John 15:1-5 (NLT)
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”
There is a famine in the land currently. Men and women in the House of God who are not producing the fruits of the Spirit including love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The church house is relatively empty except for the sparse few that somehow seem to manage to continue to live on the measure of faith that they have been given with a desire to find the Eternity longed for by the heart. These people are the remnant. Jesus Christ reveals that He is the vine. God is the Master Gardner. He inspects the vine and every single branch for fruit. Where is the love, joy and peace of the heart that is free? Where is the patience produced by endurance? How about the kindness and goodness of those who have been granted grace and mercy? Well, what about faithfulness? Why the lack of commitment? Absent and long gone is the gentleness that turns the wayward heart for home. You can forget about self-control although there is no law against it who really strives to achieve it. We live in a world where supply drives demand. When the demand is high, the supply grows limited to create a fervor of lust and desire for the things of this world. God continues to inspect the vine and its branches. Where is the fruit? Remain in me, and I will remain in you is the Covenant Promise of Jesus Christ for His People, the branches, the small remnant with powerful potential. A branch cannot and will not produce fruit if severed from the vine. Do you want to live a productive and prospering life today? Then you must learn to remain in Jesus Christ and produce fruit. Apart from Him you can do nothing.
Each spring my husband cuts back the limbs of the trees and bushes in our yard removing all the dead limbs left from a long, cold winter to prepare for the new growth that is coming. Our yard looks so bare when the process is complete. Many times, I will scorn him for taking off so much and stripping everything down so severely. But as winter gives way to spring, everything comes to life all over again and is renewed. The branches that are dying and dead take from the renewal process drawing precious resources that can now be dedicated to the restoration process the plant is undertaking. Although only a remnant remains, it becomes a vibrant display quickly. It seems that although fall is turning to winter, the pruning process of God is in full effect. Where is the passion for Jesus Christ? Who wants the Things of God anymore? It seems like fewer and fewer people want anything to do with the Lord. Even “Christians” have fashioned a comfortable God-box in their life opened only on occasion or broken in case of emergency. Grace has been misrepresented as a doormat to His Presence so that we can live in the world until there is danger than run to our God. When you and I came to Christ, it was in pursuit of a relationship based on covenant much like a marriage, but not we choose to keep what is ours attempting to use the Lord for what we want and desire. We have not remained faithful to our first love. Too many lukewarm believers have dampened the flow of His Spirit to a trickle of mediocrity in the House of God. God is ready to do some pruning. Grace did not dull the ax. Does your life produce fruit? Are you the remnant that remains? It is time to decide.
The word “remnant” means that which is remaining. It is a small part of the original cut. To remain is to continue in the same state. To be left after removal. It is to be reserved. You are God’s Remnant that is why you feel so small. But that is far from the case, my friend. By choosing to live in faithfulness, holiness and obedience to the Lord, you have remained in Him. You will produce much fruit. Pay no attention to the shaking all around you. Do not be surprised when others fall away. Just hold on tight, God is working to reveal His Glory in His People once and for all. You are His Remnant!
Isaiah 10:20-22 (NLT)
In that day the remnant left in Israel, the survivors in the house of Jacob, will no longer depend on allies who seek to destroy them. But they will faithfully trust the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. A remnant will return; yes, the remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God. But though the people of Israel are as numerous as the sand of the seashore, only a remnant of them will return. The LORD has rightly decided to destroy his people.
God is not surprised by the distrustfulness of His People. It has been there all alone. He is not surprised that although He grants His Mercy, Grace and Love to many only a few return. Jesus experienced the very same thing on earth. He healed ten men but only one returned to praise Him for it. The man was a Samaritan not even a Jew. (Luke 17:16-18) The descendants that God promised Abraham are as numerous as the sand of the seashore but only a remnant will return. You have been grafted into the Family of God as a full sibling. (Romans 11:17) You are part of the remnant that will return to God if you remain in Him. This teaching is simplistic so much so that many will overlook its significance today and return to the life they live visiting church on Sunday and Wednesday. However, some will see their identity as remnant and be humbled to the point of seeking a deeper connection to the Lord and remaining there forevermore.
