in His love."

Listen to Jesus! This is a very serious matter because Jesus is teaching that those "in him" who are disobedient will be cut off from him and cast away. If we who have been loved by the Lord hope to remain in his wonderful love, then it is required that we keep his commandments. Otherwise, Jesus said, we will be cut off and wither, and then be gathered up and cast into the fire.

Jesus could not possibly have given us a clearer warning that the evil deeds of those who are born again will be sternly judged and that salvation from the flames of damnation will be granted only to those who are born of the Spirit and who, after their new birth, are faithful and obedient to him. "Judgment begins at the house of God," wrote Peter. His warning was echoed by Paul when he wrote, "We will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ to receive [our reward for] the deeds done in this body." And knowing that "God is no respecter of persons", this great man of faith made certain that his deeds pleased his Lord, "lest [in his own words] I myself be a castaway."

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