A Fruitful Life: Abiding in Christ as seen in John 15

A Fruitful Life: Abiding in Christ as seen in John 15

Author : Tony Horsfall
£8.99

'It is my desire through these pages to point you back to the simplicity of a life lived out of relationship with Jesus Christ. A life of intimacy, of abiding in him, is the source and spring of all other activity and endeavour. The branch bears fruit because it abides in the vine.'

Title A Fruitful Life: Abiding in Christ as seen in John 15
Author Tony Horsfall
Description

'It is my desire through these pages to point you back to the simplicity of a life lived out of relationship with Jesus Christ. A life of intimacy, of abiding in him, is the source and spring of all other activity and endeavour. The branch bears fruit because it abides in the vine.'

In A Fruitful Life we ponder the teaching of Jesus in John chapter 15, the famous 'vine' passage. He is preparing his disciples for his departure and describing how they can be effective witnesses in a hostile world. Just as his instructions revolutionised their lives, so a proper understanding of what he is saying can revolutionise our lives also. It is the heart of the gospel message: the only way to live the Christian life is to allow Jesus to live his life in us and through us.

This book includes material for individual reflection and also questions for group discussion.

Details
  • Product code: 9780857468840
  • Published: 24 March 2006
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 160
  • Dimensions: 130mm wide and 198mm high

'It is my desire through these pages to point you back to the simplicity of a life lived out of relationship with Jesus Christ. A life of intimacy, of abiding in him, is the source and spring of all other activity and endeavour. The branch bears fruit because it abides in the vine.'

In A Fruitful Life we ponder the teaching of Jesus in John chapter 15, the famous 'vine' passage. He is preparing his disciples for his departure and describing how they can be effective witnesses in a hostile world. Just as his instructions revolutionised their lives, so a proper understanding of what he is saying can revolutionise our lives also. It is the heart of the gospel message: the only way to live the Christian life is to allow Jesus to live his life in us and through us.

This book includes material for individual reflection and also questions for group discussion.

The need of the hour is for Spirit-filled, Christ-centred, Father-glorifying, Bible-based, fruitful individuals and churches. This book can only help towards that goal. Steve Brady, Moorlands College

Tony Horsfall is a freelance trainer with a passion to help individuals deepen their relationship with God. He is an elder of his local church in West Yorkshire and a graduate of London School of Theology, and regularly travels abroad leading retreats and quiet days, road-testing the material in this book in Singapore. He has written a number of other books, including Song of the Shepherd and A Fruitful Life for BRF, and also writes for New Daylight Bible reading notes.

 

Reviewed by Richard Frost, August 2019

Jesus said, ‘I am the vine.’ John 15.

Tony Horsfall’s exploration of this well-known passage begins with a stark yet realistic picture of Christianity and the church in 21st Century, post-Christian Britain. Yet he reminds us that it was into such a ‘hostile world’ that Jesus gave this core teaching to his disciples.

So, this book’s relevance for us is clear. And the author’s key question is also clear: ‘What does it mean to be a Christian?’ His answer, in part, is that the purpose of our lives is to give glory to God – it is our destiny to bear fruit.

Tony Horsfall challenges the reader not to see bringing people to faith as the main fruit. We are to focus on the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and how they are to grow (and to be seen to grow) in our lives through our personal attributes and responses to the needs of others. Within that growth we see God working which leads us to worship which then gives glory to God: which is, as already stated, the purpose of our lives.

Much of what Tony Horsfall writes will be familiar to many but in this book he also offers fresh insights into this key teaching from Jesus. He explores the symbolism of the vine in the Bible as a whole and suggests that Jesus is not just addressing us as individuals but also the nature of the church – a theme to which he returns later. His exploration of looking after a vineyard is particularly helpful – considering all the different words that are used in various translations of the passage. God is the gardener, vine dresser, husbandman, farmer – all have the unique qualities, all are present in the Father.

Similarly, the way he explains the actual cultivation and growth of grapes from the vine draws very helpful parallels with our life in Christ – albeit including tough and difficult chapters on cleansing and pruning. But they too are potentially necessary in order to address sin and unhelpful practice so that further growth is enabled, not prevented. ‘Letting go of what is precious to us is very much the human side of divine pruning,’ he writes. And quoting Selwyn Hughes, ‘Always remember that no matter how often the secateurs snip, or how painful pruning, your life is in good hands: it is your Father who is the gardener.’

The core theme of the passage on abiding in Christ in the knowledge we can do nothing without him is explored in depth. Tony Horsfall approaches this from a particular viewpoint which some readers will be familiar with. He offers five ‘disciplines’ to help receive the life-giving sap that enables the vine to bear fruit:

  • Dependency on God through prayer and allowing God to be in control
  • Reading, studying and meditating on the Bible
  • Knowing oneself to be loved and to receive that love
  • Obedience to God and surrendering ourselves to him – or to put it another way: listening to God and following his lead
  • Developing intimacy and friendship with God by spending time with him

All this leads to a life of prayer, joy and community.

Interspersed with reflective poetry, questions for individuals and groups, A Fruitful Life offers a helpful perspective on very familiar words – watering solid ground to enable further growth.

Richard Frost is the author of Life with St Benedict and writes a blog at workrestpray.com

 

 

From: The Methodist Recorder - 07 June 07 The 15th chapter of St John's Gospel - the familiar 'vine' passage - has been inspirational to many down the years. In his book, A Fruitful Life, Tony Horsfall takes us through this chapter looking at each verse with the aim of helping us fully appreciate what a life lived abiding in Christ really means. Why do we need to abide? Because 'apart from him we can do nothing'. Each section offers material for individual reflection and also sensible questions for group discussion.