Summary: Our number one goal must be our relationship with Christ, staying with Him, obeying His commands and living in His love.
Intro: An older sister was sitting next to her younger brother in Church one Sunday morning unsuccessfully trying to keep him still and quiet. Finally she said, “I wish you would calm down.” “I can’t”, he said, “it’s just so boring.” With that his sister turned and said, “It’s supposed to be boring.”
When you go to the grocery store or to Wal-Mart and you’re making your way to the check out line, which line do you look to get into? Do you look for the longest line or the shortest? We all look for the quickest way through the checkout line. No one wants to stand long in the checkout line because it’s time consuming and boring. How do you feel when people cut in front of you? Do you think to yourself, Lord bless them for cutting I now get to stand in line a few minutes longer? Or, do you glare at them with that deadly glare that lets people know that the joy of the Lord in your heart?
It’s a shame that so many people feel that church is JUST SO BORING. That setting in the pew is like standing in a check out line. A process that has to be endured so we can get what we want. And that’s the question I want to ask you this morning. What do you expect to get form going to church? At one time I thought that by going to church and sitting in a building with other believers it would automatically make the rest of my week go better. I would just sit there and the sermon would go over my head and spiritually I would get absolutely nothing out of the whole ordeal.
We come to church to get our hearts focused on Jesus Christ. Our goal is God Himself, neither joy nor peace, nor even blessing, but Himself, our God. We must take time this morning and realize what is the central point of power in our lives. Is it work, service, sacrifice for others, or trying to work for God? The thing that ought to exert the most power in our lives is the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Transition: To abide means to remain in place, to stay. If we have a relationship with God then that relationship will produce something that Jesus refers to as fruit.
(v.2) HE PRUNES – Cut off every part of my life that draws out my spiritual energy preventing growth. Physical exercise will eventually exhaust a person, but spiritual exercise will instantly make us stronger. The pruning process is a painful ordeal for God will remove things from my life that draw away my energy and focus form spiritual matters. When a grape vine begins to produce fruit it will have several small shuts pop out of the branch that will only serve to suck the nutrients from the vine serving only to hinder the production of fruit.
Illustration: Donald Grey Barnhouse cites an amazing example of lasting fruitfulness. In Hampton Court near London, there is a grapevine under glass; it is about 1,000 years old and has but one root which is at least two feet thick. Some of the branches are 200 feet long. Because of skillful cutting and pruning, the vine produces several tons of grapes each year. Even though some of the smaller branches are 200 feet from the main stem, they bear much fruit because they are joined to the vine and allow the life of the vine to flow through them. He is the vine, and we are the branches. And when we need pruning, the goal is always more fruit.
(v.4) STAY WITH ME AND I WILL STAY WITH YOU –
"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." ( Heb 13:5)
- And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."( Matt 28:20)
(v.5) “APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING.” Nothing of eternal, spiritual, or true value. Does God ever do anything in our lives without us recognizing it?
(and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe. (1 Tim 4:10)
If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself. (2 Tim 2:13)
The only way any of us could possibly be here in this church is because God has given us the power and ability. And the same is true in everything we do. Apart from God we can’t live, breath, work, play, we simply don’t exist apart from God.
Illustration: Have you ever turned on your water faucet outside and grabbed the end of the water hose only to find that the hose you’re holding is not connected to the faucet? So you find yourself holding the end of a hose that’s empty and nonproductive. The water is flowing at the source, but you’re just looking for results in the wrong place. The same is true for our spiritual lives, when we do works apart from the Holy Spirit. As far as eternity is concerned when we do things in our own power regardless of how good or helpful it may be to other people it’s empty and nonproductive.