Isaiah 11:15-16 (NLT)
The LORD will make a dry path through the gulf of the Red Sea. He will wave his hand over the Euphrates River, sending a mighty wind to divide it into seven streams so it can easily be crossed on foot. He will make a highway for the remnant of his people, the remnant coming from Assyria, just as he did for Israel long ago when they returned from Egypt.
For those born in captivity, freedom is a scary thing. When an animal is born in a cage and never given freedom, it is tough to get them to venture from the known to the unknown. It is the same for a sinner who has been set free. How does one pursue freedom and yet learn to remain faithful to Jesus Christ? How can one live in obedience and still be free? Isn’t righteousness just another form of rules and regulations that limit our life? No friend righteousness is the way to full freedom. It is how the remnant flourishes. God is making a dry path through the Gulf of the Red Sea just for you. He is waving his hand to divide it for your safe passage to freedom. Born into the captivity of sin, it will take great faith for you to take the first step into the redemption process of God that will become renewal, restoration and revival in your life. God is clearing the way for His Remnant but the pathway is narrow. (Matthew 7:14) The Highway you are called to is holiness. (Isaiah 35:8) Evil-minded people cannot go there. Pride has no place there. You will never make it to such a place much less remain there until you decide it is going to a place you want to be. Those who turn from evil to do good will find solace and peace in their journey no matter what the surroundings look like. Their hearts are filled with faith and confident hope that if they keep the course, they will obtain the prize. This is the way of the remnant.
Isaiah 24:13-14 (NLT)
Throughout the earth the story is the same—only a remnant is left, like the stray olives left on the tree or the few grapes left on the vine after harvest. But all who are left shout and sing for joy. Those in the west praise the LORD’s majesty.
Although there are few left in the remnant of God, they are joyful and filled with praise. They get it. They are connected to the Source of Life and overflow with Living Water. They are nourished by the Bread of Life. They have no worries or cars but continually shift their burden to the Lord. The remnant lives a life of perpetual praise.
Isaiah 65:9 (NLT)
I will preserve a remnant of the people of Israel and of Judah to possess my land. Those I choose will inherit it and my servants will live there.
I was never very good at mathematics. How I produced a math genius in one of our children just shows the awesomeness of God! But I did like fractions! God promises to preserve a remnant of people to possess the land. Now if that remnant has been cut short due to rebellion and disobedience, it would only be simple arithmetic that those remain get a bigger share of the land. Right? Are you in or out yet? Do you wish to remain in Jesus Christ and join the remnant of faithful followers in love with Him?
Amos 5:14-15 (NLT)
Do what is good and run from evil so that you may live! Then the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies will be your helper, just as you have claimed. Hate evil and love what is good; turn your courts into true halls of justice. Perhaps even yet the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies will have mercy on the remnant of his people.
The remnant of God will be identified as those who do what is good and run from evil. They hate evil. They love what is good. This includes every single aspect of one’s life beginning with our heart. Examine your heart. Decide if it pursues God more than the things of this world. Check and see if Jesus Christ is Lord of your life. If He is, then you will not be concerned or dismayed to discover that He goes wherever you go, sees what you see, or hears what you hear and say. The remnant of God remains in Jesus Christ every day all day. There is no separation in their existence. They live for the Lord radically. Radical faithfulness. Radical obedience. Radical righteousness. Holding nothing back and letting go of the past they follow Jesus! He becomes the First Love in their life in all things. Grace is the access point of righteousness and never taken for granted as it costs every ounce of blood of the Love of your life. You give Him everything as a sign of love and fidelity choosing Jesus to be your Life Partner. You become the remnant this way. Now you and the Lord are inseparable through life into Eternity.
Micah 4:6-7 (NLT)
“In that coming day,” says the LORD, “I will gather together those who are lame, those who have been exiles, and those whom I have filled with grief. Those who are weak will survive as a remnant; those who were exiles will become a strong nation. Then I, the LORD, will rule from Jerusalem as their king forever.”
