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(have Hebrews 6:1-12 read at beginning of service)
Read John 15:1-7
SHOW PLANT (needs to be planned ahead!!)
How many of you have ever felt like this plant? You notice that it appears to still be alive but there are some branches that have no leaves. If there was a word that could describe the state of this plant I would say that it is withering. I know I would definitely not say that this is a thriving plant!! It probably would be something that I would want to hide - I donít think Iíd want it to be in the center of my kitchen table. No I think I would place this plant in my basement or in my garage. I might place it where it could get some light and give it some water in the hopes that it might revive and start growing well again but if it doesnít well Iíll probably toss it. What do you do with your withering plants?
Iíd like to make a statement this morning - "IF YOU ARE WITHERING - LOOK OUT! BECAUSE YOUíRE PROBABLY BEGINNING TO DIE! BUT THEREíS HOPE!!" (have them repeat)
Itís sad, but true, that for a lot of Christians - our relationship with Jesus grows old. There are so many people who come to altar calls, pray to give their lives to Jesus, they get excited for a week or two and then everything gets old. Oh but with some people it takes longer maybe a couple of months, maybe a year, two years or maybe even five years. What do I mean it gets old?
I mean that it withers - the relationship with Christ that was once so vibrant and fresh and exciting becomes slow, stale and boring. The sad thing is that sometimes its hard to see this happening because these people still come to church, they still "do ministry", they still say all the right words, they still sing choruses.
Why does this happen? How can this relationship with Jesus Christ who is really the Lord of the universe, the Son of the living God, the Resurrected Saviour, the Bread of Life get old? The answer my friends lies in us as human beings. Itís not Godís fault: itís our fault. As human beings, itís easy for anything to get old to us! Thatís why the advertising industry always has to come out with new ads and new products, because we donít like seeing the same thing again and again. Weíre not machines. Weíre living creatures with active minds who want to be entertained, mesmerized and tantalized.This is why Jesus says in John 15:4, "Remain in me, and I will remain in you." If your relationship with Christ is to be fresh, vibrant and exciting you need to remain in him. Otherwise as He says in verse 6, "If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned." Jesus understood our human nature - he knew that we get bored easily - he also knew that when weíre bored we donít do anything!!
In this passage that refers to producing fruit in our lives Jesus is really getting to the heart of what prevents us from producing fruit as Christians.
How many of you like me are procrastinators? If there was a procrastination club it would never meet because the meeting would always be rescheduled!! Have you ever noticed what things in your life get "rescheduled" - if you look really, really carefully Iíll bet its the things that you donít really want to do! Or maybe itís because thereís something else more important at that moment. But have you ever noticed
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