John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit: for without Me you can do nothing.”
Jesus addresses His disciples in this verse in terms that they could understand. The vine and the branch was illustrated through the vineyards of Israel. No plant bears fruit in and of itself. The branch must get the nourishment that it needs to be fruitful from the vine. For the branch to continue to bear fruit it must abide in the vine; it must stay connected to the vine so that the nutrients flow from the vine to the branch. The same is true of the fruitfulness of a believer in Christ Jesus.
Jesus is said in verse one to be the “true vine” and the Father is the vinedresser. The believer is the branch. For every believer to bear fruit he must be vitally connected to the “true vine”, Jesus Christ. A believer cannot give away something that he doesn’t own himself; meaning that unless a person stays in vital union with Jesus Christ, through prayer and communion in the Word of God, he can’t be filled with the nutrients of Christ’s power and anointing to be able to share it with someone else. Apart from Jesus Christ, a believer cannot accomplish anything of lasting value. It must come from the Vine and flow through the branch to be effective in changing something in another person’s life.
When Jesus sent His disciples out to minister to the people He sent them out by two’s and he said to them: “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:7,8) Jesus instructed them to give away what they had received from Him. He had given them the anointing to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead and cast out the demons. They had spent time with Him and now they were told to go give it away; to go out and apply what He had taught them.
The same is true of every disciple of Christ Jesus; we are all told to go and do the same things that He did. Jesus instructed us to go and make disciples of all nations. He said that there would be some tell-tale signs that people would be able to see in His disciples.
Mark 16:15-18 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; “they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will be no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Now, it is only our responsibility to do as He commanded; preach the gospel, cast out demons, speak with new tongues, confront demonic powers, and lay hands on the sick so they can recover. How can we do these things? We do them as He works with us confirming His word spoken through us with the accompanying signs.
Mark 16:20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.. Amen.
As we do our part, God will do His. He is the One that does the work; we are only the utensil that He uses to accomplish His work. Jesus said of Himself that He didn’t do anything He didn’t see the Father doing or say anything that He didn’t hear from the Father.
John 5:19 AMP So Jesus answered them by saying, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the Son is able to do nothing of Himself (of His own accord); but He is able to do only what He sees the Father doing, for whatever the father does is what the Son does in the same way [in His turn].
John 5:30 AMP I am able to do nothing from Myself [independently, of My own accord—but only as I am taught by God and as I get His orders]. Even as I hear, I judge [I decide as I am bidden to decide. As the voice comes to Me, so I give a decision], and My judgment is right (just, righteous), because I do not seek or consult My own will [I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself, My own aim, My own purpose] but only the will and pleasure of the Father Who sent Me.
So, what is the secret to accomplishing the works of God in our lives today? Well, I think the key is found in the same way that Jesus accomplished His work. We see in so many scriptures that Jesus often withdrew to pray. He spent quality time with His Father. He was empowered by the Holy Spirit to do the works of God through His prayer time. At one point He withdrew to pray and stayed there all night. It was after that special time of prayer that He learned from the Father who He was to choose to be His twelve disciples.
Luke 6:12 NKVJ Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles:
It was a little later in that day that He exhibited the power that came from His time in prayer:
Luke 6:17-19 NKJV And He came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases, as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all.
The power of God went out from Him and healed them all. The power of God was received from His Father during those times of prayer. Just as a vehicle cannot run on empty, so the believer in Christ Jesus cannot effectively minister without the re-fueling that comes through prayer and Bible Study.
It is recorded in Acts 10:38 “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
God was with Him; He anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power during those times that He spent in prayer. Jesus, in His humanity, was empowered through His relationship with the Father. He was anointed, set apart and consecrated with the oil or power of the Holy Spirit, to do the work of ministry. The same is true of us as we spend time with the Lord through prayer and the Word that He will anoint us to do the work of ministry.
John 14:12-14 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
Jesus spoke that of His disciples and those who would follow after Him; believers in Christ Jesus!
Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Do you have trouble sharing your faith with others? Are you bold in your witness of what God has done in your life? Can you freely give away what God has done in you? Are the signs of a believer evident in your life?
If you answered “yes” to the first question, “no”, or “not enough” to any of the others, then I would encourage you to spend more time with the Lord getting filled to overflowing so He can do His works through you. God longs to have His children spend time in His presence so He can empower them to do the works of ministry. He wants a body that will follow His directions as the Head to do what He tells them to effectively minister to the world.
Will you set aside time to spend with the Lord so you can be an effective witness of His? The key is in receiving from Him so you can pass it on to someone else. You can’t give away something that is not yours!
Father, I thank You for equipping me for the work of ministry. I know that it is in knowing You that I am empowered to release what You have placed within me to those around me. Father, I lift up to You those who may be longing to be an effective witness for You. I ask You to draw them by Your Spirit into a deeper, more satisfying communion with You where Your anointing can flow freely to them and through them to impact people’s lives for eternity for Your Kingdom! Father, I thank You for the anointing of Your Spirit that is upon their lives. I ask You to give them the boldness to step out in faith and be Your hands and feet and Your mouthpiece. Thank You, Father, for the fruit that will be evident through their lives. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.