When I am weak, then I am strong. This is the motto of the remnant. It is indicative of our very description. We are what is left after the cut. When the Word has divided our bone and marrow to expose the flesh and refine our soul. God’s Power is made perfect in our weakness. So do not discredit yourself if you feel as though you are limping. Jacob wrestled with the angel and won yet still limped through life. (Genesis 32:22-31) God has great plans for your life as you remain in Jesus Christ. He does not require human strength, but strength of character that is produced through faithfulness, endurance and commitment. You have everything you need to be blessed even if you have to crawl half the way. Those who wait upon the Lord will experience a renewed strength like never before. (Isaiah 40:31)
Micah 7:18-20 (NLT)
Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people? You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love. Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! You will show us your faithfulness and unfailing love as you promised to our ancestors Abraham and Jacob long ago.
Can you see that you are the remnant of God? In these last days, can the Lord count on you to walk in His Way and live for His Kingdom? It is totally unfashionable. Christians are pushed out of our community as we cry out for tolerance for all people and all religions. Seems a bit bias, I agree. But that is okay, because God is pruning His People for the next great revival. It will not begin with masses falling on their face before the Lord but when each one of us in our prayer closet at home decide to turn from all evil and pursue only good. It begins in the heart that is examined and compared to God’s Word. It is a quiet cry from the brokenhearted asking the Spirit to fill us up again. It is not a great movement but a small remnant that will light the Fire again! Is that you? Well, of course it is…
Romans 9:25-30 (NLT)
Concerning the Gentiles, God says in the prophecy of Hosea, “Those who were not my people,
I will now call my people. And I will love those whom I did not love before.” And, “Then, at the place where they were told, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’” And concerning Israel, Isaiah the prophet cried out, “Though the people of Israel are as numerous as the sand of the seashore, only a remnant will be saved. For the LORD will carry out his sentence upon the earth quickly and with finality.” And Isaiah said the same thing in another place: “If the LORD of Heaven’s Armies had not spared a few of our children, we would have been wiped out like Sodom, destroyed like Gomorrah.” What does all this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God’s standards, they were made right with God. And it was by faith that this took place.
If you are a Jew or Gentile who has asked Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior by faith and then believed in your heart, you are saved by faith. This faith engrafted you into the vine (Jesus Christ) now it is your responsibility to bear much fruit. Apart from the Lord you can do nothing…
Zechariah 8:11-13 (NLT)
“But now I will not treat the remnant of my people as I treated them before, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. For I am planting seeds of peace and prosperity among you. The grapevines will be heavy with fruit. The earth will produce its crops, and the heavens will release the dew. Once more I will cause the remnant in Judah and Israel to inherit these blessings. Among the other nations, Judah and Israel became symbols of a cursed nation. But no longer! Now I will rescue you and make you both a symbol and a source of blessing. So don’t be afraid. Be strong, and get on with rebuilding the Temple!”
Our responsibility as the remnant of God is to rebuild the Temple. You and I are the Living Stones that comprise the Temple of God. It begins in our own life as we learn to live for Jesus and walk only His Way. It is our right to exercise the Authority of God by His Spirit to release the captive, heal the sick and deliver the rest. We may be small but do not despise small beginnings for the Kingdom we serve is great and God is almighty. Hold tight to your faith without wavering. Never let go of confident hope. Choose to persevere in the famines, struggles and droughts of life knowing that renewal is coming as the Master Gardner prepares you for His Perfection. The best is yet to come for the His Remnant!
Zephaniah 3:11-17 (NLT)
On that day you will no longer need to be ashamed, for you will no longer be rebels against me.
I will remove all proud and arrogant people from among you. There will be no more haughtiness on my holy mountain. Those who are left will be the lowly and humble, for it is they who trust in the name of the LORD. The remnant of Israel will do no wrong; they will never tell lies or deceive one another. They will eat and sleep in safety, and no one will make them afraid.” Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! For the LORD will remove his hand of judgment and will disperse the armies of your enemy. And the LORD himself, the King of Israel, will live among you! At last your troubles will be over, and you will never again fear disaster. On that day the announcement to Jerusalem will be, “Cheer up, Zion! Don’t be afraid! For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”